[note: if you're looking for tips for Chaos on Deponia, there's a separate guide for that.]
I love playing adventure games, but even I hit a few snags while running through Deponia, which was just released this week. While this isn't a full guide or walkthrough, I thought I'd share tips for solving some of the puzzles. Some of these are areas I got stuck myself, while others are just tips I included because I thought they'd be helpful.
This guide assumes that you explore all areas, talk to people and pick up or explore whatever you can click on. If you aren't doing this already, get in the habit.
And one more thing:
if you're into full completion and achievements, don't skip the "skippable" puzzles. There are some that give you the option to just move on if you get frustrated, and that's alright. Just know that the sweat and tears will be rewarded. Otherwise, you have the option to save yourself some time (and misery). That and, there are a few "hidden" achievements not related to the story that you can get by making mistakes, or interacting with the environment in certain ways.
In Toni's house:
To get the crumbs from the couch, you'll need a container. Dump the oil from that bottle you picked up in the sink, and presto.
To open up that wooden cabinet thing that's next to the couch, use the plunger (from the bathroom). Once you get the mouse trap, you can add a wasabi bean (from your provisions) to it and get that stinkin' toothbrush from the dark corner.
When you finish packing Rufus' suitcase, he'll go out to the back of Toni's house. Before doing anything else, grab the wrench and then go back inside, and out the front to steal Toni's mailbox.
To fix up the escape pod, open the storage space at the bottom, remove the battery and stick the luggage in. Use the wrench to remove the seat, replace it with the mailbox, then stick the battery inside.
Up on the garbage truck:
There's a robotic maintenance arm that'll come out when you dump wasabi peas into the cogs. While it's out, take a sock out of your inventory and use it on the hatch. Then you can steal the arm and break into the control room.
Moving the story:
If you want hints from Wenzel about making the coffee for Goal, he'll only give them until this next step (necessary for collecting some ingredients):
Drill holes in the pipe down in Wenzel's basement, then go up to the bathroom and stick the inflated balloon (inflate with laughing gas from Gizmo's) with a hook attached (stolen from Toni's shop) into the furnace so it opens up his chimney. Go up to the water reservoir, kick the pipe so it lands over his house and let him have it.
Making the "espresso":
Use asbestos mitts from Gizmo's Firehouse stage in the emergency station to pick up the hot chili pepper from in front of Toni's house.
Use a sponge (after soaking it in boiling water) to clean the windshield of the car at the village front. Once you learn about the owner, go to the alleyway and get the key from Hannek. You can collect the battery acid in the glass from the Mayor's office (accessible after the water event with Wenzel), and mix it with the clear water from the booze bottle that also comes from the Mayor's office.
To get the bull's "blood," you'll need the cow poster and the red curtain from Lenzo's, along with a syringe from Gizmo's. To get the syringe (which comes with the stimulant), use the handcuffs on the piece of floor to the right by the tree that juts out when the Firehouse stage is in place (it's labeled as a "hatch"). It'll fix the floor, so you can change it to the jail station, go up from the village front and get the lock pick which will give you access to the "medicine cabinet."
[Side note: To get the handcuffs, open the cabinet in the jail stage to remove a fetters and a fire extinguisher from the firehouse stage, and put the heavy ball and chain in the cabinet the extinguisher was in. Switch the stages again until the ball rolls out to tip over the basket the handcuffs are in.]
For the black powder, go behind Toni's to pick up some debris and get the powder from a firecracker.
The post office:
Once you steal the vouchers from Toni (use your funnel, dart and some tranquilizer to sabotage her), take them to the post office and go through all the paces and dialogue. If you haven't, see the operator first. Then, open up the hatches to the right of the post bot. Serve the yellow cat some tranquilizer and the white one some espresso. Mess up the pigeons (you can play the mini game with the planet magnet gizmo in the cupboard, or hit "skip" and let it mess them up for you), then go try and mail another voucher. The post bot should call a large bird for the delivery, and you should have replaced it with the small kind. It'll drop the package and leave some bubble wrap for you to distract the post bot with.
[Opening the vault (in case you had as much trouble with this as I did): After taking the note behind the counter at the post office, when you pull it out of your inventory again, you should be able to hold it over all the post boxes to the left and use the clues to get the right combination.]
To get the headphones from the operator, make all the lines busy to stress him out. Break into the vault and steal the bird (use it on the Mayor's communicator), steal some cats on your way out of the post office from the reserve drawer (that goes on the typewriter in the Mayor's office), and then go pop a balloon with laughing gas under the parrot in the alleyway so you acquire that for the emergency phone. It'll only work after you leave it with Toni for a little bit so she can teach it how awful a person Rufus is.
Getting the mine cart to where Goal is requires the lever. To get the lever, you need to swap the red bulb for a white one, and mount the mirror on the skeleton. Stick an inverter in the maintenance box, and grab the cloth from the control room to clean the mirror with after soaking it in Doc's booze.
For the meditation part, you'll need to steal some booze from Doc (do it while he's trying to show you how to meditate using the empty bottle that was at the outer turn). Toss the skeleton leg behind you on the crane seat, and do the meditation exercise to get Goal up on the mine cart.
Once you're back in the control room, a control box opens up and you are set into a maze. The first mistake I made was assuming the three levers were all there was to it. Actually, there are two switches under them that could also be adjusted. Just refer to the map and plan your course to get through the maze.
If you can't figure out the maze through trial and error, there's always the "skip" button once again.
Getting to the ascension area:
When you end up at the candy shop, don't be distracted by all the lights you could interact with. Plug in the cotton candy machine and play with the levers for a random achievement. Otherwise, all you need is the main lever to the left to change the cotton candy modes.
Get the phosphor "flavor" and make it glow with the lamp by the mosaic tables. As for those, you only truly need to interact with the broken one to the right, which initiates an easy (but skippable) puzzle.
Until you've awoken Goal, you can't really interact with the messed up car, crane or pool in the tower area, except to get another weird achievement by attempting to toss a pebble into said pool. It summons a paradox, and weird things happen. You'll also need the water bucket (next to the pool) to fill a bucket of your own, extracted from the utility cabinet by the elevator.
When you go up to the ascension platform area, don't forget to grab the embellishment item from the stair rail, which you can then combine with your chewed gum and a pebble to make a loaded slingshot.
Finding Goal again:
For the hair part of your Cletus disguise, soak the mop in the oil tank from the elevator.
Once you go back looking for Goal and find her missing, just shine the flashlight on the puddle to reveal a path. Keep shining that flashlight until you gain access to a new area.
Finishing things off:
Make sure you pick up a straw from among the needles in the new path, because you'll need it to swim through the pool in the tower area. Getting through the car is simple enough, and once you get the fork you can pull Rufus' hand through the pipe (bottom-left), to stick it in the horn and the projectile fork will then drop the hood.
Talk to Cletus long enough (in front of Goal), and he'll show you his butt. Yank that underwear and hang him to dry on the flagpole.
Your final act of courage and selflessness? When the game switches you to first-person view and Rufus has been swarmed by the enemy, jump at the handles of the flying box.