Trash. A world of trash. Heaping mounds of trash, stacked on other mounds of trash, laying on mountains of trash. That's right folks... welcome back to Deponia. Chaos on Deponia is the second installment in a trilogy of point and click style adventure games starring Rufus, the dashing, egotistical, and amazingly inept protagonist, and his “girlfriend” Goal, a daughter of Elysium (read: Huge Orbital Starship) who is attempting to stop the Organon (read: Bad Guys) from eliminating all life on Deponia.
Exactly like it's prequel in every way, Chaos on Deponia is point and click adventuring at both its finest and its worst. We have a huge inventory, innumerable, inane items to collect and combine, and people/objects/platypus to interact with. We have a vast world to explore, logic puzzles to solve, and absolutely no way to no what we're supposed to do next.
Wait, what? But, Brian, this is an adventure game. You're supposed to click on everything, combine everything, and throw everything you're both combined and not combined at everything you can click on but not pick up until you progress. That's what point and click adventuring is you nincompoop.
Yeah I know that. It's been this way since point and click evolved past “Pick up orange” style command lines. But it's time for an update. Now, I'm not talking about a GPS style line, leading me along by the nose to the next step, but a simple log, maybe detailing, I don't know, what the heck is going on, would be useful. At the very least, it might keep me from constantly having to retrace my steps, wondering if I really did click on that junk pile, or if I used the Meat Popsicle in my inventory to lure out the hungry ferret who in turn will bite my pants leg which will lead to me using them as a pastry bag with which to dispense icing on to a cake for the mayor's party (This isn't a real example.. but it could have been).
For all those purists that made it through that last paragraph wanting to string me up by my pastry bag pants, Chaos on Deponia is probably the best adventure game I've played in a long while. It's completely serviceable at what it does, and even contains more then one chortle out loud moment that makes the journey through the “adventure” portion of the game worth taking for fans of the genre.
For all the bile I just laid out on the game play style of Chaos on Deponia, it is a truly gorgeous game. The backgrounds are stunning, all the characters are interesting and vibrant going about their cartoon-y world, and outside of a little choppiness in some of the cut scenes (I blame my computer for this and not the game), it ran smoothly and consistently the whole time. Environments are pretty varied, even in the Floating Black Market, which serves as the game's largest playable area. My favorite, visually at least, was the North Pole. It's bright white snowy back drop was so distinct among the rest of the trash filled world, that it was a real surprise to see it included.
If you like point and click adventure games, and enjoy laughing, you'll get a kick out of Chaos on Deponia. It's a light, funny story, with some classic zany antics and interactions. The developers went out of their way to throw in tons of pop culture references, my favorite of which is an appearance by the Lost numbers.
That being said, and as you have probably figured out by now, I have issue with the elongated style and reward loop of the classic adventure system. When it works, you feel like you've conquered the world, having just beat the developers at their own game. When it doesn't work, it can become an almost hopeless series of backtracking and clicking, listening to the same dialog or seeing the same sites until either something clicks, or you get lucky enough to stumble upon the correct sequence of events. A log, or even a hint system, hell, anything pointing you in the right direction would go a long way to resolving these issues. Point and clicks have already taken a huge leap forward out of the days of the pixel hunt with the advent of the “space bar to highlight” system, and I don't think a log would be really be asking to much.
For what it is, Chaos on Deponia is... well... it's an adventure game. If that equals fun to you, then I have no question that you should invest in this series, as there are hours of good times waiting for you. If you're not a fan, then I amazed you've read this far, I gladly thank you for it nonetheless, and invite you to peruse some of the other articles on Darkstation.com in the hopes that you'll find something more enjoyable.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!