Pointing, clicking, and demons.
After the Golden age of the point and click genre (led by the classics of Lucas Arts and Sierra), it seems that there wasn’t much more appeal for this kind of game. In fact, after struggling to find a new viable format, most of them evolved into more narrative-focused experiences, as the example of Telltale’s games. However, the puzzle-driven counterpart never actually disappeared, and the Kickstarter successes of Broken Age and Thimbleweed Park proves that there’s a place for a good old school point and click. If you miss this kind of experience and want something new and fresh, then Goetia is a no-brainer.
From the very beginning, Goetia sets up a very spooky tone that is elevated through the entire game thanks to its narrative involving an old manor full of mysteries about a family and their studies about demons. You control the spirit of Abigail, one of the members of the Blackwood family, which was recently awakened, for some reason. With no clear memories of your past, or what may have happened with your family, you then must explore the manor and its surroundings in order to figure out what is up.
You do that within a classic point and click structure, which is updated with some welcoming quality of life improvements. With the left stick, you control a pointer – which also guides the movements of the light sphere that represents Abigail’s spirit. You then can press A to “click” on interactive objects. If you’re playing in handheld mode, you can do the same with the touchscreen, which even helps with some puzzles. In addition, as a way to prevent pixel hunting, at any given moment, you can hold the minus button to highlight interactive areas on-screen.
Once you select an object, further options will be displayed. These represent the “actions” you would have on any classic point and click. Here in Goetia, they are divided into three distinct options. The first one, set to the X button, allows you to observe the said object. By doing that, Abigail will make a brief commentary about what she’s looking at, often giving you clues about what happened and what to do. This action is the only one available to every single interactive object in the game.
The second option (A button) allows Abigail to interact with objects, and it, in fact, opens up lots of possibilities, as you can do things like reading documents, pressing buttons, among others. Then, the Y button allows Abigail to possess objects. With this, she can move objects around the manor to combine or use them in other places. Most of the puzzles will demand you to combine these two actions. As a classic point and click, though, some puzzles can be a bit obtuse sometimes. While this is part of the charm of the genre, it is important to know what to expect, as Goetia can become quite frustrating sometimes.
During my playthrough, I encountered some minor bugs, when different menus overlap. However, the mysteries of the Blackwood manor totally compensates for these problems, especially when you consider Goetia’s astonishing presentation. This is where the game excels. With its unsettling environment and ominous soundtrack, the game can make you afraid without resorting to jump scares.