While trying to escape a working life on the junk planet Deponia, Protagonist Roofus lays eyes on a beautiful girl on a top-secret mission. Accidentally knocking both of them back onto the planet, he must now find a way to save her and escape once and for all!
- An interesting story full of humor and ridiculous antics
- A goofy yet atmospheric art style
- Fully voiced-over dialogue
- Numerous puzzles to solve to progress
8 Hours Main Story
10+ Hours Completionist
PC: January 27th, 2012
Switch: April 24th, 2019
PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch (reviewed)
When presented with the opportunity to review Deponia, I was excited to take it. It seemed like the casual, wacky and funny adventure I needed while grinding through school. However, as accurate as those descriptors are, the adventure was over almost as soon as it started. Here, I’ll tell you how it was.
Violence: Militia members have and shoot firearms, and brief physical violence exists.
Sexuality: There is a gag in which a woman is found in a shower; extremities are covered only by bubbles and arms.
Adult Humor: There are many jokes intended for adult audiences. Sexual references, “guy talk” (ex: boy, she’s hot!), and other jokes are common.
Language: Da** and its affiliated words are common, and there is mention of a few other extreme words.
Animal Abuse: There is an example of kittens being drugged, and put through manual labor initiated by electrocution. It’s not graphic, but it’s there.
Drug/Alcohol Use: A character can be seen smoking. There is a sleeping drug item, and there are a few casual alcoholic references
Law-Breaking: The protagonist is a notorious trouble-maker, committing arson, theft, and other more petty crimes.
I was excited at the prospect of reviewing a point-and-click adventure. Growing up, I loved the kids’ games Pajama Sam and Putt-Putt, and still enjoy the genre. However, as I played Deponia on the Nintendo Switch, I found some enjoyable experiences, and several not so much.
This… is New?
After a not-so-quick tutorial, a charming little music video and animation leads you into the game. As you first take control of Rufus, the protagonist, you quickly find out that you live on a depressing planet of junk, and are desperately trying to move off and up in the world. And… Rufus is good for little to nothing else.
A few puzzles and a collection quest later, you are prepared to take off in your latest invention for Elysium, the neighboring planet of the elite class. Much like Rufus, however, the invention is missing a few screws, and ends up derp-ing you to your location. This is the basic premise for most of the game: humurous interaction combining Kronk-level stupidity with Sheldon-level arrogance; collection and puzzles typical of the genre; and an absolutely wacky transition to the next part of the story.
It’s Funny… But Should It Be?
Deponia‘s strongest charm is in its humor. From the musical intro, the theme, and all of the dialogue, Deponia has no shortage of clever humor. However, that humor definitely has an audience, and sometimes goes too far.
An immediate example comes to mind from the second area of the game. There is a puzzle that requires you to go to a cooky old man named Doc for solutions. However, when you ask him for advice, other dialogue options appear. Saying you have a “challenge” that your “girlfriend is too heavy” will get this response: “I’ve just the advice you need! Keep your hands off women like that. All you’ll accomplish is a strained pelvis.” Women are heavily objectified in this game. While some may find this hilarious, I’m sure there are others who would absolutely not. These jokes are not uncommon, and in today’s political climate, I’m fairly surprised by their frequency.
In Deponia, most everything has a quirk. For example, you can go into a post office in the first area, and find that the deliveries are made via carrier pigeon, a robot is the coordinator, and kittens control the packages’ assembly. Here, you have to manipulate the characters. The robot gets a little *too* excited about bubble wrap, carrier pigeons can carry the wrong-size packages, and in order to solve the puzzle, you have to either give the kittens caffeine or human-grade antidepressant drugs in order to make them go faster or slower. Animal abuse aside, I could not make this up and it’s just one puzzle example of Deponia‘s odd antics.
The Real Game Changer: Bugs.
Deponia on the Switch is full. of. bugs.
Thankfully, Deponia has an excellent, room-by-room auto-save system, because there have been at least three times that I was kicked out of my game due to an unknown error. The game would freeze, go black, and then pop up with an error message sending me to my home screen. However, this was the least of my buggy worries for this playthrough.
My first definite issue in this game took place in the aforementioned post office. Eventually, you get a piece of paper with holes and numbers that need to be moused over for a safe combination. However, I needed to get that information on the first try, because if I ever tried to use the paper again, ALL of my controls locked up. I then had to restart my game, which still didn’t let me look again. Eventually, I was forced to look up a walkthrough (something I avoid doing on a first playthrough) to solve this puzzle on the “first try” just to progress in the story.
The other notable bug from my playthrough is located in the second area, and unlike the others, this one is game breaking. This means that once it happened, I was unable to progress in the story, period. I had accidentally put a light bulb back in the place I had found it, and activated a vehicle. At any point after that, I was unable to retrieve the light bulb (needed for a different puzzle) from the vehicle, and therefore broke the game.
While there may be more bugs I hadn’t encountered, these two examples are more than enough, and comparatively could be fairly easy fixes. Instead, I was left disappointed and skeptical about Deponia; I wasted hours going in circles due to the game-breaker, and consequently utilized the walk-through more often, scared of making another time-wasting mistake.
Why Does It Cost So Much?
While there aren’t any clues concerning playing the entire series, I first played Deponia thinking I would. How else, I wondered, could it be justified for forty dollars? Deponia is a game that first released on PC in 2012, during the previous console generation. Besides that, the game came out on console starting with the PlayStation 4 in 2016. So, why does Deponia cost $39.99 on the Switch, just coming out this year and being full of bugs?
I had found out after “beating the game” that Deponia on the Switch was, in fact, only the first part. Try as I may to find a reason, or to find out if the other parts would come as a “free dlc” of some sort, I and the rest of the internet are pretty much stumped on what will happen. So, until the rest of the games come out on Switch, or have their price lowered, I strongly advise buying a different port of this game if possible. The entire collection is selling on the PlayStation Store for the same price as what the Switch charges for one part, and Steam frequently sells the games at discounted prices, which are all cheaper than the Switch’s price for a single chapter, at base rate.
Deponia puts the “guilty” into “guilty pleasure.” I enjoyed a lot of the witty humor and dialogue within this game. However, the point still stands that at this time of writing, Deponia is not a good game on the Switch. If not for some enjoyable dialogue and story, this game wouldn’t have much going for it. With the fixing of some bugs, a lower price tag, and the release of the latter installments, I might recommend this game on the Switch. Until then, however, It would probably be best to save Deponia‘s experience for later.
Review code generously provided by Sandbox Strategies
+ An interesting, cartoony art style
+ Compelling story that builds anticipation for future events
+ Witty humor that combines with ridiculous antics for a fun experience
+ Versatility with Nintendo Switch allows for play at home or on-the-go
- Bugs are a frequent occurrence
- Many dialogue interactions annoyingly repeat
- Many jokes are questionable in nature and intent
- Price tag is abysmal for the amount of playable content
- Puzzle solutions are linear and don't always make sense
- Scrapped achievement system leaves little reward for extra effort