Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure, the brain child of lone developer Fabrice Breton of Cowcat Games, takes on the point and click genre by absolutely drowning it in insults and bodily excretions. Demetrios presents the story of Bjorn Thonen, a less than likable idiot who has found his way to adulthood through sheer dumb luck. Bjorn survives (barely) as an antiques dealer in Paris who finds himself the victim of a robbery after a drunken night. Thanks to the lack of help from an even lazier police department, Bjorn sets out to solve the mystery surrounding the robbery.
Players must move a cursor around the screen using the thumb sticks to point and click on items that may be of use either individually or once combined with another item. In addition to the items that can progress the story, each scene has three hidden cookies. Players can collect the hidden cookies from a variety of disgusting locations such as under rugs, in a vat of maggots, and stuck inside the pelvic region of a skeleton. Bjorn can be instructed to eat the cookies he has found in order to activate hints.
Initially, Bjorn’s quest leads him to the police department so that he can file a report about the robbery. The police, however, are completely unconcerned about the theft, even sending Bjorn out on fetch quests for ice cream in order to give him an appointment with an investigator. Bjorn manages to get into his own trouble at the station, however, as players have the option of instructing Bjorn to photo copy his own rear end. This ends up a disaster should players choose to do it, though, with Bjorn ultimately ending up arrested due to losing control of his bowels while sitting on the copier. This leads to a Game Over scenario complete with a humorous comic inspired scene with Bjorn where he is either dead or incarcerated. Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure has 68 of these game over scenarios for players to unlock and experience, usually discovered through choosing the wrong dialogue prompts or attempting to use two wrong items such as a lighter and a radiator together. Many of these game over scenes are amusing. Some, however, are unnecessarily frustrating, such as when there are five dialogue options and four lead to game overs.
Once players successfully help Bjorn track down and capture the criminal responsible for stealing the chicken statue’s tablet, the real adventure begins. Bjorn discovers that there were other art collectors with chicken statues similar to his own and that they, too, have been victims of robberies and even untimely demises. At the behest of a museum curator in the faraway island of Nogo, Bjorn hops on an airplane with his neighbor Sandra and her daughter, Caroline, to bring together all of the chicken statue tablets with the hope of uncovering the treasures of the ancient king Demetrios. While the events that occur in Paris are necessary to get the story off the ground, its the second part of the adventure in Nogo is where Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure really gets interesting. Bjorn is faced with an ever growing set of puzzles and obstacles for players to overcome as it is revealed that there is a bigger, more nefarious plot behind the robbery of Bjorn’s apartment.
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure has all the right potential to be an enjoyable point and click adventure title. But the game’s overarching desire to be “funny” is its greatest detriment. A majority of the dialogue between Bjorn and Sandra is crude and misogynistic. Bjorn and even other characters frequently makes snippy remarks about Sandra’s intelligence and physical appearance, even lamenting that perhaps she’s “not as dumb as she looks” since she is blonde. Bjorn even dares to suggest that Sandra is incapable of raising her daughter alone and should find a man to move in with (presumably him, the obviously incapable man-child.) so she has help. Bjorn’s treatment of Sandra’s child, Caroline, is even worse with his snide comments about physically harming her. It even goes so far as to give Bjorn the option to snitch on Caroline’s presence which results in her being shot by a thug, thus popping the achievement “I Hate Little Girls”.
One of the greatest disappointments of Demetrios – The Big Cynical Adventure is that there is a legitimately interesting game buried under the immature humor and brutish dialogue. The controls are smooth and effective, the minigames are a nice break from the main point and click nature, and even the pacing of the story is really good. The graphics have an accidental 80s Saturday Morning Cartoon feel, and while there’s no voice acting there are moments where sound effects are used to help tell the story. Unfortunately, the whole thing just gets lost in poop jokes, blatant misogyny, and unexpected retching.