Posted on October 24, 2013, Phil Hornshaw Goodbye Deponia Review: A Problematic Farewell
At the end of its Deponia trilogy, Daedalic Entertainment is at the top of its games in many ways. The story of Goodbye Deponia, the point-and-click adventure game conclusion to the series, is the best we’ve yet seen of the Deponia games — it has some genuinely great character moments, it’s often very funny, and it raises the stakes and the complexity of the story’s conflicts.
Despite three games down, however, Goodbye Deponia continues to suffer from the problems of earlier titles: namely, an opacity of puzzles and a weak hint system that can keep players stalled indefinitely until they happen to stumble on the solution (or more likely, track it down online). Goodbye Deponia is, for the most part, the best story to yet come out of the fun and brightly colored Deponia universe. It also has some of the series’ best puzzles and some great gameplay moments.
But some questionable story and humor choices and a few missteps mar the experience, and a big portion of my overall feeling of Goodbye Deponia at the end was one of exasperation.
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: Oct. 17, 2013
Having given their enemies the slip at the end of Chaos on Deponia, the final chapter of the Deponia trilogy finds sociopathic jerk protagonist Rufus working to get to the last high boat to the orbital platform Elysium, to warn the haves who live there that there are still have-nots living on the garbage-strewn junkpile planet Deponia. If he and his (apparent) girlfriend Goal don’t make it to Deponia in time, the planet will be destroyed.
The ins and outs of the story from there get convoluted in some fun ways. Continuing on the antics of the previous editions in the series, Rufus spends a lot of time impersonating his doppleganger, the evil Cletus, and generally solving various problems while getting himself into trouble. Goodbye Deponia feels more together in a lot of ways than its predecessors did, making general use of Rufus’ penchant for getting into trouble to push some of the story threads forward and to bring about some fun moments of impersonation and fish-out-of-water craziness.
The first half of the game also sees some fairly solid puzzles (as does the second half, but that’s where things get convoluted), and a lot of the gameplay is pretty fun. Mostly you’ll be picking up objects and sticking them in your pockets in order to figure out what they’re used for later, but especially in the opening portion of the game, which takes place on a hotel. The puzzles are usually easy enough to parse. Some of the solutions are just obscure enough to feel ingenious, and like the other Deponia games, Daedalic has slipped in a few minigames that change up the pace of the usual adventure game formula. As always, if you’re bored or irritated by any given minigame and its sudden change of the rules — such as a “Scooby Doo”-like scene in which characters chase each other through a bunch of doors in a hallway — you can skip them easily.
What you can’t skip are the standard puzzles, and Daedalic offers no hint system for when you run up against a truly ridiculous puzzle solution, of which there are a few too many in Goodbye Deponia. All the Deponia games (truly, perhaps all the Daedalic games) have their share of moments in which you finally combine the right two objects to solve a puzzle by random chance, because you never would have thought to do so under normal circumstances. Goodbye Deponia has quite a few of these moments: For example, at one point a coin was too big for a vending machine, and I sanded it down to size with a roll of extremely rough toilet paper. At another point, I had to jam open a bird’s mouth with a coat hanger to fish a fish out of its gullet.