As far as clowns go, I’m not terrified of them, but they are a little creepy. The only clown I can think of that I’ve ever actually liked is Krusty the Clown from the Simpsons. It’s rare to be intrigued by a clown these days, unless they’re a serial killer that resides in Derry, Maine, or you love Big Macs. Anyways, Dropsy is a game about a scary clown… or is he? The annoying theme song from the trailer has been stuck in my head for days, but that’s about as evil as this game gets. Dropsy is a friendly neighborhood clown just trying to clear his name and prove to everyone that he would never, ever murder his mother in an accidental circus tent fire.
Yep, you read that right. The game begins with a brief cutscene showing a vibrant circus filled with happy patrons. All of a sudden someone tosses a lit cigar and the whole place goes up in flames. Dropsy’s mom is one of the victims claimed by the fire, and for some reason he is implicated for the crime. He loses his reputation as a clown and over the years is forgotten. He is somewhat of an Edward Scissorhands-type character, residing in the place where his caregiver perished. A dreary, half-burned, abandoned circus tent. It’s a dark beginning to a very odd game with plenty of highs and lows.
Dropsy reminds me of Bunny, (the 4th Power Puff Girl, if you’ve never seen that episode I highly recommend it). Dropsy is an innocent, slightly dim-witted, adult man, in a tattered clown outfit. He is very unkempt and his social skills are not the greatest. But with the help of his trusty dog sidekick, Dropsy is ready to go out into the world and bring joy to the people once again. However, this is where my problems began, and my joy was quickly sucked away.
Dropsy is a weird but charming point-and-click adventure. Moving Dropsy requires you to continuously click to the left or right of the screen with the cursor. This wouldn’t be an issue if the rest of the world didn’t respond to my clicks (items, NPCs, doors, etc), making me accidentally interact with stuff that I did not intend to click on. Almost as soon as I began my adventure, I was frustrated. Going back and forth from Dropsy to the dog solving puzzles was fine at first but it quickly became a chore. Dropsy doesn’t move very fast and the game is very vague with any kind of directions or goals. All of the dialogue between you and the NPCs you interact with are tiny illustrations. So you have to decipher what you think they want, and then figure out how to get it, which isn’t necessarily as hard as it is time consuming.
I honestly liked that the characters only speak with pictures. It’s fun trying to figure out what they’re saying and I haven’t came across this in any other game I’ve played. This game also has a lot of personality. It’s worth interacting with everything you can, just to see the outcome.
When Dropsy helps the people he meets along the way, he will earn a hug. A hug in this game is like a Power Star in Super Mario 64. You want all the hugs you can get, which you earn by befriending people or helping them with quests. Yes, hugging is a big part of this game. And while Dropsy does become more likable and charming as you play, he also never changes his clothes or showers. So… yay, hugs from Dropsy!
My favorite character is the dog. It follows you around and you can switch back and forth between Dropsy and his dog to solve various puzzles or venture into areas that big ole clown just can’t fit into. He will also pee on things, just as Dropsy can use pretty much any bathroom you come across. It’s a weird feature but it reminded me of the game Boogerman, so I thought it was funny.
The city you explore is pretty realistic, and can get pretty ominous at times, so if you thought this was a game for kids, you’re wrong. Day transitions to night, things come and go. Certain NPCs and items appear at different times, it keeps things interesting. The streets are rough and grimy. I liked just walking around (apart from the controls) and checking out the scenery and the characters in the game. It reminded me a lot of the SNES/Genesis days. The music is pretty great, too. What Dropsy lacks in dialogue, it makes up for with other fun sound effects and music.
My main complaint is having to use the point-and-click controls. I would have loved an option to turn that off. Having to continuously click the screen to walk was annoying and took away from the experience. It also makes back tracking and fetching items for side quests much longer. I would have liked this game so much more if I was able to use the joystick to move. Otherwise, Dropsy is a pretty intriguing game, story-wise. And while I found this frumpy clown pretty grotesque at first, now that I’ve gotten to know him, he’s pretty darn cute.
Dropsy is a game that tries to show the human species that you don’t have to be a piece of garbage. Showing the smallest bit of kindness can go a long way in this world. Even if you’re a smelly, toothless, creepy clown, it’s the little things that matter. While there were some things I would change, this is an interesting, original game, if you can stand the point-and-click aspect.
Review: Dropsy (Nintendo Switch)
Dropsy is a game that tries to show the human species that being a good person does matter. While there were some things I would change, especially the controls (I personally couldn’t stand them), this is an interesting, original game. If you’re a fan of point-and-click adventures, you will definitely want to check this one out.