Dropsy is a point-and-click adventure that although is heavily inspired by the classic pixel art adventures of old, gives a fresh take on the genre by giving players more freedom to take on the puzzles within its open world and delivers a text free experience that forces you to solve puzzles through an innovative use of visual clues rather than the traditional text-based dialogue trees.
The world of Dropsy is one that I originally met with extreme caution, straight away I was met with a sad yet, quite terrifying looking clown looking on as a deadly circus fire tears apart his world. Flames licked up every side of the circus tent that Dropsy calls home and these events result in the unfortunate death of Dropsy’s mother. As I began to play the game my original grave thoughts quickly diminished as I learn that the lovable titular character only wants what is best for everyone. The game picks up after quite some time has past; Dropsy hasn’t yet gotten over the fire and it is clear he has been troubled by it ever since, experiencing terrifying nightmares every time he sleeps. His named still tainted by all that happened and his father suddenly falling gravely ill, Dropsy with the help from some lovable companions will need to travel around helping those in need and hugging everyone he can so he can become the successful clown he once was and help out his dying father.
It is quite evident that Dropsy is a troubled individual; a childlike mentality wrapped in an adult body is handled incredibly well throughout Dropsy’s 5-hour story. The way Jay Tholen and the team at A Jolly Corpse tackle these issues is to allow us to see the world through Dropsy’s perspective. His inability to converse with others, read signage and understand what people are saying flows into the gameplay allowing for the dialogue-free interactions. Dropsy only wants what is best for everyone and despite that most of those around him still hold a grudge for what happened, he will go out of his way to make them happy.
Dropsy’s beautiful pixel art design pays homage to the point-and-click adventures of old. Along your journey you will meet a whole cast of weird and wonderful colorful characters, ranging from the supernatural, those not from this world and even a few angsty teens. Dropsy’s small open world is rife with variety; deserts, forests, farmland and mines are all present, which allows for some diversity in the puzzles and characters you will face along the way. Partnering the impeccable pixel art is an outstanding score. Dropsy’s soundtrack is jam-packed with both upbeat and somber tones that set the tone incredibly well. Having the option to the collect cassette tapes that are littered throughout the world also adds to the already excellent soundtrack.
As eloquently described by those who developed the game, Dropsy is a point-and-click hugventure. Dropsy’s main aim is to make people happy. Littered throughout Dropsy’s open world are a bevy of unhappy individuals that you will be tasked to try and figure out what you can do to help them which will hopefully result in a great big hug. Dropsy will have a few fluffy companions at his side who well help him get to places or objects that he wouldn’t usually be able to interact with. Apart from the main story it is entirely up to you how many people you choose to help out, scattered across Dropsy’s bedroom wall are drawings of those you have made happy and gotten a hug from, and it is up to you whether you want to go through the world and get the bare bones amount of pictures or fill that wall up by making everyone in town as happy as they can be.
There is an interesting day and night cycle mechanic within Dropsy. As you move through different areas of the map, time starts to tick away eventually heading to night when things become a little different. Some locations or characters are only available during certain times, for instance the record store is only open when the sun goes down, or the homeless drunk who sleeps throughout the day can be seen begging for change at night. This dynamic adds a unique twist on the puzzles making you explore your options from different angles. Despite the no text approach breathing new life into the standard point-and-click puzzle solving unfortunately it doesn’t completely work one hundred per cent of the time. It wouldn’t be a classic point-and-click adventure without the obligatory obtuse puzzle or two, and taking the standard text-based clues out of the mix I can definitely see some people having some trouble with the more imperceptive puzzles.
Dropsy’s take on the point-and-click adventure strays just far enough from the classics to provide a fresh look into the highly revered genre. Telling a beautiful tale of a troubled individual’s path of redemption. Dropsy will do everything in his power to help his loved ones as well as all those around him. Despite the lack of dialogue making some of the more obtuse puzzles more difficult to understand than they probably should have been. This purely visual clues aspect, the freedom of choice and the day night cycle provide the game with some intriguing and unique puzzles.
This review is based on a review code of the PC version of Dropsy developed and published by A Jolly Corpse, Tendershoot and Devolver Digital.
- Beautiful pixel art
- Great soundtrack
- Unique spin on point-and-click
- Some obtuse puzzles
- No dialogue can complicate