Should I Buy? – Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One

Penny Arcade Adventures: One the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One is both the winner of this site’s Longest Game Title and the debut game by Penny Arcade, the king of all webcomics. Since their inception, they’ve pioneered a particularly dark and offbeat comedy style that few webcomics can match, let alone top.

Their foray into actually making games rather than making comics about them was, in a complete and total change of nothing for this blog, a critical success that failed to pan out financially. Thematically, it’s an alternate universe where the beloved Penny Arcade characters inhabit a 30’s Noir-ish Lovecraftian world.

Together, comic stars Tycho and Gabe are the Startling Developments Detective Agency. They take it upon themselves to investigate evil cults and apocalyptic happenings. To this end, they wind up recruiting the character you create to help them after your house is stepped on by a giant robot.

Mechanically, the game is closest to a JRPG though it lacks the complexity in its battle system or character customisation to really qualify for that. In battle, you have three basic commands. Item, Attack and Special Moves. Each of these has a little timer that has to complete before you can use it, and you have to wait for Item to complete for Attack charges, and the same for Special Moves with Attack.

Given the way the battles work in this, that’s a pretty damn good thing though, even if it is frustrating to wait for Tycho’s damn Special meter to charge.

Like the Mario RPGs, when an enemy attacks you you have the chance to press a button at the right time of the animation to minimise the damage done. Likewise, to pull off your special moves, you’ll have to do a little button pressing minigame to attack with max power.

These systems are pretty limited, but they’re perfectly functionary. The game’s items are all found rather than bought and there’s no real equipment system. There are a few set upgrades for each characters weapons once you collect enough spare parts from battles, but that’s it. However, the feature that means that certain enemy types are resistant or weak to different attack types do help to add some tactical depth to the battles.

Moving on from the combat, there’s not much else to the gameplay other than moving around the limited environments. That said, the environments themselves are distinctive and fused with the famous Penny Arcade humour. The game’s soundtrack is far from stellar, but doesn’t have a single bad track.

The plot unfolds with plenty of laughs all round, and it’s clear that alot of work has been put into not only bringing across PA’s humour but it’s characters. Tycho and Gabe are spot-on for their characters, with Tycho easily becoming the annoyed intellectual and Gabe fulfilling the dim-but-fun role better than ever. I especially love that Tycho is almost always reading a book, even in battle.

The comic’s writing style lends itself surprisingly well to the plot’s more dark and horrific elements, though they’re mostly played for macabre laughs.

So yes, the game is limited, but what’s there works really well. This is a must for fans of the comics, and such an enjoyable experience that non-fans should look into it anyway.

Price: (Steam) £8.99 (This is the combo pack with both episodes, review for ep 2 to come)
(XBLA) 800 Microsoft Points


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Episode 5.6 – Penny Arcade & The World of Web Comics |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: