Dropsy’s reveal caused quite a bit of confusion, mixed with a sense of unease and creepiness. The launch trailer alone looked like it had been drawn from the strangest places of the creator’s imagination, and once you couple that with the prevalent fear of clown, you’d be forgiven for thinking Dropsy is a game that will have a lot of dark and disturbing moments in it.
It just goes to show that you should never judge someone or something by the way it looks, because Dropsy is one of the most innocent and child-like characters to appear in a game. His motivations are far from malicious, with his only concern being to bring joy to the the unhappy inhabitants of the town. This is despite being ostracised and having been blamed for a fire at the circus, which caused the death of his mother.
This is styled after classic point and click adventures, though it’s to the point where it includes puzzles that can sometimes have quite obtuse solutions. While the majority of these conundrums can be worked out with a bit of trial and error, there are a few stand out points where I was left scratching my head. More could have been done to make some of the less obvious required items a little less hidden, but there are also red herring items that look like they should be interacted with, but are just eye-catching parts of the scenery.
Dropsy isn’t alone in his adventure as he is joined by a puppy, a mouse, and a bird that can be used to reach items and explore places that Dropsy just can’t get to. The added dynamic of these characters makes some puzzles much more interesting to solve, and adds an extra emotional layer especially as you try to protect these three creatures from the world around them.
The colourful pixel graphics might not appeal to everyone, but it is a trying to evoke memories of adventure titles from the early 90’s instead of more recent fare. When there are the handful of rather creepy scenes – the majority of which give you just a few seconds within Dropsy’s nightmares – they are really well done, and cast a light on the demons which he faces as he tries to make the world a better place. As the game progresses, you only hope for the best for Dropsy and may even feel a bit protective of him as some characters cause him anguish.
The story is set out in a manner which plays on Dropsy’s innocent persona, with conversations that are formed of pictures rather than words. You have to piece together what they could mean, and while most are quite simple, one symbol was particularly unclear to me, and it was only through other contextual clues that I was able to work out what it meant.
The music within Dropsy is good with various scenes having their own compositions for them. Some do fall a bit flat and are forgettable, but there are other pieces that stand out be they cheery or creepy. One aspect that threw me off a bit was the day and night cycle as going between different scenes could see night turn to dawn in seconds, which could be frustrating at times, as some characters and locations were only accessible at certain times.
Dropsy manages to subvert your expectations, and has managed to create a main character you can feel for, even though he doesn’t speak. Dropsy just wants to make people happy in a world that is filled with problems, and by helping them he can achieve his goal. There are some design issues though that count against the game, and some may find the pixel art graphics unappealing, but as an overall experience Dropsy is something that point and click adventure fans should play.