Have You Played… Dropsy?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I have played Dropsy but sometimes I feel like I didn’t play it at all. It’s a peculiar game and it put me into a peculiar state of mind.

Dropsy is about acceptance and the difficulty of communicating. It’s about solving mysteries that might actually be mundane or might be so wonderful and strange that they don’t actually make any sense at all. It’s about perception and surfaces and depth, about peeling back the facepaint to understand what’s beneath it, about unconditional love and stranger danger.

It’s about a funnysad clown and non-verbal language.

It’s a point and click adventure, and some days I remember loving it and some days I remember finding it all very frustrating.

I still don’t know quite what to think about Dropsy and the more time that passes, the more I’m convinced that might be a good thing.

22 Comments

  1. cardigait says:

    Hated it, 1.5h of boring long slow walks trying to solve unintuitive riddles.
    30 sec satisfaction followed by 10 min of frustation.

    • Jay Tholen says:

      Point & click puzzle design is a headache since one’s ability to solve puzzles depends largely on their life experiences and how many visual cues they recognize. Though most of them are positive, our steam reviews are pretty evenly divided between folks who found Dropsy to be easy/difficult. Testing yielded the same response. It’s weird.

      My suggestion (for any game, really) is to use a walkthrough as soon as you’re not having fun. In retrospect, I’m not particularly proud of many of Dropsy’s puzzles (except the one with the martini robots, which I maintain is still cool and good) just on the basis that they are traditional Point & Click puzzles. I would definitely like folks to experience the rest of it though, whether or not they solve things on their own. :0)

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        Aerothorn says:

        As someone who started playing adventure games at the age of 4, I heartily endorse Tholen’s advice on using walkthroughs when you need to. I did occasionally on Dropsy!

      • Fomorian1988 says:

        Even though a number of point’n’click adventures are among my favorite games, I honestly agree. The genre has some of the better/best stories in gaming, but it’s coupled with some of the most frustrating puzzles. Loom, Darkside Detective and Kathy Rain are among the rare reasonable ones – the last one especially is among IMO the best detective games.

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          Risingson says:

          I remember Loom back then as the game that made people angry for being too short and too easy. Some friends went to the store asking for a refund.

          • RuySan says:

            Loom was the first point and click adventure I ever played and I couldn’t even get past the tornado!

            In my defense, I was 8 years old and stupid.

      • RuySan says:

        Point and click games are probably the most subjective to judge since for them to be enjoyable the player must be attuned to the difficulty curve, and it’s not easy to implement difficulty levels in these games

      • gentlehosen says:

        It’s the same problem I’ve found with trying to use riddles in tabletop games; theoretically you have people struggle with the puzzle for a little bit, before finding the solution and feeling satisfied, but in reality you usually wind up either figuring out the answer almost before it’s finished being introduced, or you bang your head against it for half an hour before walking away in frustration. I haven’t played the game yet, but I plan on it, and when I do I’ll most certainly have a walkthrough open for when I run into a wall.

      • malkav11 says:

        This has consistently been my policy and it’s always nice to have game creators agree with me on this. :)

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        subdog says:

        It wouldn’t be a comments thread about an adventure game if it didn’t have someone bitching about the puzzles for being too obscure, too obvious, too many and/or too few.

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    Aerothorn says:

    Dropsy has also really stuck with me – I can’t think of another game that captures quite the same emotional tone. Really looking forward to Hypnospace Outlaw.

    • Shazbut says:

      Agreed entirely. The whole game feels like how the main character feels: cheery, sinister, sugary, confusing, uncomfortable, infant-like. I love it for that

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      rootfs.ext2.gz says:

      I absolutely adored Dropsy from beginning to end. Sure, some of the puzzles didn’t click with me immediately, but I did have so much fun solving the puzzles and the story always just made me feel so good.

      I think I need to replay it again…

  3. Squidamus says:

    I played Dropsy soon after it released and found it to be incredible. Its a modern replica of the classic point-and-click games of old, and I knew what I was getting into, but the creatively surreal aesthetic and amazing soundtrack really won me over. Its creepy overtones give way to what is actually a pleasant and heartwarming game, and it’s really stuck with me over time.

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    Risingson says:

    Oh, my God, it’s the same with drum n bass: all reviews have either the reviewer or half of the comments saying “yeah, the genre is half dead, its peak is from years ago and…”. It happens to me with westerns as well. Really, stop that. Andy C had a sold out all his nights at XOYO, Magnificent Seven remake was a huge success, Thimbleweed Park is a success just being what adventure games are about.

    And please don’t talk about puzzles as if Discworld 1 and Monkey Island had the same frustrations. If some RPGs handle the grinding better than others, we don’t say that “I don’t like RPGs because of the combat”.

    • horrorgasm says:

      Are you trapped in bizarro world? link to boxofficemojo.com

      • ThePuzzler says:

        Maybe we’re the ones trapped in Bizarro world? It would explain a lot.

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          Risingson says:

          Went all the way to new Zealand and still cannot find your point.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Making roughly 160 million bucks when you have a budget that’s 90 million isn’t a huge success (metacritic at 54, so no critical success either), it’s pretty big failure, but I don’t think that it’s a bad movie. Of course, I tend to like many movies that fail commercially.

  5. Shazbut says:

    It’s a rare game that appears to be following in the tradition of Curse Of Enchantia.

  6. MrBehemoth says:

    I think that Dropsy did a very good job of presenting a character who struggles to understand the world and who is himself misunderstood. I felt like a closeted, secretive infant, stepping out into a bewildering world where hurt and joy are inextricably mixed up and communication is almost impossible.

    Because the game succeeded so well in simulating this, I found it uncomfortable to play, and I only got a couple of hours into it. It was hard to think about. This is odd to me, because I normally love games that make me feel uncomfortable and provoke complex thoughts and feelings.

    I love a well done psychological or even philosophical horror. Maybe it hit some secretly nerves or something, but Dropsy was too much in that regard for me.

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    The Almighty Moo says:

    Played it really liked it. My other half was utterly creped out to the point of revulsion and I think that made me love it even more. Jay Tholens advice regarding walkthroughs above is sound as well, especially as sometime almost all puzzle games get you to a point of knowing what you have to do but not how to do it.