Dropsy Preview

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Difference.

I’m afraid to say that difference can bring the worst out in all of us and I feel it’s very Zeitgeist to be discussing it now. In an age when we’re witnessing masses of refugees fleeing from war into Europe, there’s a general unsavoury attitude from the media and those easily manipulated by the media to mistrust and even hate those different to ourselves. A cursory glance at the comments sections of papers like the Daily Mail and you will see contempt instead of empathy.

Transgender people being murdered in numbers far beyond the norm, suicide rates through the ceiling, because they seem different to many of us and possibly even ‘freakish’ they are left feeling isolated and alone.

Disability is also a difference and a general attitude of mistrust forged by a government willing to scapegoat and demonise this social group. Within that sphere we have people with learning difficulties. Maligned, derided, mocked, bullied, even sometimes murdered. All because of difference, because it’s something that can shock us all, even for only a moment.

I remember after a long absence from my home-town of London, stepping off a train for the first time in years and bumping into a man talking to himself. I froze in complete fear. “It’s a crazy person, what the fuck”. Turns out, in my absence ‘hands-free’ mobile phone technology had become a ‘thing’ and he was having a cosy chat. But it’s in those moments of difference and surprise that fear can arise….. It was just a reaction, we all react, but it’s something that has stuck with me. A lesson.

It’s the space that follows those moments of reaction that matters, how we deal and process that reaction. Do we reciprocate with anger? Or with a hug?

Fucking heavy for a games preview perhaps, especially for a game filled with so much delight as Dropsy.

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Dropsy loves hugs.

Dropsy is also a character that will provoke reaction of both love, and in some fear. I’ve seen the response of people when they’ve viewed the trailer or happened upon the game on Steam. My first reaction reminded me stepping off the train and being presented with something from a conditioned nightmare. I froze, I thought the game might have some serious misguided motivation. “What the fuck is this”!? I knew then that I had to cover this game.

Dropsy as a game is what is termed as a point and click adventure – in truth my least favourite of genres (in fairness, it’s probably more of a mechanic than a genre).

The game and Dropsy’s adventure begins with a nightmare that soon dissolves, Dropsy awakens in his room (in the circus). Have I mentioned he’s a clown? He’s one freaky fricking clown!!

And in me calling him freaky we have the reason for my amateur philosophical musings above – that’s the immediate reaction I’ve been talking about. Beyond that juncture and reaction though, given the chance we can breathe, find some space and flip the coin to the see tales of joy instead of angry faces.

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Joy.

If I were to use one word to sum up playing Dropsy, it would be joy. On the surface the game is blocky, pixelated and ugly, but there’s a whole lot of beauty in this game. Not just beauty, but feeling, creativity, imagination and mystery.

He lives, (or exists) in a surreal world full of vibrant and outlandish folk with one absolute in common – sadness. With your help Dropsy needs to explore this world, solve the puzzle that is Dropsy himself and bring happiness to the world around him.

Puzzles are abstract, in fact the whole world is abstract, painted in a garish palette using the strokes of a brushed conceived in a bad LSD trip.

The game employs a simple interface. You have a small inventory in which you can store key items and enigmatic tokens as you adventure into the dystopian land. You have an icon for your companion – a cute puppy that can interact with the world and different people in ways you can’t (Dropsy can scare the fuck out of people, puppies less so).

Also an icon so you can make Dropsy hug. You can hug people, trees, animals.. You can try to hug almost anything, but just like the real world, don’t expect pleasant reactions all the time and remember, the people in this land are mostly unhappy. In time they may learn to love your hugs and you’re rewarded with a graphical squirt of goodness that feels as good as good can be.

For each puzzle completed you get to hug, you get to spread the love, you get to feel the love and the game hugs you in return. It feels good, Daily Mail readers should play Dropsy.

The game will be on general release on September 10th and I will review it fully then. My time with the current unfinished build has left me feeling honoured to do what I do for Frugal Gaming and feeling very lucky to sample something like Dropsy early.

Coming to Steam. IOS and Android September 10th with a full review soon after.

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