Portable Potty Humor
By Edwin Velez
Reviewed on Playstation Vita
Released on December 6th, 2016 for PS Vita (Also on PC, Xbox One, and PS4)
The point and click genre is classic when it comes to gaming, and is one that has long been popular on PC. Mouse movements made this idea of point and click come about for developers over the years, and games in the genre are still regularly being developed even now. Demetrios is one of those titles, being inspired by the likes of The Broken Sword and other famous P&C adventures. Though I loved playing games like it growing up, specifically flash games online at my local library, as I grew to be a console gamer I have not really played a traditional point and click game in many years. Demetrios was a refreshing but familiar change of pace, and renewed my positive feelings on the genre during my over eight hours of time I spent playing through the story. While the final product was not always the most perfect experience, Demetrios is a funny story following one crazy week in an unlucky deadbeat’s life.
Demetrios follows the adventure(s) of Bjorn Thonen, a bummy antiques dealer with no real ambition in life. After the purchase of an odd bird statue, things start to get weird, well weirder than usual. Players will spend six chapters solving the mystery behind the bird statue, with each chapter having Bjorn fall into shenanigans and conspiracies alike. The game is filled with goofy characters and situations, never taking itself too seriously. This notion is immediately apparent at the start off the game, as it asks you how much potty humor you can handle, which of course I said I could handle it all. Presumably this means that dialouge and dialouge options would change throughout the course of the game, but for the best experience I would go all in as I am sure that is how Fabrice (the game's creator) intended it to be enjoyed. Bjorn is not really a likeable person, and the dialogue is meant to emulate that. Most of the time when he speaks, you will see parenthesis, which represent Bjorns inner monologue and true thoughts on a situation. These are often funny as well as further proof of his cynicism. There are plenty of funny filled dialogue moments, and a surprising amount of them come from trying to engage one item with another when solving puzzles. Each item typically has a boatload of prompts that follow with interact able items, which is commendable considering how much work and time that must have taken. While much of the game’s tongue-in-cheek humor is pulled off well, some of it is debatably offensive. We live in a very politically correct world and while it may not offend some, there are those out there that will find words like “retarded” and others like it to have been used in poor taste.
The bulk of the gameplay outside of chatting with other characters is finding and using items. Whether it is fetch quests or puzzles, you will run into a variety of situations during your adventure. One particular quest has you finding ingredients, or substitutes that look close enough, for a stew that your neighbor is making. Another see’s you crafting a fishing rod out of items around you, and so forth. These really nail the point-and-clicks genre appeal to me, as they are simple but effective tasks. You can’t really be good or bad at a game like this, as eventually you will solve the problems at hand, whether it be on your own or with the help of cookies that you find throughout the game. These cookies are hidden in each scene and can be eaten to give the players hints as to what to do next. I tried to avoid using them as much as I could, but found them to be really helpful when I had a large gap between playing and needed a refresher. Another great aspect of the adventure are the minigames that you will find throughout. Though not the most detailed or engaging bits, they are a nice change of pace that come at just the right times. There is a carnival packed with them, with games ranging from crane machines, worm and horse racing, to even shooting galleries. There are some others that are mandatory in the story like fishing and pinball, but the ones found at the carnival are the best. The carnival ones even let you get prize tokens to buy collectible bits for your progress.
Visually, the game is representative of a sort of comic art, which is pulled off well. The chat boxes mimic what you would typically see in a paperback comic, as well as the stock expressions on each character. The characters are sometimes grotesquely drawn, but it fits the overall absurdity of the game. I like the tracks featured as well, as they typically gave a casual but fitting vibe to each scene. The sound effects on the other hand were a mixed bag. Your usual affair like doors opening and that sort were just fine, but by the time the game ended I could honestly say I do not want to hear Bjorn’s throw up effect ever again. It was used one too many times and just left a sour taste in my mouth (couldn’t resist using that expression.)
Demetrios is a good fit on the Vita. Its portable, casual appeal makes it feel right at home. The controls are easy to follow, both using the domesticated buttons as well as the touch screen options, whichever one fits your fancy. For about $10, you will for sure get your money’s worth. As I mentioned earlier I clocked in a solid amount of time in the title, and it was a lot longer than I would have expected. Even though some sections dragged a bit, it never overstayed its welcome. It has some genuinely laugh out loud moments (specifically one where Bjorn accidentally craps on a photo copier) and plenty of chuckles in between. I have not played a point-and-click adventure in quite a while before this, but Demetrios was a great way to get back into the genre. Next time you are in France, take a stop by Bjorn's shop. He might not be there, but if he is, he’s bound to make you laugh with is excessive absurdity.
XBOX ONE NOTES (UPDATED ON 8/29/17):
Recently I had the chance to revisit Demetrios, which recently landed on console. At the slim price of only $5, it is definitely a bargain of an adventure. I enjoyed it a solid amount when I first reviewed it on Vita, and this time around I knew what to expect. So what I got was the same quality game I reviewed on Vita, but now opened up to a broader audience. I much preferred the handling of the controls on the Vita, where it felt easy to see everything and put it into perspective. As others may know, point and clicks do not always play at their best on a gamepad, and this is still true. I felt a bit disorganized on the screen, but it is all still manageable when you get adjusted to it. It is still massively impressive how many text options there are for different individual items and even more when trying to combine a key item with a non-key item in the world. Fans of point and clicks or even a good laugh should not hesitate to pick this up at $5. If you have the option of going for the Vita version, it feels more tailored to that platform, but if not Demetrios on Xbox One or PS4 is sure to do the job, getting you some laughs and more than your money’s worth along the way.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7/10
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