Stranded on a world that's literally one gigantic garbage dump, the adventurous Rufus dreams of escaping his sub-lower-class life to live among the world's elite in a gleaming floating city in the clouds. He'll probably kill himself first, the idiot.
Adventure gaming fans will surely recognize the name Daedalic Entertainment, the creators of gorgeous hand-crafted games like the Edna and Harvey series and The Whispered World. In an industry where much of the big money comes from 3D blockbusters, this German developer keeps the 2D point-and-click dream alive in masterful fashion.
What traditional adventure games lack in action they make up for in character and story, and Daedalic's latest effort, the wonderfully bizarre and twisted Deponia, is a prime example. Only in a point-and-click could such a completely hopeless and hapless figure rise from mediocrity to slightly less mediocre, and nowhere else would his incredibly slow and low-to-the-ground meteoric rise be so damn entertaining.
The game begins with Rufus attempting to cobble together his latest attempt to escape the trash heap he lives on. It actually seems like an exciting place to live, but our hero's living situation isn't exactly idyllic. He's shacked up (in an actual shack) with his girlfriend Toni, a mean-spirited, chain-smoking store owner that would probably be a lot easier to live with if Rufus had some sort of job and wasn't technically her ex-boyfriend. Toni's only source of amusement is watching Rufus damage himself attempting to get away, which makes the whole situation depressingly familiar.
After gathering the usual array of convoluted adventure game equipment necessary to make his rocket escape pod launch, Rufus' rocket escape pod, of course, malfunctions, stranding him on a passing ship from the shining city of Elysium. His goal within reach, Rufus throws it all way to save a beautiful Elysian princess named Goal, and by throw it all away I mean throwing both of them off the ship, right back where he started from.
Back in the trash pile the townspeople have found the unconscious woman and men are lining up to harbor the refugee in their homes. No one believes Rufus' side of the story — he's the town's explosive and dangerous laughingstock. And so he sets about to helping Goal wake up and rescuing her from any trouble she might be in. And if that gets him a one-way ticket to the city in the sky, then so be it.
But then he goes and falls in love with her unconscious body.
The first in a planned trilogy of games that I like to think of as the Rufus Saga, Deponia is sharp, pretty and quirky-as-hell, just the way I like my point-and-clickers. The pacing is a bit off, especially considering I've spent a good couple of hours attempting to brew a simple cup of coffee-like substance, but the fact that I'm attempting to brew it via an ancient espresso machine complete with a joystick and piano keyboard makes it completely worth it.
Deponia — $19.99 [Steam]