The excellent, engrossing detective game The Case of the Golden Idol now has a free web-browser-based version that serves as a free trial, featuring the first three cases of the game. The launch comes in tandem with the surprise release of its second and seemingly final expansion, called Golden Idol Mysteries The Lemurian Vampire, which adds three additional mysteries to solve.
The Case of the Golden Idol is an eerie murder mystery from Color Gray Games that has you examining grisly dioramas and piecing together the what, who, where, why, and how. Its self-directed nature makes it incredibly captivating, with a lack of hand-holding and an ominous atmosphere keeping you glued.
It’s heavily inspired by The Return of the Obra Dinn by Lucas Pope, and is certainly one of those games you need to play to really see how impressive it is. The free trial is a very smart choice on the part of the developer.
I called it out as one of my favourite games of 2022 – and later, writer Chris Lawn described it as one of the best indie games of 2022 you definitely didn’t play. The Case of the Golden Idol won the 2023 Independent Games Festival Award for Excellence in Design, and was also nominated for a BAFTA.
Golden Idol Mysteries The Lemurian Vampire serves as a sequel to the first DLC expansion, The Spider of Lanka, and both serve as a prequel to the events of the main game, exploring the origins of the titular golden idol.
That it serves as the final expansion for the game is a little sad – it’s the kind of game that has you hungering for more once it’s all over – but it will look to comprehensively complete the intriguing, overaching narrative of the saga.
We very much look forward to seeing what Color Gray Games does next.