Deponia is a humorous point-and-click adventure from German developer Daedalic Entertainment. In it, you control an “eccentric, ill-tempered and entirely too full of himself” anti-hero named Rufus, who loves to waste time and cause mischief. Early in the game, while you’re trying (and failing) to escape from Deponia, the trash planet where you live, you run into a girl named Goal, and you decide that she could be your ticket to a better life. You then set about rescuing her, which, of course, involves you solving a multitude of strange and silly puzzles.
Deponia is played using a third-person perspective, where you move from scene to scene. In each scene, there are various hotspots that you can interact with, including objects to pick up, people to talk to, and exits to take you to other scenes. Most everything in the game can be controlled by using a mouse. You left click where you want Rufus to move, you left click on objects to do something with them, and you right click on objects to examine them. The mouse wheel or clicking a button in the interface allows you to access your inventory, and the spacebar shows you where the hotspots are for the current scene. This is pretty standard for adventure games, making Deponia easy to start playing.
The majority of the puzzles in Deponia involve picking up and using inventory objects. For example, when you start out in your house, you have to pick up a plunger from the bathroom, which allows you to open a cupboard without a handle, which allows you to grab a mouse trap, which allows you to capture something from a dark corner, et cetera and so forth. Most of the puzzles are straightforward, but Deponia gives you a lot of places to explore with a lot of objects to pick up, and so your next move isn’t always obvious. Plus, given the comical nature of the universe where you’re playing, the puzzles don’t always make much sense (like when you use chewing gum as the elastic part of a slingshot), which adds to the complexity. I actually got stuck a couple of times while playing the game and had to consult a walkthrough, which hasn’t been the case in ages. Deponia also includes some mechanical puzzles, where you have to pull levers or rotate wheels, but these can be skipped if you don’t want to deal with them.
What should be the highlight of Deponia is the humor, but it was a mixed bag for me. There are a lot of funny jokes in the game, especially when you get stuck and start trying out every possible inventory object on every possible hotspot, but far too often Daedalic Entertainment falls in love with itself and allows conversations to drag on and on, often without a punchline. There might also be some differences between what people in Germany think is funny and what I think is funny. For example, after completing the game, you can turn on “droggeljug” mode, which replaces all of the text and spoken dialogue with the word “droggeljug.” Ha, ha? I lasted about one scene in that mode.
Overall, Deponia has some pluses and minuses. The story doesn’t make any sense, and the ending is terrible (nothing gets resolved; it’s all a set-up for the presumed next title in the franchise), but the world is colorful and the dialogue is well-acted, and the situations are more funny than not. Given its mild $20 price point, Deponia is a reasonable adventure to try out.
Reviewed By: Steven Carter
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
This review is based on a digital copy of Deponia for the PC provided by Daedalic Entertainment.