Point and click titles have been slowly dripping their way onto the console platform, allowing this player base the opportunity to try out what has long been considered a PC genre. Whenever I’m offered the chance to review a point and click game on Xbox, I’m a little reserved about the idea. It’s not because I don’t like to play them quite the opposite. I enjoy the relaxed and laid back nature of the action, but I have an issue with the control system when it’s not on a PC. For me, at least, the use of a mouse and keyboard works better with the User Interface, and this makes for a more enjoyable experience. Can my time with Goetia prove me wrong? Will it be as immersive with a controller? Will I stop posing questions like this? Who knows, but these questions and more were answered as I delved further into my playthrough.
Developed and Published by Forever Entertainment SA, this point and click game focuses its efforts on unravelling the mysteries of a supernatural horror story. You play the part of Abigail Blackwood; she awakes as a spirit some years after her death. This young girl remembers the world in which she lived, and the family house that you must explore, Blackwood Manor. The world that she now sees is very different, and she has no memories or idea of what has transpired across the 40 years since her untimely demise.
As the story unfolds, you discover that Abigail’s family were obsessed with mysticism and fanatical experiments. Her father messed with powers that he shouldn’t, and perhaps it is these forces that awoke her from her slumber, and dragged her back into the land of the living. You must piece together all the clues, searching every room and return to unsolved problems when you have acquired new powers. What was once muddled and confusing will then become clear, and mysterious problems will be solved.
The game plays out a slow pace, with information unfolding before your eyes in a timely fashion. The complexity and style of the puzzles vary, and though some are straightforward to solve, others will leave you scratching your head while you search for a solution. I wouldn’t say this is is ideal for new players to the genre, but if you fall into that category, I suggest practise and plenty of logical thinking will help to get you to the finale. Forever Entertainment SA has relied partly on its narrative to drive this game forward. With a dark and unnerving plot that makes for uneasy reading, it really emphasises the creepy nature of this horror supernatural themed game. However, the winning elements of this title, and what ensures that the characters and plot are brought to life, is the use of atmospheric audio and grainy imagery.
Each backdrop comprises a still image that you are free to explore and investigate. The mixture of sepia and earthy tones and a grainy filter give the visuals a classic old-school Polaroid style. This not only made the game appear darker and more sinister, it was also in keeping with the era that the story is set. I have perfectly good vision, but I struggled to read a lot of the text when it was first presented to me. Fortunately, the developers have allowed you to zoom closer when you view information in your journal. Though the handwritten documents suited the game, there should have been an option to read the text in a clearer and larger modern format.
Now, I really liked the visuals for this. They were simple, and enjoyable to look at, but what stole the show for me was the audio. The game opens with a statement that the gameplay is best experienced with headphones, and the developers weren’t lying. An eerie soundtrack will send chills down your spine. Creaking floorboards and doors, the sound of paper rustling, books slamming shut, and audible clues for puzzles all helped to build the suspense. It all works brilliantly and keeps the theme alive throughout.
As you may recall (if you can’t, you have a really short memory), my gripe with point and click games on console is the control system, namely the lack of keyboard and mouse finesse. Unfortunately, this issue reared its ugly head in Goetia as well. When selecting clues, you could not back out using the B button. Instead, you had to move the cursor over the X to back out. All the cursor movements felt slow and arduous, and broke the immersion created by the well worked aesthetics. This would work much better on a PC and be a much more enjoyable experience. I have to say that this isn’t a fault of the game, but I wanted you to be aware before you jump in and start playing. Other than this problem, the User Interface is clean, crisp, and well laid out. The button mapping is well organised, and this portion works as well as if it was mapped for a keyboard.
Because of the complexity of the puzzles, and the engrossing nature of the narrative, Goetia has both a lengthy game time, and a good replay value. A small list of achievements can be unlocked during your time with the game, and your only limitation to obtaining them all, is; time and a lack of logical thoughts. At the time of writing this review the final achievement worth 200 Gamerscore is bugged, but it will be addressed in the near future, so don’t let this put you off.
Other than the obvious issues I had with the controller, I loved my time playing this game. Forever Entertainment SA have created an interesting and dark story that will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end. Do I recommend that you play this? Of course! Heed the developers’ advice; “play in a dark and quiet room with headphones on for the best experience.” Do this and you will be taken on a supernatural horror trip like no other. Find all the clues, and help Abigail answer the many questions she faces.