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Dropsy Is An Adorable, Grotesque Open-World Adventure

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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Nathan Grayson

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