Generally speaking, I am not a patient person. I talk fast, I think faster, and I like my games to have a bit of zip in them. This usually works out well in the hyperactive world of apps, but sometimes a game comes along that forces you to slow down a little and take it all in. In this case, I’m talking about the impossibly artsy and molasses slow iPhone/iPod Touch app, Gold & Chocolate.
I have a very poorly hidden love for like artsy and intellectual games, so loading up Gold & Chocolate was exciting for me from the very start. The very spare two-color scheme and flowing, beautifully abstracted art direction had me bouncing up and down like it was Christmas morning.
Without a doubt, this is one of the loveliest games I’ve encountered in awhile. Although the minimalist setting is on the stark side, it really serves to highlight the gentle and gorgeous illustrations. It is a quiet night setting, filled with interesting plant life and strange, interesting creatures that swoop, hop, and swirl with the breeze. The overall aesthetic effect is peaceful and beautifully engaging.
The gameplay, on the other hand, is not quite as delightful. To play, you simply tilt the device to cause brilliant meteors to come streaking very, very slowly across the night sky. When the meteor light touches the creatures on screen, you will occasionally find that one or two of them is not what it seems. The light will reveal it is actually a wicked shadow in disguise, and when the meteor has finally left the screen, you must tap all the dark creatures in order to progress to the next level.
Of course, creatures good and bad continue moving through all of this, so it’s easy enough to lose track of which is which after awhile, but in essence, Gold & Chocolate is like the worlds slowest shell game. Seriously, paint can dry faster than some of those meteors travel. It’s almost as though the game is designed to frustrate and bore you to death.
Okay, okay, so it’s not necessarily “boring”; later levels can definitely be a challenge as more and more creatures start to clutter up the screen and your concentration. Even so, don’t expect to be able to play the game for very long stretches at a time without a superhuman amount of patience.
Bottom line: Gold & Chocolate is a slow game by design, and while it is really and truly beautiful to behold, it is more likely to lull you to sleep than engage and entertain.
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