It’s evident that change is afoot in Goodbye Deponia, the third and final game in a trilogy of hilarious point and click games by Daedalic Entertainment. Early on in the game we catch our first glimpse of the inside of the Argonon cruiser headed for Elysium. It’s people look relaxed and are enjoying the high life unaware of the fact that people still reside on the planet they are about to destroy. Rufus and his band of stragglers are not about to let that happen however, and even after all his mistakes Goal has come around to his way of thinking too.
From the first moment you are able to take control of Rufus mayhem ensues, not in a frustrating ‘detrimental to the game’ kinda way, but in a wholly expected and welcomed ‘Rufus is back’ kinda way. If you’ve played the previous parts of the story you’ll already know that despite his best efforts everything Rufus touches is ruined in one way or another and the same is evident in the early story and puzzles of Goodbye Deponia.
The game mechanics are much the same as you would expect from Daedalic’s past games and indeed the past Deponia games. Space bar highlights any interactive points on the screen where as the left and right mouse buttons allow you to examine, pick up and use items found on your travels. Considering that this is the final part of three games, I would have expected the puzzle solving to be as hard as ever. Instead during the first few moments you are almost on rails and have only one option to advance. This is soon sorted and the proper puzzle solving kicks off but while the intro is entertaining, it also seems a little weak as far as gameplay is concerned.
As the version I am playing is only a preview and not the final product, there are still issues with sound balancing and missing text/voice from conversations. These are things that I would fully expect to be ironed out in the final product, but could cause frustration if they are missed. Aside from the obvious flaws, Goodbye Deponia actually seems to run a lot faster on my ancient laptop than the previous two games did. Again this could be because of the version but if translated to the final product this would improve gameplay and cutscenes nicely.
Daedalic claim that Goodbye Deponia can be played as a stand alone, without knowledge of the past two games and while they certainly try I don’t believe that you would experience the game properly. Without having that previous knowledge of characters, running jokes and puzzle solving methods many items of information would go way over your head. There’s even a quick run down of the past two adventures, but this for me acted as a jog of the memory more than a serious explanation that would allow an uninformed me to continue with play unhindered.
With all that being said the general feel of Goodbye Deponia is one of high quality care and attention, both in puzzle solving and game mechanics. The world, its characters and intricately hand drawn backgrounds are all still present and there is nothing to say that this wont be as good as the past two games, only time will tell. When all is said and done it really will be sad to say goodbye to Deponia and to Rufus, but at the same time I look forward to the conclusion of many hours of play and a genuinely interesting world.
Goodbye Deponia will be released via Steam and other outlets on October 22nd.
I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a game with a good story, and it’s clear from the get go that The Night of the Rabbit is a game with a good story. From the orchestral music to the intricately hand drawn world, from the solid voice acting performances to the care and attention that has been given to the delivery of the story and its characters. All of these elements create a believable and engaging world that brings me back to my childhood and the excitement and enthusiasm I had for hearing stories of adventure and discovery.
To compare The Night of the Rabbit to any of Daedalic’s previous games would be a disservice to the company as this is clearly a different game with a different message to put across to the player. This particular story tells the tale of every child who grew up with an imagination and a dream of one day doing something amazing with their lives. This story tells the tale of Jeremiah Hazelnut, the boy who dreamt of one day becoming a magician. Little did Jerry know that his dream was not as improbable as first imagined and the journey that he takes in order get there is set in motion by a chance encounter with a rabbit pulled from a hat.
The mechanics and gameplay are much the same as you would expect from any adventure game, a few unique additions in the form of spells and magical items do keep the gameplay fresh however. Along the way Jerry can learn spells that let him turn night into day (or vice versa), see invisible leprechauns or even converse with rocks leading to much hilarity and an inventory rammed with miscellaneous items. The humour is gentle and amusing, appearing often enough to keep you smiling but not so often that you get tired of its tone and direction. This fits very well with the type of story The Night of the Rabbit is trying to portray, not distracting the player too much from its main points but often giving you a line of dialogue to chuckle over.
From the initial scenes of Jerry waking up to discover he still has two days of summer holiday left to the exploration of Mousewood, The Night of the Rabbit really performs well at keeping me engaged in the story. The unravelling mysteries of the forest keep me second guessing the direction of the story and how to progress with the game. Who are the mysterious foxes and lizards seen in Mousewood? Will I ever get to meet the Great Zaroff? And just what exactly is blue juice made from? The Night of the Rabbit is not without its flaws of course and with so many directions in which to venture the pacing of the game does suffer somewhat after the first visit to the town of Mousewood. It’s almost as if the games has its own Inception of puzzles, within puzzles, within… you get the idea.
On occasion one of these puzzles can prove illogical to the point that it slows the gameplay down to a crawl, halting progression and negating from the pleasant atmosphere of the gameplay. There is also an annoying oversight where the in-game journal does not record the information you would expect it to. On one or two occasions this meant I had to cycle thorough a whole riddle multiple times in order to dissect the meaning of each individual part. This on its own would not be such a major problem, but coupled with the before mentioned logical mind-boggling and you can find yourself going round in circles and resorting to trial and error in order to advance in the game.
While I would say that The Night of the Rabbit is clearly aimed at a younger audience, there is plenty here for gamers of all ages to enjoy such as the challenging puzzles and enjoyable world and characters. The game often hints at popular culture giving references to characters like Harry Potter and Mario and the general nostalgic feel of games like Monkey Island will keep 2D adventure veterans thoroughly content. With a play length of 9-11 hours there is plenty of game for your money. On top of the main story there are also collectibles, achievements and a card game that can extend the life of the game beyond even that.
It’s a rare thing that a game delivers such a warm sense of nostalgia and with The Night of the Rabbit being as detailed and well presented as it is, it’s easy to overlook its minor flaws. Even personal irritants such as characters talking over each other and the flawed hinting system seemed insignificant as soon as I entered another beautifully hand drawn area or met another of the games charming characters.
Verdict – Headshot
Platforms Available – PC
Platform Reviewed – PC
Review based on a copy provided by Daedalic Entertainment.
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