Now if I’m being completely honest with you, I am guilty of doing just what my parents always tried to teach me not to do and that is judging games based on their covers – I come from a gaming family, just go with it. I know it’s bad practice and I shouldn’t do it, but the reality is that 9 times out of 10 if I look at a games screenshots and they don’t instantly call out to me, I’m moving on.
This was the case with Dropsy.
I first found Dropsy on Steam just after its launch in September last year and I never gave it a second glance. I thought the art was deliberately badly done (It’s not – it is absolutely charming and endearing) and the idea of playing as a clown wasn’t exactly the most appealing thing I could imagine (also wrong, Dropsy is not just a clown he is the single most loving and selfless character I’ve played all year).
Then a few months ago, Dropsy came to me as part of the Humble Monthly bundle that I subscribe too, and I mindlessly added it to my Steam library. Something you should know about my house is, if there is lightning anywhere in the area, no matter how brief, it’s going to hit my house and it’s almost certainly going to hit out my internet router (this is a grounded fear as one month I replaced 4) so in reaction to that, the moment anyone in my house hears even the first grumble of thunder or even just sees a suspicious-looking cloud, we unplug the internet.
My house is truly a fun place to be during the rainy summer months, if your idea of fun is having no connection to the outside world that is.
So on one of these dreary internet-less days about two weeks ago, I found myself going through my Steam library aimlessly looking for a game to play, but also not really in the mood to play anything. Then I saw it. The forgotten about game, Dropsy.
First things first, Dropsy is a point and click adventure game. Don’t let the fact that you play as a clown let you think that this is a game for children or that it is simple in any way. Dropsy has an impressively huge map for a game of this genre, interesting inventory and world puzzles and really captivating gameplay. Its charm lies in the throwback to a bygone era of gaming.
There is a ‘Day/Night’ mechanic, which is actually a ‘Morning/Day/Afternoon/Evening’ system which really adds to the complexity of the puzzles as you have to make sure you are at the right places at the right times to pull them off. Coupled with that there are 4 playable characters, each with their own specialty to help you proceed: a bird, a mouse, a dog and a clown. Some puzzles require a specific character to complete and others require a combination of all 4.
The art style and colors are beyond vibrant, you get this strange feeling like you are trapped in a box of crayons for the first say half hour of play before you just accept that this is how life looks now. And the music, the music just took me right back. If you ever played the original Sims games or Leisure Suit Larry, you will remember the ambient sort of whimsical jazz music that used to play? Well, that’s the soundtrack to Dropsy down to a tee.
There is no dialog or text in the game, instead, the narrative is given to you entirely through visual aids, which sounds like a flawed concept when writing it down – but in execution it was perfect.
The story without spoilers is as follows : You take on the role of a circus clown named Dropsy, very soon after you start playing you discover Dropsy is an outcast and everyone in the town blames him for a fire that broke out at the circus and resulted in his mom dying. You go on a journey to save your sickly dad and discover the truth behind the fire. It becomes a journey of self-discovery and acceptance as you literally go through the world that has turned its back on you and fix it, one hug at a time.
It’s a complex story that harnesses feelings of sadness, love, forgiveness, positivity and unmerited kindness from Dropsy. You help a sad and grieving world to be a happier and better place, one act of selfless generosity after another. There is really no denying the monumental themes that are underlying when you play Dropsy, never before have I thought more about the harm of simply just judging something or someone.
Exactly like how I unfairly judged Dropsy, the in-game world judged him too, so maybe, just maybe, exactly how Dropsy went and changed a whole community with nothing but unwavering positivity and kindness, I can too.
It’s a game genuinely worth playing if you enjoy point-and-click adventures, and want to get lost in a game where you literally change the world through kindness, generosity, love and hugs.
If you want to watch someone playing Dropsy to see if it’s you kind of game, I highly recommend Pushing Up Roses on YouTube, she really brings the game to life, just the way it deserves.