After playing Deponia, the first game in this series, I was hopeful that the continuation would improve in the mechanics and that Rufus would be less of a horrible person. The good news is, Rufus never fails to disappoint at disappointing me, and I think I hate him more now than I did after the first game.
The bad news is I don't think Chaos on Deponia improved on anything, or felt like much was achieved in the 12 hours or so it took me to complete.
(attention: some spoilers ahead!)
Chaos on Deponia takes place directly after the end of the first game. Goal is taking off to Elysium after dumping Rufus back on Deponia, and he's already devising a new plan to get back up there. He makes it, and wrecks the escape pod in the process -- and they both plummet down. Goal's implant is damaged, and her personality is split into three pieces of her personalities into three separate cartridges.
This seems like it might be an interesting premise, but then Rufus has to spend most of the game trying to persuade each part of Goal's personality (Lady/Snobby Goal, Spunky Goal, Naive/Baby Goal) to go back to Doc and have a procedure done to fix her back how she was. The bigger problem is Rufus has to do the usual manipulative song and dance in order to get those tasks done, and though I wasn't really offended by any of the antics, I didn't find them funny, either. In order to switch between parts of Goal's personality, he gets to use a handy remote so she can be adjusted at will.
One of the themes of the first game was Rufus' daddy issues. I thought I'd get some closure on that with Chaos on Deponia when we actually meet the old man. He's just as much of a jerk as Rufus, and more so; you'd think they're related! Except that bit is left ambiguously open and nobody seems to be in a hurry to answer whether Seagull is Rufus' biological father. After the end of the game though, I have a new theory. I believe that Rufus and Cletus are related (twins), and their real father had to give one of them up. Or maybe the real father is an ass and didn't want to raise more than one kid. Whatever the case may be, Seagull denied being Rufus' parent twice, so maybe the question will be answered in the third game.
Toni made a triumphant return in this game, and there's a bonus achievement for ticking her off to the point that she quite literally kills Rufus. The only problem with this bit is the name of the achievement. Either way, it's nice to see her as a part of the story, though it's kind of annoying she's still portrayed as this cranky witch. Of course, we know she's bitter because Rufus is a dolt -- I just hoped she'd be happier, especially since he found her training dolphins in the hideout of the resistance.
Speaking of dolphins... there was definitely a 100% unnecessary bit in the game that actually had Rufus kill baby dolphins. Seriously?
Chaos on Deponia doesn't advance the plot. If you want to skip it altogether, I could just give you the two crucial bits of information right here (stop reading until the end of this paragraph if you want to keep spoiler-free): Elysium isn't a planet -- it's a ship that's supposed to transport the "elite" to Utopia. The problem is that Deponia needs to be ka-boom'd in order for them to get enough power to make it. It's a Catch-22 situation in which nobody wins. The other thing is, Goal does go back to Rufus on Deponia at the end of the game. The only reason she does is because Rufus is perceived by her to be the "lesser of two evils." Rufus wants Goal for all that she is, while Cletus was happy to have Lady and Baby Goal at his side, and let Rufus keep Spunky Goal for himself. She would have been incomplete.
[end major game spoilers]
I don't particularly recommend Chaos on Deponia, even if you love adventure games. The puzzles aren't intuitive and the big middle chunk of the came is a fuster-cluck of tasks that don't properly lead into each other. Some of the solutions I came across were purely accidental and others didn't make sense at all. There's even one clever puzzle that involves adjusting the actual game settings (I gotta hand this one to them - clever).
The ending wraps up nicely and as with the first game, the music and environments and animation are A+. I just wish that the jokes were halfway funny and that I didn't, once again, spend most of the game trying to figure out how to manipulate three pieces of Goal.
If you're sensitive about the mockery of people with physical disabilities (blindness, speech impediments) and blatant sexism, then my non-recommendation goes double for you. I still think the baby dolphin thing sort of topped everything, particularly because it just wasn't funny. I am of the mind that when it comes to comedy, nothing is sacred. But that will only help you if you're actually funny.
If you are, like me, a completionist and you liked Deponia enough to want to continue the series, then by all means, play it! There are plenty of bonus achievements you get for doing silly things, and you even get to kill a Gondolier who can't sing to save his life. Reviews were kind of mixed for
Chaos on Deponia, and I understand some folks thought it was pretty amusing, too (namely, one of my colleagues over at Destructoid). Be sure to read a couple others before making a final decision.
Despite the setback with this middle game, I will continue on to play the final installment in the series. Once that one's out you can check back here for my thoughts and another guide!
Buy and download the game on Amazon: