If you’ve spent any time on Opus, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Jay Tholen’s quirky, Christ-centered chiptune music. Frankly, the dude’s a musical genius, and one of the more intriguing artists to emerge from Christendom’s fringe in recent years. In addition to making eccentric electronic music, though, Tholen is also a video game designer, and his long-in-the-works title Dropsy has just been released.
After a deadly circus fire shatters his world and tarnishes his name, Dropsy the Clown finds himself on a journey of self-discovery through a story that harnesses powerful themes of love and unmerited kindness. With his father gravely ill and the world turning its back on the once celebrated clown, Dropsy will need to help those in need, hug total strangers, and unearth dark secrets on the winding road to redemption. Oh, and Dropsy can also talk to animals.
Dropsy is a non-traditional take on the classic point and click adventure formula starring the game’s perpetually carefree namesake clown as he explores a richly detailed world full of colorful characters and sinister secrets, doling out hugs along the way. Rather than lead players on a singular narrative path, players are free to choose which avenues of adventure they want to explore in an open world setting and can piece the puzzles and story together however they choose.
Watch the official “sing-a-long” trailer below.
Given our culture’s general fear of clowns, making a video game about a deformed clown who wants to hug total strangers — and twerk — seems like a sure recipe for creepiness and controversy. However, Tholen’s game has apparently touched a different kind of never because Dropsy has been garnering rave reviews. For example, Destructoid’s Zack Furniss calls Dropsy “the best hugventure you can embark upon.” More:
While many suspected that this would be a horror game before it came out or that there would be some disturbing twist halfway through, that never ends up being the case. Instead, this is a celebration of the small victories we achieve when we become even the slightest bit closer to someone. Dropsy’s appearance lends itself to terror and has lead to his alienation, but his presence brings an indomitable cheer to anyone who gives him a chance. Every so often, Dropsy subverts this tone with an emotional kick right in your heart’s crotch, and it hurts in the best way.
Also, YouTube reviewer “PushingUpRoses” posted a short video review of the game, saying that the game may be very saccharine-looking but it deals with some serious subject matter, and is surprisingly bittersweet — which only adds to Dropsy’s emotional oomph.
Dropsy is currently available for Mac, PC, and Linux, with iOS and Android releases coming at a later date. In addition, the Dropsy soundtrack — which was composed by the supremely talented Chris Schlarb — can be streamed/purchased on Bandcamp.