Hot Damn. I’ve been an avid reader of the genius that is Penny Arcade for many years now, and finally, their crackpot Lovecraftian RPG is upon us.
read my twisted thoughts at Fidget Magazine before the madness takes you…
On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness
Once upon a midnight dreary, while you pondered weak and weary, a massive giant robot stood on your house, crushing it to the ground and leaving you homeless. Not the best start to the evening. To compound matters it left a horde of evil fruit-juicer robots in its wake; Robots with a tendency to kill people (when not sexually assaulting an unfortunate orange or two). The solution is obvious, team up with two local lunatics and chase after the monstrous hellion, killing clowns, mimes, and some vagrant winos along the way…
The origin of the game is almost as sinister and murky as the subject matter itself, which has been scripted and designed by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik; the creators of the popular Penny Arcade webcomic. OTRSPOD sees their highly stylised alter egos Gabe and Tycho, cast as occult detectives, with your own character (as designed by you) joining them in their hunt for the giant robot. When not battling evil, or completing bizarre quests, much of the game is spent having insane and often hilarious conversations with the weird denisens of New Arcadia, all the while uncovering the deep and terrible plot that will likely involve you facing Elder Gods and facing a future of horrible terrible madness. Groovy.
Now its clear that a Steampunk Lovecraftian RPG based around the whims and dark humour of a sarcastic comic, isnt going to be to everyones tastes. In fact the humour and dialogue is so dark at times that its more than likely that many will find it too much. What with casual references to cannibalism, bestiality, fruit raping machines and a dark fascination with mimes and clowns, its certainly not a game suitable for anyone not old enough to buy thier own alcohol. Neither is the game without its flaws; the combat is a little too cumbersome, and controlling all three fighters in an almost turn-based battle can be trying when there are significantly more of the bads. As well as that, the dialogue drags on a bit, occasionally going on to the point of boredom as the characters expound on some diatribe which inevitably boils down to: bring me X and Ill give you Y. Most of which is par for the course for this type of game, but it feels like a letdown considering how awesome it all looks.
That said, theres much to recommend here, as even Penny Arcade virgins will be able to laugh along at the absurdity, and nods to popular culture, while the fans will enjoy the added bonus of oblique references to the comic and the occasional character cameo. While as mentioned before, the quality of artistry and brilliant writing of the budding duo really makes this stand out amongst it’s peers. It also isnt too long a game, and given the small price tag, is justifiable, especially as it does manage a satisfactory close while leaving the door open for what will presumably be an even more warped and even longer titled second instalment.