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A Golden Wake – Review

A Golden Wake - Review

A Golden Wake – Review

A Golden Wake is the latest release from Wadjet Eye, the developers that brought us the acclaimed Blackwell series. Jeffry Houser step into the 1920s and provides his thoughts on this historical adventure game.


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A Golden Wake

Step into the roaring twenties with A Golden Wake; the latest adventure game from the creators of the Blackwell game series. You play a young real estate salesman who moves from New York to Miami in order to find his fortune in real estate development, Coral Gables. This game is in the historical fiction genre, so be prepared to interact with real characters and locations.

The Story

“Hi, I’m Alfie Banks. My father is a legend in the real estate game, but I’m having a tough time in New York. I think it is time to seek my fortune elsewhere.”

“Hey, Alfie, I hear good things about Miami; why not try there?”

“That sounds good!”

Alfie goes on, dear reader, to seek a job with famous real estate developer George Marrick. Mr Marrick is trying to build out Coral Gables and has a grand vision for it to become one of the first planned communities in the United States. But, George needs some help.

“Alfie, I may be able to find a spot for you, but first I need a few things. You see I need some help with marketing, so why don’t you make friends with someone at the paper. I also need to own this plot of land, but can’t convince the owner to sell. Finally, some of plans were stolen; can you sneak into my rival’s office and steal them back?”

“And if I do this, Mr Marrick, you’ll give me a job?”

“Of course, Alfie, there is always a place for a problem solver in our organization.”

Alfie starts doing tasks for George Marrick, Alfie rises up the ranks of George Marrick’s organziation, becoming a top notch salesman for Coral Gables. Along the way he tangles with disgruntled homeowners, stunt pilots, hurricanes, moonshiners, bank robbers, the mafia, and of course his estranged brother.

The Production

I’ve played many games where I have felt that the story was wonderful, but the actual game was horrible. A Golden Wake is the first game in recent memory where I can say the exact opposite. Why would anyone want to play a real estate agent? I suppose the same reason you’d want to play a space janitor or a wannabe pirate. A lot of exciting things happen around them and you want to view said things through their eyes.

Unfortunately, that is not the case with A Golden Wake. More than once, the plot trajectory left me scratching my head in confusion. I’m afraid to give too many spoilers, but what do you do when you’re disgruntled at your job? Quit to join the mafia of course! Oh, wait, you wouldn’t do that? Of course not! It is not a logical path for anyone to take.

The game wasn’t all bad. I did like the inventory style puzzles of the game. Despite the weird plot devices used to progress the game, I enjoyed solving the puzzles. The game felt more self-contained than some others I’ve played and it was pretty obvious what to do next and what you needed. Applying some adventure game know-how always got the door unlocked.

Less enjoyable was a collection of mini-games that cropped up time to time. One was even a hidden image game, which doesn’t seem to belong locked inside an adventure. Quite a few times you had the opportunity to coerce a player into agreeing with you. You only got one chance at this or else had to find another way to progress past the puzzle. The interface worked by clicking the proper discussion thread based on the character’s response. I failed this every time. Even the built in hint system for these scenarios was no help for me. Most of the mini-games provided more frustration than satisfaction.

The graphics were in the retro quality I’d expect to find from a Wadjet Eye game. I found them lacking a bit, as I often do. The graphic quality of A Golden Wake did not seem to live up to the quality I’d expect from a Blackwell game, which is still less than I’d expect from something using a modern system. However, you get used to it pretty quick and the game is still playable.

The voice acting in the game was good. It was a treat to hear Joey Mallone speak again, with voice actor Abe Goldfarb taking on the role of Doc Dammers, a fellow real estate salesman. The early version I played did not have a narrator voice, but I honestly didn’t mind it. I’m not sure if they’ll add one for the final release.

Final Thoughts

Historical adventure games have been slim pickings since Sierra released Gold Rush in the late 80s. A Golden Wake does not compare to Gold Rush in scope nor production values. However, if you want to take a trip back to the roaring 20s, adventure game style, then I don’t see many other options.


Final Grade: C-
Good for a historical adventure fan – step into the 1920s
+ Inventory style puzzles are enjoyable 
+ Voice acting was good
– Lacks a compelling story
– Mini-games were frustrating




Jeffry Houser

Jeffry Houser

Jeffry's first memory of gaming was blowing himself up in Zork by walking into the gas room with a torch. Then he tried King's Quest on a PCjr and has been a fan of the genre ever since.Jeffry Houser is a technical entrepreneur that likes to share cool stuff with other people. In his professional career, Jeffry runs an IT Consulting form. He has a Computer Science degree from the days before the business met the Internet and has built a career around using technology to solve business problems. He has written four technical books, over 30 articles and hundreds of podcasts. Jeffry has published a casual game on Android, titled Igor Knots and the Magonda Maze.In his spare time Jeffry is a musician, writer, podcaster, and recording engineer. His first table top game should come to Kickstarter in early 2015. You can read his personal blog at

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