If you are still wondering why point-and-click adventure games have made such a strong comeback in the last couple of years, I can tell you at least one of the reasons. That reason is that there are some great tools available that aim to remove the technical boundaries that so often stand in between creativity and execution. One of those tools is 'Visionaire Studio' and it allows Daedalic to create games without having to type in a single bit of code. Truly creative people, visually and literary, can combine forces to create truly breathtaking worlds inhabited with colourful characters, enriching them by authoring captivating stories without ever having to worry about what's going on under the hood. This is what has made the Deponia series the staple of this resurrection and if you ask any point-and-click adventure gamer if he's heard of it, he'll slap you silly for asking a stupid question.
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Goodbye Deponia is the last chapter in the Deponia series and without going into any spoilers, I'll tell you this: you have to play this game. If you haven't played the previous outings, shame on you. Rufus' antics are simply so hilarious that they'll have you switching out keyboards on an hourly basis to dry the tears off the previous one. Sure, the dude is an idiot and he usually ends up messing things up in some way, but somehow things always work out. Douglas Adams wrote in his novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” and I think this quote sums up Rufus' character perfectly.
For the single reader reading this not having played either of the previous Deponia games, the game follows the basic tried and true formula employed by the best games in the genre: right click to examine objects, left click to interact with them, scroll down to open the inventory, and tap space to highlight the interactive objects in the scene. None of that “selecting an action from a menu” crap. Now, I'm an old-school point-and-clicky player, from back when they used to be called point-and-clickies. I remember games that were completely free of sound and where you'd have to choose what to do with the objects, sometimes leading to hours upon hours of trial and error. The genre has come a long way, but I think this whole business of highlighting the object goes a bit too far. For me, at least, it diminishes the sense of exploration I felt when playing the greats such as Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars and Beneath a Steel Sky. Therefore, I simply choose not to use it.
Using the scroll wheel to open the inventory frees your interface from having to have a button to click on and I really like how Daedalic have designed the hotspot cursor to display what you can do with an item. If you can talk to it and examine it, a speech bubble will appear on one side of the cursor icon and an eye on the other. If it can only be examined, the left side will be empty and the right side displays the eye. This will save you a lot of grief when you think you know the answer to something, make your way back to check it out, only to find out it wasn't really interactive in the first place.
The plot of Goodbye Deponia brings back many of the characters you've come to know and love throughout the series in a conclusion you'll undoubtedly enjoy. It doesn’t introduce as many new ones as the second one did, but by this late point in this epic tale, that would be a bit redundant anyway as we're much happier hanging around with our old buddies. There is one scene in the game, however, that I have to cry foul over. Actually, let me reconsider that. I don't know whether to applaud Daedalic for a brilliant reference to an under appreciated gem of an adventure game, or accuse them of plagiarism. In this scene, you are at Bozo's house where his mother, his grandfather, his little brother, and himself set the stage of a sitcom in a “filmed before a live studio audience” style, complete with canned laughter and interaction between our protagonist and the audience. This scene is a clear reference to a scene in Sierra On-Line's Torin's Passage where Torin has to interact with a particularly anti-social family known as the Bitternuts, complete with all the bells and whistles of a sitcom.
The voice acting is as good as ever but, as a native German game, you'll always have those pesky spelling errors in the subtitles which may not bother you that much but piss the living hell out of someone who's spent years of his life mastering the language as his third. That and inconsistencies in the spoken dialogue and its accompanying text are things that seem innate to localised games of the genre. Regardless, the meaning of the utterances always carries and the quality of the rest of the game soon makes you forget about those trivialities.
Auf wiedersehen, Deponia, es war wunderbar
Any fan of point-and-click adventures should already have the previous Deponia games on their Steam accounts. They mark the resurgence of a genre written off as dead and gone by many industry professionals. They are superb games and, although they don't quite measure up to classics such as Broken Sword, they are the best modern example of the life and vibrancy of the genre. Make sure you play the games in order, though, as you're sure to fall in love with the setting and characters as soon as you launch the first game.
Superb hand-drawn backgrounds and characters, brilliant story, good soundtrack, a tried and true gameplay formula.
Localisation errors, animations sometimes break the sense of urgency the game tries to envoke.