Goodbye Deponia certainly has potential for greatness; with a plot more ambitious than the first two titles, many puzzles and minigames to conquer (or not), music and voice acting that is as good as ever, plus a slew of new hand-drawn backgrounds for your viewing pleasure.
The deal is further sweetened by the addition of a new interface for switching between three characters or even trading inventory items with them. With so much going for it, why is the third chapter of Daedalic's point and click adventure about as satisfying as vegan sausages at a traditional South African Braai (BBQ)?
Firstly, a quick recap of earlier events (because the fragments of backstory provided in Goodbye Deponia aren't terribly informative.) The central character - and possibly the worst role model I've encountered in a game to date - is Rufus; a smug, self-centred jerk, whose sole aim in life is to leave behind his home on Deponia - a trash-filled planet sparsely inhabited by oddball characters.
High above Deponia floats the splendiferous city of Elysium, populated by privileged citizens oblivious to the hoi polloi below. Long story short, Deponia has been Red Zoned and is scheduled for destruction, in order to kick start Elysium's elite on their journey to Utopia.
Our unlikable protagonist - and his love interest, Goal - become central to averting disaster, but their task is not made any easier by the Organon, Elysium's militia... or Rufus' uncanny ability to screw up, big time.
Many entertaining misadventures ensue, and the third chapter of the tale begins much the same way as the previous two: with a simple tutorial and some slapstick action, before launching into the game proper. As mentioned earlier, the interface is point and click at its simplest, allowing you to interact with objects and characters, pick up items of interest, and access your inventory - where items remain until you figure how to combine them or put them to use.
Which brings us to the topic of puzzles and minigames. As is typical for this type of game, you need to do lots of screen hopping, find and use various objects, interact with the environment, and engage in plenty of dialogue to progress the story. Occasionally, this is a logical process with a satisfying outcome; however, many of the puzzles in the Deponia series are anything but intuitive, and there is often no logical progression from one puzzle to the next.
Hints are pretty much non-existent; without resorting to a bit of online assistance you might spend a lot of time blundering around, randomly clicking on inventory objects in the hope that you'll strike it lucky. This annoying aspect remains unchanged across all three titles, but is more prevalent in the latest.
At least with the minigames there's an option to skip them; however they are a one shot deal, which means you'll forfeit the chance to complete them at a later stage (unless you put the 'save/load' feature to good use, hehe...)
As far as the plot is concerned, it's a bit like watching a pantomime minus the musical numbers (although the bearded balladeer from the previous games makes an encore performance... does that count?) There are some movie-worthy highlights, where the convoluted story has glimmers of real dramatic substance, but these seem out of place amidst the surfeit of silliness and cheap laughs.
I can't decide whether the majority of jokes are genuinely unfunny... or perhaps I've become inured to the games' trademark inappropriate, gross-out humour. For whatever reason, the LOL moments seem thinner on the ground this time around.
Deponia's writers have never been afraid of plumbing the murky depths of political incorrectness in search of a snigger. Women, physical disabilities, endangered animals - all have been subjected to Daedalic Entertainment's humour mill, usually with some success. However, this time I feel they've pushed the boundaries a little too far with the inclusion of a pedophile. This isn't even remotely funny, guys, and paedophiles have no place in videogames... or society, for that matter. Capiche? Oh, and the ending was both abrupt and confusing.
Goodbye Deponia is full of the good looking graphics that we've come to expect, with plenty of hand drawn, detailed backgrounds, and good contrast between the various locations. Animations were on par with the previous games, and it was nice to see a few familiar faces reprise their roles.
There were a couple of noticeable visual glitches - such as Rufus gliding across the screen instead of walking, or appearing half submerged when he shouldn't be - but these temporary 'oopsies' were minor transgressions. Do bear in mind that, despite its cartoonish appearance, this game is not suitable for younger gamers... unless you want them exposed to coarse language, toilet humour, and sexual innuendo.
If you've played the other two titles, you will probably want to add Goodbye Deponia to your collection. It's by no means a terrible game, but the plot's lack of cohesion, the frustration factor of some of the puzzles, and the inappropriate content has tarnished what could've been a triumphant jewel in the DE crew’s crown.