"Reckoning up the sum, the best was yet to come, for the end of part one seemed a little too coarse. To amend we'll send Rufus to attend a second chance for a decent happy-ending: a grand fling with dancing and booze and so forth..."
To put it simply, if you liked Deponia, you'll certainly like Chaos on Deponia. Part of that's because it has just as much quality in its art, characters, story, music, puzzles, etc. The other part is because it more or less follows the same motions. Rufus solves an enclosed introductory puzzle, then builds a contraption involving rockets to launch himself into the sky, winds up crashing into a vehicle which contains Goal, both plummet to Deponia, you solve a handful of major problems by solving a ton of smaller ones in a large town area, then a smaller transitional act, and finally the twisty confrontation.
And yet, despite featuring the same framework, the body is all-new. New faces, new locations, new puzzles. There's much to do and explore. So much of the world of Deponia to learn about, and a diverse and creative cast of characters to meet, all weird in their own ways.
And oh my god, the voices are so much better. I mean, the majority of Deponia's voices weren't a problem, but the Organon's certainly were. Luckily, though the voices still have the same electronic filter, the volume has been turned down from "standing beside a malfunctioning stage woofer" to "playing on a rusty seesaw". I never liked Goal or Toni's voices much in Deponia, either, but unless I'm less of a cranky old voice snob than I used to be (unlikely - I'll be a voice snob 'til the very end!), the actresses have gotten a better hang of their characters, this time around. Goal, in particular, I thought sounded very nice. And she'd have to, considering the actress now had to keep up with three or four variations of the character (each of which sounds distinct, but intentionally similar enough to be the same character). Rufus does sometimes have lines that are delivered in ways that don't seem to match the situation at hand, and I definitely caught a flubbed line here or there (which the subtitles at least got right), but even still, his V.A. does a fine job with the other 98% of his lines.
Weird translation problems do crop up from time to time, and they can have varying impacts. Chaos on Deponia was made by a German team, and it seems a little obvious here and there. For the mostpart it doesn't matter at all. On the whole, the English version of Chaos on Deponia shows an expansive understanding of the language. But there are some lines that just didn't make it through unscathed (at one point, a character asks, "What? I'm pardoned?" when he's supposed to say, "What? He's
pardoned?"), and some jokes seem weird in ways that suggest that they worked a lot better in their original language.
On that note, I also want to mention that Poki's folky narrative songs are more... chaotic, this time around. Maybe that was a thematic choice, based on the title. But I'll be honest, those songs were one of my absolute favorite parts of Deponia. With maybe the exception of the third song, in this game they're much harder to follow. If it weren't for the subtitles, I wouldn't have a clue what he's saying half the time, with odd rhymes, lines with way too many words, and lines that end in the middles of words. I suppose this adds to the zaniness in a way, but I still preferred the old ones better.
The puzzles are more imaginative than I had expected, even having played the first game. Where Deponia featured a borderline obsessive number of puzzles centered around washing things, the devs have put forth a much stronger effort to keep you one your toes, this time. There are some dips into moon logic territory, but even those are more to do with the problem presented (such as as a head-sized human nose sticking out of a wall as a security device), or with how extravagant the means to solving them are (the lengths Rufus goes to in order to recognize a cat door are astounding, and perhaps a little unfortunate depending on your affinity for cartoon wildlife), and maybe one or two where I wasn't sure what I was accomplishing until I had already accomplished it (ding-dong ditch comes to mind), rather than just a straight-up complete and utter lack of logic. Several puzzles are downright ingenious, though. One puzzle involving a secret knock is about as weirdly outside-the-box as it gets, and I love it in all of its fourth wall-breaking splendor.
Daedalus has struck a good balance in the difficulty. It's not as though I never got stuck. I did. In fact, I got stuck on the follow-up to that knocking puzzle simply due to a confusing sound effect. You have multiple secrets knocks which, though they should all sound different, all use the same sound effect, which made it tough to figure out how I was meant to go about solving the problem. But the vast majority of them were a joy to solve, with the game giving you just the right amount of clues necessary to understand what you're doing, without being so simplistic as to make you feel like a toddler. And there are a number of segments which take chances and break out of the typical talk to people/use items mold. You'll play an interesting take on a fighting game, compete in the weirdest form of rock-paper-scissors that I have ever seen, and take advantage of a complicated loophole in fast food pricing, among other highlights.
The puzzles are good, I like the puzzles. They're not 100% perfect but they're like 80-90% perfect. Boom, could have saved you two paragraphs of your time if I'd just written that first.
I said it about Deponia, and I'll say it again about Chaos on Deponia: the game feels like a true evolution of the old SCUMM-based Lucasarts games. Not a copy, nor even an homage. But something which could have naturally formed from Lucasarts themselves in an alternate timeline. I mean this as a great compliment. If you can stand some translational oddities, you'll find that Chaos on Deponia is a beautiful - albeit junk-strewn - world filled with strange people and creative solutions for even more creative problems. I can easily recommend picking it up. Though I of course recommend picking up Deponia, first, if you haven't. Or the recently released Complete Journey which collects the whole trilogy. If you're a fan of silly, imaginative adventures like Day of the Tentacle or cartoony ones like Curse of Monkey Island, you're in for a treat with these.
"HUZZAH, PUT BALLS TO THE WALL!"