Robots having their way with fruit? A hobo scientist who performs experiments on urine? Deadly mimes? These things combined can only mean one thing: Penny Arcade made a video game. The famous web comic, admired by many across the world, has come up with a nice little adventure game with a not so nice price tag of 1600 MS Points. So is it worth it?
First of all, think of yourself as lucky that this is an arcade title and not a retail title. Imagine going into your local retailer and asking for Penny Arcade: On The Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness. The name itself is proof that you are in for a truly absurd ride on a crazy cartoon roller-coaster. When you begin the game, you are able to customise your character to suit your need, decking them out in the wonderful fashions of the 1920s. Now, I must say this. When a game not only includes your character in the gameplay, but also in the comic strip cutscenes; I’m impressed. That most definitely shows that the developers have put a lot of effort into the character creation system. After you’re done playing doll, the game starts proper. You’ll follow your character to his house, which lay decimated at the hands of a giant robot. You then discover Gabe and Tycho, from the comics, as they go around trying to catch this elusive robot. Throughout the story, the humour from the comics is definitely present. However, if you’re not a fan of PA’s brand of humour, you should step away now.
The game, essentially, is an adventure game with bits of combat thrown in. Your main aim is to interact with anyone you can find to discover some clue as to where to go next. The unfortunate thing is there are only 4 environments for you to explore, which is rather disappointing for a game of this length. But each environment is richly detailed, filled with hilarious things to find. You can interact with many objects in the levels, but most of these are there to throw in some jokes.
There aren’t any proper puzzles in this game. It mainly involves you searching for clues and then proceeding to investigate some more. Hardcore adventure fans may be rather disappointed, but when you have a game this fun, it’s hard not to like it.
Earlier I mentioned combat, which comes in the form of turn based combat. (Very similar to a JRPG) In an ordinary game this would be just that, ordinary. However, thanks to the ridiculous attacks and hilarious combat dialogue, it never gets old seeing your character pummel a mime with a rake. There are many items for you to pick up and aid you in the fight. Some distract your enemies, such as the invisible box, while others aid you such as the lightning tonic. The combat is very well pulled off and it doesn’t feel a chore.
Penny Arcade: OTRSPOD is by far one of the best looking Xbox Live Arcade titles out on the market. Not only do the cut-scenes look like the actual web-comic, but the developers haven’t left the 3D side to look average. The rain slick floors and the garbage lying around Hobo Alley look very cartoony and add a lot to the game. The array of characters makes the game shine with the same power the web-comics do. The audio comprises of 1920s style music and music commonly seen in a Sherlock Holmes film. The voice work is also very well done, with the narrator providing comic inputs here and there. Although, after the tutorial mission, his input seems to die out, which is very disappointing. Gabe and Tycho, obviously, talk through speech bubbles which show off the comic strip style of it.
I know 1600 MS points is a bit much, with the price tag almost rivaling the size of the title of the game, but for fans of the comic it is hard not to purchase this fantastic game. However, people that are not aware with the comic or its brand of humour should stay away.