I’m a huge fan of adventure games, and whilst I’ve been a little down on them in the last few years I’ve been secretly pining for a meaty, funny one in the vein of classic LucasArts games. When a friend recommended the Deponia series to me shortly after the first’s release I was really excited, but I never played past the first; something just didn’t click!
However, with the release of the series on Switch it felt like an ideal time to pick up the latest entry in the series and try it again; Goodbye Deponia. The saga began in 2012 but has been ported to a number of platforms over the years. As a primary note, I honestly wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into this one if you haven’t already played the first two – Deponia and Chaos on Deponia – as it pretty much jumps straight in where the previous entry ended and struggles to explain the world too well. However, all three are relatively similar in tone, so if after reading this you like the sound of it, jump into the first.
Goodbye Deponia is set, as you’d imagine, on the planet of Deponia. The planet is a dumping ground as your adventure begins, covered with trash and rubble. At one point in its history, the world was partially abandoned by the majority of its inhabitants who ascended to a floating utopia called Elysium. Since then the surface has been assumed to be uninhabitable, but a small number of humans have continued to survive in their post-apocalyptic settlements as rubbish continues to fall from the city above. It’s a unique and interesting setting that lends the series a steampunk aesthetic and which gives characters a lot of depth.
The first and second games showcased the early adventures of Rufus; a misguided young man with high aspirations who has somehow ended up as a folk hero of sorts. As Goodbye Deponia begins, Rufus is travelling along a monorail with his companions on a quest to stop the inhabitants of Elysium from destroying the planet. Rufus is a typical adventure game protagonist; naïve, cocky, inept, but with a heart of gold. He is very much a steampunk Guybrush Threepwood; if a little more sure of himself. Whilst he can sometimes come across as obnoxiously self-confident, this lends itself well to the disaster comedy which the Deponia series does so well. Accompanying him at the start are his girlfriend Goal, “pirate captain” Bozo and the engineer/scientist mentor Doc. Goal – a former resident of Elysium – gets the most screentime, and comes across as confident, intelligent and caring. She isn’t the deepest female character I’ve ever seen – she’s no Elaine Marley – but her perspective often helps the player understand the disconnect between Rufus’ perspective and that of the people of Elysium.
The antagonists are also quite compelling, with the most interesting being Cletus. Physically almost identical to Rufus, he is his magnetic opposite in most other ways and this lends them a unique dynamic in their interactions. His motivations are clear – to retrieve Goal and get back to Elysium so the planet can go KABOOM – but his portrayal as an obnoxious posh-boy who is naïve in his own right is pretty compelling.
I won’t go into the story of Goodbye Deponia itself, but as you would imagine it’s a continuation of Rufus’ planet-saving quest. The narrative is surprising and has a couple of decent twists; even if I do feel the ending comes out of no-where and feels a little unfulfilling. The journey there however is excellent and full of cinematic and hilarious moments. Goodbye Deponia turns the slapstick up to eleven, with Scooby-doo style chases and repeatedly spinning lovers galore! The humour is spot on, and whilst it won’t be to everyone’s taste I thoroughly enjoyed the sarcastic and bizarre dialogue alongside the strange but satisfying visual gags.
As with most point-and-clicks, Goodbye Deponia tasks the player with solving a number of quirky puzzles through picking up objects, navigating conversation trees and slapping things together until you find something that works. The interface is simple and gives you the choice between interacting and inspecting; it’s graceful and works well, so why change it? On the Switch you can either move Rufus near things to interact with them or simply move a cursor using the stick, so players of all preferences should be happy.
Of course, Adventure games are nothing without decent puzzles, and luckily Goodbye Deponia delivers challenging but straightforward puzzles for the most part. Most of the time you will be combining objects together, but occasionally there is another kind of puzzle to mix up the experience. These aren’t always executed perfectly, but it’s fantastic that they decided to vary the adventure in a number of different ways. As with all adventure games you will encounter the occasional “purple monkey dishwasher” puzzle – one with a random solution which makes little sense – but these are pretty minimal. Yeah, I was stuck for a while a couple of times, but there aren’t any huge stonkers to shout about.
The steampunk aesthetic is beautifully realised and looks right at home on the Switch. The cartoon art-style is tonally consistent and does an excellent job of showing the contrast between different areas of the game. Lines are crisp and pleasing, with a striking and high-quality feel. Sound design is also excellent, with voices convincingly performed and musical composition which adds levity and gravitas in equal measure. I particularly enjoyed the short bardic interludes between chapters!
All in all, Goodbye Deponia is a fantastic continuation of the series and a worthy successor to the 90’s classics. It’s a charmingly executed game with some fantastic characters and solid puzzles. Yes, the plot isn’t going to set your world on fire, but the people and places you’ll encounter on the journey well make up for that and I’m sure fans of LucasArts adventures will find plenty to enjoy.
Goodbye Deponia can be purchased here for £17.99
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch Version of the game
Goodbye Deponia is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Developers and Publishers Daedalic Entertainment
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More chaos, more destruction, more Rufus. Not one, not two, but three Rufuses cause all kinds of crazy mayhem in the long-awaited adventure comedy Goodbye Deponia!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 17.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut