The Lost Oregon City Gold – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel, point-and-click adventure
Developer: Oh, a Rock! Studios
Publisher: Oh, a Rock! Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

The Lost Oregon City Gold – Review

Site Score
Good: An undeniable amateurish charm
Bad: Navigating around Oregon is frustrating
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

We recently took a look at Royal Frontier, a roguelike RPG that took inspiration from Oregon Trail. Now, we’re back with another game inspired by the legendary Oregon trail, albeit the real one this time. The Lost Oregon City Gold is an educational point-and-click adventure that aims to teach kids about the history of Oregon during the pioneer era. Or is it an ironic take on educational games that deliberately lampoons the educational point-and-click titles of yesteryear? Either way, we took a virtual trip to Oregon to find out whether or not The Lost Oregon City Gold is a scavenger hunt worth setting out for.


After a short introductory scene, which gives historical context, we are introduced to our three heroes: father Michael, and his two daughters, 12-year old Mary and toddler Rosie. When the daughters stumble upon coordinates left in the attic by their ancestor, a certain Mr. Holmes (no, not that one), the trio is set on a course for adventure. As it turns out, Holmes was a sheriff back when the Oregon trail was still a thing. He may not have been the most honest of lawmen, however, as he stashed away $25,000 worth of gold that was recovered from bandits. He left a series of clues around the city of Oregon, so his modern-day descendants set out on a scavenger hunt to find this secret stash of gold. However, it quickly becomes clear that our heroes aren’t the only ones on the trail of Holmes’ gold. Will our heroes be the first ones to find the treasure? Will they learn about the history of the city? And perhaps most importantly for any game set in Oregon: will there be dysentery?


We’re usually not this quick to call a game’s graphics photorealistic, but The Lost Oregon City Gold definitely fits that description to a tee, if only because it consists of actual photos. Now, this doesn’t mean that the visuals here are good, as a good portion of the photos look like candid snapshots. There was no professional lighting or color grading involved and some of the pictures even look blurry. This does tie into the feeling that this was a homemade game. The graphics specifically made for the game, such as the map shown below and the menu options, look equally amateurish. It didn’t bother us though, as it was befitting of the game’s overall atmosphere and what it attempted to be.


The music choices for The Lost Oregon City Gold are interesting to say the least. Each area has its own generic tune, and these tunes don’t always fit with the atmosphere of the current scene. If the inclusion of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer is anything to go by, then the music tracks used in The Lost Oregon City Gold are licence-free, which would explain why we’re getting such an eclectic mix of tunes here. There is no voice acting present, and sound effects are forgettable.


After we first saw the trailer for The Lost Oregon City Gold, we were hoping that this would be an FMV title, but unfortunately, the scenes shown in the video weren’t in the game itself. Instead, the story is presented as a visual novel, complete with static portraits during dialogue scenes, and the gameplay itself most closely resembles a point-and-click adventure title, with simple puzzles and an obtuse and frustrating navigation system. It’s also an educational title, which is going to be a red flag for a lot of people, and that’s a bit of a shame because there is something undeniably charming about The Lost Oregon City Gold. The game looks and feels very amateurish, like it’s a project that a dad made together with his daughters during a lazy summer vacation, and not like a product that should be commercially released on Steam. The game never makes it clear if we’re meant to take it seriously or if this is an ironic release, so the jury’s still out on whether or not The Lost Oregon City Gold was deliberately made to feel like it was homemade. Of note here is that the actor that plays Michael isn’t the same person as Paul Franzen, the game’s developer.

We’re willing to give Mr. Franzen the benefit of the doubt, however, as previous releases like Cat President 2: Purrlitical Revolution or Too Many Santas feel much more like actual video games, so there is a good chance that The Lost Oregon City Gold is “so bad it’s good” by design. There is some dark humour present that would seem out of place in an educational family title: you can kill off twelve year old Mary for example, which results in a game over screen that tells you that you are a terrible parent. Likewise, suspension of disbelief is something that is essential in order to enjoy the game as it is filled with anachronisms and things that simply do not make sense. Holmes leaves GPS coordinates, for example, which seems odd for a sheriff from the pioneer era, and objects left at key points in the game have supposedly been sitting in their respective locations untouched for centuries. Of course, things aren’t always what they seem -but we’d be spoiling the game’s ending so we’re not going to delve too deep into that.

That said, The Lost Oregon City Gold suffers from a few glaring issues that harm the overall experience. First and foremost is the awful navigation system: when you’re in an area, you can wander around using arrows, although you can’t use your keyboard and you’ll need to click the arrow in the direction that you want to go. Areas consist of a series of photos that you click through, but as the game never tells you where to go next, you’re usually randomly clicking until you stumble upon the area where the game wants you to be. This is especially frustrating very early on as you’re wandering around in a nature preserve and every photo looks pretty much the same. To make matters worse, whenever you reach the end of an area without finding the clue you’re looking for, the game makes you leave the area and you have to start over from the beginning. Likewise, if you happen to click too fast through dialogue, and miss a clue, you’ll also find yourself wandering around aimlessly. There are exceptions, such as during a puzzle in the graveyard, where you are able to click for directional clues on where to go, so it’s baffling that this wasn’t implemented elsewhere in the game.



We’re still not quite sure how ironic The Lost Oregon City Gold is supposed to be taken. If this is a serious attempt at an educational title, then it’s a pretty terrible game, as it’s filled with made-up history and anachronisms. If it’s an intentionally bad parody of educational titles, then it absolutely nails the so-bad-it’s-good factor. Either way, this is a title that is only going to appeal to a niche audience, but if you are part of that audience, you’re going to absolutely love what’s presented here -if you can get past the awful navigation system.

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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
The Lost Oregon City Gold - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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