Earlier today at the Microsoft Gamer's Day, I got my hands-on Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One, much to my delight. Created in the style and spirit of the popular web comic, the game casts you as a new member of the Startling Developments Detective Agency. The other two members are, naturally, Gabe and Tycho, and you join them in investigating strange phenomena, like a giant Fruit [Fornicator] robot stomping through town. The banter between Gabe and Tycho is as razor-sharp as fans will expect it to be, and even investigating yoursurroundings will yield humorous descriptions of sinister mailboxes and the like. The signature Penny Arcade humor is pervasive throughout, and I found myself chuckling regularly throughout the first level.
The visual style is an impressive 3D rendering of the art style of Penny Arcade and complements the humor quite well. Battles are turn-based, and with only two attacks per character, are easy to get figure out. This ease belies the strategic complexity that can be found in combining character attacks, shuffling party members, and deploying some of the numerous items that can be found by smashing objects in the game world. For a more detailed breakdown of the combat system, check out our hands-on preview from a few months back (totally still pertinent!).
Folks familiar with the web comic will know that its brand of humor is definitely adult, and the game is no exception. The Fruit [Fornicator] robots I battled in the first level offering a glimpse of this vulgarity in action, spraying me with a "yellow juice" attack and furiously humping the orange I threw to distract them. With foes like feral hobos, obscene clowns, and The Mime Pope, there's little doubt the tiny robots' antics are just the beginning.
Penny Arcade Adventures releases next Wednesday (5/21) for Xbox Live Arcade, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. We'll have a review ripe and ready to go on release day, so check back for the final word.