There’s not a lot of games where you can play as creepy clowns who don’t kill people. Dropsy is a point-and-click adventure from developers Tendershoot, A Jolly Corpse and published by Devolver, famous for the Hotline Miami games. Though the game doesn’t come out until September 10th, I was lucky enough to receive a beta of Dropsy to get an early look at the game.
The game begins with a short cutscene of Dropsy at his circus. Though the details are vague, it seems some sort of fire happens, killing several performers, closing the circus and making Dropsy suspect number-one. After waking from a nightmare, Dropsy and his dog are sent off to drop flowers on the grave of someone who is implied to be his mother. Between and after that, the duo goes exploring their surrounding while attempting to help out people who generally distrust Dropsy.
Dropsy and his dog interact with disenchanted evangelists, peculiar scientists, and oversized cops as they travel through the area. It’s worth noting that you can control the dog as well, though it seems the most it can do is pee on things. There’s no voice acting or textual dialogue in Dropsy, so the story has to be surmised through visuals and context clues. The same goes for puzzle solving, which Dropsy has a different approach to than most point-and-click adventures.
Because there’s no dialogue, hints to helping people are just small picture squares that appear above the character, and it’s up to the player to figure out the solution. In most games of this genre, players use an item to solve a puzzle. This either progresses the plot in some way or grants the player a new item that then causes a domino affect of item usage and puzzle solving. In Dropsy, most puzzles seem to be standalone with little affect on other puzzles or the game itself other than making people happy, though this might change in the final version.
Time passes as you pass from screen to screen with different characters and events appearing at different times. Though the time of the day is broken into segments like dusk, dawn and noon, as far as I can tell night and day are the only real variables that matters. The whole day-night cycle just seems annoying to me. Having to go back and forth between screens just to change the time of day is a nuisance. The lack of connection between each puzzle, combined with a lack of dialogue or text to provide hints and the day/night cycle makes puzzle solving in Dropsy more difficult than the average game of the genre. I found myself using brute trial and error, using every item, and checking each screen at each time of day.
Despite a few other annoyances such as the lack of quick travel, Dropsy looks to be a unique take on the point-and-click genre but that might also be a road block for many players. I can easily see players being attracted to Dropsy‘s unique concept and design and then being turned away by the difficult puzzles and cumbersome day/night cycle. Though point-and-clicks have a seen a resurgence in recent years the genre still isn’t a very popular one so it’s hard to imagine what kind of success Dropsy will see. All I hope is that the full Dropsy expands on what the beta has set-up, maybe making objectives a bit a clearer and please god lets pray for some fast travel.