Sunday Gold – Review
Follow Genre: Point-and-click adventure, tactical turn-based fighter
Developer: BKOM Studios
Publisher: Team17
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Sunday Gold – Review

Site Score
Good: Gritty, cinematic aesthetic
Bad: Tedious and drawn-out combat system
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Whether it’s the visual novel meets shmup gameplay of Yurukill or card game meets RPG gameplay of Voice of Cards, we’ve seen some unusual genre combinations in the past. In this regard, the idea of a point-and-click adventure game being mashed up with turn-based tactical combat doesn’t seem all that wild, although it’s still not a concept that makes you go “Of course!” when you hear it. Sunday Gold, the subject of today’s review, embodies that very concept, however, and combines it with a gritty-yet-stylish dystopian aesthetic. Is this one of those unusual combinations that works, like bacon bits in a milkshake (believe us, give it a try), or is this an orange juice and toothpaste situation?


Set in 2070, in a dystopian futuristic version of London, Sunday Gold introduces us to Frank, a down-on-his-luck criminal, and his associates, the muscular thug Sally and the brilliant hacker Gavin. This troublesome trio finds themselves in hot water with self-made billionaire Hogan, whose “business” activities involve classified experiments in secret underground laboratories, as well as letting loose the titular Sunday Gold, a cybernetic dog, onto the race track to rake in piles of cash. Our “heroes” are criminals themselves, but at least they are ethical criminals so they take it upon themselves to expose Hogan’s wrongdoings to the world, in an attempt to take down the billionaire crime lord. The story is delivered in a very cinematic way, and it definitely had us invested in the first half. Things took a turn for the worse around the game’s midway point, although we’re not sure whether this was because the story started to fall apart or simply because we had gotten fed up with the gameplay -more on that later. We won’t spoil the game’s ending here, but even after thinking it over for a few days, we’re still not sure whether or not we were happy with what unfolded.


If there’s one thing we can compliment Sunday Gold for, then it would be the stylish visuals. Sunday Gold mixes a variety of different visuals to great effect: comic book-esque splash screens, complete with the signature ‘pow’ and ‘zap’ on-screen text commonly associated with the ‘60s era Batman show, are juxtaposed against grotesque character portraits that look like they were ripped straight out of Disco Elysium. We’d go as far as to say that the entire atmosphere of Sunday Gold almost feels like a carbon copy of ZA/UM’s RPG although that doesn’t mean that Frank and his buddies don’t have an identity of their own. In fact, Frank’s gritty design feels unique, with his iconic pompadour, inseparable cigarette, and eternal scowl.


When we reviewed Xenoblade Chronicles 3, we praised the Southern English accents that lent a distinct charm to the game’s cast. Given that Sunday Gold is set in a future version of London, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Frank, Sally, and their buddies are also blessed with thick accents -but unlike in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, these simply don’t work and end up sounding over the top and hammy. Combat quotes like ‘You ‘avin’ a laugh, mate?’ are repeated ad nauseum and some of the voice actors sound like they should be performing in a stage production of Monty Python’s Spamalot rather than in a video game. On the other hand, the music is a treat, fitting perfectly with the seedy atmosphere of dystopian London’s criminal underbelly.


While Sunday Gold’s aesthetic resembles that of Disco Elysium, the gameplay does not. What you’re getting here is a point-and-click adventure that sees you take on short missions with clearly defined goals as you sneak around Hogan’s offices and warehouses, solve puzzles and gather evidence. Sunday Gold deviates from the classic point-and-click formula by adding an action point system, which is used both for its puzzle solving and combat. Everything you do takes up action points, and the more complicated a specific action is, the more points you’ll need to spend. Once you run out of action points, NPCs, such as security guards that patrol the facility, get their turn -in which they might spot you and initiate combat.

Had Sunday Gold been presented as just another point-and-click adventure game, eschewing the action point system and subsequently combat, it would have been unremarkable but fine. However, BKOM Studios have tacked on a tedious turn-based combat system that drags the entire game down. It’s a shame because the battles are a visual treat, admittedly, but the gameplay feels dragged out and simply isn’t fun. A lot of this has to do with pacing: enemies are damage sponges and are able to heal mid-battle, making battles against grunts like security guards and cyborg dogs overstay their welcome. These should feel like exciting adrenaline rushes but instead, running into a series of battles just made us roll our eyes and sigh before we plowed through. The battle system lacks focus and highlights how BKOM Studios seemingly threw a bunch of loose ideas together with complete disregard for the end result.

It’s not a lack of tactical depth either -the aforementioned action points are something that could’ve been a great foundation to build a combat system upon, and the game relies on you stacking special effects like toppling enemies or causing bleeding damage. Combine this with a variety of weapon loadouts, and you’ve got all the tools to create a fantastic turn-based strategy title in theory. In practice, Sunday Gold‘s fights feel overwhelming and convoluted. To make matters worse, the level cap for the main cast feels way too low, and after a certain point, Frank, Sally, and Gavin simply stop gaining experience because they are essentially maxed out -ruining any idea of progress in the second half of the game. It’s the epitome of poorly planned game design, lacking elegance and a much-needed sense of satisfaction.

There are several good ideas in Sunday Gold, fantastic ones even, but they simply don’t mesh together and perhaps the better solution would have been to create two separate games set in this universe rather than forcing two ill-fitting half games together. This would’ve given the combat system ample room to breathe and perhaps the extra push to shine rather than the tedious war of attrition that it is now. Boss battles in particular are a punishment, as these typically go on for over half an hour and in the case of the final boss, we spent over two hours to take him down -in a single attempt mind you, not because we kept losing. In a game that’s around 16 hours long, that’s an awful lot of time to spend on a single fight.

In contrast with this are the puzzles: there is a good variety here, and many of them make use of the characters’ unique abilities. Frank, for example, has good sleight-of-hand skills, something that translates well into a Skyrim-esque lockpicking mini-game. Meanwhile, Gavin’s hacking skills are represented by yet another mini-game, in this case, a clone of the classic Mastermind tabletop game. Finally, Sally is the muscle of the trio and her mini-game is a bit of an odd one that involves rapidly clicking your mouse buttons in order to “balance” her breathing. These mini-games provide a fun diversion from the formula and work immensely better than the combat system. That said, they’re also yet another symptom of just how much the developer tried to cram into the game, making the overall result feel like a cluttered mess. It’s a shame because when Sunday Gold serves up a good puzzle, the game shows just how much potential it has and how good it could have been if BKOM Studios had stuck to the principle of ‘less is more’.


If Sunday Gold was presented as an early proof of concept or a showcase of potential video game ideas, we’d be singing its praises, but when we look at it as a full-fledged game release, we can’t help but be disappointed. There is a mishmash of good ideas here, but none of them get the room to breathe. The stylish presentation and promising story setup don’t do enough to hide that the combat system feels drawn out and tedious and that it simply doesn’t mesh with the far superior point-and-click gameplay. Ultimately, it’s difficult to label Sunday Gold as anything but an example of a squandered opportunity. If you still want to experience this mess of a game for yourself, then there is a free ‘prologue’ available for download on Steam, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Sunday Gold - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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