When I first sat down with Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) it immediately took me back to secondary school and my time of playing flash games whilst pretending to pay attention in I.T. lessons. As it turns out the game is based on a webcomic from way back in 2005 which has since spawned adaptations across print, TV and boardgames. Good to see my instincts are still spot on then.
Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) is the first fully fledged video game for the franchise, also marking its debut on home consoles. After many years of delay, the game was initially released on PC and the Nintendo Switch back in March this year. The game has finally made its way to Xbox, but was it worth the wait?
Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) is a point and click adventure, which retains the series’ trademark divisive humour which is certainly close to the bone at times. You play as Coop, who is picked on by almost everyone in his hometown of Netherton. His primary aim is to find a date to accompany him to the high school prom.
Things start off pretty exciting, but before long a rug pull in the form of a dream sequence slows the pace right down. Unfortunately Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) retains this pedestrian pace pretty much throughout the entire game, which feels a little disappointing as running errands isn’t as exciting as fighting evil as a superhero. Still, this is the first part of a trilogy, so there is hope for the future.
Your trusty diary helps you keep track of your chores, which you will need to complete to progress. There are numerous optional side quests you can pick up by chatting to the peculiar residents of Netherton. If you become stumped (which will only rarely happen) you can also access quest hints here too. Your diary also holds a handy map, achievements list and costume gallery which you can use to dress up as you find hats, shirts and more hidden across the town. Coop can get naked, dress as one of the cool kids, or even as a chicken, all thanks to numerous outfits waiting to be found.
Your trusty backpack houses your inventory. Items available to be picked up often stand out just slightly more than their surroundings, and once you acquire them, you can examine, combine or simply use them if you have figured out when to do so. A slight frustration of mine was each item not showing a description as you cycle through your backpack. Instead, you needed to examine the less obvious items to check exactly what they were, especially when trying to figure out when they needed to be used.
The good news is you can pretty much point to, and click everything on screen. You can choose to inspect, touch or speak to people and objects even if you know it’s the wrong thing to do. This is actively encouraged, as it’s the best way to discover the many secrets in Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1). However, this repetitive style of play won’t be for everyone, and it will depend on how engrossed you are in the story as to whether you will stick to the main quest or even see it through to the end.
Despite the somewhat underwhelming action in Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) it does have a rather wicked sense of humour which will certainly split opinion, but is true to the source material. There are a lot of pop culture nods, numerous examples of breaking the fourth wall and almost every character has a literally humorous name. Gags such as never being able to insert a USB stick the correct way around on the first try or Coop stating you never learn anything from video games are witty examples of this. I certainly felt I was the target audience, and as a result found Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) pretty funny for the most part.
Despite the daft cutscenes and wacky voice acting, this is not a game for kids. Colourful language and adult themes are present throughout, and often manifest in a crude and distasteful way. However, this is very much in the style of Cyanide and Happiness and what fans of the series will be expecting. Regardless of its faults, this is a game made very much with its fan base in mind.
Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (Episode 1) marks a steady start for the trilogy that leaves room for improvement. You’ll almost immediately know if this weird but sometimes wonderful adventure is one which suits your tastes or not.
Visit the Xbox Store to pick this one up