By Jeff Neuenschwander / August 26th, 2012
Publisher: Daedalic / Lace Mamba
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: Aug 07, 2012
Deponia is an adventure comedy from German developer Daedalic Entertainment. It has a unique comic style with bizarre and wacky characters, hand-drawn HD 2D graphics, challenging puzzles, and a unique universe inspired by Douglas Adams and Matt Groening.
Or at least that’s how it is billed.
In reality, Deponia is… umm…
Okay, so it’s a mixed bag. Some things hit while others don’t live up to billing.
The universe of Deponia is as follows: Rufus, the main character, along with a rag tag group of lower class dwellers, live on what can only really be described as a planet-sized garbage dump. Those who are well off in this universe live in Elysium, a city that is up in the sky. The Elysians have been dumping their garbage down on to the planet below for centuries after it was declared uninhabitable.
This setting is one of the few things that went right for this game. It was definitely unique and interesting as you see how the citizens use the garbage around them to build their town. You can see the influence from works such as Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Groening’s Futurama. It works.
The art style was also a positive for the game with visuals that worked well for the setting. It’s not the most detailed but it does know how to get the right things to pop out at you.
I also enjoyed the music as well. It seemed to fit well with most of the settings in which each song was placed. The music for when Rufus either fell into a trap or when the odds suddenly turned on him was also well done and was a welcome inclusion. However, my personal favorite would have to be the songs of the hobo minstrel that came on every now and again.
In a game that is billed for having wacky characters I counted only two, maybe three characters that I would consider wacky. The first was Lonzo, the local bartender. He had a pet project in which he created an espresso machine after finding some sort of text describing it. He made it out of what appeared to be a large organ and a small nuclear reactor.
Then there was Doc, whom you meet in the second half of the game. He was a brain surgeon and scrap dealer. He also seemed to have taken one too many swigs from his flask. He gave advice to Rufus about how to deal with women by also giving him hints about a mini-game that would come up later dealing with putting together mechanical parts.
Aside from these two, nobody else seemed wacky. They seemed more or less clichéd.
Speaking of clichéd, Rufus was pretty much the clichéd lazy guy who used everyone else to try to get his way. He’s similar in manner and thought to that of Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. The only difference to me is that Kuzco was funny and likable while Rufus was obnoxious and heartless. The ending tried to save him from being completely despicable but by that point it was too late.
The puzzles in this game were challenging. The part that the billing got right. But it felt like the puzzles were almost cryptic. It took me at least eight hours of gameplay plus about five hours of watching “Let’s Play” videos of the game to get through it the first time. The second time through took me a little over an hour. The puzzles felt like they were just filling in time.
But the worst part about the puzzles was that it brought the story to a standstill. The game felt like it was plodding along from pretty much the third puzzle onward. It’s always nice to have a challenge but when it feels like you’re dragging your feet throughout the whole game you just stop caring about any kind of comedy there was supposed to be.
Speaking of which, the comedy never really got to me. Maybe there was something lost in translation or that would appeal to Germans (it is made by a German company after all) but it just seemed lost on me. There were a few funny moments during the game but not enough to save it.
I feel like Deponia could have been a good game. It had some good moments and a pretty good atmosphere. Unfortunately, too much went wrong in this game for me to recommend it to anyone but those who enjoy the point-and-click adventure genre.
Deponia was developed and published by Daedalic Entertainment. It is available in retail form through Amazon as well as through digital distribution stores such as Steam.
To visit the game’s English website, click here.
AdventureDaedalic EntertainmentDeponiapoint and clickSteam