A Golden Wake Review

A historical adventure set in the Roaring Twenties

You don’t expect revolutionary achievements and cutting-edge execution from Wadjet Eye games. You launch them with a clear understanding that the next few hours will be spent in a carefully recreated atmosphere of the golden age of quests, in a world where quick-time events have not yet been invented, and a modest handful of pixels is enough to depict an exciting adventure. A Golden Wake is not the most successful example of such creativity, but it is still an interesting specimen. First and foremost, with its concept.

America of the 1920s no longer seems to surprise anyone: all the bright images of that time have long been reflected in movies, books, and even games – there seems to be nothing left to catch there. But a slight shift in focus – and we already see the Miami of that time through the eyes of Alfred Banks, a real estate agent. The beginning of the hero’s career coincides precisely with the moment of the city’s rapid development, when the real estate business is just gaining momentum in a new territory. Who but the cunning Alfi could find himself at the center of events?

Discovering the wonders of aviation

It must be admitted that the everyday life of a realtor in Florida is no less eventful than the usual gangster stories and detective novels. It won’t take long to break into the scene – after all, Banks himself turns out to be an extremely slippery character, climbing the corporate ladder solely thanks to his cunning and selfishness. He sabotages competitors, steals other people’s plans, establishes connections in the press, conducts PR campaigns, and does whatever it takes to please his boss. But he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to please the player.

Strangely enough, the variety of game situations in A Golden Wake is combined with a widespread monotony in their solutions. No matter where our alter ego gets stuck, to achieve the goal, you always need to visit two or three locations and click through the main active points in a straightforward combination. There are no clever puzzles, no extensive inventory, not even pixel-hunting – only obvious actions and straightforward instructions. Occasionally, the standard scheme is diluted with mini-games like “match the buyer with his dream house” or “talk the robber into repentance,” but after the Blackwell series from the same Wadjet Eye, there is no need to strain at all.

Uncovering tales of crime and intrigue

Such triviality of mechanics is forgivable only in the presence of a cohesive plot, but this game doesn’t spoil us with one. Closer to the middle, it turns out that the whole story is presented as a set of episodes from the hero’s life, where we need to deal with some task. Did we help Alfred gain the trust of the new boss? Oh, here we have another snag a couple of years later. And with it, you say, it’s over? Well, we’ll call you when there are problems with the mafia. There is no intermediate narration here, and there is no background for the characters except for the events in the foreground. For a quest, such disregard for details is at least wild.

Authentic Adventure

For its modest scope, A Golden Wake, among other things, has a good historical basis. Not to mention that the whole game takes place in the settings of bygone days, it also includes a developer commentary mode – a real treasure trove of useful information for those interested. Thanks to them, for example, you can learn that the main character is under the command of a very real figure of that time, and the plot revolves around the project of the real city of Coral Gables. Isn’t it nice to glean a few interesting facts along the way?

Inspection: Investigating a world of secrets

The technical execution of the adventure, so to speak, is concise even by retro-pixel standards. Poorly animated backgrounds barely show signs of bustling life and rarely represent anything unusual – in most cases, they are offices, empty streets, offices again, and not always consistent in a unified artistic style. Fortunately, you quickly get used to the visual quirks, and the short melodies from the soundtrack successfully fill the voids in the atmosphere.

To be honest, A Golden Wake is likely to disappoint those who had any hopes for it. It will undoubtedly provide some enjoyment. However, excessive simplicity, lack of puzzles, and poorly thought-out storyline are not what excellent ideas should be seasoned with.

A Golden Wake
Wadjet Eye Games
Grundislav Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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