I’m a Spanish journalist and art critic, with interests in the indie game scene and the rich history of videogames. Also, I like to analyse the relationship between videogames and other forms of art.
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An unforgettably emotional journey through the psychological traumas of a cheerful clown demonized by the society, that tries to find redemption by giving his unselfish love to others. As a metaphor of the climate of hate and incomprehension in a post-9/11 world. Serving as an acid critic to the globalization and the current U.S. policies. But also as a love letter to two of the greatest American cultural contributions in the form of classical Hollywood cinema and Jazz music

The world completely changed after the terrorist attacks occurred on 11 September 2001 in New York. Leading us to an increased militarization in the western countries, now obsessed with the idea of security. So consequently, the artistic and cultural manifestations also changed, including videogames. A generation which grew up with cute videogame mascots was followed by a new generation of children playing realistic war simulators. While they saw tragic news on television, talking about the devastating consequences of the Irak War. It’s not a coincidence that in a country like the United States, where so many young lives were lost in the Irak War, Call of Duty became the best-selling franchise. In the New World Order raised from the ashes of the 9/11, the war was seen as an everyday routine.

I also think that it’s not a coincidence that a game like Dropsy was launched in the same weekend of September 11. Given that it’s a work surrounded with a pacifist message, talking about the act of giving our unselfish love to others as the only possible means to make the world a better place, mitigating the intolerance by trying to not prejudge other people. It’s easy to see in the cheerful and lovable clown Dropsy a mirror of all the Muslim people resident in western countries that were judged as potential terrorists in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11.

With a lot of its contemporary games relying in the idea of violence as the only possible means to defend our countries and using an ever increasing level of realism, in Dropsy we have our hugs as the main tool for interacting with other characters, trying to bring happiness to other people’s lives. And it departs from realism, sculpting an intentionally surreal world with some dreamy landscapes reflecting Dropsy’s traumas that seem taken from a Dali’s painting mixed with LSD.

Dropsy is clearly inspired by Yoshirou Kimura’s Chulip, one of the all-time best adventure games. Prior to the creation of Chulip, Yoshirou Kimura was one of the co-founders of Love-de-Lic, a Japanese studio that was responsible for some of the most creative games in videogame history. With Chulip being the consummation of Yoshirou Kimura’s principles regarding art creation.

Chulip, like Dropsy, was a game based in the idea of help other people with the final objective of give a kiss to every single character. So like in Dropsy, all of its puzzles were centered in how to win the confidence of the city inhabitants until we may be able to kiss them.

The subtle difference between Dropsy and Chulip comes in the form of its ambience and artistic and intellectual references. Chulip was envolved with a tinge of sadness and melancholy, highlighted by a palette with a tendency to ocre and brown tonalities. Its universe was so quirk as the showed in Dropsy, but another type of quirkiness. With cute characters more close to the perverted habitants that you could find in Austin Jorgensen’s Lisa. An the use of narrative in Chulip evokes the cruel society found in Charles Dickens’ novels, with a component of social criticism resembling Akira Kurosawa’s films such as Dodes’ka-den or The Lower Depths.

Dropsy is more like the luminous and warm opposite to Chulip. Its colorful palette takes its inspiration from Tim Schafer’s classic adventures in the vein of Day of the Tentacle, suggesting 60’s cartoons. At a first glance, some of its characters may seem a little disturbing. But all of them hide in his interior a kindness and friendly part waiting to be discovered. Dropsy, like Undertale, is a perfect antidote against all the skepticism surrounding the 21st century. A warm damp hug given to neutralize the nihilism.

If in Chulip the Akira Kurosawa’s social films were an obvious inspiration, Dropsy looks directly to Charles Chaplin’s first silent movies. Showing the same wise combination between tenderness and dramatic elements. Like Charles Chaplin or Takeshi Kitano in some of his first movies, Dropsy’s creator Jay Tholen has the magical ability of generating vivid emotions in the player, making you pass from crying to laughing. But most importantly, Jay Tholen shows the same talent as Charles Chaplin in the creation of a mise-en-scène. By disposing visual elements with a narrative focus in every shot. By evoking a lively environment through the interaction of these visual elements. And by providing accented expressions to his characters. With a narrative constructed only through the use of images, Dropsy becomes a love letter to classic silent movies. Resulting in a touching experience that it will be able to draw an immense smile on your face.

Dropsy also serves as an acid social critic to the globalization. And like Charles Chaplin’s films, it introduces subliminal messages for the construction of a more equitable world, eradicating any type of intolerance. In one of its more emotive fragments, we can see a woman in a church predicating against minority groups. Outside of the church, in an adjacent street, we can see an elderly woman begging for food. When Dropsy gives a sandwich to her and after and emotive hug, she will retire to an isolated corner with a crucifix to praise the Lord. Showing the true meaning of christianity as a religion about giving our love to others, trying to not discriminate those people with personal beliefs that are different from ours.

Like Hylics, another videogame masterpiece created by Mason Lindroth and also a sole-man effort, Dropsy shows an extreme level of detail in its animations and backgrounds, with thousands of small and subtle details. An ambition emphasized by its open world structure, with a cycle of day and night altering the interactions with other characters. In both creations, Dropsy and Hylics, is easy to perceive the seminal influence of Bill Plympton, one of the greatest American independent animators.

And its soundtrack composed by Chris Schlarb envelops its world with a groovy Jazz feeling, that serves to sculpt an idealized postcard of the American culture.

Dropsy is one of the best indie adventure games ever created. And an emotive art piece that equals other instant classics such as Kentucky Route Zero, Why Am I Dead at Sea, Botanicula, Gemini Rue or The Last Door.

( The writer of this review is not an English native. So you should expect occasional grammar errors. I apologize in advance. )

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2.6 hrs on record
last played on Nov 19
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last played on Aug 4
ЅДм╬мДN Nov 9 @ 11:20am 
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”

© Etty Hillesum
.blewberry Sep 11 @ 5:01am 
Doing well... spending most of the time this year playing the old nintendo carts, not so much with Steam games. I am glad that everything is fine for you ;)
Epilexia Sep 11 @ 3:42am 
@.blewberry : Everything is ok, thanks. I have spent most of the time this year playing the new Nintendo Switch, not so many time for Steam games. I hope that everything is fine for you :)
.blewberry Sep 9 @ 11:00am 
hey I hope everything is ok.
tenshi_a Mar 3 @ 8:08am 
Spike Chunsoft announced 428: Shibuya Scramble, a localization of the popular live-action visual novel 428: Fuusa Sareta Shibuya de, for PlayStation 4 and PC during its Game Developers Conference 2017 press event. It will launch in spring 2018.


I'm stunned! It's actually getting a Western release after all these years!
tenshi_a Mar 3 @ 3:51am 

Spike Chunsoft are bringing over a new Fire Pro Wrestling game.