The ending of Deponia paved the way for a sequel, and whaddaya know… a mere three months later, here it is. Everything we enjoyed about the original is back, and there’s more of it. In the name of expediency (and to cut down on the word count), why not take a moment to check out to bring yourself up to speed… all done? Good, let’s proceed.
The game opens with the same tutorial from Deponia, its main aim being to acquaint you with the slick interface, and its clever use of the mouse wheel to access the inventory. Items stored within can be combined to form new objects, which can then be applied to one of the game’s many puzzles… but more on those in a minute. As an added bonus for those who played the previous title, we also get to see the game’s protagonist, Rufus, get squished once again.
The game’s wacky, slapstick humour grabs you from the outset, as Rufus manages to botch a simple task with catastrophic consequences. In the foreground, two elderly characters discuss his newly reformed character, oblivious to the chaos and destruction behind them. Speaking of characters, there’s a whole slew of interesting new faces to meet, and many of the old ones reprise their roles as well.
The storyline picks up where Deponia left off, and expands on it. We learn why the Organon – the villains of the piece – want to blow up Deponia. A sense of déjà vu descends when Rufus damages Goal’s memory implants, and spends the rest of the game trying to fix her up. His task is complicated by the fact that she’s exhibiting a form of multiple personality disorder, and Rufus must somehow merge them to make her whole again.
Cue the new map, with its increased dimensions. This time around the setting is a floating black market, and there are at least twice as many ‘trash palace’ locations to explore. Scattered throughout the game, like a well laid minefield, is a generous helping of puzzles and minigames – the latter of which you can skip if you like (but why would you?)
Some are fairly straightforward and can be solved in seconds. The majority are moderately challenging and require a little experimentation, perseverance, and maybe a dash of blind luck. A couple of puzzles can only be described as weird, inhumane, and illogical, and one in particular may test your capacity for frustration to the max – and let’s not mention the skyrocketing blood pressure. To carefully tread that thin line between handy hint and spoiler, we have only this to say: you’ll have to think outside the game screen to solve it.
Visuals and accompanying music (complete with bearded balladeer) are of the same style and quality as we saw in Deponia, and are of an equally a high standard. However, some of the spoken dialogue does not appear onscreen as text, and – grammar police that we are, we noticed quite a few typos, too. While this probably happened in translation from the original German, it’s not a good look. A little more care in this area would have been appreciated.
In summary: you’ll get at least another 12 hours’ playing time from Chaos on Deponia, which is relatively good value for the US$20 investment. To experience maximum enjoyment, though – and it is a genuinely enjoyable game – we recommend you first play through the original. If you don’t, some of the in-game references will go over your head, so it’s not a bad idea to start at the beginning. You wouldn’t read the second book in a trilogy before the first, would you? Of course not… ’nuff said.
It’s guaranteed to provide you with a few good belly laughs, plus some genuine brain teasers as well. And here’s a happy thought: if Daedalic maintains their current rate of production, it shouldn’t be too long before we are treated to a third instalment in this entertaining series.