by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
Mash-Up of an Adventure
The Preposterous Awesomeness of Everything, henceforth referred to as Preposterous, is easily the strangest adventure game I have ever played. The collage art style, coupled with traditional point-and-click mechanics on top of a weird combination of vulgarity and satire make for a strange beast to say the least.
Not that it is a bad thing. Just something that defies quick classification. Really, if there’s one aspect of Preposterous you cannot fault it for it is certainly its uniqueness.
Satire of Human Nature
Preposterous places you in the bare feet of a young, naked man who wakes up on the beach without any knowledge of how he got there (or why he is sans clothes). You are on an island, quickly discovering that there are a bunch of rocket ship parts lying in a clearing mostly untouched by the similarly naked and primitive humans who currently live on the island. What starts out as an attempt to cajole your fellow humans into building the rocket ship quickly turns into a satirical journey through human civilization, from the primitive past to a politicized present to a far flung future in space. Not that the game actually succeeds in doing so.
In practice, the game uses the point-and-click adventure game genre to make a bunch of jokes that eventually form into a surface level satirical critique of modern society. Take a point mid-way through Preposterous, where your character must win an election by making more outrageous lies than the opposing candidates while attaching yourself to a local celebrity. It’s
easy to guess what the game is trying to make fun of, but pointing it out doesn’t make it any less obvious or unoriginal.
Granted, there are brief moments where I chuckled and laughed at the absurdity of what is happening on-screen, such as the arbitrary disco floor / mini bar that the tribe develops soon after deciding to build the rocket ship. But that is more to do with how over-the-top the game is rather than actual humour. Characters are by and large one dimensional clichés who have one aspect of their personality - Byron the jock, Anthony the idiot - and serve little purpose beyond being the butt of jokes. Most of the dialogue is bland, bereft of humour. Though the sheer number of choices means it occasionally succeeds.
The times where the game hits its stride are in its multiple endings, the first of which can be accessed about a minute into the game if you choose to become a complete idiot along with the tribe. They’re often the result of seemingly inconsequential decisions like deciding to make an indie game while you are playing an indie game, but they provide some levity to the proceedings. Especially since the game will helpfully load up the nearest checkpoint should you decide to walk off a plank at the top of tree. This encourages experimentation with dialogue, as I wanted to see what would happen if I chose the sillier options in conversation.
Similarly, the interface is reminiscent of older adventure games, in that you click on options such as ‘Talk To’ or ‘Use’ to interact with the environment. But their are also new options, such as ‘Pray for’, ‘Befuddle’ and ‘Disrespect’ that can provoke a wide range of actions from the characters and inanimate objects. It’s silly, yet remains an fun way to interact with the world.
I can’t fault the world design in Preposterous; the art style makes it stand out from the crowd, and I have no complaints to make about how it looks. Everything looks unique and larger than life, which meshes well with the dialogue and scenario of the game.
But when I look at Preposterous as a whole, I see a game that misses just as often as it succeeds in its jokes and attempts at humour. It remains tied down to a traditional interface that has long since been popular, yet it has re-purposed it for its own, occasionally funny ends. It is a strange game, one that, despite its flaws, will remain on my mind for a little while longer.
Art style, Endings, Sometimes funny
Surface level satire, bland characters and dialogue