There are a lot of words to describe Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure. Crass, immature, funny and gross are just a few of the many adjectives that this game can be defined by. And while some people might call it good, other people might argue otherwise. Because one thing is for sure, Demetrios appeals to a particular niche, and many people might not appreciate that. But if you are one of those people who falls under that particular niche, then be prepared to get sucked into a gross, poop-covered adventure with your sassy neighbour and her hellspawn of a daughter.
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure is available for $6.69 on Steam, and for $9.99 on the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita.
You start off Demetrios in the shoes of a lazy anti-hero called Bjorn Thonen. Coming back from one of his many nights of drunken debauchery, Bjorn receives a call from a mysterious person warning him of great danger. Believing the phone call to be a hoax, Bjorn dismisses the warning… and pays for it with a clubbing blow to the head. In the morning, Bjorn wakes up with a splitting headache, an empty wallet and a missing ancient tablet. This is where the game starts you off.
The story is typical of most adventure games – a run-of-the-mill person gets inadvertently sucked into a series of events that involves saving the whole world from a nefarious plot. And while there’s not really anything to write home about, the story still serves its purpose nevertheless, with well-paced segments and a decent length. One thing that struck a sour note was the ending, and without delving into spoiler territory all I can say is that there was a lot of exposition shoehorned at the last second.
Of course, one of the major themes of this game is – obviously – cynicism, and this game is certainly full of it (sometimes to an irritating extent). All the characters you meet during your journey are just different types of the same asshole, to the point where except for Bjorn everyone else is just plain annoying and unlikeable. Perhaps like the toilet humor, the theme of cynicism could’ve used some polishing as well.
When you start a new game from the title screen, Demetrios gives you three options for toilet humor. Wanting to experience the game as it was meant to be, I chose to let the toilet humor stay as it is… and instantly regretted my decision. This is made worse by the fact that while most of the comedy is actually pretty decent, a mixture of horrible Adam Sandler level of toilet humor and a number of unfunny references and jokes make the misses more noticeable than the hits.
As for actual gameplay, Demetrios is a hybrid of the adventure and visual novel genre. You assume a first-person view of various rooms and areas, with an impressive number of items and objects to interact with. There are also a number of minigames that keep the gameplay fresh, but they aren’t very difficult. All in all, the gameplay is pretty paper-thin and not particularly challenging, leading to a rather mundane experience. There are a number of game-over scenes that you can trigger, which leads to a funny death screen and can break the monotony of gameplay. If you’re worried about losing progress this way then don’t – the game brings you back to the point before you decided to go and kill yourself, which is pretty convenient to say the least.
The puzzle-solving itself feels rather mundane, and most errands boil down to fetch quests that can get a bit grating at times. While the puzzles are pretty easy, there are times when some solutions might seem abstract, and this can be dealt in two ways. Either you need to put your old-school adventure game cap on and use all your items on every object on the screen in the hope of achieving a result, or you can use the hint system provided in the game (the latter is obviously more convenient). See, you can collect 3 cookies on every screen, and each cookie provides a hint. While most of the time these hints are concise, in some cases they can get frustratingly vague (this is a pretty rare occurrence).
During the majority of the gameplay, you will assume the viewpoint of Bjorn in first person. Most of the objects in the environment can be interacted with, and provide some funny dialogue when clicked on. Not only that, but depending on how you interact with certain objects you might get different, maybe even secret responses. This does a lot to add to the charm of the game, which it has a lot of.
The environments are also fairly diverse, and while the art style might get a bit old and grating after a while, the color palette remains diverse enough to mitigate any negatives that could’ve affected the visual fidelity of the game. This seems even more impressive when you consider the fact that this game was pretty much made by only one person.
The music in this game is mostly hit-or-miss. While the music itself is not bad, it’s the repetition that starts testing your patience. This is especially annoying when you consider the fact that the game encourages exploration and finding secrets, which can be irritating when you try to find the last cookie in the area or an interesting piece of dialogue while the same track plays for the 13th time in a row.
The sound in the game is pretty poor, and this is mainly due to the lack of environmental sound effects. As it is now, some areas in the game feel somewhat empty because the audio does a rather poor job of adding atmosphere and context to a scene.
The game doesn't have any voice, instead relying on text and facial expressions to deliver dialogue. This feels completely natural, and is only a problem if you let it be. Sometimes, the art on the expressions can get a bit questionable, but that doesn't really impact the delivery of the dialogue unless you're really nitpicky about it.
It’s hard to say anything bad about Demetrios – The Big Cynical Adventure. The game is the project of a single guy, and the amount of effort put into the game is certainly commendable. The humor, while crass and immature, is great for people who can laugh at these kinds of jokes and gags. But the game has a lot of issues, some of which are nigh impossible to ignore.
Gameplay is perhaps the most serious offender, with most of the puzzles and minigames offering little to no challenge whatsoever. A significant portion of the jokes fall flat, with a special cringe award going to the numerous unfunny references to other games like Uncharted and Call Of Duty. The toilet humor is simply not clever enough, and I highly recommend lowering or turning it off in the settings. Audio design is also not up to par, with a number of missing elements that become more noticeable over time.
I would recommend this purchase to people who like old-school adventure games, don’t mind toilet humor and can overlook the game’s many faults. If you don’t fall under any of these categories, then you might want to re-evaluate your choice before you purchase this game.
|+ Good story||– Paper thin gameplay with little to no challenge|
|+ Humor is clever and effective at times||– Toilet humor is shit (can be altered)|
|– Audio design not up to par|
|– Lackluster ending|