The Case of the Golden Idol is a fantastic mystery video game that asks players to engage in a rigorous series of logic deductions to solve crimes spanning generations. It also has a game-breaking bug on the Nintendo Switch version that renders its DLCs unplayable.
Latvian-based studio Color Gray Games was founded in 2021 by brothers Andrejs and Ernests Klavins. The Case of the Golden Idol was their debut game when it launched for PC and Mac in October 2022, and it earned them a BAFTA for Best Debut Game. They released a port for Nintendo Switch in May 2023 that is unfortunately riddled with a heinous memory problem.
The Save Bug in The Case of the Golden Idol on Nintendo Switch
I greedily sped through the first few cases, devouring this delightfully ugly and brilliant detective game. Eventually, I had to close the game so someone else could use the Switch. What a fool I was to share!
The Case of the Golden Idol only has one active save file at any given time, and it auto-saves. The Nintendo Switch version also, unfortunately, auto-deletes if you exit out of the game. I didn’t realize it was a bug, at first, and thought I had simply reset my game by accident. Another time, my Switch had to “close the program because of an error” and I again went through a large portion of the game all over again. I and many other players experienced this pain, and we learned to not leave.
Regaining progress with the bugged version of The Case of the Golden Idol is incredibly laborious. The Case of the Golden Idol is a point-and-click adventure game. You can’t just put in your answers in the missing blanks; instead, you have to move around the map picking up the clues and then filling them in. There are also dozens of answers to fill in, especially as the game gets harder.
Now, when I first played the game, I found this gameplay relatively charming. However, even if you know the answers, this process quickly becomes tedious and, for the full game, can take upwards of an hour. Over the summer, I finally finished my playthrough of The Case of the Golden Idol, though I had to re-do my in-game answers at least three times, spending hours of precious gaming time filling in answers.
Color Gray Has Launched Two DLCs, But No Patch for The Case of the Golden Idol on Switch
In the months since, Color Gray Games has launched two DLCs for The Case of the Golden Idol. I wanted to support the studio, so I bought the first. I logged in to play the DLC, only to find that apparently I couldn’t start them unless I had a completed main save file. Well, okay. I spent an hour doing so again… only to find that that didn’t work either. What a pain. FINE, I thought, I’ll just wait til it’s fixed.
In August, patch notes started making their way around the internet that Color Gray had fixed this issue. This week, I set off to travel, downloaded the update, and was excited to play the DLC, accepting I was going to have to burn through yet another save file.
Reader, you already know what’s coming. After filling out all the answers across the game’s 11 chapters hundreds of times now, I got to the menu… only to find I still could not access the Spider of Sri Lanka DLC. And, when I checked the main game again, I received a title menu I’ve come to dread: Prologue…
A Save Is No Small Thing
As of October 16, 2023, the save-breaking bug is still a problem on the Nintendo Switch version of The Case of the Golden Idol. This is really frustrating. It’s been five months since the game released on Switch, and Color Gray has released a second DLC, The Lemurian Vampire, rather than fix the save-breaking bug. I get it. Making new content is probably nowhere near as fun as fixing a massive problem you weren’t planning to deal with. However, a save-breaking bug is not a simple error.
This is a core quality-of-life issue for a game, and it’s really frustrating. It’s making me not want to bother logging back into play the DLCs which could be genuinely awesome! And it’s hard to recommend a game that can shut down at any moment. It’s a compliment to the game’s writing and quality that I was willing to experience the tedium of repeating myself so many times, but even this detective has to draw the line somewhere.