by Bryson Hile
reviewed on PC
FINDING A FRIEND
Longbow Games’ Golem, is a point-and-click puzzle game featuring numerous levels of enigmas needing to be solved. When searching for water to haul back to her village, a young girl discovers a blue sentient orb. She soon realizes it has a connection with the ancient tower that once had water flowing from its aqueducts. Not long after she and her new companion begin exploring the tower's levels, but their surroundings begin to react to the orb. It opens a door to the lower parts of the tower that allows the young girl and her new friend to enter.
In the early levels of Golem, the blue orb floats with only a few rocks around it, which it uses to express emotion. The lack of features required me to guide the orb to maneuver around the levels. Due to this, many of the early puzzles are simple to solve. I had a lot of fun with these as most of them took a few minutes of analysis and then execution. Some took me a while to complete, but I felt satisfied after completing them. After a couple of levels, the orb was then upgraded via a blue pool of light into a more golem-like form. Each upgrade would give a new form to the golem allowing it to show more emotion and character. At first it only got legs allowing for simple commands such as stay or follow. Later in the game, I could ride my shape-shifting companion or climb specific objects. These upgrades allowed for the gradual introduction of more complex puzzles.
POINT, CLICK AND SOLVE
As mentioned before, the puzzles in Golem got increasingly difficult with the change of my companion and the new levels. The point-and-click mechanics were relatively easy to use, especially for the two characters that I had to control. There were a few occasions throughout the game where I had to click several times in one location for the game to read my actions. This problem didn’t come up too often, but I found it to be very time consuming when it did.
Throughout the game, levels are intricately crafted allowing for complex and challenging puzzles. After the first two levels, the remaining were all one giant puzzle to solve. The size of some of these were massive, implementing several different kinds of mechanics. One of my favorites contained an orb of water which needed to be heated up by sun beams. The beams needed to be manipulated and passed through several different optical triangular prisms. This level took me a couple of hours to complete due to its intricate structure and deep puzzle elements. The feeling I got when I completed the level was first relief, but then accomplishment. Many of the levels are tough to get through, but the reward and feeling you receive from completing them is satisfying.
For all the good puzzles Golem has, there are still some issues. The biggest of all is the lack of direction each level gave me. Normally, the camera would swoop through the level showing the layout and important locations to note. However, there is barely any other kind of direction. I would pull a lever and hope it helped me in some way or hope the door I was headed to was the right one. Setting an objective or marking it on the level would have been very beneficial in giving a more streamlined mission.
On top of having an objective to reach, the absence of teaching new mechanics is prominent. With each upgrade the golem gets, it can perform new actions, but none of the new actions are explicitly explained. I understand Golem wants me to explore and experiment on the puzzles, but having no idea what some of the new abilities were, wasted a lot of time. Eventually, I found out what I was able to perform by hovering my mouse over objects until they turned blue. Once I got the hang of the new mechanics, the rest of the levels were easier to maneuver.
STELLAR ART AND SOUND
If I had to pick an aspect (or two) of Golem to praise, then it would be the art style and soundtrack. The menu is presented in a fluid art style that lays the barren village in the background and gives the two main characters a pop of color. It is gorgeous to see in the menu and within the game. The young girl and golem both stand out from the browns and yellows of the tower as they solve the puzzles within. As they would run along and jump to the next platform, the music would play a soft melody that eased my mind into puzzle solving mode. Focusing on the music at times, helped me clear my mind, allowing me to solve the task at hand.
Golem is a cute, point-and-click puzzle game which features a stellar soundtrack, a unique art style, and numerous puzzles. With only a few directional issues, the game provides an interesting take on the puzzle genre. Each level is layered with numerous mysteries, beautiful artwork and a great soundtrack to compliment the visual spectacle of the tower looming overhead.
Stellar soundtrack, unique art style, intricate puzzles.
Lack of objective direction, no explanation of new abilities.