Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about. Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.
A lot of people might say that Adventure games went through their golden era back in the early days of the games industry. Sierra’s point and clicks, coupled with titles like Myst, were the titans of their time. Heavy on atmosphere and relatively light on game-play (at least, by standards at the time), these games emphasized problem-solving (and extremely lateral thinking) above anything else. The death of Sierra’s adventure franchises coupled with the general lack of mainstream appeal most of these games possessed meant the franchise would eventually fade into obscurity as gaming moved on to bigger and better things.
Lately, these games have been enjoying a resurgence, with incredible titles like The Walking Dead, Machinarium, and To The Moon. Better graphics make for more immersive environments, and Daedalic Games’ Deponia is a part of this grand new pedigree.
In Deponia, you take the role of Rufus. Full disclosure: he’s not a nice person. Quite the contrary; Rufus is a clueless, self-absorbed egomaniac who also happens to be an idiot savant inventor. He’s obsessed with getting out of the junk-filled town of Kovaq, which he attempts to do through increasingly outlandish means. Something always goes wrong, of course, and his efforts usually wind up with him severely injured and something (or several somethings) exploding.
Understandably, people in Kovaq don’t really like him much (though he, of course, doesn’t realize this).
That isn’t to say that the residents of the town are particularly pleasant, either. Most of them have eccentricities of their own, ranging from severe laziness to mind-boggling stupidity to arrogance that rivals even Rufus’s. Combine that with the fact that Kovaq is situated on the trash-covered world of Deponia (essentially, a planet-sized trash heap for the affluent orbital society of Elysium), and it’s understandable why someone would want to escape.
Eventually, one of his attempts – which nearly succeeds – ends with an Elysium woman named Goal crashing down into Kovaq, and Rufus once again half-conscious in a pile of junk.
What follows is an entertaining comedy-of-errors, as Rufus desperately tries to return Goal home (in hopes, of course, that she’ll take him with her). Rufus, while he’s a bumbling idiot, has an odd sort of cunning, and somehow manages to be comical whether he’s succeeding or failing.
Gameplay-wise, Deponis is a pretty traditional point-and-click. Mercifully enough, most of the solutions to the game’s various puzzles don’t come straight out of left field, meaning you can work them out with a bit of logical and creative thinking. There’s a few fun little mini-games, as well.
My biggest problem with Deponia is the quality of the voice-acting. Don’t get me wrong, the actors they employed are all fairly decent, it’s just that the sound design on the acting…isn’t. More than once, I found myself cringing at the sound quality (Toni, Rufus’s ex, is particularly bad for this).
That’s a minor quirk, though. Aside from that, Deponia is pretty awesome. Even if you’re not a fan of adventure games, I’d recommend giving this one a try, if only for its off-color sense of humor.