It’s tough being the most awesome person around. No one else really sees you for who you are and they don’t acknowledge your achievements. Instead they just nag you a bunch about silly things like getting a job, how arrogant they think you are or how you should stop setting things on fire. But hey, some people will just never understand.
Meet Rufus, a lovable, if a bit conceited guy, who is the maybe-hero in Daedalic Entertainment’s 2012 PC title Deponia. While this game isn’t the newest you could play, sometimes it’s refreshing to take a break from the onslaught of new releases and check out what you might have missed in the past. Rufus lives on the junk planet of Deponia and dreams of adventures and riches only possible on Elysium, a place just out of reach. While everyone else on Deponia may have accepted their lot in life and stopped questioning why nothing is allowed to leave the planet, Rufus is determined to figure out a way off that junk heap and find a new life on Elysium. At his ex-girlfriend’s house where lives, he continues to concoct half-baked plans to try and launch himself on a path to freedom without much success.
One day he is preparing to leave whilst being mocked by his friend Wenzel. This time he has a plan that he thinks is foolproof! He launches himself with a makeshift rocket toward an oncoming Elysium transport and is on his way to freedom! That is until he actually makes it onto the transport that will eventually take him from Deponia for good. In a series of comedic events, Rufus ends up tossing a beautiful Elysian girl off the craft and then getting chucked back down to Deponia himself. The town is all abuzz about the girl who fell from the sky and Rufus takes on the task of waking the girl and convincing her to take him with her back to her home of Elysium.
Deponia is your typical point-and-click adventure puzzle game. The gameplay consists of you clicking on various areas, objects or characters you want to interact with and figuring out how to advance through the game’s many puzzles. Put on your thinking caps and keep your eyes peeled while you play or else you will get lost or stuck. The most minor details picked up in idle conversation with neighbors can be the clues you need to go further and some objects in your inventory will have unpredictable uses. As a purist, I do not consult guides for games like this. Where would the fun be? But without that crutch to rely on you can get pretty frustrated. At some points in the game I would resort to clicking on random things or using any item I had on nearby people. When I would finally figure out the solution I would have some pretty epic facepalm moments because I should have been paying more attention to the clues lying around. On the other hand, solving a particularly difficult section of the game because you had a keen eye is a most satisfying experience. Unfortunately for games like this, the replay value is zero. One time through will do it.
Deponia‘s graphics are of a cornier nature. As someone who isn’t used to playing games with this art style, I was initially put off. However, the more I played the more I grew to appreciate how detailed, colorful and well-crafted the backgrounds and characters were. Since I normally play more realistic shooters or survival horror games, my eyes are accustomed to real-world color palettes or muddy browns and greens of the likes of Gears of War. It was very refreshing to play a game with bright yellows, deep blues and bright skies. The scenery and background are filled with mountains of scrap metal, junk and a hectic spread of dwellings and shops that are seemingly sitting right on top of each other. It’s quite a lot to look at all at once. The characters are all wearing thrown-together garb and they all seem to have some physical quirk. Maybe they have a massive overbite or they’re exceptionally short; the residents of Deponia come in all shapes and sizes, but I guess that makes sense since they are all miners or trash collectors.
The voice acting in this game is priceless. Thankfully that is the case because most of the sound effects leave much to be desired. My favorite character to talk to is Lotti, a large secretary who seems to be having a gender identity crisis. Lotti tries to sound like a sweetheart but if you make him/her angry the deep, gruff voice comes out. Gizmo is another fun guy to talk to. Gizmo is the town fireman/police officer/doctor and his exasperated pleas to Rufus to stay out of trouble often fall on deaf ears. Gizmo doesn’t hesitate to tell Rufus what he really thinks and has been around long enough to remember when Rufus started out his wrecking ball lifestyle as a child. Every character has their story to tell and their insults to sling at Rufus. Half the fun is talking to everyone to hear what they have to say. Something fun to try is to investigate different uses of items on various people or objects in the environment so you can trigger Rufus’s sarcastic and humorous responses to what he thinks of your attempts. He has all kinds of fun anecdotes to tell you or interesting reasons why he doesn’t want to comply.
There honestly isn’t a lot to say about this game’s controls. You interact with everything with the click of a mouse and it’s pretty hard to mess that up. The only reason I dinged it some points is because the inventory is very finicky. If you aren’t careful with your motions you will inadvertently close it when you don’t want to. I will recommend using a wireless mouse for comfort so you aren’t restricted to a touch pad, but even that way it’s still a simple game to play.
Deponia certainly isn’t the best game out there but it is nowhere near the worst. Its fun cast and intriguing story will be your charismatic guide through the enjoyable landscapes as you try to convince everyone that you really are a good guy at heart worthy of some credit. You may only want to play through the game once, but if you end up liking it it will open a door to a whole world of other great point-and-click games from all eras such as the old-school Shadowgate. Daedalic Entertainment’s Deponia is sure to be a memorable adventure that will put a smile on your face.