Humor is difficult to do in video games. Adventure games have an advantage as they lean more heavily on their story than their mechanics, but it’s still hard to make your audience laugh when you have no idea if they’ll get stuck on a puzzle between setting up the joke and delivering the punch line. Daedalic manages it, though. The whole experience is a joy, for both newcomers to the series and veterans of Rufus and Goal’s quest to save their junk planet from being destroyed by the citizens of Elysium above.
For starters, the tutorial does exactly what it should. It introduces new players to the game mechanics, starts off with a few simple puzzles to get the brain going, and it starts the experience off with a joke that will be appreciated by both new and returning players. As you progress things will get harder. Puzzles will require travel across numerous screens, the use of many items, and a decent amount of logic to figure out. In many adventure games this is where everything comes to a grinding halt, but Goodbye Deponia injects humor and character-building into moments where the plot can’t carry things because you’re in the middle of a puzzle.
Mis-clicks out of frustration are a given in most adventure games. Here, they’re entrances to great sight gags and jokes. You’ll also learn some great things about the different characters in between story beats, which takes some of the sting out of being stuck and rifling through your inventory in an attempt to stumble upon the solution and understand it after the fact. And when you’re not pointing, clicking and solving puzzles, Goodbye Deponia features a few minigames to keep things fresh. They’re not for everybody, but I appreciated the change of pace. If you’re one of those who would prefer not to mix Surgeon Simulator into your adventure, all of them can be skipped without penalty.
Goodbye Deponia, like the first two entries in the series, is beautiful. Every environment looks hand-drawn, characters all look unique, and the whole thing feels like playing a well-produced cartoon. To go along with the stellar aesthetic, every character is well-voiced and the musical selection is great. Every bit of the world Daedalic has created feels alive, which makes it stand out all the more when the curtain gets pulled back. Visual stutter crept into the experience occasionally, and transitions to and from minigames often take long enough to load to make me nervous that I’d encountered a freeze (though it never got there), and repeated lines are noticeable.
Goodbye Deponia doesn’t really feel like a conclusion. Despite the name, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another Deponia title in the works, and this installment is good enough to make you go back and experience the first two chapters again as well.
Pros: Great cast of characters, genuinely funny
Cons: Visual stutter, long loads that feel like freezes