Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode I Review

Penny Arcade Adventures is a really good game, but its humor is only suitable for fans of the webcomic series.

From the minds of Penny Arcade creators, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, comes this episodic action-adventure game that mixes some known characters with a complete new plot and setting. Penny Arcade Adventures isn’t for everybody. To some people, most of the jokes can be considered offensive and distasteful, so if you don’t like the image of a robot with unusual means of extracting juice you should simply play something else instead. The game is based in the popular webcomic and it incorporates many elements so proper of the series. If you’re a fan you’re going to love it, but if you’ve never heard of the comics you’ll probably miss many funny remarks that make reference to it.

The game begins with a narrator reading a poem called “The Quartet for the Dusk of Man”. Right after that, you see how your house is destroyed by a gigantic robot, while some other smaller ones attack you. Your character lives in a city called new Arcadia, and to solve all your problems you need the help the founders of the Startling Developments detective agents: Gabe and Tyco. Soon enough, you’ll join them on their quest to destroy all the mimes and robots that have been swarming the 1920s suburban neighborhood. The story takes some really interesting turns and it soon becomes really bizarre and unique, even though it’s heavily based on such a popular series.

If you hated clows as a kid here’s your chance for revenge.

Penny Arcade Adventures features some really interesting aspects, like a great combination between the turn-based combat and its odd sense of humor. Before you fight any enemy, you need to closely approach it, once you do that you are shown a better view from the battle. Fortunately, there are various ways to defeat an enemy and this keeps the game quite entertaining until the end, you can either perform simple attacks or some specials. Additionally, if you press the space bar at the precise moment of an enemy attack (a little bar flashes for a second) you can block it completely, partially or you can even counterattack it. To perform a special attack you have to play a short minigame that tries your skills and reflexes. Some require you to press the specific arrow that appears onscreen, match a key press, you’ll need to press the space bar many times and so on. This simple minigames add more variety to the game and most of them are quite entertaining.

Something that immediately stands out is that the humor is always an important part of the game; it’s always funny and also quite engaging. It’s really surprising to read a really immature or vulgar joke just after a poetic one, but then again that’s something that’s really proper of the comic series. The game gives you many quests and most of them consist of solving puzzles, defeating an X number of enemies or giving a specific item to a secondary character. Puzzles aren’t really that complex and challenging, but at least they involve getting new parts to improve your weapons. The world gives a fake impression that everything can be examined to get new clues, while in fact every object is usually described in a very amusing and funny way. The main objective here is to make the player laugh for a while, not immerse him/her in a unique world.

You’ll fight huge robots and vicious… mimes!

Penny Arcade looks quite well. The game uses a graphic engine called “Torque” that looks really good even on the lowest graphical settings. The 2D scenes, so reminiscent of the comic series, combine extremely well with the 3D world, which by the way, is extremely detailed. All the buildings and streets are full of little objects that you can interact with or even pick up to use later during the battles. The characters, even the secondary ones, have their own personality and each one looks different from the rest, though, there are only four unique places you can visit during the episode. You won’t hear many voices, but the narrator does a terrific job of introducing and closing the game. It would have been great if Gabe and Tyco were given voices, as they are the main characters and you spend a lot of time with them.

If you like Penny Arcade, you’ll probably have a great time playing this game as you’ll get many of the amusing references. If you don’t like the webcomic, you’ll probably find the combat boring and the setting and characters way too bizarre. In any way, those of you who are looking for a game that has mature jokes and a little bit of RPG you might like what Penny Arcade Adventure has to offer.