Does this sound familiar? You’re a nice guy just wanting to spread some hugs around, working your job as a terrifying clown. Next thing you know the circus tent burns down and everyone blames you. No? Okay, maybe you won’t find this one on TV Tropes, but if you find yourself playing Dropsy, I bet you are looking for something a little unusual anyway.
Dropsy is a point and click adventure being published by Devolver Digital and being birthed from the mind of artist and developer Jay Tholen. The player will explore the world as Dropsy the Clown, picking up items and using them later to solve simple puzzles. There is no text or speech in Dropsy so everything is communicated through actions and occasionally sets of icons which you may or may not understand by design. It isn’t easy being a scary clown.
Almost the entire world is immediately open for you to explore. The narrative of what really happened with the deadly circus fire promises to unfold along the way. In the little bits I was able to explore, I met all sorts of interesting characters. Some of which had problems that I was able to work out for them. A hug being the only reward I needed.
Dropsy is the most horrible thing to look at in an already grotesque world. Despite people often running from him in terror all he wants is to give out hugs. According to the developer he can hug most things the same size as him. Sure enough as Dropsy I hugged an old man with a motorcycle, a small girl, a tree, and a porta-potty. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for lovable misfits but I immediately felt for Dropsy and wanted to help the world understand him better and clear his name.
This game certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but its the rough edges that make it interesting. I want to wander around Tholen’s strange world and poke at the little dark corners and see what happens. Dropsy certainly won’t have enough “game” for some people, but isn’t it great that we live in a world where glossy games with multi-million dollar budgets and focus-tested gameplay can exist in a PAX booth just a few hundred feet from Dropsy the Clown?