This is a point-and-click adventure game. I know this because it’s the third installment; a bit of research taught me what type of game to expect. Also, this game breaks the fourth wall even before starting the tutorial. It has no intention of taking itself seriously, which is cool in a game that is very indie in nature. A great example is in the art style, which is completely hand-drawn and looks like an old cartoon.
Rufus is the leader of a group of people that are all trying to escape their garbage lifestyle (literally) for that special place in the clouds – and by special place, I mean where the rich people are. It should be noted that they (the rich people in the sky) are trying to blow up a still-inhabited place: our protagonist’s home, Deponia. Rufus is a doofus, to put it lightly, and he uses the power of dumb luck to overcome most obstacles, as every good hero should. You help out, but meh, he’s probably a goner anyways.
Ok, so let me state that I have a hard time appreciating the intricacies of a point-and-click game. What I mean by that is I generally hate them. Maybe I got too used to fast-paced games, maybe it’s just lack of interest; in the end, it just means this game needs to work harder to impress me. On top of this, point-and-click games always have to balance the difficulty level just right: if it’s too easy, you breeze through it and people won’t find much depth or be interested as the game progresses; if it’s too hard, you basically have to go through the game along with someone who does a walkthrough, which isn’t much more than watching a movie. Goodbye Deponia has made this more interesting by adding mini-games to the regular gameplay. You need to solve puzzles to solve the, uh… puzzles. It feels more like a boost in action than a distraction though, which makes it a success for my sometimes wavering interest.
Another plus goes to the indication of the items and possible accessible things in the game. There weren’t any of those “Is this what I’m supposed to click?” moments. Things are there for a reason.
Most of the solutions are relatively obvious, with some being a little more challenging, and a few that require divine intervention (walkthrough gods be kind). What the game lacks in outright action is made up with style and story – both of which are very hard to escape. This helps the gameplay out a lot. I will say that of all the attempts I’ve made at trying to understand and appreciate the genre, this comes closest to what I would call an adventure. I can only assume any fan of this genre, or this series is pretty happy with the result, and so am I.
The story isn’t exactly explained, or detailed in any way, but somehow you kind of want to know what’s going on next, even if it’s only to find out what’s actually going on. Nothing makes entire sense. Half-truths, whole lies… A love story? It’s all a bunch of garbage (inside joke (play the damn game (too many brackets!))). You will like to cook things up and use your aforementioned dumb luck or mildly evil plans to get ahead. In this case, getting ahead can also mean setbacks. Despite this, they have a bunch of antics to keep you entertained, and that’s what counts. The writing is pretty funny, too. No guffaws, but those brain-only chuckles? Yeah, you get a bunch of those. Humour that is sometimes a little dry – so dry it chafes (thank you Comedy Network for this joke while describing Norm Macdonald’s routines).
The hand-drawn style is great, the animation is actually pretty good, and it all fits with the overall style of the game. It lends a sense of harmony in a completely unharmonious storyline. The music and sound effects are there, and they fit the situation aptly throughout the game. The cutscenes in between what we could call ‘chapters’ are especially great and surprisingly well put-together. They were so well put-together that they actually stuck out like sore thumbs, but I like music, so yay! Voices are good, not great, but better or equal to some titles that are near triple-A, so no complaints there either.
This game is looooooong. At least, it made me feel like it was. As an example, the video walkthrough I watched had 23 parts, all of which are about 20 minutes long, and that guy knew what he was doing! With all my flailing about, it tops the 10 hour mark – quite impressive for a game available for about $20 on steam. The replay value isn’t too high considering you only have access to single-player and there aren’t really any different paths to take on a second go-round. Maybe there are some achievements you could have missed, but, like a lot of games, this is more of an exception than a rule. There isn’t another difficulty level or even some kind of extra. It is what it is.
For a point-and-click adventure indie game, it actually does a lot well. From its great story to its humour, style, and gameplay effectiveness, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to find something better for this price in this genre. This game only suffers from its competition and my personal feelings for look-and-pokes. If you’re into these, you should give it a try, if not, maybe wait for the price to lower a bit, and at least give it a chance; it deserves more attention than it is likely to get, even though it’s not an award-winning title.
This review is based on a Steam copy of Goodbye Deponia provided to 3GEM by the publisher.