A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Few positive messages exist, although in a murder mystery, this is to be expected. Themes of betrayal, murder, and sabotage are heavy.
Positive Role Models
Positive role models are few, as many characters kill, harm, or betray others (including friends and family members).
The game takes place in the 18th century, presumably in colonial America. All characters are white, and few women are featured.
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Ease of Play
This point and click game can be played easily by video game fans of any skill level. There are no timed or rapid events, and the game relies on either clicking an object or dragging words to fill in the blank slots. Logically, it may be a challenge for younger kids.
Violence & Scariness
The game opens with one character pushing another off of a cliff in anger, and a murder occurs in each episode that follows, including: A dead man lays in a bed with blood dripping from his head and mouth. A character is entirely engulfed in flames, seemingly crying out in pain. We later find out that he has died of spontaneous combustion. A character is stabbed in the abdomen, and found having bled to death in a bedroom. The word "REVENGE" is written on the wall in blood. A woman is poisoned and dies. Additionally, almost all characters carry a blade, sword, or knife.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man writes love letters to a woman, and attempts to court her.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters carry tobacco, pipes, and cigars. They also carry and drink spirits like gin, bourbon, and wine. Characters are drugged with poisonous herbs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Case of the Golden Idol is a downloadable mystery game for Windows PCs. While it's set in the 1700s and has a fictional plot, aspects of the environment may be educational to players looking to learn about the time period. Because of this, the language may be too outdated and complex for younger kids. The goal is to solve various logic puzzles and come to a conclusion about several different scenes. The game requires players to observe all aspects of each scene, including characters, names, and objects, and then sort those findings into "fill in the blank" puzzles to uncover plot points. Puzzles start fairly easy, but become increasingly more difficult as the game progresses. Hints are available after completing a small task, but are strongly discouraged by the game. Despite its skill-building attributes, this game is still an investigative murder mystery, and a murder takes place within each chapter. They are often gruesome. Violence is heavy, and the viewer frequently witnesses blood, explosions, and stabbings.
Is It Any Good?
It's the 1700's, and you've been dropped into a seemingly endless string of drama, family betrayal, and murder. In The Case of the Golden Idol, you play as an unseen detective, working to piece together the story behind several different chapters, (and in each one, a murder). Despite its gruesome nature that may give parents pause, this game is a marvel. A testament to the wonders of keeping things simple, The Case of the Golden Idol makes for a very easy play through (mechanics-wise) and would probably not frustrate players who are unfamiliar with video games. Don't be mistaken, though – for what it lacks in complex button-pressing, it makes up for in logic puzzles. Some chapters are surprisingly simple, and others a bit overwhelming. But fans of mystery games know all too well that discovering what is relevant to the case and what isn't is half of the fun.
In the end, this game is a dream for fans of investigation and mystery challenges. Instructions are few and far between, but the simplicity of the game mechanics don't really warrant extensive help, and getting through tasks on your own, without the game's help, brings a sense of accomplishment and not frustration. Frequently referring to you as "friend" when you prompt it for hints, The Case of the Golden Idol implies that it knows the conclusion of this tale far before you will. But most of all, it knows that you'll have a blast solving this tangled web of cults, crimes, and clues.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.