The Case of the Golden Idol is made by Color Gray Studio, which was founded in 2021 by two brothers Andrejs and Ernests Kļaviņš. The game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from players, has made it to many Best of 2022 tops, and has received an award from the International Festival of Independent Games in the Narrative category.
The Case of the Golden Idol is a new kind of detective game that allows you to think and investigate freely. Set in the 18th century, the story of an aristocratic family lets you piece together clues and reconstruct the events of mysterious deaths using a unique drag–and–drop evidence mechanic. By discovering clues surrounding twelve unsettling crime scenes, players are challenged to build their own theories, pick the most likely suspects, deduce the motives, and uncover the truth. All of these mysteries are connected to the titular Golden Idol in an overarching and enigmatic narrative. «Reveal the true nature of the mysterious Golden Idol and those who covet it. Follow the journey of a cursed aristocratic family as you untangle a web of deceit and villainy in your hunt for the truth behind this dark conspiracy,» the game is introduced by its developers.
The game features a unique art style that combines the pixel art aesthetics from early 1990s point–and–click adventure games with 3D rendered cutscene visuals from the late 1990s. The hand–drawn scenes are equal parts grotesque and charming, and, together with the eerie soundtrack composed by the Ukrainian artist Kyle Misko, manage to create a nostalgic, yet fresh environment.
The game was released on October 13 in cooperation with the publisher Playstack London and is the first creation by Color Gray Studio. Its founders Andrejs and Ernests Kļaviņš have extensive experience both withing the game industry, as well as in related fields. In 2010, Andrejs co–founded and led the video game studio Next Level, which published over ten social network and mobile games in Latvia. Ernests is a painter with numerous art exhibitions under his belt and many years’ experience working as a cartoonist in the leading news magazines in Latvia. With The Case of the Golden Idol, they’ve tried to create a game that is both creatively fulfilling and financially viable.
The Case of the Golden Idol received the IndieCade Narrative Award at the International Festival of Independent Games, an award that celebrates accomplishment and innovation in the emergent art of interaction driven narrative. It has also received the attention of many game critics, with Simon Parkin of The New Yorker magazine praising the game as a «sophisticated, Sherlockian story about wealth and greed, delivered in a way that rewards close attention.» The game has been included in many best of 2022 tops ― The New Yorker named it among the twelve best games of the year, The Guardian ranked it as the 9th best, whereas the video game review platform Polygon gave it the honourable third place this year.