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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Final Grade: A-
What I played it on:
Dell Studio XPS 8000
Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel Core i5-750 processor
6GB DDR3 SDRAM
1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220
GameBoomers Review Guidelines