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Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Developer: CrazyBunch
Release Date: Nov. 7, 2018


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

by Cody Medellin on Jan. 31, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

In his new, completely hand-drawn adventure Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry, Larry moves straight from the 80s into the 21st century.

Leisure Suit Larry's place in PC gaming history has already been cemented. A mainstay in the DOS and early Windows era, the series caught people's attention with its focus on sex, but the main character, Larry Laffer, would rarely be successful in his endeavor to get laid. Instead, the crass humor was front and center, and the old-school convoluted point-and-click puzzle methodology meant that he'd always get close but get shut down as he tried. At the turn of the century, there were attempts to bring the series back to relevance, and while Magna Cum Laude wasn't bad for what it was, the console-only release of Box Office Bust is largely forgotten (and for good reason). After a remastering of the first game, Wet Dreams Don't Dry is a PC game that brings the series back to the tried-and-true, point-and-click formula.

The plot conveniently ignores the last two titles, so the focus is on Larry and not his nephew. After being mysterious frozen for 20 or so years, Larry awakens in what turns out to be an underground sewer system. Once he reaches the surface, he finds out that plenty has changed while he was away, making him more of a fish out of water than ever before. The only thing he does know is that he's still on a quest to pick up ladies and find love. The opportunity for the latter comes when he finds a prototype smartphone and, upon returning it, falls head over heels for the company's vice president. Unfortunately for him, the VP won't date anyone with less than a 90 score in their dating app. Thus starts Larry's journey into the modern dating scene and all of the trappings that go along with it.

One of the hallmarks of the game is its humor, and while it has always been raunchy, some of the jokes can be inventive and better than expected. That certainly isn't the case here, as most of the jokes are lowbrow and obvious. The parody names given to the world's equivalents to Instagram, Tinder and Uber all feel lazy, as if the writers came up with the first alternative names and stuck with them even though they sound witless. Most of the jokes fall flat due to some obvious punchlines, and it seems like the presence of boobs, sperm, and phallic symbols are to get for some quick and easy chuckles. While there are a few gems in the writing, this isn't going to be the laugh-out-loud experience that some fans may have been expecting.

The characters aren't demeaned in any way. You have all sorts of characters, including gay men, tech-obsessed nerds, social media influencers, a cam girl, hipsters, and a rock chick. All of them embody some kind of stereotype, but the tropes don't feel harmful. None of the jokes are made at their expense, and despite the nature of this game, every character feels fleshed out, even though you only have short interactions with them. It also helps that Larry isn't a sleazy character. With the change in times, some of his old habits don't fly in the modern dating world, and while he gets called out on them, he doesn't stick to his old ways. He's dumb but in a hilariously endearing way, instead of creepy.

The game mechanics call on the classic point-and-click style but in a more modern way. It's simplified to having a universal look button to glean information from any interactive object or a universal use button that allows players to combine items. The middle mouse button calls up apps, which pull up things like your list of contacts, a map of the city, and your inventory. There's also the spacebar, which, when held, highlights interactive items in the area. That last part may make the game feel way too easy, since you don't need to click on objects in the hopes that something is usable, but those who never liked the methods in older adventure games will appreciate this addition.

With that said, Wet Dreams Don't Dry still falls under the trappings of many old adventure games in that a number of solutions are nonsensical. Some solutions are only found because you're a genre veteran and you've seen a similar puzzle elsewhere, but some of the puzzles are so obtuse that you won't have an idea of what to do. It also doesn't help that there are lots of locations to travel to, and the game length is mostly due to constantly shuttling back and forth to get something done. Again, it's a hallmark of old game design, so you'll either love or hate it.

The presentation adopts modern trappings well enough. The graphical style resembles the Deponia series a bit, with bright colors and very thin black lines for the cel-shaded look. The title offers up the bare minimum in animation. It feels decidedly retro, but smoother animations would've been appreciated. Sound-wise, the music is decent, while the voice actors are mostly fine. Larry's original voice actor returns to the role, and he sounds just as good as ever, with an uneven pitch that makes him more of a loveable loser than an arrogant one. Everyone else is passable, but a few lines are delivered with more emphasis than needed, such as when a character uses an angry tone to ask you to leave her hedge clippers in her room.

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry is a good start to a potential comeback for the series. The return to the classic point-and-click formula is appreciated, even if some of the puzzle solutions can be obscure. The humor could be much better, but some of the jokes do stick, and the presentation is decent. Franchise fans will enjoy this title if they won't miss the original creator's nuances.

Score: 7.0/10

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