Review : “Deponia” ( Computer Game)

2015 Artwork Deponia review

A few months ago, I was looking at random stuff on the internet when I noticed that “Deponia” was on special offer on GoG. Since I’d heard of this game before and since the price had been briefly reduced to something like £0.40, I decided to check it out.

I should probably also point out that, at the time of writing this review, I’ve completed about two-thirds of the game – so this review will only reflect my experiences so far.

But, before I take a look at the game itself, I should probably briefly compare the different downloadable versions of this game available for purchase online.

If, like me, you buy this game from GoG- it doesn’t come with any DRM and you’ll also get a lot of free optional bonus stuff too (eg: downloadable manuals, downloadable artwork, a digital copy of the game’s soundtrack etc..). However, unlike the Steam version, it doesn’t contain an achieivements system.

Personally, I found that the extra stuff and the lack of DRM more than made up for the lack of achievements. But, even so, be sure to shop around if you decide to buy this game.

However, I should warn you that the download of this game is absolutely huge – not only is the game itself something like 3.5 gb in size, but you also have to download a 1.2gb patch for it too. This seems a little bit large for a cartoonish adventure game, so you might have to clear some space on your hard drive before you download this game.

Anyway, that said, let’s take a look at “Deponia”:

deponia title

“Deponia” is an old-style sci-fi/comedy point and click adventure game, released by Daedalic Entertainment in 2012. You play as a slacker, and general ne’er-do-well, called Rufus who lives in his ex-girlfriend’s house in a town called Kuvaq on a planet called Deponia (which serves as some kind of intergalactic rubbish dump).

Rufus has had a lifelong ambition to leave Deponia for a place called Elysium. However, his escape plans have never really worked out that well. But, he hopes that his latest plan will….

His latest escape plan involves getting into a rusty metal box attached to a giant firework-powered cannon, WHAT could go wrong?

His latest escape plan involves getting into a rusty metal box attached to a giant firework-powered cannon, WHAT could go wrong?

In terms of the gameplay, “Deponia” is a fairly classic “point and click” game. So, if you’ve played other games in this genre, then you’ll probably know what to expect.

The only slight criticism I have of the gameplay is the fact that the items menu is a pull-down menu that can get in the way of the gameplay sometimes. However, there are shortcuts that you can use in order to access it more quickly (the item menu can also be linked to the mouse wheel too, if you want).

Yes, this can be linked to the mouse wheel. But, the wheel on my mouse is kind of annoying, so I chose the pull-down menu option instead.

Yes, this can be linked to the mouse wheel. But, the wheel on my mouse is kind of annoying, so I chose the pull-down menu option instead.

Although there’s no “run” option, the game will automatically jump to the next screen if you double-click on the edge of a particular screen. Since you’ll be doing a fair amount of backtracking in this game, this feature prevents the game from becoming tedious.

The inventory puzzles in “Deponia” are as challenging (and sometimes as obscure) as you would expect from an old-school “point and click” game. Personally, I’m absolutely terrible at these kinds of puzzles, so I ended up using a walkthrough on a very regular basis.

Still, if you’re slightly more experienced with “point and click” games, “Deponia” also includes a hint system… of sorts. Basically, if you’re stuck, then you can hold down the spacebar and the game will show you what you can and can’t interact with:

This is useful, but I STILL needed a walkthrough...

This is useful, but I STILL needed a walkthrough…

Plus, several of the non-inventory puzzles in this game have a “skip” option (it’s a little “x” button on the right side of the screen), which was really cool.

But, even if you cheat your way through almost every puzzle in “Deponia”, there’s still a lot of stuff that makes this game enjoyable.

Like these mind-bending hallucinations!

Like these mind-bending hallucinations!

For starters, like many older games, “Deponia” actually has something of a personality to it. Although this game was released in 2012, it’s as unique and innovative as anything from the 1990s.

The backgrounds in this game are absolutely brilliant and they are some of the most unique ones that I’ve ever seen in a computer game (the closest thing to it that I’ve seen in another game are probably the settings in another adventure game called “Machinarium“, or possibly the locations in one of the old “Jak and Daxter” PS2 games). Everything in the game is made from junk, rubbish and random objects and this really adds a lot of atmosphere to the game:

Even the town's mechanical bull is cobbled together from random things.

Even the town’s mechanical bull is cobbled together from random things.

Like in all great adventure games, many of the characters in “Deponia” are absolutely brilliant too.

Not only is Rufus’ dialogue hilariously sarcastic (especially his conversations with his ex-girlfriend), but many of the background characters are wonderfully eccentric too. Seriously, there aren’t really any boring characters in “Deponia”:

This is the mayor of the town, in his traditional resting place...

This is the mayor of the town, in his traditional resting place…

This is Toni, Rufus' ex-girlfriend. She even makes ME look ..whatever the opposite of "cynical" is.. by comparison

This is Toni, Rufus’ ex-girlfriend. She even makes ME look ..whatever the opposite of “cynical” is.. by comparison

The only slight problem with the background characters is (and I don’t want to sound preachy here, but I probably will) that the only transgender character in the game is something of a horrible stereotype. Yes, it’s good that the game actually includes a transgender character, but I wish that she hadn’t been so badly-designed.

She has a five-o-clock shadow, occasionally shouts in a deep voice (when she isn’t speaking in falsetto) and she wears a rather old-fashioned pink dress. Whilst this didn’t ruin the game for me, this terrible example of character design was kind of annoying nonetheless:

*Facepalm*

*Facepalm*

On the plus side, one hilariously ironic (if somewhat subtle) thing in “Deponia” is that, although almost everyone in the game criticises Rufus for being unemployed, whenever you actually meet anyone with a job, they’re almost always slacking off or doing nothing.

Yay! Irony!

Yay! Irony!

Apart from the badly-designed character I mentioned earlier, I cannot praise the humour in this game highly enough.

Because this game was originally made in Germany (German is possibly my third language at most, but my understanding of it is fairly limited), I can’t really say how well the verbal humour was translated from the original game.

But, from the clips of the German version that I’ve seen on Youtube, the English translation may even contain more humour than the original version.

For example, only one of Toni’s sarcastic post-it notes at the start of the game has an alliterative title in the German version (it’s called a “mistige memo” – which, according to Google, translates to “crappy memo”), compared to the “severe slip, “chafing chit” and “malicious memo” in the English version.

Yes, this cool little alliterative joke wasn't in the original version of the game.

Yes, this cool little alliterative joke wasn’t in the original version of the game.

Another cool thing about “Deponia” is that it has musical narration during a few of the cutscenes. The rhyme scheme in some of these songs is a bit strange (probably due to the translation), but the songs are still hilariously enjoyable nonetheless (even if there are only four of them).

This is also one reason why I’d personally recommend getting this game on GoG, rather than Steam, since all of these narration songs are included on the downloadable soundtrack album.

 Seriously, how many OTHER games have a musical narrator?

Seriously, how many OTHER games have a musical narrator?

As for the graphics, I absolutely love the cartoonish art style in “Deponia” and the whole game looks like something from a comic book, which was really cool. There are also about nine animated cutscenes in the game (I’ve unlocked about eight of them so far). However, I’m still at a loss to explain how a game with cartoonish 2D graphics can be over three gigabytes in size though.

In terms of length, “Deponia” seems to be fairly reasonable. From what I can gather, I’m about two-thirds of the way through the game and – even though I used a walkthrough quite often – it took me a few hours to get there. However, since “Deponia” also has two sequels that apparently follow on directly from each other, it seems likely that this game might have a cliffhanger ending of some kind.

All in all, “Deponia” is an absolutely hilarious and unique game that is certainly worth checking out if you’re a fan of old-school “point and click” games. Even if you’re terrible at these types of games and end up cheating on a regular basis, then there’s still loads of great stuff here.

If I had to give “Deponia” a rating out of five, it would just about get a five.

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