Review: Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure
Demetrios comes to Vita from French developer Cowcat, a one-man studio headed by Breton Fabrice. It’s an impressive experience coming from a single person studio. The game has seen positive reception on Steam, where it was previously released, and it’s not too difficult to see why. For someone who enjoys Adventure games, Demetrios will likely be right up their alley. It’s funny, quirky, mysterious, and has a good deal of unlockable extras in addition to a strong core narrative. I don’t particularly enjoy Adventure games. While I always try to come at a game with an objective point of view, I am in fact a human being with embedded preferences. While Demetrios doesn’t do much to dislodge me from my Adventure genre apathy, it is a well-made game full of comical content for the Vita, a system I pine to play more often.
Demetrios looks good. The hand-drawn characters and environments have a synergy between them that helps create a consistent diagesis. Characters swap facial expressions when talking, and some, like the police officer with sweat pouring from his face, are outright animated, which is a nice change of pace every once in a while. The environments are varied and contain a veritable ton of clickable (or in the Vita’s case, tappable) objects, each with its own piece of dialogue. After playing for a few hours, I have a feeling the script for this game must be huge. The controls map great to the Vita, with UI and inventory systems that never got in the way or felt clunky. The music is spot-on, with a handful of themes that either shuffle in the background or purposefully play when certain characters or events are occurring on screen. In addition to tapping objects that may be of use to you, there are a couple of extras to be on the lookout for.
Each screen in the game has three cookies hidden in it. If you tap and hold the touchscreen, a magnifying circle pops up, which is a useful tool in discovering all of the cookies. Despite my distaste for Adventure games, I quite like Hidden Object Games. I spent a lot of time in Demetrios simply hunting for cookies. The cookies can be eaten in order to provide a hint as to what you’re supposed to be doing to move the main story along. There are Game Over screens to discover by putting your finger into an electrical socket, berating a cop, pissing off a security guard, etc. They’re a fun side-quest of sorts that don’t impede your progress (you just restart from the screen you ‘died’ on).
I made generous use of the hints feature because I can’t stand the ‘blind search’ aspects of most Adventure games. It is incredibly difficult to design puzzles that aren’t too obvious or too obscure. When they’re too obvious, there is no satisfaction to solving them. When they’re too obscure, the player often doesn’t have enough (if any) information to make meaningful decisions; instead relying on blindly trying everything until something works. Demetrios does a decent job of balancing this issue. There were times where I felt like I was just going through the motions, at which point it would be equally engaging to watch the events rather than ‘play’ them. There were other times where I had little information to go on, got frustrated, then ate cookies until the hints told me that, duh, I should check my apartment bathroom for some coconut-scented deodorant to apply to this ice cream before offering it to the cop.
Overall, Demetrios is a well-crafted game with a good deal of content. If you’re into Adventure games and/or toilet humor, you’ll find something well worth playing in Demetrios. It’s not quite as crude as, say, Leisure Suit Larry, but it’s certainly not as lighthearted as other Adventure games on the market. If you’re not into Adventure games, I don’t see this as being the game to change your opinion. While it is well written and chock-full of humorous quips, its core systems do little to separate it from or elevate within the dated genre.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Art style quickly grew on me
- Sense of humor
What I Dislike:
- Typical Adventure game trappings