Golden Treasure: The Great Green is an adventure role-playing game by Dreaming Door Studios. Players take on the role of a newly hatched dragon, making its way in the stone age world.
The narrative focuses heavily on the elements of earth, air, water, and fire. As you explore the world you'll gain knowledge of each one, unlocking new abilities and options. Mastering the different elements is vital for your survival as they each give you an advantage in different circumstances.
When you begin your very first life it seems to take a while to get to the story but don’t be tempted to skip the hefty dialogue. It’s actually helping you choose the type of dragon you want to be, as well as explaining different concepts that you’ll need to know. The first part is the heaviest in terms of information. After this the exposition is much more manageable and details are given in smaller chunks.
Once you’ve hatched you can explore a new area, marked as tutorial in the options, and learn about the combat system and exploration mechanics. These tutorials blend nicely into regular gameplay and felt both helpful and like a seamless part of the game.
I recommend reading the early parts of the game text and doing both the combat and exploration tutorials. They don't take long and you'll need to hunt and explore at that stage of the game regardless.
Energy And Hunting
As a dragon you have health and energy bars and these need to be kept topped up. You will become stronger as you grow but will still need to pay attention to both statistics.
Energy is replenished by hunting prey, which you can find out in the world. However, this needs to be done carefully. Keep an eye on both your energy and health levels. Prey will fight back and if you go hunting while injured you could lose a life, even if you’re fighting a squirrel. (As I found out the hard and embarrassing way.)
There are different animals to stalk and you'll gradually find out more about them by observing and hunting. When you start out it's best to take on smaller prey, especially if your health is not at full strength.
The combat system functions on a three turn system and is easy to understand but harder to master. I mostly enjoyed it but it did become frustrating at times.
You need to stalk your prey, making choices about when to strike based on environmental factors. Once you’ve struck you may be forced to chase your foe, which is the most annoying part, thanks to the clunky controls. Eventually you end up in the turn-based combat system, using moves based on the elements to defeat your prey, in what they call the dance of destruction. If you win your energy is replenished, otherwise you may find yourself fleeing back to your cave nursing an injury or worse.
Recovery And Lives
You can recover your health, which can be depleted during battle or from illness or injury, by staying in your cave and resting. Just try not to stay too long. The first area has a timer of sorts, which forces you to explore further afield before you are discovered by humans, or No-Tails as they are known. I’m not sure what happens if the timer runs out as I managed to find my way out just before it did.
So far I’ve played for just a few hours but those flew by. After making some rookie mistakes, including my mishap with the squirrel, I was able to work out the respawn system and begin to balance hunting and exploring.
The first two times you die, either through injury or through lack of energy, you are put back to the sunrise of the day you died. You are then free to start again, making smarter choices. This was especially helpful when I explored an underground cave system and spent several days lost in the tunnels. My respawn took me back to my cave and gave me a chance to take an alternative path.
The third time you die you'll have to begin again.
You don’t have to go through the hatching tutorial again though, as the game will offer you the option to skip this and instead choose your own elemental alignment and start your new life immediately.
As you play through the game, the focus is on exploration and discovery. You’re encouraged to search for different types of prey, while also learning more about the world around you. Knowledge is retained and each bit of knowledge gained helps you grow in strength.
Visually, the game is stunning. Each frame is hand drawn with exquisite detail. I’ve mostly just explored the starting area so far but I’ve already seen some amazing imagery. The music is calming and peaceful and offers a nice soothing background to the game.
So far I’ve found Golden Treasure enjoyable and relaxing to play. The combat can sometimes be a little frustrating but I think some of this is down to me not fully understanding it yet.
I’m certainly looking forward to exploring further afield and learning more about my surroundings and the game itself.