STAFF REVIEW of Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure (Xbox One)

Monday, August 28, 2017.
by Adam Dileva

Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure Box art Even with the stigma of failed Kickstarters, there are a few projects that live up to their promises, Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure being one of those. Developer COWCAT, though technically a one man show by Breton Fabrice, asked for a modest $2500 to help fund his game, and nearly double that was pledged. Technically it didn’t hit the stretch goals to bring Demetrios to consoles, but it seems they made it somehow, as it’s now arrived on Xbox One for point and click fans.

There’s very few point and click adventure games that release these days, nothing like in previous years when there was plenty to go around, so whenever one comes, especially to console, I’m always eager to give them a shot. So how does Demetrios compare with others in the genre, especially with ones from the likes of Artifex Mundi who has the genre on lock down on console? Well, it depends on how immature you are and if you find farts and toilet humour funny. It’s clear that Demetrios doesn’t’ take itself too seriously, which is all part of its charm.

The narrative follows normal guy Bjorn Thonen who runs an antique shop. After acquiring an odd antique he is attacked from behind and his new statue is stolen. Your main goal is to figure out what happened, who did it and why. Bjorn is just a regular dude though and by no means a detective of any sorts, so he’ll need any help he can get, mostly from his next door neighbor crush Sandra.

You’ll start your adventure in your messy apartment, eventually uncovering new locales like down the street, a hotel, bar, graveyard and other exotic places. The tale takes place across 6 different chapters, some lengthier than others, but lasting a surprising amount of time, clocking in just under 6-10 hours or so based on your prowess in the genre and reliance on the hint system.

Bjorn is not the smartest man, so many of his revelations are quite silly, as is the solutions to many of the puzzles. At times the content can become a little gross and vulgar, like using vomit as ‘glue’ for example, but it’s this immature humor that makes Demetris stand out among others. Demetrios has its moments with its humor, eliciting a chuckle here and there, again, if you find toilet humor, farts and urination stuff hilarious.

Visually Demetrios looks like an amateur comic book, with all the dialogue done through text boxes (sadly the goal wasn’t reached for voice acting to be included), though there’s only some minor animations, usually just subtle details like eyes, hair and background items. Just like the genre entails, you’ll be searching for items to collect and saving them for the right puzzle to complete or combining with other items for peculiar solutions. The majority of the puzzles have logical solutions, though combining some of the items together for the item you need can be a little nonsensical at times and a stretch of logic.

Controls are very basic, as you simply move the cursor around and click on objects that can be inspected or interacted with within each scene. Many intractable objects are simply for decoration and fluff, though you can hold the X button to see all of the items in the scene highlighted with labels. What surprised me though was the amount of minigames also included during Bjorn’s journey. Usually games of this type is the same start to finish, but there were times where some minigames were required to progress, such as fishing, horse racing or shooting a fart gun at animals. Yes, you read that right. These games are ridiculously simplistic and don’t require much skill but they help break up the monotony of searching for items across numerous scenes.

There’s an interesting hint system in place that requires you to eat cookies per hint. In every scene there are three cookies hidden in plain view. Each cookie you collect can be eaten to give you a hint of what to do next should you be come stuck and unsure what to do next. The first cookie will give you a very subtle hint, the second a little more description and the third basically telling you exactly what to do. This three tier hint system is quite helpful, and some of the puzzles are a little abstract, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for the cookies to use them for later. The main issue with finding these cookies is that they are so well hidden in the scenes that it turns into a pixel hunt most of the time. Some you’ll find no problem but others will have you completely stumped, as many simply look like a brown pixel or two hidden somewhere. There’s even an achievement for finding every cookie in the game, so good luck without a walkthrough.

Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure doesn’t do anything special that others in the genre don’t, but what it does well is stand out amongst the crowd, even if it is mostly for its immature toilet humor. Man-child’s like myself found myself laughing on more than one occasion as it never tries to take itself seriously at all. Given that Demetrios is created by a single person is even more so impressive, as I was expecting a very short adventure. The story draws out and isn’t as captivating as in the beginning, and there is a lot of going back and forth from scene to scene numerous times, but it’s still an entertaining adventure.

For $10 it may seem a little steep at first glance with its hand drawn visuals that appear low budget, but the length is surprisingly long. Puzzles are never too difficult for the most part, and even if there are moments of frustration of what to do, this is where the cookie hint system comes into play, allowing you to rely on it as much or as little as needed. If you have a juvenile sense of humor you’ll surely enjoy Demtrios for the silliness it presents, even if it can smell at times.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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