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2022’s best murder mystery game returns with a ‘70s twist

Top-notch detective game The Case of the Golden Idol announces ‘70s sequel The Rise of the Golden Idol, with a 30% Steam sale to celebrate.

The Rise of the Golden Idol is a '70s sequel to 2022's best murder mystery game - A policeman wearing glasses, a blue hat, and a moustache in a room filled with red strings connecting various clues together.

Unraveling a good mystery brings a satisfaction like almost no other, whether it be in a more explicit format like Return of the Obra Dinn, Disco Elysium, or Danganronpa, or a more roundabout manner such as Outer Wilds or What Remains of Edith Finch. The Case of the Golden Idol is one of the most successful examples of top-notch murder mystery adventure games in recent memory, earning itself a very worthy 98% Steam rating. As developer Color Gray Games announces its ‘70s sequel, you can grab the excellent first game at a big discount.

The Rise of the Golden Idol is set a full 300 years after the first game’s events, when the tales of the eponymous Golden Idol have fallen into the realm of legends. Yet, amid the glitz and glamor of the 1970s, a curious relic hunter uncovers word of the mysterious artifact and its power to reshape the world. In this upcoming adventure game, you’ll uncover the truth of 15 perhaps-related cases of crime, death and depravity: “The world has changed dramatically – the sins of humanity have not.”

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For those of you unfamiliar with the format, the core mechanic of The Case of the Golden Idol is exploring the various crime scenes and other related environments to uncover clues that will grant you key words – names, emotions, objects, and of course possible causes of death. You’ll then need to correctly assign these words to construct a statement explaining each person’s cause of death, along with any particular perpetrators, associates, and murder weapons.

It’s a delightful format, and each of the game’s mysteries do a great job of leading you most of the way there only to reveal a final layer at the metaphorical death that completely changes your perspective on things. It’s an essential play for anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery; doubly so if you were as enraptured by Return of the Obra Dinn as I was and have been looking for more in the same vein.

I’m very glad that we’re getting a sequel, then – the completely different time period of The Rise of the Golden Idol should ensure a very distinct tone, and the ‘70s setting opens up all sorts of possibilities as Color Gray promises “a grand mystery that unravels across an age of hallucinogens, fax machines, parapsychology, and TV guides.” It’s set to arrive in 2024 so, as mentioned before, if you’re yet to experience the first game, you have plenty of time to do so and it’s on offer right now.

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The Case of the Golden Idol is 30% off until Monday December 11. That means you can expect to pay $12.59 / £11.89 for the standard edition, or $21.03 / £18.78 to buy it with both DLC cases, The Spider of Lanka and The Lemurian Vampire.

For even more curiosities to explore, dig out your magnifying glass and get to work inspecting the best detective games. If you’re of such a mind, you’ll likely find plenty worth studying among the best puzzle games on PC as well.

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