Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Daedalic Entertainment

Publisher:    Lace Mamba

Released:  July 2012

PC Requirements: 

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz (Single Core) or 2 GHz (Dual Core)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB RAM
  • DirectX®:9.0c
  • Hard Drve:5 GB HD space
  • Sound: DirectX compatible
  • Walkthrough   Additional screenshots





    by Becky


    Deponia is a planet and a giant garbage dump. It once contained a flourishing civilization, but the wealthy upper classes emigrated to a place called Elysium, far above the planet's surface. The people left behind have adjusted to their fate, building homes and businesses out of spare parts, and making the most of scarce resources. Far above them is a monorail system in the sky, on which immense garbage scows from Elysium ride, dumping trash as they go.

    "Your wacky plans have never done anyone any good." Gizmo

    The game focuses on Rufus, a slacker in the Deponian town of Kuvaq. Rufus sponges off his ex-girlfriend, Toni, who has a small shop from which she sells anything reminiscent of a ball and chain -- anchors, locks, cacti and hooks. Rufus spends his days tinkering with "found" treasures from the dumps. He refuses to find a real job or perform boring domestic chores. Sometimes his contraptions result in fantastic failures that annoy his neighbors (the more annoyed, the better he likes it). Rufus periodically conceives elaborate plans to escape Deponia and make his way to Elysium.

    The story in Deponia begins as Rufus makes his latest escape attempt, during which he encounters Goal, a blonde orbit pixie who has fallen from a garbage scow. Rufus' efforts to return Goal to Elysium turn into a madcap adventure complete with an evil doppelganger, a speedy mine bike, anchovies, and Organon Storm Troopers.

    "Rufus has poured cod liver grease into the water supply." Parrot

    This game’s visuals are cartoon-like with conglomerated flakiness. Everything is rickety, stained, and patched together. Mountains of garbage trail off to the horizon. Each environment contains ambient animations -- acid dripping, lizards and rats frolicking, broken gadgets buzzing by. Surprisingly, these garbage-strewn environments are not depressingly ugly, but are full of bright colors and whimsical details. Deponia feels like an authentic world, despite its oddities.

    The animated characters in Deponia are smoothly rendered and appealingly eccentric. Hannek, for instance -- a construction boss who never lets explosions interrupt his coffee break. And Gizmo, the android-like geek who transforms into a policeman, a fireman, or a medic. The dialogs and personality quirks are humorous and engaging. The voiceovers are excellent -- especially that of Rufus, voiced by Kerry Shale.

    "My beard sonar has gone to red alert." Organon Trooper

    Deponia was developed by Daedalic Entertainment and designed by Jan Muller-Michaelis, who also designed Edna & Harvey: The Breakout. Like Edna & Harvey, the game channels the spirit of classic LucasArts games such as The Secret of Monkey Island. The boxed version includes a well-designed, full-color manual.

    This is a point-and-click, third person perspective adventure. It contains a smart cursor that allows you to either examine objects/people or interact with them. The interface is more streamlined and is a distinct improvement over the “multiple actions medallion” interface presented in similar games.

    Each game chapter is introduced by a minstrel who warbles about Rufus' adventures, backed by a chorus of staccato grunts. As the story progresses the background music is varied, including tunes appropriate for frontier adventure films and wacky electronic music supplemented by creaks and clangs.

    The Bonus section contains all the game’s cutscenes that have already been viewed during gameplay. This is a helpful feature to review the plot -- especially the ending cutscene which has something of a twist.

    "I intrigue myself, what wickedness can I perpetrate now?" Rufus

    Most of the challenges involve zany yet logical inventory uses and combinations. Partially correct attempts based on the right idea are rewarded with encouraging comments -- a nice touch. Pressing the spacebar reveals all exits and hotspots.

    You’ll also encounter a handful of mini-games, which can be skipped if you are seriously stuck. I confess to skipping the pigeon challenge, a puzzle which made sense in some far-off way that I never quite grasped (though I did love the subsequent business with the bubble wrap).

    Several lively and inventive puzzle sequences include the hospital/firehouse/jail cell switcheroo, the cotton candy flavors, and the rejuvenating espresso concoction.

    At the game’s conclusion, the puzzles become more frustrating. The story arc is intriguing enough that I had become immersed and curious, and the difficult ending puzzles slowed down the plot progression. I wanted to know if Rufus was going to be the hero or the goat or both. I didn’t (for instance) feel like using trial and error to discover the ridiculous way he tried to fix the brain implant cartridge.

    The pacing near game's end was really the only aspect that doesn't click on all cylinders in Deponia -- a quibble which becomes minor when compared to the game’s outstanding, unconventional charm. I hope we see more of Rufus and the world of Deponia in future Daedalic endeavors.

    Quick List for Deponia

    A tumble-down cartoon world filled with wacky characters, that manages to redefine "dystopia" as something whimsical and amusing. Introducing Rufus -- an accident-prone inventor who longs for the best things in life (as long as he doesn't have to work hard to get them). Colorful, cartoon-like graphics.

    Third person perspective, point-and-click interface. The spacebar shows all hotspots. Mostly inventory puzzles, plus mini-games, most of which can be skipped. The most difficult puzzles involve the multiple steps needed to distract the telephone operator, and figuring out how to get the mine bike into the correct location. No sliders, one top-down maze, no color based puzzles, no sound based puzzles. One mild timed challenge. You can't die.

    Good writing and excellent voiceovers. Plenty of dialog, which can be clicked through. An entertaining story with surprising character growth. Occasional spicy language. Appropriate for teens and up.

    No problems with installation; no glitches. Unlimited save slots. About fifteen hours of gameplay.

    Aimed at fans of the LucasArts classic adventures, and gamers who enjoy an absorbing story laced with strong dollops of the absurd.

    Final Grade: A-

    What I played it on: 

    Dell Studio XPS 8000

    Windows 7 Home Premium

    Intel Core i5-750 processor


    1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220

    Soundblaster X-Fi


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    August 2012

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