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Chaos on Deponia in Review

Chaos on Deponia is Daedelic’s second entry in their Deponia series, a series of point and click adventure games set on the titular trash planet of Deponia. Coming in cold to a sequel, like I did with this one, is never an easy thing to do, and there certainly were a few things I had to research so as to not be completely in the dark, but eventually the game’s sense of humor and hate-him-but-love-him main character Rufus won me over. If you’ve never played a Deponia game, but enjoy humor and strong puzzles, take the plunge and give Chaos of Deponia a try. A delightful world of trash awaits.

Much like in the first game, Rufus spends most of Chaos on Deponia in an effort to get off of Deponia. You can’t really blame him, Deponia being a planet of trash, however this time, there’s the added urgency of the planet’s imminent destruction at the hands of the Organon, a race of metal bearded, Stormtrooper-esque people that guard the nearby Utopian planet of Elysium.

Rufus’ plans to get off of Deponia all revolve around Goal, the Elysium woman who fell from the stars and landed on Deponia in the first game. Goal’s main problem is that her memory implant is on the fritz and her personality has been split into three different parts, Spunky Goal, Baby Goal and Lady Goal, many of whom do not like Rufus and all of whom don’t remember Goal’s life with her fiancee Cletus. More importantly, they don’t remember how Cletus was in league with the Organon.

The main thrust of the story focuses on convincing Goal’s three separate personalities to come with Rufus and be reunited so that Goal and Rufus can prevent the destruction of Deponia. As this is an adventure game, you’re going to be spending a lot of time clicking on things and trying to use them on other things. The game allows you to identify the environmental hotspots in any given area, so pixel hunting is kept to a minimum, but unfortunately, any streamlining done to the individual areas is somewhat undone by the Deponia’s structure itself.

Maybe I’m just not used to playing recent adventure games, but I’m used to my adventure games being a little more linear. Go to a new area, grab stuff, figure out how to use stuff and then move along. Deponia consists of several different neighborhoods, all with little sub-areas to explore and your quest to reunite Goal’s personalities will take you across all of these areas. The problem is that, unlike in an RPG where you can prioritize quests and possibly focus your efforts, here you’ll talk to people all over Deponia, learning things that may or may not be important for what you’re trying to accomplish, but definitely will be important at some point. Ditto for picking up items, although with a persistent inventory, at least you can easily see what Rufus is carrying around with him to refresh your memory.

Granted, this structure may work well with other players, but I know that I felt overwhelmed and with the ability to switch Goal’s personalities at will, it’s very easy to learn a whole bunch of information that’s not relevant to the personality you’re currently working on. I certainly appreciate the ability to switch between goals if you get stuck on a puzzle pertaining to a certain personality, but I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. Once Goal’s personality is dealt with, things become a bit more linear and the game picked up pace on the way to the end game. This game is definitely very top heavy, with the majority of your adventuring time spent on first of the game’s three chapters.

Rufus continues to be the same selfish, lunkhead that you love despite the laundry list of bad personality traits. It certainly helps that the game is frequently hilarious and much of that humor focuses on Rufus’ inability to complete even basic tasks without screwing it up, often times incurring copious amounts of property damage as a result. The tutorial uses this to hilarious effect, teaching the player about the game’s system by having Rufus trash the apartment of an elderly couple sitting nearby, a couple having an argument over how dumb and destructive Rufus can be. The game has an odd sense of humor at times, including a downright odd preoccupation with platypuses, so the humor doesn’t always hit the mark, but even so, it’s still pretty dang funny.

Those looking to have the situation with Deponia and Elysium wrapped up with a bow will be disappointed, as this is only the second game in a planned trilogy, but given the short amount of time between the previous entry and this one, I suspect we won’t be waiting long to see how Rufus completely screws up the fate of Deponia in the next game. Despite coming to the series late, I quite enjoyed my time with Rufus and am looking forward to spending more time in the platypus laden trash paradise of Deponia.