Dropsy on PC
One of my favorite things in the world of gaming is coming across something that breaks my expectations. Dropsy, a point and click adventure following the adventures of a creepy, well-intentioned clown, definitely did this. Like something out of a child’s nightmare, this disturbing yet heartwarming tale is certainly unlike anything I could have anticipated. After all, it’s not every day that you come across a clown that’s both adorable and terrifying, all at the same time.
Dropsy brings one of the most vivid and misunderstood protagonists I’ve seen in gaming, the titular Dropsy the Clown. Plagued by society’s horror-laden opinion of clowns, as well as his own incredibly disturbed nightmares, this creepy yet well-intentioned entertainer is really only concerned with one thing: bringing joy and hugs to everyone he meets. In a world where everyone is struggling with their own concerns, players must find ways to spread joy and warm, damp embraces to those they meet along the journey.
What makes Dropsy really stand out is the stark contrast between the title character’s appearance and inner demons is his friendly demeanor. While his face is an undoubtedly jarring with its broad, nearly-toothless grin and thick makeup, there’s nothing threatening or scary about his dedication to his friends or desire to make everyone happy. The occasional dream sequence that covers the darkest corners of his unconscious reveals much about his own checkered past, though, and it becomes clearer as the game goes on that despite his naivety and childish approach, he’s not without his own dark memories.
Along the way, Dropsy introduces several animal friends who help our well-meaning hug enthusiast in different ways. Buried objects can be uncovered by the young pup that Dropsy calls his own. Later, Dropsy is joined by a rat who can scurry into small spaces that the other’s won’t fit into, and a helpful bird who can collect items that are out of reach to the others. All the while, puzzles and side-stories have our innocent yet disturbing hero helping the people of the city in the hopes that he’ll earn a hug.
On top of the unexpectedly endearing main character, Dropsy features a fantastic mood-setting soundtrack and pretty solid overall design. While a lot of the puzzles are pretty straightforward, there’s little hand-holding when it comes to your progress. Players are relatively free to explore the city, gather items, and interact with anyone they meet. In almost every case, picture-based conversations give hints as to what any given person is looking for to feel happier, and finding this for them will give the chance to give them the hug that Dropsy wishes for above all else.
Ultimately, Dropsy delivers an entirely unique and engaging experience. Well made from start to finish, and filled with twists and perils, it’s perhaps the best fusion of terrifying horror and heart-melting joy that I’ve ever seen. The $9.99 price on Steam ($8.99 on sale until September 17) is more than fair for the quality and amount of content. While there’s plenty of dark, off-putting moments as the innocent clown wanders through the game’s story, the overall sense of happiness is what’s most important both to Dropsy the Clown and to Dropsy the game as a whole.