Friday, March 22, 2024

Golem Needs Pie: whimsical theme, loads of content, critical flaw

 I’ve made it a point to look at every new (or new to me) game or puzzle from Alexander Shen. Their games just do a good job on mental coffee break niche. 

Golem Needs Pie is a puzzle that has Roll and Write elements. To be honest, the Roll and Write part really just adds a random factor that will determine if you can finish the puzzle.

The theme is particularly whimsical. You’ve mixed up your scroll of evil instructions with your shopping list when making a golem. The golem now exists to collect slices of pie and you must help it do so before it runs out of steam.

The actual game is a grid that has eight pie slices and brick walls scattered about it. Your golem has twelve steam to work with. You spend steam to roll a six-sided die for movement and to break through walls. Your goal is to get the whole pie. You get bonus points for ending a move on a slice and for any steam left over if you get all the pie.

You know, I do like solitaire games that have definite losing conditions, not just beat your own score. 

So, here’s the problem. You can figure out the optimal path but if you roll too low, you’ll lose. There’s a best solution but bad die rolls will prevent you from completing it.

Anytime a Roll and Write uses only one die, it’s a red flag for me. I very recently learned Waypoints which also only uses one die. However, that game takes many steps to assuage my fears. Unfortunately, Golem Needs Pie does not. It sadly comes down to roll high or lose.

With that said, I also have to admit that it is going to see some play from me. Part of that comes from its extremely short playing time. The other part comes from the fact that there are literally hundreds of maps so there’s a lot of optimal paths for me to consider.

I like the ideas and themes behind Golem Needs Pie. Alas, the actual game honestly falls short.

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