by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
It is about time
How long can an Internet web comic from 2005 remain popular enough to justify spreading its insanity across the internet? Cyanide & Happiness sets out to answer this question with, of all things, a point and click game: Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse.
For those gamers not in the know, Cyanide & Happiness is a long running web comic that went to the South Park school of comedy: simple designs and inappropriate humour. Naturally, this means that Freakpocalypse is not for the faint of heart or weary of soul, so mild-mannered gamers with a penchant for tamer online games may not find it to be their cup of tea. On the other hand, those fans of Cyanide & Happiness or other similarly styled comedy will probably find Freakpocalypse to be right up their alley. Because of the divisive views on this type of humour, this reviewer will be counting it as both a pro and a con since fans will probably love it, but it won’t draw out any more of an audience than they already had.
Fly the Coop
Gamers take the role of Coop, an imaginative and unpopular ginger high school student who finds that his desire to end up the hero of his own story may end up being a lot closer than he may have expected. During the early stages of the game, it is revealed that some things may be… off in his hometown of Netherton. Even beyond the usual brand of off that Cyanide & Happiness excels at.
Like most point and click adventures, Freakpocalypse encourages exploration of the map, helped by jaunty tunes and quippy remarks on the interactable objects. Although many don’t actually serve any purposes in pursuing the main storyline or any of the side ‘chores’ that involve trying to help out other people in Netherton it is the sort of comedy that will make you either giggle or cringe. That being said, ‘trying’ is the key word here, since Coop’s results can often leave much to be desired. For example, getting a marker for a guy who huffs them or ruining a date to fix a janitor’s broken marriage, Coop certainly… ‘helps’, but quite a few people in Netherton certainly wish he wouldn’t.
Having a laugh
The humour of Freakpocalypse, while not for everyone, can leave people relating to it or chuckling often, even if it isn’t to the gamer’s tastes. This can be seen in events such as having Coop struggle to insert a USB drive, flip it, and then find that somehow it had been right the first time. This small example is just to show that this game is rife with comedic tones, so even if the usual shenanigans of Cyanide & Happiness isn’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty that could wet your whistle!
Strangely, the world of Freakpocalypse can actually feel too interactive in many cases. Coop has the ability to look at, touch, or talk to almost everything in his town. At times it can be incredibly hard to actually find the items that are needed to progress through the main story or particularly the side-quests. The ‘Hint’ feature in Coop’s journal can be a big help in mitigating this issue, but gamers will still need to be on the lookout for items that stand out from the background. Many puzzles will involve a very roundabout process that takes quite some time to get back around to the original objective. This isn’t exactly new to point and click games, but the simple aesthetics of Freakpocalypse can work against the player since items that are needed don’t particularly stand out like they do in older point and click games. As such, gamers will need to rely on hints and environmental cues, particularly involving wording of the hints and some simple (or in some cases, not so simple) logic.
In all Freakpocalypse is a point and click adventure filled with shenanigans that captures the dark, twisted soul of Cyanide and Happiness impressively. It breathes life into the genre once again through its satire tinted lens on the world. If any gamers love humour that ranges from dark to gross with everything in between, then Freakpocalypse is poised to deliver.
Jaunty music, creative world, South Park style humour
Almost too interactive, South Park style humour