Dropsy Is An Adorable, Grotesque Open-World Adventure

By Nathan Grayson on October 25th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

That's clown makeup on the puppy's face. Not, um, blood. Unless Dropsy's clown makeup is made of blood, which is entirely possible.

Dropsy is a clown. A very, um, not nice looking clown. I think I love him. He has a puppy and he draws his own, poorly painted face on everything – including said loyal canine companion. TV and my nightmares tell me that ours is a world full of sad clowns just trying to get by/devour my heart with crooked, yellow teeth, but Dropsy is an irrepressibly joyful clown in a sad situation. His family’s circus has been burnt to the ground, and he’s gone from local, animal-whispering hero to scrap-collecting outcast. His game, then, is a point-and-click adventure that wields sorrow in one hand and gut-busting humor in another, with a fascinating open-world structure gluing everything together. The personality is strong in this one. Hit the drop to have a look-see at Dropsy.

And for those who think, “Open-world point-and-click adventure? But, but… how?” and then become violently confused and enraged, kicking and screaming and biting and frothing blasphemy, here’s this:

So it’s not, say, Skyrim or Just Cause 2 or what have you, but it’s a daringly open structure as far as these sorts of games go.

And the rest? Well, it goes something like this:

“Dropsy is an open world adventure game with an emphasis on surreal atmospheric elements and environmental storytelling. It extracts the humor and rich narratives from classic adventure games and places them into a unique exploration based framework. You guide Dropsy, a perpetually carefree clown (ex-clown to be precise) through a richly detailed world full of colorful characters and sinister secrets.”

“Dropsy subverts the traditional tendency of game protagonists to be destructive forces in the world. Instead of slaying enemies, Dropsy’s innocence and kindness act as a catalyst for redemption. Dropsy doesn’t recognize anyone as his enemy, and will lovingly embrace them whether they like it or not.”

He’s far from a typical hero, and the game’s core systems reflect that. For one, Dropsy is almost entirely text-free, with dialogue instead represented by not-always-understandable visual icons. The idea is that Dropsy is out-of-place in his world, and you should – to an extent – come to understand how he feels. But he also loves everyone and everything, and humor abounds. There are so many clever little details, too. I mean, look at the inventory screen. That’s brilliant.

Dropsy’s now on its third go at Kickstarter, but the first was nearly negligible and mainly served to get things moving with some basic software. The second, however, asked for $25,000 and fell short, so this one’s set its sights on a much more modest goal of $14,000, and it’s already a decent chunk of the way there.

I like what I’m seeing, despite the fact that Dropsy himself still very much terrifies me in an existential fashion. I know he’s a beautiful, gentle soul, but clowns, man. Clowns. Perhaps, however, I’ll be able to get over my debilitating lifelong phobia by October 2014, which is when Dropsy’s set to drop.

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34 Comments »

  1. The Dark One says:

    Love the in-pants inventory system.

    • ditar59 says:

      my co-worker’s half-sister makes $83/hour on the laptop. She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $21331 just working on the laptop for a few hours. visit this website ……. http://goo.gl/G40gh3

    • -funkstar- says:

      The in-pant-ory!

  2. HairySammoth says:

    Wasn’t Dropsy an old Something Awful choose-your-own-adventure?

    *rummages on internet*

    Yes!

    • Shooop says:

      I almost lost it at painting the dog.

      If that’s the kind of thing we can expect from the game then I’m all for it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

      I remember being part of that, but can’t remember which forum it was on. It was a glorious moment in internet history, at least for me.

  3. Armatool says:

    meh

  4. LionsPhil says:

    This looks interesting, but that “open world full of hints that make the solution smack you in the face” thing is honestly offputting.

  5. yusefsmith says:

    I miss the days when game reviews were about games you could actually get today or soon.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I miss the days when people on the internet didn’t call every article a review.

      Oh wait, that was just a dream.

    • yusefsmith says:

      Sorry, smart guy, but when you say this:

      ““Dropsy is an open world adventure game with an emphasis on surreal atmospheric elements and environmental storytelling. It extracts the humor and rich narratives from classic adventure games and places them into a unique exploration based framework. You guide Dropsy, a perpetually carefree clown (ex-clown to be precise) through a richly detailed world full of colorful characters and sinister secrets.””

      And the game doesn’t actually exist in real life, sure sounds like a review.

      • Premium User Badge

        Saul says:

        Um. That’s a quote from the guy making the game.

        • Dozer says:

          Normally when someone says ‘smart guy’ it’s intended ironically. This makes yusefsmith’s comment doubly ironic and completely hilarious. I rate it 3.5 out of 4.

          • Ahtaps says:

            The other completely hilarious thing is that they are replying to their own comment, not Alec’s. I’d actually give it 3.25 Coulrophobics.

  6. Loque says:

    He’s working at this game since 2011. And he just asked… $14000. I don’t get what’s the point of that sum. He should have asked at least the double, in my opinion.

    • gaspyconana@gmail.com says:

      Howdy! I’m the dev. That number is the bare minimum I need to finish the game. The previous goal of $25k didn’t happen, so I moved the composer and animator to their own stretch goals. I’m competent in both of those areas, so if we only make the minimum, I can do them myself. The game will be out later (as noted in the campaign) – but I can definitely fill those roles if I need to.

      That said, it would be REALLY nice to get Chris and Acacia on the project with me. They are insanely talented and I love and admire them. I really just want to finally finish the thing, one way or another.

      I’m also not paying myself or living on this money, so that helps too.

      Thanks for posting this RPS, that was mighty good of you!

      • Shazbut says:

        Best of luck with it all. I don’t normally take a second glance at games in development since there are so many, but this one is really interesting to me.

        I have one question: will the game be challenging? I’m perfectly comfortable with games that aren’t, so I was just wondering if that’s what you’re going for. With the hints surrounding the puzzles, it would appear that the game will be quite easy.

        Also, his walking animation is a little odd to my eyes, as it looks like he should be travelling forwards. All subject to change, I know.

        • gaspyconana@gmail.com says:

          Thank you!
          The animations are completely temporary. Acacia will be revamping the walk cycle and adding other directions once we’re funded. :)

          The game will be challenging sort of in the way Myst and Riven were challenging. It isn’t a perfect comparison, but as you learn things about the world, your perspective changes. Applying that new perspective to stuff you encountered earlier will help you progress. It’s a really hard concept to put into words, but hopefully this helps.

      • IShouldBeWorking says:

        For a brief second I read:
        “That said, it would be REALLY nice to get Christ and Acacia on the project with me.”

        … I wonder how good is Christ at coding…

        • Nevard says:

          Well just saying “Let there be light” is no “Hello World”, for a start.

          • SD says:

            Well, he can get the job done (and is awfully handy for calling down food & wine when the team gets hungry), along with the healing the sick miracles and such, but the dude only codes in PHP, so he’s shite on a game dev team. Nice chap, kinda quiet unless inspiration strikes…

  7. mrmalodor says:

    D’awww. Adorkable.

  8. Dozer says:

    I work with a lot of diabetics and haemodialysis patients and Dropsy looks disturbingly like someone who’s had bilateral hand amputation due to uncontrolled necrosis.

    • Shazbut says:

      Great quote for the poster

      Underneath should be “The happiest game you’ll ever play” – developers

  9. aliksy says:

    I’m not normally afraid of clowns but that clown thing is kind of terrifying.

  10. FLIR says:

    The drawing style looks stunning. This guy really has talent!

  11. lordfrikk says:

    The music in the pitch video is absolutely stellar.

  12. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    The hairy man said “Twenty Eleven”! I can’t support this project now.

    But seriously, this does look fantastic. I might just be a future fan.