Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure is a bit like stepping inside a time machine and taking a trip to the late nineties, for it is around that time that I last played a point and click adventure. This is something that Demetrios happily plays with, and not only does something feel slightly nostalgic about playing Demetrios, but it feels like something of a homage to point n click adventures of old, and spotting these little nods was another added bonus during the time I spent with it.
At first glance Demetrios, with its hand drawn visuals, does look a bit like an Internet cartoon which did put me off at first. This is an impression that is further reinforced by the irreverent humour it employs throughout, like some repressed teen finding out that farts are funny and blowing a raspberry at every opportunity in the hope of a cheap laugh. Granted the humour wasn’t necessarily to my taste, but I did chuckle to myself at the odd moment (doing things to the photocopier in the police station was a particular highlight). The game does come with an option to turn off the toilet humour throughout – I played with this option on, so I can’t really comment on the impact that turning it off would have, but besides some base fart jokes (and vomit being used to solve puzzles on more than one occasion) there is nothing here overly offensive. The art style does grow on you as you play, helping Demetrios to form some identity of its own, but the feeling of playing an old internet game was something I couldn’t really shake – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The story in Demetrios starts relatively slowly – you play as Bjorn Thonen, a slob of an antique dealer living in Paris, who is robbed one night in his apartment. Waking up after being knocked unconscious the game begins, albeit slowly, and your quest begins in finding out who it was that robbed you and why. A few awkward dialogue prompts and choices early on do feel a little out of place as they shepherd you into the story proper, but in a game where dying in as many ways as possible is a collectible a few bumps in the storytelling can be forgiven here and there.
These issues do iron themselves out over time, and Demetrios seems to find its stride by Chapter 2, where not only does the story seem to ramp up but some of the puzzles do, too. These puzzles are your standard point and click tropes, whereby you click on every item in the slightest hope that it might come in handy down the line and then trying to combine these hoarded items to solve often simple tasks in imaginative (or in some cases) extravagant ways. Like many point and click protagonists Bjorn has incredibly big pockets, and I found myself carrying around a variety of items during my six hour playthrough. This leads me to my next point – every item you click on in Demetrios has Bjorn respond in some way, and this does get a little tedious by the end as you hunt out any items of use, as the majority of what you click on will be useless. As such, there is a lot of reading in Demetrios – some of it amusing, some of it relevant, a good chunk of it pointless. Midway through I did find I would mash X to skip a lot of the dialogue that pops up, skim reading half of it as a means to plough on with the story. Doing this I never felt that I missed anything too crucial or important, as I was able to keep up with the text as it appeared on screen before mashing X sent it on its’ way. If I ever had felt like I had missed some vital information pressing Triangle brings up a pop up menu that includes a tip on what you should be aiming to do next in the top right corner, so it is rare you find yourself feeling at a loss as to what to do or where to go next.
Some of the dialogue that does appear is rather clever however, as on more than one occasion I was impressed with Bjorn or other characters referring to something I had just done that was seemingly out of the ordinary, and this does help create the impression that your actions matter, however small.
Navigating the world in Demetrios is again your standard affair when it comes to point and click adventures, with the cursor revealing items of interest or exits/entrances to new locations. These are effectively animated pictures with most items flashing a name when they can be clicked on. There is a feature called Hotspots that bathes everything that can be interacted with in colour when you press Square, but doing this did feel a little like cheating. The option is there to turn it off but I just felt like I could ignore it entirely. Similarly most scenes contain 3 hidden Cookies, that when found can be used to offer hints and tips as to what to do next, with each step often having 3 or so clues to aid you on your way.
Alongside the standard point and click stuff, Demetrios does contain a few mini games during the 6 hour campaign. These are simple but fun nonetheless, and serve as a welcome change of pace, from fishing for ingredients to concoct a potion to a claw game at the funfair among others. All use relatively simple mechanics and are a quick distraction as opposed to anything life changing, but all fit in with the overall aesthetic and none feel out of place or tacked on.
So is Demetrios worth your time? After initial concerns I did find that I grew to like the time I spent playing – the puzzles that Demetrios throws your way never perplexed me too much, and the majority of the time I spent ignoring what I was supposed to be doing preferring to hunt for cookies that are often well hidden amongst the scenery in each location should I need them later. The humour was a bit hit and miss with me, as was the story, but this didn’t get in the way of playing, and if toilet humour that often veers on the silly is your thing you are in for a treat. While Demetrios is not going to revitalise the point and click genre there is a lot to like, and at less than a tenner on the PlayStation Store you could do far worse.
Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventuren PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
A nostalgia-inducing point and click adventure, Demetrios – The Big Cynical Adventure manages to get a lot right by the time the end credits roll, and although some jokes and story beats may miss the mark a tad, it did just enough to ensure that I did enjoy the time I spent with it.
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Reviewed using base PS4.
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Stuart has had a long and lengthy love affair with video games, since he first woke up to find Santa had left him a Sega Master System complete with Alex the Kidd built in no less. Since then, his thumbs have become calloused and he has missed many a nights sleep in the pursuit of those elusive “5 more minutes…” but his love has never wavered.