Ah, Point and click adventure games. When I was younger, before I had my own computer, I played a shit ton of these on sites like Newgrounds, Kongregate etc. Every time I get or hear about one of these games I look forward to the puzzles and adventures that follow. The logical side of things required compliments my cerebral palsy and by extension my lack of mobility perfectly.
But Dropsy just feels crippled (pun intended). It begins right from the intro. When you first start Dropsy it feels as though the person responsible for that level is on drugs. You walk through this twisted universe until you’re sucked in by this creepy clown guy who brings you down into his living room. Yeah, I can’t make sense of that either. That’s where the real flaws begin. You see, Dropsy HAS NO TEXT Everything and I mean EVERYTHING is a combination of confusing diagrams and flashing user interface. Even the speech boards the nonverbal kids at my school use have more text. In addition, with no tutorial, the user is left to their own devices. If you get stuck, too bad. No help or resources are provided by the game itself.
All of this would be overlookable if the game had purpose. A reason to be there. But the game provides none. As for level design, areas don’t seem to fit together as one consistent vision. One moment I’m in a trippy dream the next I’m “talking” to a guy in a chicken suit. It feels like the dev made the set pieces first and then built the game around it. Who knows, maybe the dev said “I had a dream that aliens in chicken suits abducted me. Let’s put it in my game!” Speaking of design. Why are there so many environments? Of the four hours I spent playing I feel like half-an-hour was actual gameplay and the other 3.5 hours were wandering around aimlessly like Moses in the desert. Worst of all, I don’t even have any mana to show for it! There is a map but I’m unsure how to relate it to my current position or where my goal is. The design is very much subtraction by addition in nature. I’d rather have a much more narrow universe with some clue of what the hell to do than this overly large universe that makes me feel handicapped in more ways than just physically.
To be fair to the developers, I was unable to finish Dropsy due to the lack of a clue on how to progress. Dropsy is a perfect example of why a hint system is key to this style of game. If players can’t solve the puzzles, they get frustrated. Frustrated players are likely to want help. If they can’t get it, they quit entirely. Now I know what your thinking: ”Why didn’t DJF just look up the game on Youtube, get a walk-through and use it to make progress?” The answer to that is simple: that requires me to have a reason other than gameplay to give a shit about the universe I’m in. When I look up a walk-through, I do so because either (1) a certain segment is hard and I want to complete it to enjoy the rest of the game and (2) the story is compelling and I want to see the ending to it. Dropsy’s gameplay issues are underlying in its design not a certain part/area. I can’t complete for the story because none has been given. Ever heard the expression “Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes?” In this case a walk-through is a band-aid for the bullet hole that is Dropsy.
On the plus side it is accessible!
$9.99 and if you wishlisted it I recommend you dropsy it ASAP
A review copy of Dropsy was supplied in the making of this review.