Chaos on Deponia

August 13, 2013

Daedalic Entertainment have been called the ‘LucasArts from Germany’, and it’s not hard to see why. Their point-and-click adventure games certainly evoke memories of LucasArts’ early efforts, particularly their Monkey Island series. Although the point-and-click genre has largely died out since those days, Daedelic are doing a good job of making it relevant once more. The original Deponia was a big success, receiving worldwide praise for its writing, interesting setting, and fun characters. Daedalic’s team are a hard working bunch, and less than a year after the first game’s release, they’ve got the sequel finished and ready to download from Steam. As a direct sequel, Chaos on Deponia looks to take what the original established, and build on it in a meaningful way. It succeeds.

Chaos on Deponia follows the misadventures of Rufus, the slightly crazy, egocentric, yet well-intentioned protagonist from the original Deponia. He’s a resident of the titular planet, Deponia, the surface of which is largely covered by junk. Putting it simply, Chaos on Deponia covers the second part of his quest to help Goal, a beautiful young lady from the neighbouring planet Elysium. Goal has a brain implant which stores her personality, as well as some rather important access codes which are highly sought after by the evil Organon. Shortly after the story begins, Goal is involved in an incident which damages her implant and leaves her personality split into three distinct pieces, each on its own cartridge. There’s the haughty Lady Goal, the tomboy Spunky Goal, and the adorably naive Baby Goal. Rufus needs to convince each of these pieces to come together to form a whole personality again. It won’t be easy, but that proves to be only the start of his problems… Needless to say, the premise is a fun one, and Rufus’ eccentricity is infectious, you can’t help but like the guy.

The writing is sharp, and the game covers a wide range of humour. There’s puns, slapstick, logical fallacies, and plenty of wordplay. It’s a real comedy of errors, and the fourth wall is often shattered, starting from the minute that the game begins (with an amusingly tongue-in-cheek tutorial). Although the game’s pacing can be a little slow, particularly during the first chapter, it nevertheless manages to introduce enough new challenges to keep players engaged. The game’s puzzles are often creative (even making use of the options screen at one point!), and rarely frustrating. Rufus’ unique approach to puzzle solving provides an interesting framing for these challenges. Over the course of the game, you’ll see him fire a platypus egg from the roof of a building (using a makeshift slingshot), command a squad of torpedo-launching dolphins, and much more. The ony downside is the game’s couple of mini-games, which could really benefit from some extra explanation. Fortunately, the game does give you the option to skip any mini-game, but it’s unfortunate that players may feel that they need to use this feature. Making your way to the end of the game should take around 10 hours, but depending on your knack for puzzle solving, your mileage may vary.

As amsuing as Rufus’s antics are though, he can’t carry an entire game by himself. Fortunately, both he and the world of Deponia are backed up by some goregous visuals. Chaos on Deponia’s artwork is charmingly hand drawn, well detailed, and displayed in full HD. The game’s environments are a real pleasure to look at, and the high quality of the graphics really adds to the game’s appeal. It’s hard not to fall in love with the world of Deponia as you explore all its nooks and crannies, which are full of personality. You’ll find creative junk-based architecture and over-the-top characters at every turn. The game also features a fair number of animated cutscenes, which work well to illustrate the story (particularly the action scenes), as well as mix things up visually.

Chaos on Deponia‘s characters really help to keep the world engaging, and they’re one aspect of the game that truly shines. The people you meet and interact with don’t just feel like one dimensional NPCs, they’re well fleshed out, and always colourful. The accompanying voice acting is of a high quality too, and quite enjoyable across the board. Rufus and Goal’s voicing in particular really stands out, with Rufus pulling off punchlines with aplomb, and Goal’s actor doing a great job of making each part of her personality feel like a character of its own.

All of the above is very important, since the game doesn’t do anything particularly new from a mechanical stand point. It’s the same point-and-click adventure game that you’ve played in the past, point here, click there, and hope that your thoughts match up with what the game intends for you to do next. The inventory screen is cleverly hidden, only appearing when you use your mouse’s scroll wheel, but the screen and the way you interact with it are the same old thing. You can combine certain items, and hear a short description of them, but there’s nothing special to it. Just like the narrator in their previous release, Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes though, Rufus has heaps of different lines for when he tries to combine various inventory items. This kind of attention to detail is definitely appreciated. They’re often quite funny, and one of them is even an Easter Egg, turning out to be a line taken directly from Edna & Harvey. It’s a nice little inside joke for those who play Daedelic’s other games.

Overall, Chaos on Deponia is a perfect example of how to create a strong point-and-click adventure game for a modern audience. As a sequel, it looks even better than the original, features larger areas, and has stronger writing to boot. As a standalone game, it’s simply bursting with personality, full of colourful characters and creative puzzles. The humour is fresh, and strongly delivered by a great cast of voice actors who manage to bring life to a world full of trash. Deponia is a great place to visit, and if the game’s premise appeals to you at all, then this is one game that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.


Enjoyable, humorous story | Beautiful HD artwork | Creative puzzles


A couple of slightly confusing puzzles | Mini-games could use more explanation

Overall Score: