Every once in a blue moon the gaming Gods decide to be kind to us all. They made sure the right team was assembled, their leader was not some madmen out for world domination with his social theory-esque game design, and a simple format has been used that results in multiple games being made in rapid succession. Chaos on Deponia is one of those games.
Deponia is a game that cannot be written about (originally I tried singing about it). The story is silly, the puzzles are incredibly crazy, and at any given moment someone is destroying the 4th wall while making jokes about movie clichés, then heading directly into a Broadway musical number. What’s insane about all of it is that this game still has moments where it takes itself seriously. These jokes and puzzles weren’t just created to make up for some failed misgivings, oh no, it’s all connected to the plot. Even the most mundane minute aspects of the story are connected to the plot. Some of it turns out to be a reflection of their culture. This is a game that will assuredly make you laugh (a lot) while also making you question what can be considered a videogame. Does a videogame need lots of clicking? Lots of shooting? A serious story? A not so serious story? Elemental guardian platypus? I’d like to think Deponia is its own unique game (that is a sequel no less) that doesn’t necessarily need any other games played ahead of time for people to love and understand it. It is pure satiric gold of the greatest caliber.
Obviously no game is perfect. Every once in a while I didn’t understand some puzzles until after they were solved, and some of the puzzles required me skipping them since the tutorial process was a poorly explained set pictures on the side of the wall, but since I can be rather dense to puzzles sometimes I imagine this is an issue that won’t be shared with the general public. Most of the players who bought the first game have stated they have had solid improvement from title to title so I imagine the third game will likely have no issues what so ever. When the puzzles did make sense they were a lot of fun. The puzzles usually were all tied to something you needed to do to get to a location, continue the plot, and in some cases even revenge. These puzzles run all gambits of intelligence; some were set in psychology, some were tossed in for memory challenges, and we even had a linguistics puzzle on how to make someone with an accent say something correctly for comical effect. These puzzles were handled incredibly well, and none of them can be really be accused of being too difficult or challenging than other puzzles. They ran the entire gambit and I really can’t nitpick them for my own shortcomings.
In my world, a game that manages to tie together all aspects of itself into the story is following what I consider to be world maker philosophy. This is a belief that only games like Mass Effect 2, Bastion, and Persona 3 and 4 have ever been able to enter. Deponia may not necessarily be pushing a huge plot about an outside attacking race or some nasty story about the darkness in people’s hearts destroying the world, but their entire studio knows exactly what they are doing. Everything in this game from the jokes, to the views, to the music, to animation sequences are all carefully planned. It all screams a message that Deponia is a land most foul filled with quirky characters that all hate Rufus with the fire of a thousand suns, and Rufus at the end of the day shall turn their homes into burning metal deathtraps with the purpose of saving his long lost love from making some mistake that he thinks she’ll regret for the rest of her life. He’s shallow, He’s pathetic, and I have to admit I liked it all quite a bit.
Chaos on Deponia Review Score: 8.5/10
A copy of Chaos on Deponia for the PC was provided to the reviewer for the purposes of this review.