Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure Review
At a time when we eagerly anticipate the next big title to dump hundreds of hours of our lives into, it is always refreshing to come across those little gems full of life and a modest play time. Those games that want to tell you a story without the complexity of your average console game. Enter Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure. The latest title from France based indie developer COWCAT, Demetrios is a point n’ click adventure/mystery title following Bjorn Thonen. Your protagonist is a slob that runs his own antique shop in Paris, and he is instantly likeable from the first few scenes of the game.
We all know someone like Bjorn; he is self employed for the sake of being his own boss, as such he is dirt poor and will eat whatever food he finds (often the contents of whatever old potato chip bags he finds), and – as the title implies – he’s pretty damn cynical. As the story begins, Bjorn has finished a night of heavy drinking and gone home to pass out. In the middle of the night he receives a mysterious phone call – a warning that he is in danger because of the unique statue he recently purchased for his antique shop. Before he can respond, Bjorn is knocked out from behind. He awakens to find his wallet empty and a tablet which rested on the statue missing. It’s up to Bjorn to figure out what makes this antique so important.
“With its comic book style and lovable oaf of a protagonist, it can be easy to forget this game has some potent ‘mature’ content.”
The art style for the game is nicely handled, more like a graphic novel without too much detail to overload the senses, considering how many objects on each screen can be interacted with. Beginning in Bjorns apartment, you can easily spend over twenty minutes exploring every nook and cranny and I would encourage it. He has multiple replies to each item you can inspect and more often than not I found myself childishly amused. By exploring his one bedroom apartment you learn a great deal about him as a person without it being thrown in your face. For those with little to no experience with point n’ click games, this can be a great place to start in the genre as the use of items and their combinations are fairly grounded and logical, unlike certain more slapstick titles (I’m looking at you Sam and Max).
With its comic book style and lovable oaf of a protagonist, it can be easy to forget this game has some potent “mature” content. During my experience with the game, Bjorn has been arrested or killed for all manner of ridiculous reasons, but objects in the environment (finding a “balloon” on a criminals floor that appears to be leaking into the carpet) as well as some choice dialogue words, can be a bit jarring to the more sensitive player in between the humour.
Demetrios offers some great help to players: with the ability to highlight all interactive objects on screen, a drop down bar that reminds you of your current objective, and a nice help system based on cookies. Every screen you encounter will have a cookie hidden somewhere (After finding a few, it becomes relatively easy to spot them and stock up) and should you find yourself at a loss of the next step, Bjorn can stop to eat a cookie and figure out his next plan. If the information he supplies isn’t useful, he can eat more cookies (up to three) to nudge the player in the right direction.
Demetrios has no problem taking jabs at popular video game titles as well, with classics such as “Angry Turds,” “MineCrap,” and the treasure hunter Drathan Naked, and that kind of jab will pop up frequently. Attention to detail is an absolute must for the player as hidden in the muted dialogue, characters will give you clues that are very easy to dismiss as being pointless information (One character mentions she loves to climb trees, which doesn’t come up for a while when you need it.) I found myself a few times getting on a problem-solving-roll only to be stone walled for a few minutes as I tried to figure out the next logical progression of moves, but it was never enough to be hair-pullingly frustrated.
“… a quirky point n’ click title with a perfect blend of smart, mature, and pop humour that tells a refreshingly new story without pushing itself into the realm of slapstick exaggeration for the sake of a gag.”
The game offers little in audio, with simple sound effects and soft background music but really this title doesn’t need voice acting or a huge score, it’s modest and knows what it is. While I encourage exploration to the various locations made available in each Chapter of the story, it is important to keep in mind there is zero side quests here. Whatever your objective is, that is what you should/can be working on at the time and nothing else.
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure is a quirky point n’ click title with a perfect blend of smart, mature, and pop humour that tells a refreshingly new story without pushing itself into the realm of slapstick exaggeration for the sake of a gag. The detail into Bjorn as a person – along with his surroundings – are not just well crafted in imagery but in their own individual narratives, making this a fun and relaxing title that will help stretch that funny bone on a rainy day.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Clever mature humour
- Loveable protagonist
- Logic based puzzle solving
- Puzzle logic sometimes leaps