Sunday Gold review

2022-10-31 by Mike Alexander

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  • Developer
    BKOM Studios

  • Publisher

Where Greatness is Made

Imagine a world where mega-corporations control every facet of your life, and homelessness runs rampant. Trash and discarded remains litter the streets while the billionaires in power show up in the public eye just to tell you that you have nothing because of a lack of motivation, and not the fact that they are siphoning every resource they can for themselves while making money on the back of less than ethical means. If that's hitting a little too close to real life, splash it with a bucket of style and decorate it with some Guy Ritchie-esque banter and camaraderie, and now you have the world of Sunday Gold. This genre mixup of a video game has the foundations of an incredible experience, but does it manage to pull it off without a hitch? Let's find out in this review of Sunday Gold. Sunday Gold is brought to us by the talented developers at the Quebec-based BKOM Studios. The studio's other credits mostly consist of mobile games based on various intellectual properties such as Marvel, Elmo, Star Wars, and The Amazing World of Gumball among others with a smattering of bigger projects like the blockchain-based FPS, Shrapnel. These aren't the kind of games that would be indicative of something like Sunday Gold, and I can't say I've ever played "MIX + MASH: MARVEL SUPER HERO MASHERS", but the quality I experienced in their latest game certainly makes me curious to try it.

As soon as Sunday Gold boots up, you are greeted with the game's intense sense of style. It's not particularly unique, as it is mostly channeling Disco Elysium (which also looks fantastic), but it is incredibly effective, and it sets the tone for the proceedings perfectly. What we have here is a gritty graphic novel aesthetic with characters who each possess a unique style and identity. Nobody is going to confuse Frank's protruding pompadour and dangling cigarette for any other character in just about any video game. The motion comic cutscenes are portrayed with flat 2D scenes and characters, but when the gameplay kicks in, those same 2D characters gain an extra dimension and become more lively. However, they still maintain their style with impressive shading techniques that make them continue to appear 2D. Again, these are visual touches that have been used in other games, but the way Sunday Gold implements them makes them feel particularly distinctive. If you can appreciate good art and style, you will consistently be surprised and able to appreciate Sunday Gold's look.

Classic Look, Future Setting

The world of Sunday Gold is a little bit deceptive when it is first introduced. Everything from the way the characters talk, to how they dress, to what their surroundings look like fools you into thinking you're going into a 1970s British crime thriller, but you quickly realize this is something else entirely. After the opening cutscene shows two members of our main cast in a heist gone wrong, the prologue card drops to reveal that this game takes place in 2070 London. I found that to be quite surprising, especially since there are relatively few things about the game that would indicate a futuristic setting, albeit only 50 or so years into the future. The "neo-1970s" don't look much different from our modern day, but there is just enough iconic British style and personality to create a memorable setting. Right away, we are immediately introduced to one of our protagonists, the previously mentioned Frank, a "whatever happened to the good old days" down-on-his-luck gangster who owes money to the mob. After a quick run-through of the major mechanics of the game, we then meet the other two members of the party: Sally, the lady with the plan, and Gavin, our hacker and man on the inside. Gavin introduces the plan to the group. A heist for the digital age: breaking into an evil mega-corporation's office building (Gavin's former employer), stealing classified, incriminating files, and either ransoming those files back or selling them to the company's competition. Sounds simple enough right? "Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy" as Sally says. Obviously, things spiral out of control, but not before we get a peak at the person we will be stealing from. In what might be one of the best motivations for crime I've seen recently, we are treated to a speech from Kenny Hogan, the egomaniacal mark. At a future dog race that manages to be even more unethical thanks to the use of reanimated, mutated, cybernetically enhanced canines (including the titular Sunday Gold, Hogan's creature), the target drops a line that goes something like this, "If you're broke, if you're beaten down, it's your own bloody fault", followed by villainous laughter. This prompts Frank, previously unsure and skeptical of the plan, to jump into action and kickstart the game.

Now, we can get to the real meat and potatoes of Sunday Gold: the gameplay. Like its Disco Elysium-inspired presentation, Sunday Gold's many-faceted approach to gameplay also appears to have been inspired by many different games. There is the core RPG gameplay, where the narrative unfolds as you meet new characters and occasionally engage in turn-based combat with goons, robots, and boss characters. This portion of the game plays out much like you would expect a typical RPG to play, like a Final Fantasy or, perhaps more accurately, a Persona game. When conversations go awry or you set off alarms and are faced with an opposing force, the game switches over to a very Persona 5-like dynamic battle camera that gives you a unique perspective of all the action. I found the combat in Sunday Gold to be the weakest part of the experience, but it is not particularly bad, per se. It just lacks the nuance and fun of the game it apes, and instead chooses to rely on tedium, for whatever reason. Part of this tedium can be assigned to the composure mechanic. On paper, it seems pretty clever. As you progress through areas, events will occur that can affect each of your characters' composure differently, raising their anxiety. This heightened state can create issues in combat as imbalanced characters can suffer hallucinations, be unable to carry out actions, or even have a timer placed on their turn, which I found annoying. There are items you can collect to increase composure, but I ran out of them several times.

How's That for a Slice of Fried Gold

The other portion of the gameplay consists of classic point-and-click puzzle solving that is reminiscent of the early classics in the best possible way, conjuring up memories of the King's Quest and Gabriel Knight series from Sierra Entertainment. In keeping with the RPG side of the game, every action depends on a pool of Action Points (AP) that each of your playable characters possesses. Different actions take differing amounts of AP, and once they run out you will be forced to end your turn and the opposing force will make their moves.

The excellent writing brings out a very British gangster film feeling, complete with Guy Ritchie-style dialogue. The story unfolds with a cheeky grittiness that kept me hooked to the very end, and the RPG mechanics mixed with the point-and-click escape room puzzles were extremely engaging. All of that is then backed up by a killer soundtrack to bop your head to. There is just a little bit of jankiness holding it back, but I wouldn't mind other games using Sunday Gold as a blueprint in terms of mechanics and gameplay.


For an original idea and standalone project from a lesser-known developer, Sunday Gold really surprised me. Sure, just about everything from its presentation to its game mechanics can easily have their inspirations pointed out, but the way they are put together is masterful.