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Review

Deponia Review

  • Game release: August 6, 2012
  • Reviewed: June 28, 2012
  • PC

Deponia's tale of love, loss, and all-out comedy is a beautifully constructed piece of point-and-click heaven.

by

'

Deponia is, at its heart, a love story--a tale of boy meets girl. The boy, Rufus, is a dreamer, the archetypal down-on-his-luck underdog who aims high but fails oh so miserably time and again. The girl, Goal, is classically unobtainable--rich, pampered, spoiled, and blissfully unaware of her own attractiveness to the opposite sex. Oh, and she has a removable chip in her head, lives in a floating palace in the sky, and has the power to blow up the entire planet. No, this isn't the most conventional of love stories, but such wackiness is befitting for a game that is as much about providing oodles of comic relief as it is about telling the tale of two lost souls.

And wonderfully told it is too, full of the sort of dry humour and wry writing that have formed the backbone of LucasArts' best point-and-click games. Indeed, Rufus is very much the modern-day Guybrush Threepwood--a self-centred, sarcastic, naive layabout who's so full of character that the mere raise of an eyebrow is enough to cause a chuckle. Though he's an unemployed slob, it's hard to dislike him, mostly thanks to the many hardships he's forced to endure. There's no clean water; he lives atop a stinking pile of trash; and worst of all, he does so with an ex-girlfriend who by all accounts is the scariest, not to mention the angriest, woman on the planet of Deponia.

It's no surprise, then, that Rufus longs to leave it all behind. A solitary wall in his messy attic bedroom is strewn with scrapped plans of escape that never came to fruition. Now he has a new "foolproof" plan, and it's up to you to help put it into action. And to kick things off, you tackle the scourge of holidaymakers and business travellers the world over: packing. Fortunately, Rufus takes the Up in the Air approach to packing--minus the coldhearted handsomeness of George Clooney of course. There are just four items scrawled onto a piece of paper to retrieve, all of which are scattered around the messy apartment.

It's a gentle introduction to the simple point-and-click mechanics of Deponia, which encourage you to click on anything and everything. Most objects can be fiddled with in some way by looking at them, picking them up, or combining them with other objects, which often results in a cheeky quip from Rufus himself: "That explains why I've had such cheesy dreams," he remarks as you remove a mouldy sock from underneath his pillow. What makes such exploration all the more enjoyable is the animation, which is absolutely charming and a joy to look at. It's full of little details like cute rusty robots that fly across the screen and precarious junk piles that topple over as you walk past, bringing each scene to life.

The only downside to the wonderful animation is that it's often difficult to pick out objects you can interact with, given that they blend so neatly into the background. Rather handily, you can press the spacebar to highlight all the interactive objects in a scene, but oddly, this rather useful feature isn't pointed out to you at all during the game. Objects that you pick up like Rufus' mouldy sock are placed into your inventory, which means that yes, you have to make sure you pick up everything in a given scene, lest you have to trek back for it later in order to solve a puzzle.

Fortunately--with only a few exceptions--puzzles make practical sense, rather than the often ludicrous video game sense that dictates that a sheet of prosthetic skin, a sword, and a manhole make for a great trampoline (Escape From Monkey Island) or that a combination of bread, a seagull, and a rubber duck is an ideal tool for retrieving lost keys (The Longest Journey). Therefore, they're very enjoyable: combine an empty jar with crumbs on the sofa, and you get rations for your journey. Stick a pot of water and detergent on the stove, and you've got the ideal way to clean those socks. Put a parrot in front of a phone box after leaving it with your ex girlfriend for a day, and you've got the ideal way to prank call the police…OK, maybe not that last one.

Still, while some puzzles leave you scratching your head in confusion for a while, the mostly sensible solutions make for a satisfying experience. Breaking up all the object puzzling are simple minigames, such as solving a jigsaw of broken mosaic pieces, or testing your spatial awareness with rotating block puzzles. There's even the odd conversational puzzle to deal with too. A process of trial and error means they're hardly taxing, but thanks to some fantastic writing and voice acting and the collection of characters, those exchanges are wonderfully entertaining. Best of all is an exchange with a malfunctioning postal robot that mixes clever wordplay with a ludicrous subject for a charmingly funny and increasingly complex barrage of rhyme.

Underpinning the puzzles is that love story narrative that proves to be as compelling as it is funny. There's no greater drive than that of true love, and as the game progresses, so too do the characters. Rufus becomes less egotistical. Goal learns to appreciate the "little people." Both of them learn to love each other. And while Rufus' harebrained schemes don't exactly work out, you're always rooting for him, no matter what idiotic plan he hatches. Such strong characters make for a confidently cohesive experience, and even if you don't find the notion of true love a draw, there's an overarching power struggle taking place between the poor people of Deponia and the wealthy folk who live in the sky above to see you through.

Unfortunately, it all ends rather abruptly. Just as things really begin to heat up and you think the many questions raised are to be answered, the game stops. It's a crushing disappointment. To add insult to injury, the game flashes up a "The End…?" title, just to let you know that yes, there is more, but no, you won't get it here; you'll likely have to pay for it later. And yes, if you play Deponia, you're really going to want to. This is one of the best traditional point-and-click games out there--it oozes charm, keeps the puzzles sensible, and boasts a story that makes you laugh and warms your heart.

'
The Good
Beautiful hand-drawn visuals
Puzzles that tax the brain but remain sensible
Spirited voice acting
Compelling love story
Fantastically funny writing
The Bad
Ends abruptly
8
Great
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0 comments
thorn3000
thorn3000

great game, in my top 5 adventure games, i.e. the best one in the last 5 years, and yeah I have played quite a handful of adventure games.....the puzzles are sometimes a bit, obtuse, but the story and characters more than make up for it!...the ending was really abrupt as the reviewer notes and I held it against the game for some time, until I read that it's the first game of a trilogy and the sequel is due to be out in October / November this year (depending on whether you can understand german, I know I played it in German)....best of all is Rufuses character, I can really understand the guy being all that selfish, my type of person, his relationship with his ex-girlfriend is the most hilarious thing in recent adventure gaming times...

indyf2
indyf2

This game sucks.  $20 wasted.  Cartoonish, maybe a little bored kid would like it.  2 of the puzzles were ok, the rest nonsensical.  Some of the things one had to do to proceed were beyond stupid and I would have never figured them out without a walktrhough.  The rest was just too simple and monotonous.  The story was lame but made much worse by all the inane yakking.  There wasn't much to interact with. Thank god it was short. 

 

I want to be able to look around and explore an amazing universe, not be stuck in a grade b comic strip.

berengard
berengard

Brilliant review! I'm pretty much in love with this game right now. In fact, I'll go play... Please excuse me :P

NobleHam
NobleHam

I disagree about the ending. I thought the ending was great. I was only disappointed because I didn't want it to end. I expect there'll be a sequel in a year or two, and look forward to playing it.

noobs_on_parade
noobs_on_parade

good game, nice visuals, good job on the minor details, ending....made me.......idk, i didnt like it, just a certain part of it made me get irritated with the way they finished it

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

I've always loved games like this  :)

outlawst
outlawst

great visuals,logical puzzles,very bad ending! 8 of 10 seems fair.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

Great game, I love the humor and the voice acting is great, hate the ending...

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

Just played the demo and love it,Once the Steam sales are over I am buying it!

benleslie5
benleslie5

Quite tempted to buying this, will this be released on STEAM?

s8man888
s8man888

All these people are unaware of all point and click adventures releasing because they don't get a lot of coverage on the big game sites.

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

Okay. It's very cool, but where the hell can I buy this game!? I want a digital purchase! It's no-where to be found!

cayne_phoenix
cayne_phoenix

been spending too much time on the net...read the title as DERPonia... sigh... 

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

This and Walking Dead : Episode 2 are going to keep me busy for a while.

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

Excellent! I love these types of game,Makes a change from all the generic FPS's that are abput.

murushierago101
murushierago101

looks much like Curse of monkey island ! Which is the best part for me.

Mehrdadmaskull
Mehrdadmaskull

At first when I saw this, I thought wow, it's like the Telltale's The Walking Dead: The Game?!!! I'mma play this right away, but..this is just point and click....I think what Telltale people did there is the new point and click system!!

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Might buy this. I love point-and-click games and I feel like there's too few modern ones.

 

Games like Grim Fandango simply don't work on my PC.

ToTs_00
ToTs_00

Wait a hand-drawn point and click adventure game in 2012? WHY THE HELL DIDN'T I HEAR ABOUT THIS IN TILL NOW?!?!?

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

It's nice to see people still making these kinds of games. I recently played Resonance and it was a great experience. Might have to look into this one as well, though I am not as big on the comedy point and clicks as I am on mystery and more dramatic ones.

Pupitre
Pupitre

Between Whispered World, A New Beginning and now this, Daedalic is kiiiiiiind of awesome.

lindallison
lindallison

Daedalic's on quite a tear, just picked up Chains of Satinav....pretty decent piece of work.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Why have I never heard of this game before? It looks fantastic!

 

All those fond memories of King's Quest, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle- Nostalgia Overwhelming!

hahamanin
hahamanin

@indyf2 wow how many point and click adventure games have you played then?

bumpy_flapjack
bumpy_flapjack

 @ToTs_00 I believe you either need to visit Germany or look out at Kickstarter a bit closer... ;-)

lindallison
lindallison

 @Pierce_Sparrow 

 

Yeah the big new adventures seem predominantly jokey...90's LucasArts casts a long shadow I suppose.

 

I'd like to see a new adventure where you could screw up and die.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

 @bumpy_flapjack I might have to check out chains, but I am still pretty iffy on comedy adventures. I prefer darker ones. I am also iffy on fantasy adventures. I like a lot of more realistic, modern set adventures or sci-fi (or both). Examples: Gabriel Knight, To The Moon, Gemini Rue, The Dig. Fantasy is good, but I prefer sci-fi and modern adventures.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

 @lindallison I haven't seen one like that, but there are some out there that feel urgent. In Resonance, people can actually die, albeit not permanently and last years Gemini Rue had some pretty exhilarating moments of danger.

Deponia More Info

First Release on Aug 06, 2012
  • PC
  • Macintosh
Deponia is a fast-paced comedy of errors and one of the most unusual love stories.
7.7
Average User RatingOut of 138 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Daedalic Entertainment
Published by:
Daedalic Entertainment, Lace Mamba Global
Genres:
Adventure