[Review] Chaos on Deponia – Nintendo Switch

Written by Paige Detlefsen
  • Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Publisher: Daedalic GmbH
  • Release Date: 29/11/2019
  • Price: $19.99 / £17.99
  • Review code provided by Daedalic GmbH

Welcome (Back) to Deponia

Split personalities. Class warfare. Weird platypus obsessions. Chaos on Deponia has it all. The first Deponia was an excellent point-and-click adventure game with lots of humor and engaging hand-drawn animation. Its sequel, Chaos on Deponia, takes that loveable wit and artistic design to all new levels. And if you haven’t played the first entry, don’t worry. This is still a standalone adventure, and the game gives you a nice little recap, too. It’s that rare follow-up that improves on its predecessor in nearly every way, even if it can sometimes feel a bit too familiar.

Down and Out in Deponia

Once again our protagonist is Rufus, the arrogant (but somehow endearing) doofus who loves to tinker with stuff almost as much as he likes to steal it. After a few wacky missteps, Rufus runs into his old love interest Goal. The two aren’t reunited for long before Goal’s consciousness is divided into three separate parts. Rufus must convince each part to come together and journey with him to Elysium, that paradise in the sky, and save Deponia once and for all. Along the way, players can encounter a wide assortment of oddities: a demonic god of fast food named Mc Thulu, a dwarf living inside of a jukebox, and a sentient machine that’s trapped its creator and shacked up with the creator’s wife. If that sounds weird to you, it’s because it is. And while Chaos in Deponia is weird and wacky, it also has an engaging story with zany characters, lots of laughs, and a fun steampunk aesthetic.

Point and Click Misadventures

Chaos on Deponia is a point-and-click adventure game. This means puzzles–and lots of them– but it also means backtracking a lot to find necessary items and to talk to the many denizens of Deponia. You can also combine items you find to create new inventions, which can then be used to solve puzzles that keep you from advancing. And while the game does a decent job of giving you hints when needed, you’re still going to need to use your brain fairly often. A few of these puzzles are too easy and a couple are pretty frustrating (for instance, the mini-game that involves ordering takeout options until you end up with a free fortune cookie). Overall, though, the puzzle design is pretty solid.

The game is also fairly quick. It’s a well-written story that I managed to beat in about ten hours, which feels like the perfect amount of time for a game like this. If you’ve played the first entry, then some of the puzzles, characters, and narrative beats may feel too familiar for you. I’ll admit, Chaos on Deponia sometimes suffers from being too much like its predecessor. If this is your first time visiting this dystopian world, though, then you won’t mind it at all. I only have two real issues with the gameplay. One is that sometimes the dialogue (and, specifically, the dialogue repetition) can feel tedious at times when you’re having to exhaust every dialogue option in order to advance the story. Second, as in a lot of point-and-click games I’ve played, I grew a little tired of all the backtracking in order to find the correct items or gather clues. At one point, there are several puzzles involving platypuses that feel the same, and I got a little tired of doing this four times in a row. Other than that, the gameplay runs smoothly between puzzles and character encounters.

Toons and Tunes

As I mentioned before, Chaos on Deponia features hand-drawn animations and designs. As someone who grew up watching cartoons in the 1990s, I immediately felt nostalgic and right at home. The makers of the Deponia series listed Matt Groening as an influence, and that would be obvious to anyone who’s watched Groening’s Futurama, since so many characters and locales in Chaos on Deponia seem inspired by it. However, the game makers do a decent job of created homages rather than rip-offs. Either way, I’m a huge fan of the game’s cartoon aesthetic. The art style also fits perfectly with the game’s humorous world. This humorous world is also enhanced by the music, which is upbeat and quirky. The music perfectly conveys the comedic story. And while we’re on the subject, the humor is another highlight. Although, certain jokes (especially the ones about suicide) feel pretty tonedeaf. Mostly, though, the offbeat humor is fun and silly. Everything about Chaos on Deponia seems made to put a goofy grin on your face.

A Fun, Wild Ride

I had a great time with Chaos on Deponia. The characters were enjoyable, and I found myself cracking a smile almost constantly. Despite a few minor frustrations with backtracking and what felt like endless dialogue options, Chaos on Deponia was a fun, wild ride. It is, after all, a game that pretty much begins with the hero tying himself to a saw blade strapped with explosives–and it doesn’t let up much from there. Fans of point-and-click adventure games will love it, and newcomers to the genre will likely be drawn in by its quirky art style and humor. While this is the second game in the series, it still serves as a great standalone adventure. Hopefully, we’ll get other games in the series on the Switch soon. I’d love to visit Deponia again.

Pros

  • Wonderful hand-drawn animation
  • Humorous world and characters
  • Plenty of puzzles to solve

Cons

  • Some dialogue bits can get exhausting
  • A lot of backtracking

Verdict
Despite a few minor issues, Chaos on Deponia is an excellent point-and-click adventure game that is sure to appeal to both fans and newcomers of the series.
4/5

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