The alleged death of certain game genres has proven to be big money for enterprising developers over the past few years. Space sims, for instance, bit the dust awhile ago, allowing Frontier Developments to rake in the cash with their very successful Elite Dangerous Kickstarter…and that’s saying nothing about Chris Roberts’ golden goose Star Citizen. In fact, we can likely attribute the entire crowdfunding fad to Tim Schafer playing up the death of the point-and-click adventure game in order to dredge up funding for Broken Age.
Did these games really die, though, or were they just in hiding? And what happens when a dead genre comes back? Ironically, today we’re talking about Goetia, a point-and-click adventure game that’s all about death.
Goetia opens with a theme we’ve seen fairly often in recent games: you’re dead. Yes, much like Dark Souls, our heroine Abigail Blackwood never had a chance; she’s already departed this mortal coil by the time you start the game. How exactly that happened isn’t entirely clear at first, so you’re going to have to explore the deserted manor your ghostly self calls home in order to determine what’s going on.
This is a standard point-and-click adventure of the sort that apparently died out years ago. You point at objects, you click on them to interact with them, you repeat until the game is over. As a ghost, Abigail’s main skill is the ability to possess things and move them around; she’s also able to physically enter pictures and thus change areas, which is a neat trick.
It won’t be easy, of course. Goetia hearkens back to the early days of point-and-click adventures, reminding us that if the genre died, this is why: it’s hard as a brick wall covered in diamonds with obsidian mortar. You’re going to want a walkthrough if you don’t want to spend hours hammering away at crazy logic puzzles and – heaven forbid – math. You’ll move stuff around, switch from area to area and gradually lose your hair as the puzzles grind away at your sanity.
When you aren’t solving puzzles there’s plenty of backstory to check out as well. Those familiar with ol’ Alistair Crowley might be familiar with what the title of the game is referring to, so it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that there were some untoward things going on in Blackwood Manor. Most of the backstory is imparted through notes and logs scattered around the mansion; you’re going to spend a lot of time reading these, both to help you understand the plot and to muddle through the various puzzles. They’re surprisingly well done, and again, fans of the story who find the puzzles a little much to handle can always rely on a walkthrough for assistance. Not that I’d ever suggest doing that. You can also go back and reread text for future reference, which is a nice touch that can prove helpful.
Goetia’s graphics and music suit the Gothic mood perfectly, by which I mean everything is super dark both conceptually and physically. It’s actually a nice look and helps you keep track of glowing white orb Abigail. As for gameplay, there’s not much else to say; it’s a point-and-click adventure with some tough puzzles. You know what you’re getting here and if you’ll like it or not. There are also multiple endings to search for, adding a little more life to the game.
Goetia is surprisingly lengthy for this sort of game at around fifteen hours. It’s a quality experience for its genre, though, and if brain-twisters are what you’re after you could certainly do much worse. Check Goetia out if you’re willing to risk migraines for the sake of a fascinating horror tale.