Daedalic Entertainment seems to be getting better at what they do—creating point and click adventures—with every new game they release, and there is no clearer example of that than the Deponia trilogy. The first game, Deponia, was good, but a bit rough around the edges with an unlikable protagonist in Rufus, a slowly developed storyline and a lack of a hint system. The second game, Chaos on Deponia, improved things a lot with a much better plot and interesting gameplay mechanics. Now the final game in the series, Goodbye Deponia, is available and it is the best game in the trilogy and a worthwhile conclusion to the series. Not only does it have the strongest storyline of all three games (it even manages to make Rufus somewhat likeable), but it also plays better with a steady difficulty curve and some interesting new mechanics.
From Deponia to Elysium
In Goodbye Deponia the player once again takes control of the fallible Rufus, the conceited, self-indulgent yet endlessly creative resident of Deponia who wishes nothing more than to escape his junkyard planet and live alongside his supposed girlfriend, Goal, in Elysium, a floating city. But Rufus has evolved considerably over the course of the trilogy, and in Goodbye Deponia we finally get to see how many sizes his heart has grown. With the fate of Deponia in his hands and Goal frequently surrounded by danger, Rufus is torn between his selfish desires to reach Elysium, and a surprising strong motivation to protect his girlfriend and the home he never wanted.
Although I truly disliked Rufus as a character in Deponia, he grew on me during the events of Chaos on Deponia. Now, in Goodbye Deponia, the impossible has happened: Rufus has become somewhat likable. As this is the conclusion to the storyline, it’s appropriate that it contains the greatest conflicts for Rufus to overcome, and he does so with more depth of character than I thought him capable of. I have to give Daedalic Entertainment a lot of credit for making something out of nothing. Ironically, that’s exactly what Rufus does throughout the series.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Rufus once again manages to solve most of his problems by utilizing whatever garbage happens to be lying around, either on its own or in combination with other objects. Such is the gameplay of a point and click adventure, and Goodbye Deponia is no exception with its variety of useful tools such as caffeine lollipops, mothballs and vampire platypus eggs. The solutions Rufus discovers are not only ingeniously creative, but also dangerous and destructive. No matter how clever his plans, he always manages to cause trouble, and the more trouble he causes, the further the player gets in the game.
Pixel hunting for Rufus’ useful items throughout Goodbye Deponia is a pleasure thanks to the beautiful artwork and animation that Daedalic Entertainment provided. There’s also a handy interface mechanic where pressing the space bar highlights objects that can be interacted with. Sadly, if you get severely stuck, you will have no choice but to search for a solution outside of the game, but I found that the majority of the game could be completed without too much external help.
In Deponia and Chaos on Deponia there was a bit of a problem with getting stuck from time to time. This was in part due to the lack of a hint system, but also due to how the difficulty scaled throughout those games (or maybe I was just bad). Basically the puzzles were spread out over very large areas, even early in the game, to the extent that a point and click adventure novice—or even a more skilled player—might struggle to find the solution. In Goodbye Deponia, there is a much more balanced learning curve presented to the player. The first half of the game is a series of small areas with puzzles that are not too difficult to digest and solve. Then in the second half, it gets more challenging with larger areas and a couple of trickier mechanics.
As if one Rufus wasn’t enough
In Chaos on Deponia, the unique aspect of the gameplay was dealing with Goal and her three split personalities. In Goodbye Deponia, it is Rufus who we get a triple dose of. For reasons I would not dare spoil, the player ends up in control of three separate versions of Rufus, and that of course has a huge impact on the game’s puzzles. Though each Rufus is in a different area, they are able to interact in subtle and not so subtle ways. Sometimes when one Rufus solves a puzzle, it will change something that affects another Rufus. Eventually they find a way to exchange items as well, further complicating the puzzles.
Of course, with Rufus being the selfish person he is, it can be quite funny to see one Rufus talking to another one, as both of their egos do most of the talking. “I want to be the hero!” “No, me!” In fact, Goodbye Deponia has a great sense of humor throughout. It’s by far the funniest game in the series. It seems Daedalic Entertainment has gained a greater sense of comedic timing, and it makes all of the slapstick work a lot better. There are also a couple moments of morbidity that may or may not earn a laugh depending on your sense of humor. The dialogue is improved as well, not only for Rufus, but for a huge cast of supporting characters that are all a lot of fun to get to know. Even the most insignificant characters have a great deal of personality, and the voice talent throughout the game does a great job of bringing these characters to life and further enhancing the gags.
But it isn’t the comedy that makes the storyline of Goodbye Deponia work, as much as it adds to how enjoyable the game is. It is instead the unexpected drama which works surprisingly well in such a lighthearted environment that elevates this game above its predecessors. Though I won’t spoil the specifics, the ending in particular resonated with me, bringing the series to a proper close and defining Rufus as a worthwhile character when all was said and done. I can think of a dozen clichés to describe Rufus’ evolution, but all I really need to say is that I’m glad I went on this journey with him, despite a bumpy start out of the gates and a couple of untied loose ends.
Overall, the Deponia trilogy impressed me more and more as I spent more time with it, and Goodbye Deponia elevated the series to its highest point. I am happy to recommend all three games to any fan of point and click adventures. I am sad that this particular series has come to an end, but I can look forward to playing more point and click adventures from Daedalic Entertainment in the future. But for now, it’s goodbye, Deponia.
Ari completed Goodbye Deponia in 11 hours. He received a copy of the game from Daedalic Entertainment for review purposes.