More Indie Games: The Deponia Trilogy

There was a substantial Steam Sale a few weeks ago for the games of Daedalic Entertainment, and that was reason enough to buy a whole bunch of new games. I wound up playing through the Deponia trilogy, which is a trilogy of point-and-click adventure games set on the fictional world of Deponia. To be honest, this is the first time I’ve actually dedicated an article to games that I haven’t really enjoyed. As point-and-click adventure games, they were fine, but just being technically fine is not really enough for me to really say that it is a good game; point-and-click adventure games are not technically daunting and have been perfected decades ago. So not particularly impressive on its mechanics.

 

Ah, Steam, your sales are always so wonderful to browse (and sometimes pick up all three Bioshocks for $15)

Ah, Steam, your sales are always so wonderful to browse (and sometimes pick up all three Bioshocks for $15)

But what about its plot and characters? Those are surely important in any point-and-click adventure game. To be fair, the plot and characters of the Deponia trilogy are at least interesting ideas. I actually liked the plot of the trilogy. The characters… well the developers took risks when making them, and some of them were good, and some of them eventually fall flat.

 

In the Deponia trilogy, you take on the character of Rufus, an “inventor” hell-bent on leaving the junkyard planet of Deponia to the paradise known as Elysium. His plans have all failed previously, and his friend and ex-girlfriend are getting tired of his mooching. Anyway, the player, as Rufus, goes about trying to get to Elysium and winds up messing up… again. Only this time, he stumbles onto the main plot of the game, and perhaps more importantly for him, Ms. goal, a lady from Elysium trying to save Deponia.

Goal was a far better character to have a story about...

Goal was a far better character to have a story about…

... but unfortunately shes mostly stuck in this, both literally and matephorically, for most of the trilogy.

… but unfortunately shes mostly stuck in this, both literally and metaphorically, for most of the trilogy.

 

The biggest risks the trilogy takes is with its two leading protagonists, Goal and Rufus. In terms of character design, Goal was a very likeable character. She’s proactive, has a clear goal throughout the series, and has a outspoken, assertive personality. The problem the trilogy has is that her likability is wasted on playing second fiddle to Rufus. She is put through a good bit of grief because of our idiotic protagonist, and is reduced to being some kind of odd love interest, damsel in distress, and occasional kind-of obstacle. I think that the entire series could have been focused on Goal and probably would have made a better story.

And then there's THIS asshat

And then there’s THIS asshat

 

Rufus, is for all intents and purposes, an asshole. Self-centered to the point of narcissism, he is a near-constant burden to everyone around him, and even though he does show some goodness (he eventually does work to save Deponia, although why may not be entirely altruistic.) he also shows signs of being a jerk to friends, family, neighbors, potential love interests, and just about everyone he meets. As well, I did have to change my evaluation of Rufus from jerk to asshole when he makes a joke in the final installment of the trilogy, Goodbye Deponia, that was in bad taste at the least, and simply insulting at the worst. Either way, it was not a funny joke, and mostly just waiting to insult possible players.

 

All in all, this entire trilogy was kind of forgettable. While there were some interesting risks taken, there is little that turns out well with their risks. I suppose the best part of the Deponia trilogy was the aesthetically attractive drawn backgrounds and character models, and the comedy played out with the villains (Cletus, one of the characters looks disturbingly like Rufus, has some entertaining interactions) was good for a few laughs. However, the comedy, which this seems to have been written for, misses a lot of opportunities, especially in Goodbye Deponia.

These are pretty, at least.

The game’s wallpapers are pretty, at least.

 

The most damning thing about this trilogy was that it never escaped mediocrity for me. I finished Deponia in one sitting, but after taking a break in the middle of the second installment, Chaos on Deponia, I found it a little difficult to get back into the game. I wound up finding games and other things that held my attention more. Limiting this to only games, first along came Age of Mythology: Extended Edition, which is a thoroughly more entertaining game from a decade ago. Then there is the usual trawling through the internet to find and play interesting Skyrim mods, and then along came Ubisoft’s Child of Light, which I honestly fell in love with. Child of Light is now one of my favorite games, easily higher than most games I’ve played. I hesitate to write about it, simply because I feel entirely too biased with how much I enjoyed Child of Light, and I do want to see if Colin McMahon, my editor and essentially my boss for Red Rings of redemption, has input when he finishes Child of Light. Until then, unfortunately, I can’t recommend the Deponia trilogy, because it ultimately was a mediocre and forgettable trilogy.

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