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Gaming PC PS4 Reviews

Review: Gravity Ghost—Deluxe Edition

Developer: Ivy Games

Publisher: Ivy Games

Genre: Physics game

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4

Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Up)

Price: $14.99 on Steam, $9.99 on PS4

 

Gravity Ghost, an indie title from developer Ivy Games, promises a peaceful experience with physics-centric gameplay. Having originally been released on Steam 2015, it has now received a PlayStation 4 port, and with it, a chance to gain a fresh audience.  Despite its small scale, it has some seasoned industry talent involved in its creation on numerous levels, from gameplay to voice acting to music. Does this colorful little game have what it takes to make a splash?

Content Guide

Violence: A gun is shown during a cutscene, and it is implied that it is used offscreen.

Spiritual Content: Gravity Ghost features animal spirits, and deals with issues of death, grief, and the afterlife. Astrological concepts are touched upon as well.

Language: While there are no curse words in the game, a few mild body/potty references appear, such as when the main character affectionately calls her fox companion “fuzzbutt” or when she tells an animal passing into the afterlife, “You’ll get used to not pooping.”

Review

Gravity Ghost’s story centers around a girl named Iona whose family operates a lighthouse. The game gives you its narrative in pieces, and the story and gameplay appear completely unrelated until the very end during the twist ending reveal. It’s an ambitious approach to storytelling, but the result is that I have trouble connecting to everything that occurs through most of the experience. When the game finally connects the dots to reveal its poignant finish, it fails to stir any real emotion because it lacks proper buildup beforehand. It doesn’t help that since the story is so short, the characters don’t get enough time on-screen to establish strong, likeable personalities.

In terms of gameplay, Gravity Ghost is a physics-based game in which you, playing as Iona—a ghostly, much more colorfully clad version of her than in the cutscenes—must orbit around planets and collect objects floating in space. Each level contains a star and a closed door; to complete the stage, you must float to the star, which opens the door, and then return to the door to leave. Reaching the star requires you to float through space, using the gravity of the planets in the stage to float and bounce your way through the environment. It’s a clever concept, and built upon by another mechanic: elements. As you proceed through the game, you eventually collect elemental powers such as fire, water, and air; once you’ve collected them, you can use them to terraform the planets simply by walking all the way around them. For example, terraforming a planet into a fire planet will cause it to repel you further when you jump from it.

Some stages also contain either an animal spirit or its corresponding skeleton; by picking up a spirit in one stage and carrying it to its skeleton in another, you allow the animal to pass into the next life. Every time you do this, you unlock a story cutscene that plays when you finish the current stage; through most of the game, this is the only connection between story and gameplay.

But another mechanic ties the others together: Iona’s hair. Collecting the flower pickups that appear in each stage will lengthen Iona’s hair; terraforming planets will deplete it, and if her hair isn’t long enough, she can neither terraform nor acquire animal spirits. Flowers are plentiful throughout the game, though, which means you almost never run low on hair length. On the off-chance that you do run short—such as the one time I spent hair terraforming a planet to the wrong type for the task at hand and had already collected all the flowers in the level—you can simply back out to the menu and start over, or recollect flowers from a level you’ve already completed and come back later.

Gravity Ghost is remarkably easy; there are no “game over” screens and almost all the levels can be completed with minimal effort. Even as I approached the game’s finale, I still encountered levels that I finished in less than a minute. The only challenging levels are…the challenge levels, which do not need to be completed in order to experience all the story cutscenes. The game is clearly meant to be relaxing, with its focus not on deep mechanics, but on its gorgeous hand-drawn art and the playful nature of its gameplay. The pleasant soundtrack complements the art and gameplay as well. It’s just a shame that it fails to provide much depth in its level design, especially considering the game’s smooth and finely polished physics.

For those looking for a simple, low-stress game with pretty artwork and a soothing soundtrack, Gravity Ghost should fit the bill. On top of that, I imagine that for a young kid just learning how to play video games, this game may be ideal, though its themes prove themselves rather heavy, at least compared to the lightheartedness that permeates the rest of the experience. But for anyone else, it simply does not offer enough; the attractive aesthetics cannot paper over the shallow gameplay, subpar storytelling, overall short-lived experience.

Review copy generously provided by Stride PR
Categories
Gaming Mobile PC

Review: Nocked! True Adventures of Robin Hood

Nocked logo

Developer: Andrew Schneider

Publisher: Andrew Schneider

Genre: Fantasy, RPG, Interactive Fiction

Platforms: iOS 8 and up (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), Mac, PC

Price: USD $4.99 iOS, $19.99 Desktop

There have been many movie adaptations of the daring adventures of Robin Hood. My first exposure to the green-clad archer, like probably most of yours, took the shape of a fox and his friend Little John took the shape of a bear. Since then, there’s been Robin Hood Men in Tights, one starring Russell Crow and directed by Ridley Scott, the BBC show, and whatever that Origins from 2018 was. Robin Hood has graced the big and little screen ever since film became popular with at least one new adaptation coming out every decade. But if the book is better than the movie, then what about a book game?

Content Guide

Spiritual Content: A Mother Mary statue is near your base and you can choose to restore it and pray at it or not, Friar Tuck is always ready to help with wise words, you can gain or lose favor with the Church, and the Crusades are being fought. Most of your base’s inhabitants  are Christian believers, but at least one is a Muslim, which causes a conflict when you recruit Crusaders who have come back from the war. Magic in all types are present: fairy/fae magic, accused witchcraft, black magic, forest magic, and even slight-of-hand.

Violence: Well, graphically speaking, no; but yes. Arrows are shot in pursuit, in self defense, and in hunting. People die, and sometimes you stumble upon people dying, a hangman’s tree, and even someone being burned to death in front of you. You also have the chance to take lives in punishment to set an example, or to be merciful to your enemies.

Language/Crude Humor: If you try to kiss Marian before courting her, she will hurt you and tell you she is not a wh*re. Other than that, I did not come across any unsavory language that stood out to me in my first play-through.

Sexual Themes: A unicorn asks you if you have remained pure before marriage. There is some background talk of female anatomy and some characters’ exploits, but it is mostly vague or you only catch part of the conversation. You can apparently choose between nine romance partners (I only came across three in my play though) and at least one of them is male. The wolf does let you know he is not a romantic interest.

Positive Themes: Unity, freedom, and the concept that every man is created equal are all present in the game.

Review

When the opportunity to review a game based on Robin Hood came up, I jumped at the chance! I’ve watched several movies, shows, and documentaries about the green-clad, bow-and-arrow wielding outlaw of justice. I thought I knew quite a bit. As it turns out, I’m apparently Jon Snow and I know nothing.

nothing

The game first starts with a bang… and by that, I mean your house is on fire. All of Locksly Manor is an inferno and the Sheriff is calling out for you. You also have maids being pushed into rooms by the Sheriff’s people. What do you do? Do you try to make a quick getaway to your stables and ride away under the cover of darkness, or do you hide yourself as another maid and try to save your servants? Difficult options like these are throughout the game. What kind of Robin Hood are you?

 

 

One of the more difficult things for me, was, once Robin decides to head to Sherwood Forest, he loses all his followers that he gained standing up to the Sheriff’s raid. I wantend to have all the manpower I could get, and I gained a good amount of followers. Once the game funnels you into going to Sherwood Forest to hide out, all of your followers nope right out of there. Too many creepy things go on in those woods, y’know? I actually reset the game several times to try to keep my following, making different decisions, trying to figure out what the correct path was… but it always lead to me losing my following.

Which, side-note: as if Robin Hood needed any Messiah/Savior parallels — I mean, it is Robin Hood we’re talking about, the quintessential take-care-of-the-poor, uh, GUY! — this moment in the first chapter of the game reminds me exactly of what happens with Jesus and the disciples. Jesus basically says, “Yo, things are about to get crazy my dudes.” Peter says, “Hey, I’m with you one hundred percent. Ride or die, my man.” Then the crazy starts happening: soldiers bust up when Jesus is praying, take him away to be crucified, and all the disciples scatter! Later, when Jesus comes back from being dead for three days, he meets back up with his friends and tells them “Let’s do good to others and let’s make a better world.” And that’s the very same thing that happens in this game at the very beginning!

Once I got over the fact that I couldn’t keep my following, I went into the strange unknown of Sherwood Forest. Knowing that this story was going to be based on the “true adventures of Robin Hood,” I thought it was kinda neat that Robin lost followers because of the fear of the forest, that they held superstitious beliefs about strange mystical and magical creatures that would do who-knows-what to any mortal being that wanders into their playground. You don’t typically see unfounded superstitions in video games. Usually in video game and story worlds, if a child is afraid of a monster in their closet…there’s an actual monster in their closet! So, in trusting the “true tales” part of the title, I was interested to see where Sherwood would lead me — and then I ran into Marian who was holding blue fire in one of her hands, and then I realized it wasn’t actually that kind of “true.” I was slightly bummed, but given my affinity for fantasy—particularly starring heroes clad in green tunics—I was still eager to go along for the ride. What I found both delighted me and stressed me out.

The main story and side stories are mostly great. A few politically-orientated side stories admittedly over-stay their welcome, like when you are invited to a dinner so you can gain nobility allies. There was another one where a noble was having issues with some of his workers because they’ve heard of Robin’s rebellion and wanted to be part of it, but the noble wanted you to come over and talk some sense into them. Those sort of things really didn’t do it for me, but thankfully they are optional. But the interesting stories significantly outweigh the boring ones, such as when Robin goes to explore a ghost ship on his own, or tries to figure out the secret of the Wisps.

I enjoyed plenty of other things in the game, too. Little John is part troll…because he has a fascination with not letting people pass a certain bridge. Marien is related to Morgana (aka Morgan le Fay), long time rival to Merlin. You can host a party for the fairy folk and try to get them to partner with you. There’s even a dragon and you can help raise her babies! Eagle-eyed geeks can pick out some other clever cameos as well, including a certain Scottish princess who enjoys archery (though she goes by a different name), and one the 31st of October, where the Sheriff is throwing a party and you can come dressed as a fox!

Now, what stressed me out was that I didn’t realize I would have to manage so much! There are three factions you want to keep happy: the church, the common people, and the fairies. I tried to play middle-of-the-road, as I wanted everyone to be happy with me, but that meant I didn’t excel with any group. I also had to manage money, update my hide-out, bring a new order to the world, and apparently find the right person to romance since I can’t just settle down with Wolf! I really didn’t expect a management side to the story, but it certainly adds mechanical depth to the otherwise narrative-heavy gameplay.

So, how does the Nocked! stack up against the movies? In some ways, much better than I expected; in other ways, I was a little disappointed or annoyed. I would have had much more fun if I didn’t have to manage so many numbers and points. I mostly expected it to be a choose-your-own adventure — and it was, but with more mechanics intended to keep it from getting stale. It kept me, as a player, from becoming too passive. In a movie or a book, Robin does a daring thing, and it’s cool. In an interactive novel, you choose to either run away or do a daring thing, and are then rewarded because you (possibly) those the right option (or died). However, in Nocked!, if you choose to do the daring thing, but also have enough points with the Fairy folk, you can choose to do an even more epic daring thing and, admittedly, that’s pretty cool. Because of all the story options and number management, there’s a lot of replay value to Nocked!

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Gaming PC PS4 Reviews Switch Uncategorized Xbox One

Review: Streets of Rogue

Developer: Matt Dabrowski

Publisher:​ tinyBuild

Genre​: Roguelike, Roguelite

Platforms​: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Rating​: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Price​: $19.99

 

The level of freedom that games give a player is often referred to as player agency. Player agency contributes to the enjoyment of a game, whether it’s an open world or a rail shooter, and the amount of agency desired in gameplay varies from player to player. Mark Dabrowski created Streets of Rogue with the idea of making a roguelike/roguelite that gives the player lots of agency. The end result is a game whose free-form design encourages creativity, and which possesses a strong AI (artificial intelligence) that makes its world come to life. Despite this, however, Streets of Rogue may have limited appeal due to its roguelike gameplay.

Content Guide

Streets of Rogue’s free-form gameplay leads to a lot of questionable content because the player can choose to make many good and bad moral choices. The storyline of the game doesn’t push the player to play one way or another, which means it doesn’t encourage good moral choices over bad ones. The game is rated Everyone 10+, and I would recommend this game to older kids on up.

Violence: The majority of the questionable content comes from the violence portrayed in the game. Players can attack anyone or anything in the game. Some of the NPCs (non-player characters) will runaway, but some will fight back. When the player kills an NPC they mostly fall over sideways. If the player continues to attack the dead NPC or if the player use explosives the NPC will explode into a bloody mess. The 8-bit graphics aren’t very explicit, but when the NPC is reduced to a bloody pile of red chunks it’s unmistakable.

Drug/Alcohol Use: Drugs and alcohol play a major role in the gameplay. Some characters start the game with bottles of whiskey and beer as a part of their loadout. A playable character receives a health boost from drinking alcohol as well as eating food. Drugs can be found throughout most levels, and in each level a drug dealer sells drugs and gives out side missions. Cigarettes can also be found throughout the levels.

Other Questionable Content: The near future world of Streets of Rogue contains slavers who sell human slaves which the player can buy. The slavers wear black uniforms and masks which look similar to those of executioners. It’s not clear how someone becomes a slave, and there doesn’t appear to be any racial bias as slaves are a random assortment of races.

Positive Content: As I stated earlier, Streets of Rogue doesn’t encourage players to act in any particular way. There are bonuses for destroying levels, but there are also bonuses for getting through a level using no violence. The player can use non-violent means to achieve objectives, though it might require some extra thinking to come up with a solution. Players work for a resistance group trying to free the city from an oppressive mayor, so there’s a freedom fighter vibe to the storyline.

Gunfight in Streets of Rogue

Review

Streets of Rogue takes place in the near future and in a nameless city whose oppressive mayor has taken away everyone’s alcohol and fun. The story doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest. The player starts the game by meeting up with a member of a resistance force and then running through a short tutorial mission. Once that tutorial mission is over, the player gains access to the home base where they can choose a starting character as well as purchase bonuses or perks.

Character Selection

One of the core elements that makes Streets of Rogue a roguelike/roguelite game is permadeath, wherein the player loses all progress when they die. Characters start with a basic loadout which is different from character to character; Soldiers, for example, start with a machine gun, grenades, and landmines, while the Thief’s loadout includes a crowbar, lockpicks, and glass cutters. Each character can be played in whatever way the player wants, but the starting loadouts help with certain playstyles. When a player completes a level they get to choose a trait to enhance their character.

Soldier destroying a building

Playable characters each have their own unique abilities, such as Pickpocket for thieves or Arrest for police officers. That doesn’t stop players from doing whatever they want to do. A player could go through the level killing everyone they come across, or interact with the level in many different ways. There objectives that need to be finished in order to move onto the next level, but those objectives are loosely defined. One such objective may be to neutralize an NPC, which can be done many different ways; a player could take them out by killing them outright, they could encourage others to kill the NPC, or they could create an accidental situation to achieve this same end. The other objectives include flipping off switches or retrieving items from NPCs. All the objectives have multiple ways of achieving them.

The levels are all procedurally generated, but they are grouped into similar looking tile sets which change as the player moves through the city. The best way to understand this is to think of the tile sets as floors in a building. Starting with the slums, each tile set has three floors that then lead to the next tile set. All the tiles sets have similar NPCs and buildings, but they will be procedurally generated each time. The third floor of each tile set has a unique twist such as riots, missile attacks, or creeping ooze.

Floor Map with objectives

Streets of Rogue appears simple on the surface, but takes a lot of planning in the end. The AI for the NPCs brings the game to life. Guards turn around if they hear a tap on a window, and shop owners react to players trying to get into the back rooms. Some NPCs will try to fight the player, while others will run away to find help. One thing I found that I needed to watch out for was getting bumped into other NPCs during a fight. If I bumped into some NPCs they might also try to fight me, and shortly thereafter I could find myself in the midst of a mini-riot. Sometimes I would have to run away while the NPCs chased after me, and I couldn’t always shake them. I died many, many times in the first few hours just by getting into the wrong fight.

Giant pills have a great effect

The game’s roguelike elements can grow tiring after a while of playing through the same level over and over again. The 8-bit graphics are very simplistic but also colorful. There’s no animation for moving, and when the player attacks with a fist or melee weapon it looks like the weapon is sprouting from the characters body. The soundtrack became a bad earworm on account of the number of runs that I could do in an hour; I prefer to mute the music and play the game with my own playlist.

Split screen co-op

The other game modes include a four player co-op for local or online play. I don’t think there’s a big community of online players yet because finding an open online game was hard. I wasn’t happy with online play when matched with random players. When someone dies in co-op mode another player can revive them for a cost, but more often than not my teammates would ignore me when I died. All my items would become available to take, so on more than one occasion my fellow players would take all my stuff then leave me as a ghost wandering the game. I wasn’t able to try local co-op, but I imagine that playing with friends would lead to a better experience. Another gameplay mode that Streets of Rogue offers is a daily run where gameplay is slightly altered. In this mode, all the NPCs may want to fight the player, or werewolves could be hidden in the populace, to list a couple examples.

Online Co-op

Overall, Street of Rogue creates a really great sandbox in which to play. While I didn’t like playing levels over and over again, and I wasn’t impressed by the graphics or soundtrack, the open nature of the objectives and the intelligent AI make the game feel alive. Players who really like other roguelike/roguelite games will find hours of enjoyment unlocking each playable character, tileset, and trait. Streets of Rogue may not be for everyone, but it’s worth trying out.

Review copy generously provided by tinyBuild.

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Gaming PC PS4 Reviews Switch Xbox One

Review: Valley

Developer: Blue Isle Studios

Publisher: Blue Isle Studios

Genre: Action-Adventure

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Rating: T for Teen

Price: $19.99

What would you do if you had the power to give and take life on a whim? What if everything around you started to die after you re-spawn? What do these questions hold in store? Time to find out.

Content Guide

Violence: You can shoot energy at aggressive denizens of the valley to earn more energy. Conversely, life can be given to all living beings in the game; trees, animals, and spirits. When you die, the screen cuts to black and fades in to a respawn and some of nature dies as a result.  

Language: “D*mn” is used a couple of times.

Spiritual Content: Near the end of the story, you face off against the spirit of the Wendigo. Through audio logs played during your journey, you discover the original inhabitants worshiped and feared these spirits and were seen as both spirits of greed and famine. They believed one could transform into these spirits either by partaking in cannibalism or by consuming without stopping. You can find statues dedicated to these spirits in various parts of the world. The question of whether humans should have the power to give and take life whenever they please is raised, but never fully explained. Another question is presented when it comes to what happens when we die. There is nothing else truly discussed in a deeper fashion.

Review

Valley is a decent mashup of ideas that seem often to be at odds with each other. On one hand, the story asks some hefty questions about how fragile life is and the cost of being able to give and take it on a whim. On the other, these questions are dropped without much resolution and switches to a doomsday type scenario you are tasked to stop.

The story starts with your character, an archaeologist, searching for the lifeseed, a mythical object born of the Titan Tree, said to have world shattering power. While on your search, you discover an abandoned WWII project, called Pendulum, that provides a L.E.A.F. suit (Leap Effortlessly through Air Functionality) allowing you to sprint like a cheetah and jump higher than anyone could ever dream of. The head of this project is looking to use the lifeseed to power a bomb that rivals that of the Manhattan Project. You learn more and more about the valley and Pendulum through finding notes written by various crew hidden throughout the world. While this makes the valley appear alive, it still feels hollow and empty.

Included in the L.E.A.F. suit is the ability to give and take life from living entities around the game, mainly trees and deer, and use it to power the various suit functions unlocked in the game. These include double jumping, a grappling hook, and magnet boots. You can also unlock energy tanks that store the energy gathered to power these new abilities. All of this is at the cost or gain of “amrita”, the energy that flows through the world of Valley.

When you inevitably perish, you are brought back to life by the suit. As a result of this, the valley around you dies. If you die too much and the valley is out of energy to give you, it is game over. When you use your energy to bring the valley back to life, you are sometimes rewarded with acorns. These acorns can open special doors that can grant you access to upgrades for your energy. There are also medallions you can find that open a pyramid near the end. The more you find, the more upgrades you will gain.

As you discover more about the valley and its secrets, you encounter evil spirits that must be “given life” to be purified. When I write “given life,” I mean they must be shot by amrita until they explode into more amrita. These spirits range from angry bee swarms to floating, horned, deer ghouls. While not downright scary, they certainly slow your progress and serve more as a nuisance than an actual adversary. Hands down, they are not as scary as the ones you find in Until Dawn, so you will not have to worry about nightmares.

As you run up and down slopes, swing from anchor points, and hang from walls and ceilings, nothing feels greater in the game than hitting a ramp and soaring through the air, shooting yourself across gaps. The problem is that during these sequences, the frame-rate will often drop enough to take you out of the immersion. Either that or the wildlife will need to be revitalized, so you will have to stop to take care of that, breaking your pace. Valley is a beautiful game, but I suppose the graphics are sacrificed on the Switch version. The push and pull of going fast or slowing down doesn’t feel natural. It seems like the game will want you to slow down when it also requires you to be moving fast; you will have to pick.

What would benefit this game the most is an open world design instead of individual levels. While each level grows in size when you revisit them, they always feel like they are pushing you somewhere instead of letting you move at your leisure. Something along the lines of a Metriodvania could do wonders here. Learning an ability and realizing you can now reach areas you couldn’t before adds more replay value than returning to find an item you missed along the way. It is cool that some of the level design seem influenced by skate parks, but it should be more pronounced to emphasize abilities.

Overall, if there had been some better design choices along the way, Valley could have been a pleasant find. Instead, it feels like half-baked potential that needed some more development. It seems like there was more walk, instead of run, in the process.

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Gaming Mobile PC PS4 Reviews Switch

Review: Deponia

Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre: Adventure
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS
Rating: T for Teen
Price: $39.99

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.  

Content Guide

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.

Review

The majority of the game revolves around Rufus (Background) and Goal (sleeping).

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?
Uh oh.
That’s… not funny.

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.

Those poor kittens… Those poor, adorable kittens.

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. 

Ah! There’s some German in my English translation!

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?
The title screen shows this game’s real name: Welcome to Deponia, which is the first of four chapters.

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.

Conclusion

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