Mad, Beautiful Ideas
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness is a new Action RPG released by Hothouse Games in colloboration with the Penny Arcade webcomic guys. It takes place in the Penny Arcade Universe starring Tycho, Gabe, and a character of your own design.

Admittedly, I am not a big Penny Arcade fan. I purchased the game largely because it looked funny, it was based on a 1920s horror-pulp story line, and it has a Linux version. in fact, if you’re using Windows, Mac, or Linux, I’d suggest you head over to Play Greenhouse now and download the demo. XBox Live users should be able to find a demo there.

The story starts out simply: You character is standing outside his home when a mysterious voice begins talking to him (or her), and begs him to clean up his yard with the rake. While he does that, a GIANT ROBOT appears, and crushes his house, before walking away, quickly pursued by Gabe and Tycho, of the Startling Developments Detective Agency.

Your character pursues Gabe and Tycho, learning how to play the game, and fighting the beginnings of a horde of ‘Fruit Fucker’ robots, the name of which pretty clearly describes what you’re dealing with. When you finally catch up with Gabe and Tycho, you join the agency, to get revenge on the Robot, and your adventure sets off in earnest. On the way, you’ll uncover a horrible plot involving Pagan Mimes, fight a horde of filthy hobos, and try to find a place to live.

The game has a decent length for the $20 price tag. A straight play through took just under ten hours, but as I found virtually none of the special music tracks, artwork, and collectibles, I’m likely to go back and search for those things. The game is amusing, and well-polished, though it’s likely unlike any other action RPG you’ve played in it’s mechanics.

Those mechanics made the game feel kind of strange. Whenever battle ends, the entire party is fully healed, you can only have a single status effect on each party member at a time. One of my favorite features is the blocking mechanism, which allows you to time a button hit with the enemies health bar flashing to get either a Block, Partial Block, Missed Block, or the elusive Counterattack. The special attacks feature a similar mechanism, but I do wish there had been a bit more variety in these. Each character’s special attacks operate basically the same, becoming harder with better attacks only because of the time limits and increasing amount of things to accomplish.

The game is simply a good time, and I believe it is worth the $20 asking price. There are three more episodes, which I expect will each hit that price point, though I do wish that they’d decided to offer a “Season Pass” like Sam & Max at a slightly reduced rate. That probably won’t stop me from buying the rest of the series.

For a fun, humorous, adult-oriented adventure, I’d suggest buying Penny Arcade Adventures. Download the demo first, and it gives a pretty complete feel for the tone of the game. But you two, can be a mewling babe on the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness.