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Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure

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Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure is an adventure point-and-click game from CowCat hitting Steam for a low price but promising great things. Love cynicism? Demetrios has it in spades. Love toilet humour? I can assure you that you’ll get your fill. Enjoy a more intelligent game? Well, you may be left more than a little disappointed…

Let me start with the positives of this game:
First- The story behind Demetrios has been well thought out. Bjorn Thonen is an antique dealer living in the city of Paris. His life is self-centred and his customers are few. He keeps mostly to himself in his messy apartment and nothing is overly complicated.

The game opens with Bjorn receiving a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night that issues him with a warning, which naturally he promptly dismisses. But when a tablet from his newly purchased statue goes missing Bjorn is catapulted out of his solitary life in order to find the culprit and retrieve the tablet.
He promptly makes contact with Sandra, his neighbour across the hall, who is able to confirm a robbery having taken place the night before. At the inadequacies of the police department, Bjorn takes it upon himself to find the clues and track the thief, inevitably pulling himself deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the statue and its origins.

The story that follows is delivered in written dialogue with only the occasional sound effect tied in, and choices are made available to you throughout the game giving you a feeling of control. However the progression is very linear and very few tasks can be done outside of a set order. The conversation varies from highly engaging and chuckle worthy, to slow and repetitive in places. But inevitably you will end up where you need to be with many puzzles along the way.

Second- the artwork is very charming and most cut-scenes are delivered in comic book format, which is engaging. The backdrop scenery is colourful and reasonably detailed. And while it is certainly not boring, it’s not amazing either.

Third- Menus are easily navigated and inventory is quick and easy to use. Your special items are simple to understand and your hints (issued as collectable cookies) are not hard to find.

Fourth- This may seem simple and a bit of a nothing point, but navigation! While many point and click games I have played have had consistent delays in moving from area to area, this is certainly something Demetrios nails. Screen to screen transitions are smooth, effortless and in most cases instantaneous- which you will be thanking them for when you are required to travel back and forth to complete a mission or puzzle.

“So with all these great things, why would you be disappointed?” I hear you ask.

Simply put- I think this is a well put together game that attempts but is not highly successful at any more cynicism than being purely pessimistic. And while that is certainly a big feature, it’s just not enough for me. Add to this that the humour so often attempted within the dialogue and gameplay is lacklustre and cheapened with blunt force toilet humour. And as the last ditch attempts for laughs threw demoralising moments in my direction, it felt like Demetrios was scraping the bottom of the barrel.
There are only so many farts, burps, pee, vomit, poo, and various other bodily fluids that I can enjoy as slapstick before the experience wears thin. What is sold as being cynical humour is mostly just poor humour. Many times I found myself skipping as fast as possible through terrible jokes and annoying text as fast as the game would allow.

I felt as though Demetrios was attempting to channel my inner 12 year old boy in a game that would be far too mature in theme for said 12 year old. It left me wondering just who the target audience was, and whether they even knew.


Demetrios offers mini games throughout- the successful completion of which is often a requirement in order to progress. And in one instance where I needed to attend a carnival in order to secure a mission item I found myself wasting far more time than needed and felt far more invested in this side activity than the game itself.
What should be said however is that Demetrios has been created from a very dedicated and very small team, and for that the game is to be praised. Terrible humour aside I enjoyed my play-through of the game. The puzzles were good and the overarching storyline was well constructed. My only wish was that a little more intelligence had been used to turn this game from a bearable experience into a memorable one.
While this type of game is certainly not for everyone I know there will be a select audience of gamers who will thoroughly enjoy this experience, who will laugh out loud where I only chuckled a little. And for the low price of the game it is certainly worth a look if this sounds like your kind of thing.

As for me- I’m off to go and find my missing brain cells… 


-Rem
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