I awake once again, light creeping into my small burrow as a new sun rises. My tongue flicks out, tasting the air that flows in from the valley. An emptiness grows within me and the call to destroy fills my being. I am Draak, newly born and eager to claim what is mine. Others may know me as a Dragon, but those at Dreaming Door Studios have given me a different name. Much like the songs the Draak sing to each other, of wisdom or of caution, the developers have created their own song in their first outing of the Golden Treasure series. What starts off a quiet melody of birth and awareness, gradually builds into a full orchestral score discovery and wonder.
The game, in an eggshell (see what I did there?), is all about you as a newly born dragon. Bright-eyed and full of literal fire, you begin your journey to full fill desires such as hunting and finding treasure to hoard. Ultimately you must grow and venture out further, learning more of your surrounds which in turn teaches you about yourself. Steering clear of threats such as the “No-Tails” and the larger, territorial Dragons that already inhabit the region, you must pick a path and survive all the while finding The Great Green.
With mostly story driven text-based Dialogue, you will spend much of your time reading and clicking the choices that best suit you as the player. Whether you choose to spend a “Sun” hunting to fill your belly or exploring to further your knowledge of the land, it all starts with a click. I have found that the days alternate between the two as I carve out more and more of the map. Starting the hunt is still text-based, choosing to creep slowly forward or straight out lunging at your prey, or a mixture of the two. If it flees you engage in a frantic chase, clicking on your prey as it runs until you catch up close enough to slash at it. Then begins the Dance of Destruction…
The Dance as it is called is at its core, a rock, paper, scissors based combat system. With a pattern of attack to learn from each of your prey, you will pick each element best suited to attack or defend with. Choosing the right attack is all about experience and learning your prey. Once victorious, you consume the beast and its essence fuels you for yet another Sun.
Golden Treasure boasts hand-painted artwork and does not fail to deliver in this regard. To be honest, when I first played the demo, I thought perhaps some of the works were still “rough” or not quite refined yet. But as I settled into the game further I found myself enjoying the natural feel of the paintings and the feeling of discovery as I saw more and more of this world. If anything else, Golden Treasure proves that you do not have to have bleeding edge graphics and fancy Ray Tracing to make you feel immersed in the gameplay.
The soundtrack to the game is well written and aides in selling the emotion of the game. I found in the early tutorial, being drawn in with not only the words but the music. The tone and tempo urging me to let go and become this newborn dragon with a mind ready to grasp at the new world in front of me. The sound effects further add to the gameplay in subtle ways indicating an action that you have taken or enhance a scene as a narrative plays out.
Golden Treasure has secrets to be found and various paths to take however the core gameplay stays the same. As a goal-oriented adventure, one playthrough may not grant you all of the treasures to be found or the labyrinths fully searched. I feel that the combat portions of the game may become repetitive but overall can be overlooked in the overarching goal of discovery.
Golden Treasure: The Great Green is an emotional and thought-provoking journey as seen through the eyes of a dragon. My own personal fascination with the lore and mystery of dragons aside, I found the game compelling and rich with content. I felt that the intro and tutorial could have been given greater depth with voice narration to start, helping to draw you in and guide your choices, but overall it works very well. In the current state of text-based games and RPGs, Golden Treasure stands in a very niche corner offering to scratch that itch for all who are interested. Mind you, you’ll scratch that itch with the claw of a great dragon!