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Story Mode Complete: Deponia

GamesKristina PinoComment

Deponia is an all new point-and-click adventure puzzler brought to us by Daedalic Entertainment starring Rufus, an egotistical pinhead trying to get off his planet. Not only is he certain that he deserves to leave Deponia, a literal heap of garbage, but I don't even know how he survived to the point at which the story begins.

Rufus is the bane of his town of Kuvaq. He's a lying thief (just like any other adventure game hero, right?) with a penchant for blowing things up or otherwise setting things on fire. So, how does he plan to achieve his lofty dream of migrating to Elysium?

That would be by any means necessary, as long as it is at the expense of others around him (like his best friend Wenzel or his ex girlfriend Toni).

I know I haven't done much of a job of painting Rufus in a good light, here. It's because he really is a horrible character in an otherwise decent game. Besides the occasional stroke of cheesy genius hidden in his witty commentary, there are hardly any redeeming features to speak of.

Couple that with a weird translation (or in some cases, completely untranslated lines that show up in German), and Deponia went from brilliant to simply above average.

For a planet made of trash, the people living in it seem more or less content with their lives, except for the occasional Rufus-incited disaster. The dialogue comes off a bit strange because of the wording choices, but the English voice cast still managed to convey the controlled tolerance that everyone seems to have for Rufus.

Rufus also has some pretty major daddy issues that are never resolved in the course of the story. His absent father left him behind and supposedly tried to get to Elysium, and I am inclined to believe he did make it considering Cletus (a character you'll meet in the third act) looks exactly like Rufus. Maybe Cletus is his clone or something.

Deponia is separated into three major parts (or acts). The first part is arguably the longest, as well as the most head-to-wall-inducing of the three, whether you are initiated to the adventure genre or not. While most of the puzzles are simple, some of the logic behind them is slightly, well, random. Throughout the game though, it was absolutely a rewarding experience every time I moved the story. The cutscenes are fun, and as you get them they appear in the "bonus" section of the main menu so you could watch them again whenever you like. As an added bonus, there are four puzzles that you could skip altogether if you get too frustrated.

Deponia is beautiful. The artwork is smooth and lush, and the animation reminded me sometimes of the kind of thing I'd catch on Cartoon Network. There is usually some sort of movement going on in the background too, which is some great attention to detail. This was all managed without making the environment so busy that you'd end up missing things (or being overwhelmed). 

Admittedly, I got stuck in a few places. It wouldn't be a good puzzler if it didn't stump me, right? But, in this case, I feel like it held back Deponia a little bit. For example: In the first act, there is an instance which requires Rufus to use a pair of hand cuffs to keep a floor board in place. Except the floor board was translated/labeled as a "hatch," which led me to believe it was something Rufus was meant to "open." Obviously, this was not the case and I broke the second rule of adventure gaming: interact with everything in the environment with junk from your inventory until something clicks. (The first rule is: steal everything you can click on with the and icon.)

It's normal to hit some snags along the way, though. And accompanied by an awesome soundtrack, I took Rufus through his story in about 10 hours or so. He even had a brief moment of redemption (selflessness) toward the end there, but all of your sweat and tears eventually lead to a somewhat ambiguous "The End...?"

Do I recommend Deponia? Yes, but that's if you're a fan of the genre. I feel that the uninitiated would find this more frustrating than fun, and I would defer you instead to a more polished title like The Secret of Monkey Island.

Deponia  does bear some resemblance to those tried and true LucasArts games, but it's only in a reminiscent way. And only up until I got to the second and third acts, when all the bad guys suddenly sounded like Stewie from Family Guy using a Dalek voice-changer.

So, there you have it. Completely unlikeable main character, great art, great sound track, questionable translation, and a rough start. Though I may not be replaying it any time soon, I can't deny that it was a breath of fresh air (as weird as it sounds when the story takes place on a literal trash heap).

In case you do decide to play and you get stuck, I hope you'll check out my guide for tips to help you out of trouble. It isn't a complete walkthrough, but I think it's enough.