Dropsy is a thing. A very, very... interesting thing to say the least. Dropsy is a game made by Tendershoot and A Jolly Corpse that is a point and click adventure game that feels heavily inspired by old LucasArts games of old, both in presentation and overall feeling. In Dropsy, you play as Dropsy, a clown who is as loveable as he is creepy. Unfortunately for him, he’s suspected of being responsible for the Big Top fire that killed many townsfolk, including his own mother. Years later, he goes on an adventure to give as many hugs as possible with his trusty clown dog by his side.
Remember when LucasArts made fun point and click adventure games? Games like Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max Hit the Road, and Secrets of Monkey Island just to name a few. It's a shame that the LucasArts-style point and click adventure game has fallen out of style and as such, not many good point and click adventure games are made nowadays. Even Telltale, the once small company still hanging on to the P&C genre has since moved on to focusing on “interactive storytelling” games that are kinda sorta point and click adventure games with most of the puzzles being replaced with simplistic and obvious things.
Kill it with fire! Just all of it! Kill it all!
However, to my delight, Dropsy feels very much like a throwback to those days. It honestly feels like a natural progression for the genre as well. At no point do the puzzles feel obtuse, and hey do you remember that one NPC from that one point and click adventure game that won't give the player character the time of day and seems completely unhelpful until you either trick them or do them a favour? You’ve probably just came up with a long list of characters since that probably describes most NPCs in point and click adventure games. This is because it makes for good puzzles, and usually done so under the pretence that the main character is infamous in some way or that they aren't really willing to help or give a total stranger. In Dropsy the Clown’s case, it's because he’s known aas some sort of monster who possibly murdered several townspeople, which is a core part of the game as you set off to change hearts and minds and hug everything and everyone.
From its outward appearance, it seems like Dropsy is something that should be in a survival game and not a cutesy tale of redemption and hugs. However, once you get past that, you’ll find the game has some outright adorable moments are downright heartwarming. This is contrasted well during its more creepy and sinister moments such as Dropsy’s dreams or anything involving the seedy Snack Cake corporation that looms over the town. Ultimately, like the many townspeople, you will most likely find yourself going from finding Dropsy as something seemingly out of your worst nightmares to loving him and his antics.
There's a lot that just works with Dropsy. The text-less dialogue manages to convey what needs to be said in a straightforward manner that still somehow manages to still keep its personality in a way that almost tell word for word what each character is saying. There's also a lot of fun visual gags such as when you try and use a phone, it will press random groups of buttons because Dropsy has stumps instead of hands. The music requires a special mention too for a particular track that I found really great. Most of it is serviceable, but one of them had a sort of chiptune meets prog rock feeling to it that it actually convinced me to buy the Eternal Hug Ep by Jay Tholen. Though there was a track that you get on a cassette tape from a forlorn rock band that was just a clusterfuck of noise and was so bad I thought it was a joke about the band being terrible, but then you use it to get them a venue so either that was a really deep joke about hipsters having terrible taste in music or someone out there thought it was good.
Not helping! Bring more fire!
From a technical standpoint, Dropsy is very simplistic. It's low, almost barely existent minimum requirements makes it a perfect game for those on a old laptop, but for those who like simple things like resolution options, you’ll find it lacking. You have three options for running Dropsy: fullscreen, windowed with a size that depends on which option you are switching from oddly, and teensy tiny window that I assume is a joke about original DOS resolutions. There is an option to turn on Dropsy’s squeaky clown shoes which I like because it reminded me of the clown in Space Station 13, which I immediately turned back off because it reminded me of the clown in Space Station 13.
Dropsy is unexpectedly, probably one of my favourite smaller games to come out this year. If Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain hadn’t and is continuing to eat up hundreds of hours of my time, I’d say that it could be my game of the year. However, in an of itself, it's one of the better indie games (and possibly, game, period) to come out in a long while. I honestly have no gripes with it aside from lack of technical options and even that hardly seems to be anything more than a small nitpick with a game as simplistic as this in design. Overall, Dropsy gets a hearty recommendation from me that you should immediately buy and play it.
- Yeah That Makes Sense, Actually: Puzzles that are interesting and semi-complex but never feel obtuse.
- All in Presentation: The Artstyle, music, text-less dialog and visual gags all make up a great world of Dropsy.
- Don’t need much: It's extremely low minimum requirements allows it to run on even the most basic of laptops..
- Point and Click: It's a point and click adventure game that does so well.
- Compare and Contrast: Warm-heartedness contrasted with creepiness.
- Not Much To Do: Lacking in graphical and technical options.