Game Review: Emerald City Confidential

Emerald City Confidential Cover Art

Emerald City Confidential is a truly spectacular game Developed by Wadjet Eye Games (who also developed Resonance) and Published by PlayFirst, on February 19th 2009. I was lucky enough to get an Interview with Dave Gilbert, the designer behind the game, so if you want to find out a little more about him and Emerald City Confidential then check that out here. Emerald City Confidential as you may have guessed from the title is based upon the characters and world created by L. Frank Baum, namely the Land of Oz. Although it does take considerable liberties with the source material and frames the world created by Baum as a gritty neo-noir classic, with Petra, the main character as a private detective trying to unravel the dark mysteries at the heart of the Emerald City.

So I loved The Wizard of Oz as a kid, and I enjoyed the Oz books as well, so fusing those familiar characters and locations with the amazing energy and style of noir masterpieces like The Maltese Falcon, Double indemnity and The Big Sleep was always going to be interesting, but Dave Gilbert and the team at Wadjet Eye Games managed to go beyond just interesting and produce a world that was both recognizable and unique, with its own quirks and spirit that truly gave us something that branched beyond novel and became in its own way an instant classic.

The first thing I need to say about this game is that it is beautiful, it’s not amazingly high definition but it’s perfectly stylised with tight graphics and some much to just take in that overall it’s just a truly aesthetically pleasing and yet functional game.

This game takes place 40 years after Dorothy, or Dee as she now likes to be known first visited and killed the wicked witch, we see an Oz that’s rich in character from Petra who I mentioned up top, our main character formerly a member of the Palace Guard and now a detective, just trying to make ends meet, when she’s asked to investigate a missing person. She’s also burdened by the loss of her brother who has has gone missing, and that case underpins all her motivations and goals in the game. We also encounter various other characters from Oz, but they aren’t what you remember from the books and or musical such as the corrupt and cruel Lion, who i’d say is still fairly cowardly and the enigmatic Scarecrow who has a brain now and it’s let him thinking and possibly get lost in his own thoughts. God seriously, this game is just so rich in story and character, you get swept away in the narrative, bolstered by some superb voice acting that really helps you to engage with the characters and makes for a truly unforgettable game.

Not only is the story riveting but it’s funny and memorable, and in the style of Lucasarts, the plot can’t be held up by death and/or just getting stuck, so without that to worry about you can truly just get stuck into the game. Although if you do ever get stuck just use some hints and really think about the situation because usually the answer is fairly simple or at least flows understandably from the plot.

Overall this game is a smart, fun and wonderful looking point and click game, with some puzzles and plenty of references to Baum’s Oz world, while remaining unique enough to surprise even fans of the genre. And best of all, this game is enjoyable both playing all in one or in little bite size chunks, you just get sucked in by the charm and wit of the game. If you want to grab yourself a copy then you can on Steam for the £7.49/$9.47.


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