Goliath The Soothsayer
Do you agree with any of the following: A) The Mars Volta is tight, B) Room Escape games are tight, or C) Ouija boards are gateways for demonic forces? If so, you're in for a treat. A treat that will attempt to eat your soul.
Goliath the Soothsayer is an adventure game designed by Ben Leffler (of Exmortis series fame) to promote the upcoming Mars Volta release, The Bedlam In Goliath. The story is based on the experience of the band's sick guitarist, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. The guy goes to Jerusalem for vacation and walks into a curiosity shop. Of course, when you walk into a curio shop in Jerusalem you're bound to leave with a demonically enchanted artifact, right?
In the fiction of the game an insurance salesman buys the same Ouija board that Omar did. You play the poor guy's brother, the game starts with you waking up in an attic. Salt barricades the locked door, and your first task is to make an escape. After you do the game opens up a little bit and the mystery of Goliath the Soothsayer starts to unravel. Gameplay involves the usual clicking around for items and figuring out logic puzzles. Occasionally, a scary thing will happen, and it is possible to lose your soul to demonic entities while playing.
Analysis: The game is very good but it suffers from a lack of feedback in several respects. The exploratory process of clicking around for clues often isn't conclusive enough. Good adventure games don't hold your hand, but this one doesn't even nudge, and odds are you'll find yourself resorting to FAQs or spoiler tabs in the comments section in order to complete it. The writing that accompanies the object mouse-overs is also a bit overwrought, though not to the extent where it uses words like "overwrought".
With all that said, the puzzles hang together with a nice metaphysical logic, so if you start thinking like a paranormal investigator, it might come around smoothly for you. The graphics and audio are well done, making it enticing to continue despite the rough edges. No matter what you think of the genre or Mars Volta's music, you gotta admit, Ouija boards just don't get enough love in the media these days. Lets give all those repressed demon spirits a holiday.