dark        

Review: Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry

0

Larry is back, and as lewd as ever

If you’ve ever played a point-and-click adventure game and thought to yourself, “This is pretty good, but it could do with a few more penis jokes”, you’re in luck. Germany-based dev team Crazy Bunch have taken on the Leisure Suit Larry license and made a good effort in bringing Mr. Laffer kicking, screaming, and stinking of cheap cologne into the 21st century. It’s not flawless in its technical or narrative execution, but the result is pretty entertaining nonetheless, skirting the boundaries of decency while containing plenty of knowing nods to the series’ shady past.

Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Don't Dry (Mac, Windows [reviewed])
Developer: Crazy Bunch
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Released: November 7, 2018
MSRP: $29.99

The infamous sex-mad codger Larry Laffer wakes up in an underground laboratory in 2018, having being held hostage there since the 1980s (rendering Magna Cum Laude non-canonical...hopefully?). Stumbling his way out of captivity and finding himself back in his old pal Lefty’s dive bar, it’s not long before Larry throws himself balls-first into the new-fangled dating scene.

He swiftly finds the woman of his dreams, Faith. She is a revered figure at Prune -- a clear parody of Apple -- and doesn’t date any old chump in a second-hand suit. To win a date with her, Larry has to prove his worth by courting as many women as possible through the dating app Timber. Before long, the player is solving the problems of men and women scattered around the town of New Lost Wages, currying their favour so that he can boost his Timber score. In doing so, he discovers just how much the world around him has changed since he emerged from stasis: it is more sex-positive, more LGBT-friendly, and people are obsessed with technology and maintaining an image of perfection.

An interview with the team behind Wet Dreams Don't Dry demonstrates there was a balancing act with how to handle the narrative. The new entry in the long-dormant series aims to please older fans while being sensitive to the wariness of newcomers and to the ways that attitudes toward dating/sex and relationships have moved past chauvinism. And the game largely gets this balance right – largely.

While Larry is still an insensitive oaf, whose dating ideals originate from the Stone Age, the people he interacts with constantly call him out for his idiocy. He is not rewarded for being gross. The character artists and narrative designers went to great lengths to make characters of all genders believable and unique – none of them are reduced to mere sexual fodder, but rather, the sexual side to each character is depicted as a healthy extension of their personality.

The game tackled Leisure Suit Larry’s questionable legacy head-on in some parts, including a section where you play as past Larry in all his eight-bit glory. In this chapter, Larry meets a particularly infamous vile misogynist and reflects on just how disgusting his past views were. Ultimately, the story does not lecture the player and does not try to change Larry into the ultimate enlightened man. But that’s OK because that’s not who Larry is. Instead, we are encouraged to have a giggle at his expense, and appreciate his efforts to change.

The story is eye-wateringly rude throughout, and every attempt to make a hole look like something else is gleefully seized with both hands by the creative team. It’s so over-the-top that you can’t help but smile at it, particularly thanks to the vibrant art style. This iteration of Larry could very well be something you find stashed away in an older relative’s drawers along with some smut magazines, and it has more than earned its Mature rating in the US. Playing it leaves you feeling a little embarrassed and a little dirty but in a sort of...good way?

Where this aspect of the game lets itself down a bit is in the details, but it is hamstrung somewhat by being a relatively brief point-and-click adventure game. At its core, you still have to do quests for women and the reward dangled in front of Larry’s face is sex – though the game makes this less seedy by the woman taking control of the situation or the encounter being interrupted.

There is some lazy use of stereotypes, such as a particularly gaudy drag queen character, but again, it is difficult to flesh out all side characters in a fairly short point-and-click adventure game. A visual novel that is three times as long could probably have done a more in-depth job of character exposition, but then it wouldn’t be a Leisure Suit Larry game. On the whole, the developers did a very good job with the source material and the genre, crafting a story that isn’t the most inspired but remains fun and contemporary.

I went into this review worrying about the narrative being problematic, but I found myself far more troubled by technical aspects of the game. I have to hold my hands up and say I am no point-and-click aficionado, so I got stuck several times. It falls into the same traps as old-school LucasArts point-and-clicks, where you will be clicking on everything and trying to combine everything, to no avail.

On a handful of the occasions in which I had no idea what to do, I am kicking myself for not understanding the solution right away, but there were a couple of times where the solutions seemed implausible. This type of game will simply not be some people’s cup of tea (specifically people who get frustrated very easily). It could be my cup of tea someday, but I will have to get used to it, like some sort of pungent ale brewed in Lefty's washing machine.

My advice: press the spacebar regularly, as this shows all elements you can click on in a given location. The game is hard enough if you know where everything is, so don’t make it needlessly worse for yourself.

Wet Dreams Don't Dry runs pretty well on low-end hardware, albeit with a few bugs and annoying design features. The map displays where relevant characters are at any given time, but the location of Dick Ryder (ho ho) according to the map was wrong on one important occasion. The inventory UI is quite floaty and prone to disappearing if you nudge your cursor accidentally, so I would advise using a mouse if you are playing on a laptop.

Another minor detail is the shaky localisation work in some parts of the game: there were a handful of spelling errors and a few jokes in the English text that only German audiences are likely to understand. This may have only bugged me because my day job is in translation and localisation, but be prepared for a couple of the smaller jokes to go over your head.

One last thing that was a little disappointing was the voice acting and incidental dialogue. Because you have to click on things so often, and Larry draws from a bank of a few sentences when the combination of items you are trying isn’t correct, the repetitive dialogue delivered by Larry’s nasally voice can grow old fast. The original English voice of Larry, Jan Rabson, is back and in fine form in standard dialogue – it is just the reaction dialogue that grates on the nerves.

Most of the supporting characters’ English voice acting was serviceable, but literature student-cum-cam girl Erin’s line delivery alternated between breathy and shrill. A puzzle involving her hedge clippers (yes yes, you can see where that joke is going) involves her shouting at you in an ear-splitting fashion whenever you try to take them out of her room. If you’re faffing around trying to solve the puzzle and have no idea how to progress, getting screamed at over and over again is no fun.

Overall, Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry is a solid point-and-click adventure with a fresh twist, though it stumbles into many of the standard pitfalls for the genre. The story is largely respectable and interesting, while not at the top of the pile. If you’re a big fan of the genre or an old fan of Larry who wants to check in on him, you should absolutely give this game a go as close to release as you can. For everyone else, a fun time lies in wait, provided you can tolerate the infuriating puzzles.

Certainly, if games like Day of the Tentacle and the Harvey and Edna series left you wanting to bash your head against a brick wall, you will need to play through the new Leisure Suit Larry with a guide – for your own protection.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

You are logged out. Login | Sign up

 
 

 

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry reviewed by Charlotte Cutts

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

TwitterRedditEmailFacebook
 
Charlotte Cutts
Charlotte CuttsContributor   gamer profile

Likes games, loves speedrunning. Ships herself with the PlayStation Vita.  more + disclosures


 




 


Also on destructoid: Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry   (1)   From our database:

  • Leisure Suit Larry making his ill-advised return in new PC adventure - Chris Moyse
  • More related stories
    Filed under... #Adventure Games #lewd #PC #Point and click #Puzzle Games #reviews

    READER COMMENTS LOADING BELOW...


    LET'S KEEP THE COMMUNITY GREAT


    You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!



     
     
  •