Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure began life as a Kickstarter project, handily exceeding its goal of $2500 with a total of $4245. This might not seem like much, but it allowed the developer Breton Fabrice, who goes by Cowcat, to work on this point and click adventure.
The story focuses on the character of Bjorn Thonen, an antiques dealer that finds himself embroiled in a search for treasure when a stone tablet is stolen from his apartment. It leads him on a mission to recover it and find out why the thief wanted it, the only problem being that Bjorn is a major slacker who’d rather not be dragged into an adventure.
Along the way he is joined by his neighbour Sandra and her daughter Caroline, who he somehow convinces to help him. The adult characters aren’t exactly the smartest people you’ll come across in a game, with questionable choices made by each during the story, while 8 year old Caroline seems to be the group’s common sense.
As a fairly classical point and click adventure there are a lot of puzzles to solve, from working out which items work where to trying to decipher an unfamiliar language. As you may expect, many of the solutions can cut against the grain, but do work in the context of the game and how the characters think. Some of the puzzles can be quite tough to work out, but the game does have a system to help if you find yourself getting stuck.
This help comes in the form of cookies which are hidden around different scenes. Bjorn will utter a small clue if you eat one, a second yields a bigger clue, and a third gives you the solution. It’s a well thought out hints system, where one cookie is usually enough to make you realise the way a puzzle needs to be solved. Getting stuck and hunting for cookies in scenes makes you click on a variety of items anyway, which can often lead you to the exact thing you’re looking for.
Helping to break up the flow a little, there are a few mini games within Demetrios. They’re fairly minor things, like throwing plates at targets and worm racing, but help to add a little variety.
Demetrios’ humour doesn’t always hit the mark, and the cynicism often comes across as stupidity and wilful ignorance. Cynicism is defined as generally having a distrust of people’s motives, but Bjorn is just clueless when it comes to certain situations. There are a couple of moments in the game where what would be a logical approach is ignored in favour of something completely off the wall. One scene comes to mind which I was sure would be a big part of the story, but is never touched on again. While Bjorn has some humourous lines, he isn’t the most likeable character in the world. He is split between trying to be a lovable oaf and someone who thinks he is better than others when he clearly isn’t.
The game’s art is colourful and does look well drawn as well as sharp, which is especially impressive for a one man studio. The music can vary between blending in well to bordering on the annoying, especially the track where it sounds like someone is exhaling into the microphone.
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure isn’t really filled to the brim with cynicism, but it does have a decent humorous tone throughout. While the characters aren’t exactly the most likeable people, the puzzles do present a decent challenges to solve, with a well implemented hints system for when you get stuck. If you like classic point & click adventure games, then Demetrios is worth a play.