In its third year, the Nintendo Switch has gained a somewhat justified reputation as a ‘port machine’, and while games such as Onimusha and DOOM have been welcomed with glee and enjoyment, others have arrived with an Alan Partridge-style shrug and a ‘How Much?!’ shouted from the garden. With that, we have been graced with Deponia, a point-and-click game in which you control the fates of two characters named Rufus and Goal set in the garbage-filled land of Kuvaq, and it’s up to you to reach the floating city of the rich known as Elysium and live happily ever after.
Developed by Daedalic Entertainment, this is a game which was originally released over seven years ago, and alongside their other game, Silence, has been ported to the Switch. Much like Daedalic's other games, you control a character (or two) and watch on as their stories intertwine, while you use a Joy-Con (or a pad of your choice) to progress throughout the game.
As was the case with Silence, Deponia looks amazing, especially when played in docked mode. The animations and the hand-drawn graphics really pop-out on an HD TV, and the level of detail is welcome as you'll have an almost-obsessive need to just explore every screen you walk into. Even at the start – which opens with your toothbrush running away (yes, you read that correctly) – there’s an inexplicable charm to Deponia, making you care about what happens to Rufus and Goal by the time you finish the game.
Having said that, sometimes Daedalic goes too far. There did seem a desperate need to be ‘funny’ throughout the whole adventure, and while at times it did work, many gags fell flat, almost harkening back to when The Simpsons jumped the shark. Still, the puzzles – arguably the most important part of this kind of game – are plentiful and well-constructed. They're very fun to solve and while you do admittedly control a character who is the village idiot, it can still result in some funny dialogue when you succeed or fail these tasks.
This tone is what will almost certainly keep you tuned into Deponia, despite the occasionally flat joke. The fun, the comedy and the fantastic art-style – all of these elements combine to make for a really enjoyable point-and-click adventure. Similar to Silence, the style and charm on offer goes a long way, and there's a curiosity to see just where Rufus and Goal end up next. The developers have said that the subsequent games in the series are coming to Switch as well, which will be music to the ears of long-time fans.
However, this does bring us to the elephant in the room here. Deponia, like Silence, costs £30 in the UK, yet it's possible to get all of the games in the Deponia series (Deponia, Chaos on Deponia, Goodbye Deponia, Deponia Doomsday) at a reduced price on other digital stores (the PlayStation 4 collection of all the games currently retails at £33, but on Steam it has been as low as £4.49). Granted, a physical version on a Switch game card is also available, but it's impossible to ignore the fact that once again, Switch owners are paying a premium for a game which is quite old by today's standards.
Deponia is a fine example of the genre, but there's no getting around the fact that the game's price on Switch will be your main barrier to entry here. It plays well and has that charm that Daedalic is famous for, and it constantly reminds you of the Monkey Island series – no bad thing at all. But when you're able to find the same game for under a quid if you look hard enough – and you take into account that this Switch version has no added benefits – it becomes harder to recommend. You'd be better of waiting for a price drop, or, if you're still interested, investigate if Deponia is available on an alternative platform at a cheaper price.