Genre: Point and Click Adventure game
Release Date: June 27th, 2013
Developer/Publisher: N-Fusion Interactive/Replay Games
Platform: PC (Reviewed)
Retail: $19.99 (PC)
Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is not the first kickstarter game, but is the first of the major kickstarter games that was meant as a revival of an old concept by a famous developer. Leisure Suit Larry is the story of a 40 year old virgin who goes to Lost Wages in search of true love, or at least a cheap prostitute. The game is very explicit, so if you find such content offensive you may not want to read the rest of this review. I’ll try to gloss over some of the dirtier details, but there’s only so much I can do considering that this is a game where the end goal is to get laid.
My main complaint with Leisure Suit Larry is that it’s too stuck in the past. There is a money system that requires you to spend a lot of time gambling just to be able to travel between locations, and it seems that the only reason it exists is because it was in the original game as well. The ability to die also seems shoehorned in for the same reason. The problem is that in the original game it was possible to completely ruin your playthrough; dying didn’t give a short cutscene for you to sit through but meant that you had to restart the game. Running out of money or wasting too much time meant your game was over as well. The new game makes it impossible to get stuck, so the end result is that these features seem like a gameplay lengthening gimmick. Spending 30 minutes saving and loading at the slot machine so you can afford a couple more taxi rides is just a massive waste of time. The prostitute, while useful in the original game, serves no purpose here. In the original game using her would remove the time limit, while the remake has no time limit to speak of.
The puzzles, although sometimes ridiculous, never seem unfair. At one point you need to connect bungie cords together so you can jump off a balcony and steal a bottle of Spanish fly, which seems stupid and unlogical, but the game gives you enough hints and guidance that this actually is a fairly easy puzzle to solve. The problem is more to do with item collections and the interface. Many items you’ll need look like part of the background and are easy to miss. You’ll end up touching, looking, licking, and flashing everything to make sure you didn’t miss an item. Some important NPCs appear semi-randomly, so there will be some time spent searching for them just so you can progress.
The controls aren’t streamlined in the same way current adventure games are. Right now look, touch, talk, lick, flash and walk are all separate controls and you’ll need to cycle through them. Newer games would assume that if I click on the floor I’m trying to walk there, if I click on a person I want to talk to them, etc. On the other hand, the game has unique dialogue for practically every combination of actions. Needing to constantly cycle through you possible actions just to walk out of a room is a bit annoying when you’re just trying to progress, but I prefer getting a bit of humorous dialogue for trying to lick the floor. In fact, each type of floor has different dialogue; licking the pavement outside will give different dialogue than licking the carpeted floor in the casino. Clearly this is a game more meant for people that want to enjoy the humour and atmosphere, not for people looking for challenging and clever puzzles.
The writing is usually very childish, but also usually pretty funny. Replay games wasn’t content with making just a few dirty jokes, or even a lot of dirty jokes, but a staggering amount of dirty jokes. Every single dirty joke I could think of was somehow present in the game, plus a few hundred more. There are also a number of jokes that aren’t particularly offensive at all, with my favorites being when the narrator takes the time to poke fun at Larry. The cartoony graphics and catchy music helps the mood along.
At its core, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is a game to play at a leisurely pace. If you want to enjoy it, you need to take the time to explore and find all the dialogue and notice the little details they put in each screen. As a challenge, the game is a bit lacking, but at the very least the puzzles can be considered serviceable. It could just use an (optional) streamlined control scheme for people trying to finish the game, and the removal of all the padding and pixel hunting the game forces you to do. It’s otherwise a fantastic game, and shows what kickstarter is capable of. Al Lowe and his team delivered exactly what was promised, and hopefully this will lead to better and newer games in the future. Remakes of the other 5 games are already planned, and I’m excited to see what they have in store!