Almost a year ago now, I wrote a preview of an intriguing point and click adventure called Demetrios. It’s a game that will be hitting Steam on the 30th of May, and with that date fast approaching, the guys at Cowcat Games asked me to give the full version a once over to see how it fared. I love point and clicks, and I was really excited to see how they had progressed the game since the last time I played it.
The start was pretty familiar – a delightful cartoony art style with some comic book elements that I enjoyed before has, thankfully, not undergone any changes, and it still looks fantastic. The vibrant colours and great character design really make the game really easy on the eye and well worth experiencing. Every environment your lovable (if a little dopey) character stumbles into are all terrifically designed and give you plenty of things to enjoy, both in terms of visual appeal as well as having plenty of items in there to click on and let you check out. It’s not just a visual delight too, the developers have made sure to give a brilliant account of themselves throughout the experience of the game by adding in a great soundtrack. It never threatens to become too irritating at any point, neither does it ever go unnoticed, as it’s a charming accompaniment to the journey you take Björn through.
Point and click adventures can be tricky to pull off for anyone making one. You have to consider a whole lot of different items and situations, and how they click together, as well as how to try to put everything your character needs in the game without it seeming too forced. Cowcat games have put so much detail into the areas the character is able to go into, making it slightly more challenging than normal to find everything, but ultimately, much more rewarding once you find what you need. The best thing overall though is that everything fits together nicely and neatly. It’s a quirky game, but you don’t find random objects strewn all over the place. Everything is where you’d likely find it in real life, which makes the game all the more enjoyable for me. That isn’t to say there aren’t a few odd items in the game, there definitely are and they keep with the tone of the game as a whole, making it all the more funny and good to play through.
The humour in the game is something I wrote about before – and I’m still a little unsure about it. There definitely are some hilarious bits – a lot of the dialogue is cracking and the scenes where you hit a game over are particularly funny. In fact, it probably would be fair to say the game over screens are so funny that I actively tried to find them wherever possible, as you can really hit some brilliant ones in Demetrios. Despite that, there are still a few odd lines about a man who possibly has a pornography addiction, and they just make the game feel a little off. Thankfully, these aren’t prevalent throughout the game, and are mostly just limited to the protagonist’s home, but it does feel somewhat juvenile.
For the most part, the game functions perfectly. Items you click react as you’d expect, and moving between scenes is easy and flows properly. What doesn’t work quite as well is the hint system. There are times in any game where you may feel a little stymied, so you need a bit of assistance, and Demetrios tries to come up with a solution in the form of cookies to prompt Björn into remembering some fact that will help you out a little as you play. This kind of works if you manage to get stuck at every point in the game, but say you’re a chunk of the way through the game, and you realise you don’t know how to progress – a cookie to help is just the ticket! Only it’s not, because it tells you to do something you did at the very start of the game, and unless you have enough cookies to feed a small village, you’re unlikely to find out what exactly it is you need to do.
It’s not the only quirk that irked me though – although this one is relatively minor. I’d cottoned on fairly early on how to proceed beyond a certain obstacle, but try as I might, I was unable to perform the required task. I assumed, as one might in this situation, that I’d gotten the whole thing wrong and that I was wasting my time, so I returned to the obstacle to see if I could glean any additional information from it, only for it to paint in black and white exactly what it wanted me to do – which is the exact same task I had attempted only minutes prior. I suppose it could be explained that the information wasn’t explicitly stated before I went to complete the task, but there definitely were enough clues to point me in that direction without having to make it so obvious. It ruined the flow of the game and nullified my detective instinct, as it made it clear early on that it wouldn’t be rewarded.
Do I like Demetrios? Yes. Yes I do. It’s good fun, with quirky characters and a funny story. It looks fantastic, it plays relatively well and it’s well worth the hours of play you’ll put into it. I am a little disappointed with how it holds your hands at certain points, demolishing any investigative desires pretty much straight off the bat, but it’s a balancing act that I’m sure Cowcat will improve at as they continue developing games. It’s well worth a play and you’ll certainly get a good few laughs out of it.