Deponia Review: Humor to Distract From Confusion

All the way through, however, the game manages to stay engaging and even poke fun at itself and the conventions of video gaming, and that’s really key to making Deponia fun despite whatever frustrations might be faced along the way. There’s a huge amount of rather funny dialog involved, with most inventory items getting not only unique dialog to go with them, but dialog specific to trying to combine each item with other items. One great example of Deponia’s tone is later in the game, where players can click on lamps ringing an archway. Rufus remarks that the lamps must be significant; if you select chewing gum from your inventory and click on the lamps, he says something like, “Every third lamp has chewing gum on it — that must be significant.” Pull a rock from your inventory and click the lamps and he says, “None of the lamps are smashed — that must be significant.” He’s a game character pulling his player’s leg, and it’s incredibly charming.

Deponia has a few weaknesses in its puzzles, as mentioned, and in storytelling to some degree. It’s one thing to drop players into the middle of a story, but the game fails to really convey who people like The Organon and the Elysians are, and why we should care. That said, the game’s humor goes a long way, and most of it is pretty great. It makes up for a lot of the issues.

And while there’s the occasional misstep, Deponia provides quite a bit of fun. It’s cartoon style keeps the whole experience light-hearted, and its mostly-great script and translation makes it worth a look for adventure fans.

Pros:

  • Pretty funny all the way through, with a fun, cartoonish (but adult) tone
  • Some challenging, fun puzzles
  • Interesting world with fun characters
  • Protagonist carries the game with his personality

Cons:

  • Some puzzles aren’t quite logical — may require a guide to get through
  • Some of the secondary characters aren’t too memorable
  • Players are dropped into the story and don’t receive much in the way of context or explanation

Final Score: 75/100


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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2 Comments on Deponia Review: Humor to Distract From Confusion

Matt

On December 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Why is background explanation needed? I don’t think everything in games should be served to us on a pretty little plate like that. It doesn’t really encourage people to figure things out for themselves.

Phil Hornshaw

On December 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm

@Matt

I agree. I just found it jarring in attempting to follow along with the world that I was missing a lot of context. Sometimes that storytelling technique works, sometimes it doesn’t, and in this case I felt like too much was left unsaid or vague, to the point where I was a little too lost.