My team of misfits is breaking into the headquarters of London’s resident evil future mega-corporation, and I’m out of action points. I blew them off by searching through drawers in this office and picking a car lock in the parking lot, so now I have none left to hack the workstation and move our heist forward. Hesitantly, I pressed the button to end my shift, raising the security team’s alert status and risking running into the guards at random. Fortunately, I wasn’t sent corporate security this shift, and I’m free to hack with a new set of action points.
golden sunday (opens in a new tab) is a stylish game, with a jazzy soundtrack, expressive and impressionistic character design, and a distinctive “future of talk” aesthetic for its late 21st century London. It also deftly blends two classic game genres, turn-based RPG and point-and-click adventure, in a way that I found absolutely exhilarating in my playthrough of its first act.
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Sunday Gold is set in a dystopian London of the 2070s, where late ’60s and early ’70s styles are back in style and everyone is obsessed with zombie dog racing. The local mega-corporation, Hogan Industries, is a big name in cyber-reanimating dogs and sending them on the trail, and our team of career criminal Frank, animal rights activist Sally, and hacker Gavin have teamed up to carry out a heist in the operation.
Seeing Sunday Gold’s neo noir art style and setting for the first time, I wondered if I might be following in the footsteps of Disco Elysium: a literary and political RPG set in an urban setting. It turns out that the two have a very different tone and also take the concept of an RPG/adventure hybrid in completely different directions.
Disco Elysium removed the combat from Planescape: Torment, the already adventure-heavy game, leaving a cerebral investigative experience where your character build influences the tools you have to solve quests. Rather, Sunday Gold has combined extreme, classic JRPG-style combat with some sort of old-school Sierra or LucasArts exploration and puzzle-solving, with the two tied together by a very limited pool of resources that raises the game’s stakes. play. combat and force a certain discipline in exploration.
Each of the three characters has seven AP for both exploration and combat, with commands like searching an area or picking a lock requiring three or four points on average. When you deplete your crew’s overall AP, you must manually end a turn to refresh the party, raising your enemies’ “Alert Status” (overall strength and numbers) and triggering a random encounter chance.
In combat, characters take turns like in a classic JRPG, but your AP doesn’t automatically refresh each turn; you have to protect and refill the group every three actions or so. His AP at the end of combat persists into the next scan round, and the crew’s HP is only fully restored at the end of a chapter. Healing with abilities or items between fights costs more of your dwindling AP pool.
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Frank, Gavin, and Sally each possess a composure meter that increases or decreases based on mission success. When the meter drops low enough, characters are given a time limit on command selection during combat turns, and their respective obstacle clearing mini-games receive new complications. Gavin’s Fallout 3-style hacking minigame, for example, has characters that change shape or color to interfere with password guessing.
I find the result extremely compelling, with the resource-intensive exploration adding an old-school sense of scarcity and consequence to combat, and the threat of costly fights forcing you to really consider how you explore, making the old point-and-do adventure problematic. click. waiting to “rub it all together and see what works” when you only have so many action points and healing items to deal with the resulting combat.
A particularly fun moment is having to search a corpse for a security card: there are more places to look than there are useful items on the body, and each pocket you feel deals extra stress damage to the character doing it, as well as wasting valuable AP. It’s a good way to troll your typical grave-robbing kleptomaniac role-player like me.
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I ran into a few minor hiccups in my play time, but I think they’re worth noting. Sunday Gold definitely has that classic point-and-click adventure problem where a puzzle isn’t necessarily challenging, there’s just some disconnect with the form the solution takes in-game. You have the battery and the repair kit, but there is no option to right click and use the repair kit on the battery: what is the solution?
Turns out you have to go to the workbench in the other room and interact with that while the repair kit and battery are in your inventory to move on. It’s the luck of the draw in how your synapses fire and in what order you discover these different components that determines whether a sequence like this presents no difficulty or sends you clicking away for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do next.
I was also not impressed by the dialogue so far. The setting is killer, the pulpy crime plot plot has caught my eye, the characters are visually stunning and have compelling backgrounds, it’s just that their conversations are a little too Disney/Marvel “can they fly now?” for my money. That can get better as the game progresses, and one’s ability to bants is definitely a matter of taste; for me, it’s a neutral network at the moment.
I come out of preview eagerly anticipating the release of Sunday Gold. I think the developers at Bkom have come up with something really cool and fun with Sunday Gold’s injection of JRPG combat and resource management into an adventure game, and their depiction of a wonderful future London with a lot of bad vibes has really stuck with me. .
You can make a wish list Sunday Gold on Steam (opens in a new tab)and is scheduled to launch sometime this year.