There was once a time, many many eons ago when 286s, 386s, and 486s, were a thing. This was a time before the Pentium which couldn’t count. A time when PC gaming was in its infancy. In amongst the shareware platfomers and fledgling FPSes there was another genre getting ready to make the PC its home; the good old point and click adventure. Back then Threepwood was a name most knew well. The raunchy exploits of Larry, oft joked about.
Over the following decades though, I’ve drifted away from the point and click adventure. I have good memories of some great entries in the genre, but attempts to play such these days has often ended up with me being frustrated at the insane puzzle logic frequently employed. I was fairly happy when the hidden object genre appeared. Many of these provided a similar style of gameplay but replaced the need for merging rubber chickens with a variety of other items to create nonsensical solutions.
Since then, many newer hidden object games have become hybrid point and click adventures; returning to their roots to give a more in-depth gameplay experience. The good thing is that they keep the mix of interaction styles, and this helps keep the games enjoyable to play. It’s a similar mixing of gameplay elements that first endeared Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure to me.
The main focus of gameplay is traditional point and click affair. Inventory items are likewise a suitable mix of silly, strange, and outright mundane (until use) — such as the manner in which a delicious coconut ice cream cone is obtained. Certainly in this aspect there is little to make this game stand out from its contemporaries. The story too, is fairly typical of point and click adventures.
A thief breaks into an antiques dealer’s home in Paris, and steals a tablet from a strange bird statue. Said antique dealer is then drawn into adventure as he attempts to find out who stole the tablet and why. These similarities to other games, such as the Broken Sword series, makes Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure comfortably familiar. At the same time, developer COWCAT also introduces some features that do stand out.
There is an in-game hint system that not only helps out when stuck, but which also adds a hidden object element. Three cookies are hidden in each screen and given their size and somewhat non-distinct shape, can be hard to find. If you approach this as your first task for any new location, it’s also a helpful way to find other points of interest within the current scene. Alternatively, you can also highlight all object hot zones with a simple key or button press (such as the spacebar on PC). Your cookie hunting progress can be checked from the in-game pause menu.
Cookies are not the only thing you can collect. As morbid as it may sound, you can also experiment with a variety of ways to end main character Bjorn’s life. Such as by doing unspeakable things to a photocopier, or idiotically playing around with a gas heater. You’ll know when you’ve discovered a potential death thanks to a helpful prompt to confirm your actions.
While you may feel a need to save your game, lest you unintentionally wind up rotting in jail for the rest of life for mistreating a plant, it’s not actually necessary. These game overs will allow you to start right back up just moments before they occurred. So triggering one doesn’t spell disaster for any unsaved progress. The only downside to these death scenes is that they cannot be seen again from within the pause menu. A bit of a shame as some of them are quite humorous. I’d like to have been able to view them at any time once unlocked.
I initially started playing Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure on the PC. The graphics here are naturally very crisp and clear. There’s little in the way of graphical settings, mainly a choice of 1080P or 720P in addition to windowed, fullscreen, V-sync toggle, and opting to turn special effects off. In addition to the expected mouse control, the PC version also supports playing with a controller. The left analogue stick moves the cursor at the normal speed, while the right stick moves it at a slower speed for more precise positioning. Left and right buffer buttons allow for quick access to your inventory items (the mouse scroll wheel also provides this function).
With Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure recently releasing on the Playstation Vita however, I switched to playing on that format. Specifically, I’ve been playing on the Vita TV. Given the far smaller screen of the Vita handheld, the graphical quality is lower than that of the PC. However, I still prefer playing on the Vita TV over playing on the PC for one main reason. The Vita version provides a zoom function which is absent from the PC original.
This zoom is automatically activated when moving the pointer with the right analogue stick. The zoom makes Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure a far more accessible game, especially when hunting the smaller items, such as the cookies. Touch screen controls are also provided for those playing on the Vita handheld, but I have not tried these myself.
Over the course of the game, Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure has a fair amount of toilet humour. Ranging from the odd fart, to some rather raunchy book titles and the like. This content may not be to everyone’s taste. However, all versions of the game allow you to toggle the amount of this humour at any time. It can be turned off entirely or toned down. While the option to tone down this content is appreciated, there is little in the way of the in-game description to indicate just how this differs to the full toilet humour option.
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure has been surprisingly good. While I usually tire of entries in the point and click genre fairly quickly these days, I find myself returning to Bjorn’s adventure regularly for short play sessions. I especially find myself looking forward to seeing how I can kill Bjorn off in later chapters. Although I highly recommend the Vita version for its quality of life improvements, the PC version is still worth playing for those who only have access to that format.
You can purchase Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure from Steam.
All screenshots are from the PS Vita version. Screenshots are direct grabs taken via AVerMedia RECentral. There are no in game settings for quality to change. They have not been altered or modified.
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure was obtained on both PC and PS Vita as review copies courtesy of COWCAT.