Title: Goetia Review
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Genre: Point and Click Puzzler
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: Puzzle fans
Release Date: Out Now
Price: – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review copy for this game.
What the developers say
It is 1941. War is raging, and Blackwood Manor lies empty.
Abigail’s parents and sister are missing, and the air is filled with anxiety and anger. Who is living here now? What happened to everyone? Why has Abigail come back from the dead? And what is this Goetia that seems to be the key to understanding all this nonsense?
As a ghost, you will explore the manor, the forest or the village to look for clues. Where will you start?
Float through walls! Find rooms a mere mortal couldn’t reach and explore places hidden from others!
Roam around, discover places, discover their puzzles, leave, come back to them later!
I and point and click have a mixed history. Give me a LucasArts adventure and I’m a happy chappy. Plonk me down with something like Zork and I’ll struggle to stay focused. Goetia is my new Zork, but I stuck with it. Placed in an abandoned mansion that’s inhabited by demons, it’s your job to find out why you’re now a spirit and what’s happened to your family.
Looks and Sounds
I played all of this in handheld mode as it seemed to fit this style of game. After all, what’s better than using your finger to point and click? The game also recommended a dark room and headphones so it seemed like the perfect solution. However, that leads to one of my biggest problems.
Everything is so small in handheld that if you aren’t using the hints system, then it’s actually hard to read the environment. But what delightful little environments they are.
There’s lots of detail in the 2D backgrounds which give the locations character and make them feel like they’ve been lived in. Pictures line the hallways of the mansion, wooden panels make the place feel old and decadent. Cluttered hallways and rooms make the setting feel alive, but on the flip side, peeling, dirty wallpaper, scrawled messages on walls and the shadows do a good job of making the place feel a little unwelcoming. If you saw the mansion at the end of a dark road, it’s somewhere you probably wouldn’t want a closer look at. It all sets the scene well.
My only issues if I’m nitpicking is that it leans heavily on traditional horror tropes such as creepy forests and haunted houses.
Things are a little easier on the TV, but interactive objects are still lost in the background. It’s obvious what you should be able to use, but things can be obscured from view.
Background noises such as creaking floorboards and thunder cracks try to add a sense of foreboding. There’s a nice use of sound in some puzzles, but personally, I didn’t get a sense of fear or unease. The music is passable and fits the theme but nothing stood out.
Gameplay and Replayability
You have two control options available – either navigate with the touch screen or use the sticks like a mouse pointer. As I said previously, the touch screen combined with the tiny graphical details can make touch a little awkward to use. On the flip side, the mouse pointer approach is a little slow. I found it best to use a combination of both.
You’ll explore various environments looking for puzzles or puzzle pieces and you’ll also be given background story by inspecting the stuff that’s been left lying around. On occasion, the puzzles are too obscure and the tiny size means it’s easy to miss things you might need. That’s where the hint mode comes in handy as a quick tap of the button highlights items of interest.
These items can be possessed to move them around and then combined with other parts of the environment to proceed. It’s very much a case of needing to find the ” right key” to open the next part of the map. Different demons also inhabit different areas and helping them removes colour matched blockades.
It’s hardly the most unique approach to this game and they feel stuck in the past. This shouldn’t be seen as a negative though because this game seems to have transitioned to the walking sim.
As the puzzles only have one solution replayability is limited, but if the story grabs you, there’s lots of environmental storytelling to be found and letters that give more background on past events. Some may feel it’s worthwhile seeking them all out to see the better ending but for most, the one play through will be enough.
Am I the right person to be looking at this? Maybe not. I don’t have the same fondness for these kinds of games that others do, but I’m always willing to try something new and occasionally I’m taken by surprise. I didn’t engage with the story and I never felt driven to see what came next. I won’t spoil the story but I felt I’d seen everything before and it has been done it better.
But I need to be balanced and weigh up that others will enjoy this. The detailed environments and simple puzzling will really pull some people in. The mystery of what happened will engross these players but if you’re not a fan of this genre of game I can’t recommend dipping in for a look.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Goetia on the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Goetia-1366742.html