Deponia Review – Make Good Your Escape (PS4)

Point-and-click adventure games are exceedingly rare these days, especially on console system. Might have a little something to do with the lack of a mouse for clicking on the PlayStation 4. Daedalic Entertainment has ported their game Deponia to the PS4, however, so let’s see if this is a worthy entry in the genre.

In Deponia, you play as Rufus, a barely-out-of-adolescence adult who is constantly scheming up new ways to escape his home junk planet of Deponia. He gives himself much more credit than he deserves, as you quickly find out. This marks Rufus’ umpteenth attempt at hitching a ride out of Deponia, and into the promised land of Elysium, where a world of supposed endless leisurely pleasure awaits. Naturally, things do not go as planned, and before you know it you are thrust into an unlikely adventure.

Deponia‘s story will appeal to those who love oddly-designed narratives. There’s a full range of characters, from the aloof protagonist who may annoy many with his narcissistic attitude, to the cross-dressing post office worker who has something of a temper issue when people don’t follow the rules. Just like the odd world of Deponia, its odd inhabitants will appeal to those who enjoy exactly this type of quirky game.

Mouse-Free Controls

Controlling Rufus is dead simple, but also cumbersome from time to time. You use the left stick to move around, and the right stick to move a cursor, which will stop at certain points of interest, allowing you to at least look at an item no matter where on the screen Rufus is. Since the cursor can be a bit slow, you can also use the directional pad to move the cursor between all the points of interest on the screen. Deponia doesn’t use the DualShock 4’s trackpad for cursor control, which seems like an odd move, though the button is used for inventory. If you try to interact with an item, however, Rufus will need to actually walk over to the item, which naturally takes some time. Suffice to say, Deponia is a slow-paced game. Action sequences are brief and infrequent, as much of the game involves solving puzzles and gathering items.

The majority of your time with Deponia will be spent walking around, interacting with people, and inspecting and picking up various objects. You’ll combine a few objects together to make something new, and then use that new item somewhere in the world to either unlock some new area of the game, progress the story, or pick up yet another item to take somewhere else. If you’ve played a point-and-click adventure game before, then you know the drill. Sometimes, it’ll take combining two completely unrelated items in order to get exactly what’s needed in order to progress, and it doesn’t always make sense. But that is pretty normal for this genre, because part of the fun is experimenting with all the items in your inventory to see which items will combine.

Certainly Looks the Part

The art style of a point-and-click makes or breaks it, and happily Deponia is great to look at. It would feel right at home with the point-and-click games of the ’90s, with a cartoonish look and feel. Most areas are very finely detailed, with subtle animations peppered throughout the adventure. Since onscreen action is usually pretty limited, the game runs consistently, though given the game’s pace you don’t need particularly fast reflexes in order to succeed.

Every line of dialog is pretty well-voiced, and interactions are usually filled with some cheeky humor. Whether you find the game funny or not largely depends on your sense of humor, so naturally your mileage may vary here. Most areas have some sort of ambiance to them, and there is even background music at key points in the game. There are even animated cutscenes from time to time, to break up some of the monotony of moving from scene to scene.

Deponia is recommended to fans of point-and-click adventure games, since it serves as an adequate point-and-click, and there is little else out there on consoles in this genre. It has a quirky world all its own, but the protagonist may rub some people the wrong way, and he may fail to garner enough sympathy to see the story through to the end. The control scheme can be a little odd using only the analog sticks, but it is capable. If you enjoy this genre, you will likely enjoy Deponia, but there isn’t anything here to woo those of you who don’t bother with this type of game.

Deponia review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.

  • Fun art style
  • Quirky, well-voiced characters
  • Occasionally brilliant item combinations
  • Cumbersome controls
  • Humor can fall flat
  • Protagonist might irk some