Demetrios – The Big Cynical Adventure review for PS Vita, PC

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: COWCAT
Developer: COWCAT
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I don’t think target audiences get any more specific than they do with Demetrios – The Big Cynical Adventure. As far as I can tell, it’s for fans of the Broken Sword series who wish that those games took themselves way less seriously and included way, way more scatalogical humour.

In other words, it’s a niche within a niche. And as someone with only a passing knowledge of the Broken Sword franchise — and only slightly more familiarity with the point and click adventure genre as a whole — I’m not going to pretend for a moment that it’s the sort of thing I’d actively seek out if I weren’t writing for Gaming Age. And yet, in spite of that?

Okay, I can’t say that I’m fond of Demetrios. But I can say that I have a certain kind of respect for how clearly it lays out its creator’s vision, and sticks with it no matter how many strange places that may take it. Demetrios is just the work of one man, Fabrice Breton, and you can tell that he set out to make a game that he himself would want to play, with other people’s enjoyment being a secondary concern.

I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not meant to be — at least, not entirely. It takes guts, for example, to be willing to make a game in which every single character, from main character on down, is incredibly obnoxious. Most games would try to at least make one or two people sympathetic, but not Demetrios. No, every single character in Demetrios is a sarcastic, obnoxious jerk. While that may mean that spending 10 or so hours with them in this game isn’t all that appealing, there’s no denying that it’s a bold design choice.

The same goes for everything else in this game. The humour comes off as a mix of ?edgy? sitcom insults coupled with lots of poop jokes. Again, not something that appeals to me in the slightest, but if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll be well-served by what’s on offer here. Likewise, the graphics are somewhat crude, but they fit in with Demetrios? general auteur vibe.

I’m a little less willing to forgive some aspects of this game’s approach to problem-solving. I know that adventure games are often built around the concept of finding bizarre items and combinations to help you solve all kinds of puzzles. The problem here, however, is that too often the objects are a little too small to find, and the combinations are a little lacking in intuitiveness. If you can’t? spot a hint cookie unless you randomly happen to stumble across it, or you don’t think to match deodorant and an ice cube to get ice cream, then you’ll spend a lot of time in this game clicking around and hoping for the best.

Of course, that may be the point. When you’re parodying a genre and a series known for demanding players make all kinds of crazy leaps, it should come as no surprise when the parody version makes similar demands. I can’t say Demetrios does much for me, and I find parts of it almost incomprehensible and/or disgusting but I have to keep reminding myself that, ultimately, this game really isn’t targeting me.

Grade: B-