Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Release date: April 14, 2016
You wake up. Where are you? The last thing you remember is falling out of the window. Now you're standing (hovering?) in front of a grave marker which has your name on it. Well, that certainly...clarifies things.
You return to your home, but find it empty and falling into disrepair. You go to the village, but find it abandoned. You fell in 1902. It is now 1941. Just what is happening? Mother? Father? Where is everyone? There's nothing left but to search for answers.
Goetia is a classic point-and-click adventure in which you play the part of Abigail Blackwood, the ghost of a young girl who died at the age of 12. You can remember your life perfectly, but have no memory of the almost forty years since you died. All you know is that you're now back home, but it and the surrounding countryside have been abandoned.
The gameplay has a couple of interesting features. First, you'll notice that the world is flat. You can move back and forth, up and down, but can never enter the buildings you see in the background. This leads to some very interesting architecture where your ancestral manor is five rooms wide but twelve stories tall and only one room deep.
Second, as a ghost you've no trouble passing through doors, walls or ceilings. You can even move objects by “possessing” them like a poltergeist. Possessed objects however, cannot pass through doors, walls and ceilings. So sometimes movement itself becomes a puzzle.
The graphics are lovely. Everything is hand drawn and gives an atmosphere of lonely melancholy. Even though it is a ghost story, the game never becomes spooky, let alone horrific. And did I mention it's large? The designers say there are about 115 “rooms” and most of the rooms are larger than the screen.
The gameplay is straightforward – your little orb will simply follow the cursor where ever it goes. Holding down the Ctrl key will reveal all hot spots on the screen (but not in a puzzle). Clicking on a hot spot reveals a quick menu for Examine, Manipulate or Possess.
There are no save game slots, but none is needed. The game simply continues where you left off. Although it would have been nice to have a couple of extra slots for multiple players...
The game is self-documenting. Each time you read an important document it's copied into your Codex. This Codex can be referred to at any time in any place. Important discoveries are also noted in your Journal. This Journal can give you subtle hints as to where you need to go and what needs to be done. It'll also let you know when an objective is completed and when an area is clear.
There's a simple story behind the game which unfolds as you find notes and diaries. Unfortunately, many questions are left unanswered. For example, your character, at one point, thinks, “It looks like someone has placed all of these notes and clues out for me on purpose. But why, and where are they?” We never find out. But as adventure stories go it isn't bad, as long as you don't mind a few loose ends.
The puzzles, however, are a mixed bag. Most are fine, even great. They're either inventory-based or combination locks. Your biggest problem will be trying to remember where you left the screwdriver. There are a few that I think are quite well done – deep and logical. But there are also a few that are just outright unfair.
Sometimes, there's no indication as to what you must do to work a puzzle. For example, there are a couple of places where clicking on a letter will circle the word you clicked, but nowhere does it indicate that you are able to click on documents to mark them. You simply have to click around on each puzzle to figure out how to manipulate it.
There are also a couple of puzzles which break one of the fundamental rules of puzzles design – it's not enough that the answer be logical, it must also be inevitable from the clues given. For example, say you had a locked box with three buttons on it. One button has three cats on it, another has two apples and the third has a butterfly. The only clue says to press them in order. But which order? By quantity? By size? Or alphabetically? All of those are logical, but only one is right. You'll probably need a walkthrough such as the one I am writing (will be published shortly); check our Walkthrough section) to get past these.
But overall, the game is very enjoyable. I'm glad I played it, I'm glad I backed the Kickstarter project, and I'm glad I got the Art Book. There are a few frustrating puzzles, but overall it's thoroughly professional.
+ Beautiful graphics.
+ Excellent puzzles from easy to difficult.
+ Puzzles well-integrated into story.
+ Large environnment - 115 "rooms."
+ Novel 2D gameplay
- A few unfair puzzles
- A few plot holes