The Rise of the Golden Idol

The Rise of the Golden Idol Preview: Superior Sleuthing

We've cracked open the first case from the sequel to the 2022 hit detective game.

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It has been two years since Color Gray Games released The Case of the Golden Idol, a mystery puzzler letting you play detective and piece together evidence around twelve grisly murder cases. Now, we've tried our hand at the sequel.

While it may have only been two years since the last game released, in the timeline of the world of the Golden Idol it has been 300 years. Now, we're an investigator in the 1970s, on the trail of the mysterious artefact known as the Golden Idol. This time, there are fifteen cases for us to crack wide open with our wit and deduction skills.

The Rise of the Golden Idol

After going through a very short tutorial where you have to piece together how a man is getting strangled while said strangulation is happening right in front of you, you're thrown into the first case, one following the death of renowned scientist Isaac Nowak. We won't spoil the details of the case here, but it soon proves much more complex than it first appears.

Gameplay-wise, Rise of the Golden Idol starts off with a small scene, depicted in a brilliant art style that makes every human look equally monstrous. You'll click around, collecting evidence in the form of phrases and keywords, sometimes spoken by the people, other times you'll find a name in a wallet, or note on the ground. Very few things are laid out in front of you plainly, and at the end of each scene you'll have to put together names, events, and places in order to get a better picture of the overall case, eventually putting everything you've learned to deduce what happened to Isaac Nowak.

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For great detectives, this is sure to be a worthy challenge, as someone like me - who is pretty braindead most of the time - found a good chunk of the evidence to be quite tricky. There are very few elements of handholding in Rise of the Golden Idol, and apart from an icon that tells you when you've got two or fewer things incorrect in your deductions, you're pretty much left to figure everything out without any hints. Even when you've got all your evidence, you might not be able to deduce a conclusion by using what you know for certain.


You've also got to make small but significant leaps of faith, drawing the red lines yourself to connect all the dots in a given case. This might mean you have to guess a person's identity after only knowing their last name, or connect their cause of death with a cover-up following you discovering a bribe that went down behind the scenes. Your tools are all there in The Rise of the Golden Idol, you just have to figure out how to use them.

So far, The Rise of the Golden Idol is an excellent sleuthing experience. Difficult, but like a Soulsborne boss you feel an immense sense of reward once you finally piece together all the evidence perfectly. My only wish right now after playing one case is for the ability to make some of the boxes smaller. When you draw up character names alongside further deductions and all the phrases that you've learned so far, it can be tricky to mouse over the things that you actually want to look through, leading to you closing tabs and reopening them over and over. It can break up the gameplay in a strange way that makes me feel less like a detective out in the wild with my notebook, and more like an investigator who has to go all the way back to the office every time he needs to check a minor detail. It is a small problem, though, and doesn't ruin the overall fun I've had in my short time with The Rise of the Golden Idol.

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