A Golden Wake
, at first glance, appears to be another classics-inspired point-and-click adventure game, complete with the Adventure Game Studio engine chugging away underneath.
But for developer Francisco Gonzalez, his first commercial release is his attempt to breathe some new life into the genre, and introduce puzzle elements that wouldn't normally embed themselves in such an experience.
Indeed, in the first half an hour of play alone, I had stumbled across an L.A. Noire
-style interrogation minigame, a hidden object game that doubled as a sort of crime scene investigation, and a logic game about matching prospective homeowners with their best suitable abodes.
"Having puzzle variety is just something I enjoy toying around with," says Gonzalez, "because I feel like adventure game design can get pretty stagnant if it just uses the standard inventory combination puzzles or fetch quests, which are easy design tropes to stick to."
A Golden Wake
truly feels like a step in a new direction for the genre, although the designer is keen to stress that he isn't entirely sure whether this approach could have a big impact point-and-click adventure game design.
"I'm not even 100 percent sure adding these types of puzzles completely works," he reasons, adding the example, "People have both praised and criticized the use of QTEs in recent Telltale games, as well as Quantic Dream's past few titles."
"It really is a mixed bag," he adds. "So far I've seen people who have loved the different types of puzzles in A Golden Wake
, and others who have hated them. It often feels like a damned if you do/don't situation, but as long as it doesn't feel like it's completely out of place, I'll continue trying to implement things."
With A Golden Wake
out there, Gonzalez is no looking to see what else he can achieve with the AGS engine.
"There was an idea for a driving simulator in AGS," he says, "but that never went past the idea phase, which is good because it would have been terrible."