Finding a new game to get stuck into can be a difficult thing for any gamer, especially with so many options available to us. For me though, I like nothing more than getting my teeth sunk into a good story, and whilst I’ll often dip into the many racers and online shooters as the year goes on, it’s the story adventures that I remember most fondly.
The point and click genre is a great place to find the best of the story adventures. After all, with Artifex Mundi and Telltale having released multiple story adventures over the years, it’s not like we haven’t been well catered for when it comes to a memorable point and click tale. Recently however, respected developers Dadealic Entertainment decided to begin adding tales of their own to the Xbox One library, with Silence: The Whispered World 2 and now Chaos on Deponia. Is Chaos on Deponia another smashing point and click adventure for us to enjoy though?
For those unaware of the Deponia series, the games follow the adventures of a young man named Rufus on his adventures through the junk covered planet of Deponia. Chaos on Deponia is the second of four games in the series, originally releasing on PC back in 2012, just a few short months after the original. For me personally, Chaos on Deponia’s arrival on Xbox One feels like a bit of an oddity, especially given that the story continues from the events of the original, which is still yet to even arrive on the console – as someone who likes to play through series in order, jumping in halfway through just doesn’t sit right.
In Chaos on Deponia, players continue Rufus’ adventure as he now attempts to escape from his home planet of Deponia whilst winning the heart of love interest, a lady called Goal.
The first thing that caught my eye with Chaos on Deponia was the rather stunning cartoon art style that accompanies the game and the rather soothing soundtrack that goes along with it. Both of these fit into the world of Deponia perfectly, especially given the casual yet whimsical nature of the game.
Just five minutes into the game however and one tutorial later, I’d seen enough about our protagonist, Rufus, to realise that I was about to take on an adventure with one of the most annoying characters ever. Even within the brief tutorial level Rufus spends the vast amount of his time providing smug and self-absorbed commentary to let us know he doesn’t give much time for tutorials. Admittedly, at first, I was finding the unusual nature of such a protagonist rather amusing. After all, it’s rather rare these days that we take on the role of a protagonist who has criticism for everything but himself, but it doesn’t take long for the constant wit and one-upmanship to become old and boring, especially when you realise it’s not just an act for something deeper and instead it’s actually how this guy behaves naturally.
As for the rest of Deponia’s inhabitants, there are many other equally odd characters that you’ll meet along the way, all of which share an immediate distrust and dislike for Rufus, despite putting up with his antics for the most part. Whilst there are many characters that you’ll meet, one thing that stands out is the rather superb voice acting on show. However the lip-synching doesn’t match the same level of quality and often leaves some characters still talking away in silence for a short while after their lines have finished.
A big focus throughout the game is on the number of different puzzles that players will face. The puzzles were often something that caused irritation during my playthrough though. That’s not because they were overly difficult, as most of them consist of nothing more than finding an object and using it elsewhere, or interacting with something in particular, such as a machine. Instead the reason for irritation is that sometimes it can become very easy to get lost.
Deponia isn’t the biggest place in the world, and despite having free-roam between areas, traversing to a particular area doesn’t take long, especially with the in-game maps that can be found and used to fast travel to new places. The reason for getting lost is instead down to figuring out where something you need may be or where things are. For example, to progress through one part, I needed to use a screwdriver that I had found on a specific machine to open it up. However with nothing in particular pointing that out to be the case, I was often found spamming the interaction button on every item I came across just to try and figure out what would go with what. When you look at it as an entire objective, there is nothing particularly taxing about it, and often conversations you have with the many individuals on Deponia can help point you in the right direction, but with so many chats to be had it can be easy to forget just who said what and even what exactly has been said.
All of which really explains the next issue I found – way too much dialogue. With any point and click adventure, you have to expect a fairly large amount of talk, but with every five minutes leading to conversations that are much longer than necessary – and full of needless sarcasm and forced wit – things can quickly become rather dull. Again, this is in large part down to the unlikeable protagonist and his constant swell-headed attitude, but it would have been nice to spend a little more time doing meaningful actions and less of it listening to the constant drivel of Rufus.
Despite all of this however, the story within the game isn’t something to turn your nose up at. It may not be the most exhilarating or exciting narrative adventure, but there’s enough of a pull to bring you through to the end.
Another notable mention is with the controls. Many will struggle to recall a point and click adventure that comes with difficult controls, so it’s always nice to jump in to a game and find the tools are simple enough to pick up and play. That’s the case here too. With the face buttons used for interaction, the directional buttons for item selection and the left stick controlling movement, there is nothing to fear when it comes to accessibility.
Aside from the irritating protagonist, and the over-extended conversations, Chaos on Deponia isn’t a bad game. There are a few occasions in which you’ll be piecing together different things thanks to this being the continuation of a previous adventure, but for the most part it runs along smoothly. For those with patience and time for plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour, Chaos on Deponia will prove a more than satisfactory point and click adventure. If you want something a little more serious however then it’s fair to say this isn’t the game for you.