Chaos on Deponia Review: Weirdness, Humor Elevate the Formula

Daedalic Games gets humor.

The German adventure game developer has a pretty good record of doing some pretty funny and off-the-wall things. Its earlier title, Deponia, subsisted largely on being pretty effectively hilarious. That was a good thing, because the game suffered a bit from some weird puzzles and characters that didn’t really hit as effectively with players as they probably should have.

Chaos on Deponia, the second entry into the Deponia trilogy, does much better. The game’s story is improved, there are more lively characters involved, and for the most part, the puzzles are a little bit less tough to parse your way through. It’s not a complete overhaul, however, and you’ll still get stopped up by a few of the more irritating or irrational puzzles, but Chaos on Deponia is definitely more fun, and funnier, on the whole.

Chaos on Deponia
Platforms: PC (Reviewed)
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012
MSRP: $19.99

Picking up where Deponia left off, Chaos finds players re-assuming the role of Rufus, a resident of the titular garbage planet, after he’s taken up residence with his new friends Doc and Bozo on the Floating Black Market (essentially, a town without any rules). Last time around, he foiled the evil plans of various bad guys in order to save Deponia, but at the personal expense of the affections of the girl of his dreams and his ability to escape to Elysium, an idyllic floating city/planet/something to which he’s always hoped to abscond.

Rufus starts out in Chaos on Deponia with a new plan to fling himself up to Elysium (yes, his plan is usually to just fly there). This one involves a giant saw blade, outfitted with rockets, attached to a massive slingshot. Of course, things go predictably awry (rather hilariously, in fact), and Rufus ends up creating more problems than he solves. Deponia is back in danger, the beautiful Elyisian Goal has her customary brain implant problems, and Rufus has to go ahead and solve a million puzzles in order to put things right.

The vast majority of Chaos on Deponia takes place on the Floating Black Market, which is suitably large for the task. Here the game has both a great idea and a highly frustrating one — you’re basically running three massive, concurrent puzzles in the same space, and you don’t necessarily know which actions are driving forward which bits. That means that, while getting stuck is tougher because there always seems to be something to do, you’ll often find yourself accomplishing tiny goals without really having a sense of what you’re accomplishing long-term.

However, Daedalic has to be commended for making so many moving parts work fluidly together. You’ll interact with several different people and factions, gather up all kinds of items, and solve some really intricate puzzles along the way. The section of the game taking place on the Floating Black Market lasts for a really, really long time, but there’s so much to see and do that it doesn’t get boring. It will, however, stump you on more than one occasion.

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