Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Two Demo

Tycho - why have you kidnapped Warren Spector?
I suspect, speaking purely personally, my problem with episodic games is going to be pretty much my problem with episodic TV. I just don’t have time to actually experience them before the next one comes along. Such is the case of Penny Arcade Adventures, whose first episode I’ve really meant to give a shot and I haven’t got around yet. And now comes the second one, complete with 300Mb demo for you to download. Man!

For those who require some manner of trailer before making such a commitment of bandwidth, you’ll find the trailer beneath the cut.

So – what was everyone’s actual take on the first Penny Arcade Adventures? As in, for those who played the game, not those who just decided against it due to a dislike of Penny Arcade (As I think the Pro/Anti Penny Arcade thread got messy enough last time). Is it worth me going back to now, even in this ridiculously busy period? Or can it wait a little longer?

Oh – if it takes your fancy, you can buy either episode from their site.


  1. Okami says:

    My Penny Arcade fanboyism has waned over the years. But their site still is a fixture in my daily internet life, even after more than six years (the only other webcomic that comes close to holding my interest for so long is sinfest).

    I rather liked the game, though I experienced the typical JRPG (which it basically is) problem with it: It’s all easy going until the final boss. I tried that twice and lost interest in the game after that.

    The combat system reminds me of Super Paper Mario, though the combat mechanics of the plumber rpg are a lot more solid – blocking in PAAOTRSPOD feels just a bit off, I rarely managed to pull a block or counter attack off.

    The adventure mechanics are very bare boned and just serve to point you in the right direction to beat up more hobos or mimes.

    Writing and art work are just pure Penny Arcade – either you like it or you don’t. Though I think that the setting is rather cool, lovecraftian steam punk hasn’t been done nearly often enough.

    And may I say, that some of the dialogues remind of the golden days of Lucas Arts’ classic adventures? Not the dialogue trees, mind you, they’re rather basic and there’s really no challenge in them, you just click through them. But the game does feature some of the best dialgue jokes and comical character interaction seen in games since the mid nineties..

  2. Jonas says:

    Yeah, what Okami said. I loved it because I love Penny Arcade, but either way it’s certainly not a must-play-right-this-instant game. You should play it unless you really dislike Penny Arcade, but it can wait.

  3. TheFool says:

    Yeah, it can wait for if you have time, but as it’s only about 4/5 hours tops and it features some truly sublime dialogue and bizarre situations it’s worth going through

  4. subedii says:

    I really enjoyed the game, and thought it managed to avoid quite a lot of the frustrations and pitfalls typical of this type of game. Combat was short and snappy, items were actually useful, and there wasn’t hideous amounts of grinding.

    Most important for me though was that I just enjoyed the writing and style of the game. Given that Ron Gilbert helped with the writing, this isn’t a surprise (although this isn’t to knock the quality of writing from everyone else involved).

    I had it bought as soon as it was available really. If you’re a fan of the type of humour in Penny Arcade, you’re probably going to enjoy the game. The price is right too, which is always good.

  5. Shadowmancer says:

    Anyone know the release date for the steam version?

  6. The Unshaven says:

    I’ve had a poke at the first episode. High quality product and certainly entertaining, but combat is more central than I’d like. Because I am fundamentally not very good at this sort of game, I think the interface’s complexity would work FAR better with Turn-based combat, rather than the odd hybrid of time-points which can’t be paused.

  7. Pattom says:

    Glad to hear the overall positive outlook on it. I’m downloading the demo now: I’ll definitely buy it, but I prefer controls on the Xbox to the PC’s. And to Shadowmancer, I believe the first episode came out on Steam a week after the other versions. They are sponsoring their own digital distribution service, so I think they’ll wait a few days on this episode so that their service doesn’t get shown up.

    Also, in the alt-text, you called them Tycho and Brahe. Tycho Brahe is one character, the brown-haired one on the right. The one in suspenders is Gabe.

  8. sbs says:

    It’s great they have difficulty options now, it was a major compliant for me that the first episode was way too easy.
    By the way, I guess the demo is so large because it’s basically the full locked game.
    Anyway, will buy tomorrow.

  9. Conquests.of. says:

    The first episode was so flat and idiotic i couldn’t play more than 5 minutes… of bashing crates and barrel and doing stupid final fantasy moves.

  10. Lars Westergren says:

    First game was ok, but there was very little adventure for something branded an action-adventure. There was maybe two or three puzzles in the whole main questline which didn’t consist of “kill everything that keeps attacking you until the key object you are searching for drops”.

    Combat was servicable, but too JRPGish for my taste and had little strategy since you can’t (for instance) position yourself. So it is usually only came down to figuring out which attack a specific enemy type was vulnerable to. The two main boss fights were the only ones a bit challenging, for those you HAD to make perfect combos, time debuffing/healing item usage with the boss special attacks, etc.

    Graphics, sound, and in game animations pretty nice. The constant jokes usually worth a chuckle, with one or two laugh out loud moments.

    I ordered second game and downloaded it yesterday, just got to finish Dead Space first.

  11. MrDeVil_909 says:

    First game was an enjoyable romp and I’m expecting the same thing from the next one. Anyone enjoying a super deep experience is setting themselves up for disappointment, the game is fun in one of it’s most fundamental forms.

    The complaints about combat are bizarre to me, I wonder if people were playing the same game. A lot of people struggled, but I think I lost 2 battles in total. And there is no fail state so it is irrelevant.

    I’m buying it on Greenhouse so PA and Hothead get the biggest possible slice.

  12. Dexton says:

    I didn’t like the combat much at first, but once I got the hang of it I really started to enjoy the first episode.

    The writing and humor is classic Penny Arcade, if you don’t like the comics you will not like the game. If you do like the comics and can get the hang of the combat then it’s definitley worth a few quid and a few hours of your week.

    Not sure if I will play the second though, lots of other good games around I would rather play right now.

  13. Bobsy says:

    PA:otRSPoD is stylish, very stylish. In both visuals and dialogue (obviously, considering where it’s come from) but also music, it’s a real treat. People who hate Penny Arcade (with the same ridiculous vehemence you see people hating Barack Obama with) will inevitably dislike it.

    But yeah, stylish to a degree you don’t often see these days. It’s a delicious confection – fancy, sweet-tasting and extremely enjoyable, but not especially filling and probably not good for you in the long term.

  14. jalf says:

    I really enjoyed the first game as well. As said, the non-combat parts were pretty basic, but the combat worked well imo, and the art style and plot were lovely.

    And of course, plenty of PA humour. I’d say yes, play it. It can be done in an afternoon, and it’s enjoyable.

  15. Bobsy says:

    Oh, and as before, the 300mb demo is in fact the whole thing, unlockable at any time using magic codes and things.

  16. jonfitt says:

    It was ok, the adventuring was basic, and the battling was fby and large fun. it gets to that FF situation in the harder fights where it’s like spinning plates, you’re constantly resurrecting players while trying to find an opportunity to get a good hit in.

    It doesn’t take long to finish, I’d wait until you have an afternoon respite from the season’s onslaught. Perhaps Christmas Eve before heading out to the pub.

  17. ShaunCG says:

    I loved it, though as Okami points out at the top the final boss was much harder than any other enemy (even at the top level) and whilst I had few problems with blocks, executing successful counters was near-impossible with the majority of foes.

  18. jalf says:

    it gets to that FF situation in the harder fights where it’s like spinning plates, you’re constantly resurrecting players while trying to find an opportunity to get a good hit in.

    What? I don’t think I died more than a couple of times in my first playthrough, and not once on the final boss. Block his blows, and pile up the damage, and you’re done. (Played it again yesterday because I lost the savegame, and didn’t want to start with a new character in ep2, and didn’t die once)

    The battles aren’t really hard, are they?

    As ShaunCG says, counters are tricky to pull off, but I don’t think there’s a problem with that. Would be silly if you could constantly counter enemy blows.

  19. matte_k says:

    Enjoyed the first one, not a great game by any means, but a worthwhile investment for an afternoon or two- the writing and art direction is good, comic timing is excellent, and the plot just gets more absurd the further in you get. Nice to see they’ve added a few new features in the second episode, lots of unlockable stuff, different combat moves and items, but generally maintaining the standard set by the first.

    On a side note, more games in this steampunkish setting would be a boon-anyone remember The Chaos Engine?

  20. gnome says:

    I found the first episode incredibly polished, rather funny, good looking and with an enjoyable story, but what I really loved about it was the design and the mechanics. The timed turn-based combat was ace as were the exploration/light-adventure bits. Episode 2 (judging by the demo) seems slightly improved, though I’d rather have one full game on a disc than some episodes…

  21. Morph says:

    Enjoyed the first one a lot. The best things about it were probably the design and setting, and it was genuinley funny. The combat was JRPGish but the timing twists made it more fun, except my keyboard’s sticky space bar kind of made some of them a bit harder than they should be. A few niggles in the gameplay but a fairly solid game and worth the money, considering I was inspired enough to play it twice.

    Played through a bit of Ep 2. More of the same of course but nothing wrong in that.