May 28, 2022

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice – PC Review

Hot on the heels of CrazyBunch’s 2019 release, we dive into the latest adventure of everyone’s favourite lothario, in Leisure Suit Larry; Wet Dreams Dry Twice

Wet Dreams

Rightly or wrongly, I like to consider myself as a somewhat modern, somewhat cultured man. Not old, but certainly not young. I’ve read a book or two, watched a political drama or three. Typically I take my humour saturated in satire, dripping in dry wit, subtle, and sophisticated.

But here lies rub. It’s all a lie. Beneath this carefully constructed façade, fabricated though decades of professionalism working in a post-pro-noun world. But give me a calculator and an idle minute and there’s a greater than average chance you’ll get it back with fifty eight thousand and eight displaying proudly inverted across the screen. And so it was with a devilish, delinquent grin that I began my foray into Leisure Suit Larry; Wet Dreams Die Twice.

This is usually where we say something along the lines of how reviews are objective. That one man’s aubergine is another man’s sex toy. The trouble is, Leisure Suit Larry; Wet Dreams Dry Twice is a game out of time. Assemble Entertainment have created a game before objectivity. Before the modern minefield of pro-noun politics, anti-vaxers, voting fraud or any of the other constant whining noise forming the in-exhaustive audio backdrop to our lives in the second decade of the 21st century.

Leisure Suit Larry is about as subtle as a massive, metal office shaped like a cock and balls

Leisure Suit Larry wouldn’t know objectivity if it slapped him in the face with an over-sized rubber cock. Or more likely, an inequality class action. And so we will extend it the same courtesy. Expect my opinions so share a similar lack of subtlety. But as a reluctant nod to my editor I’ll say that I played Wet Dreams on a high spec PC. Not that it matters. If your rig can manage Windows 10, you’ll jog along just fine. The review was made with a copy provided by the developers.

Graphical Fidelity

Leisure Suit Larry; Wet dreams dry twice is the latest iteration in a long line of point and click adventures. They see the titular character “Larry Laffa” attempt to solve a series of increasingly bizarre mysteries. Mostly in an effort to seduce a seemingly unending array of nubile young women. But more on that later. The point here is that the format of the game, the way it plays and crucially, the way it looks has changed very little since it first hit our screens in the late 1980’s.

Each scene is a familiar two dimensional, cartoonish backdrop for our guy to move around in, and interact with. The game throbs with vibrant colour, each location carefully stylised to a format that’s worked well for over four decades. The characters themselves are well portrayed. They are themselves each caricatured to the point of absurdity and in this context do their job amicably. But I have a couple of issues.

The art style harks back to Saturday morning cartoons, if the cartoons you watched were rammed full of cock

Firstly, and maybe this where my subjectivity will come in harder than our leading man at a Collage Rules party, but for me this game leans heavily on nostalgia. You cannot play Wet Dreams Dry Twice without thinking of the earlier games. What’s worse is that remembering the original Leisure Suit Larry Games remind you of better point and click adventures. They started, and perhaps should have ended with Lucas Arts. The Legend of Monkey Island, Sam and Max Hit the Road, and that simply exceptional Day of the Tentacle, clearly the jewel in the crown of an all but forgotten genre. One thing all theses games have in common is that they are hand-drawn, exquisitely. Wet Dreams employs a similar colour palate, sure. But the sprites, whilst obviously drawn at some-point are brought to life in lazy, clearly computer assisted manner befitting also-ran children’s programming.

Don’t get me wrong, if the breast-bob was an art form, Wet Dreams would take gold. As for everything else, the chosen style lacks personality. The intimacy and character of hand-animation lost to an impersonal series of incongruous movements. This is epitomised perhaps, by Larry’s gliding walk across the environment. The feet are moving, but nobody’s home. It’s obvious that choosing this particular route in art style saves money. Hand drawing every frame is expensive, of course. The trouble is, it really shows.

Characters and Story

As all that follow the series will know, Leisure Suit Larry is based on Larry Laffa. A leisure suit touting lounge lizard of a man, who follows his seemingly ceaseless need to satisfy his exhaustive libido. Larry is a simply man, with simple needs. Or to be more direct, one need. This man needs to get laid. And you are his unwitting guide to getting that particular itch scratched.

As such the story is really just an excuse to see this 80’s sex pest get his end away as much as possible. It’s a series of events strung together with a bold, yet inevitable tenacity again familiar to the series. But we’re all here so let’s get to it.

Larry finds himself at the tip of a giant shaft on Phallus Rock

Following the prior pursuits of our loveable Lothario, Larry finds himself in Cumcon. He’s betrothed to the sole woman of the island, believing that the lust of his life, Faith is dead in the ocean. He soon discovers this not to be the case, and embarks on an adventure to re-kindle his lost love. Larry quickly escapes his prior commitment, and finds himself stranded in an archipelago. Suitably, this consists of a series of suitably named islands; Muffington, Gofuku, and Phallus Rock. The loveable kleptomaniac becomes embroiled in an elaborate treasure hunt, seeking lost articles from previous explorers. All this to unlock a magic cave that will, he so desperately believes will reignite his prior relationship.

Meanwhile the evil corporation “Prune”, headed up by a very dangerously accented “Mr Wang” believe Faith the missing link necessary to execute its devilish plan to unleash home-spying tech on the unsuspecting masses. In doing so they inexplicably send a communist femme fatal after our unwitting hero with, you guessed it, hilarious consequence. To sum it up, it’s utterly bonkers, and completely fitting for a game of this ilk. The characters themselves all fucking mental and in that respect perfect to populate this insane universe. Job done.

Content and Length

Leisure Suit Larry; Wet Dreams Dry Twice presents an interesting poser when it comes to measuring length and playability. It is a question that is inextricably linked to the gameplay itself. This is a problem common to all abstract point and click adventures, to which Wet Dreams is no exception.

Ostensibly the game should take a reasonable mind no more than 6-8 hours to get though. There are no difficulty settings as such and due to the nature of the game it’s not really something you’d want to play twice. A bit like those puzzles you get in up-market Christmas crackers, the joy is in finding the solution, and once solved the jig is up. The trouble though is that I defy anyone to complete this game without cheating.

You’ll cheat a lot playing this game. Mostly on Larry’s girlfriend.

The reason for that is two part. Firstly, the sheer volume of crap that Larry picks up, and the opportunity for you to overlook a key object is, quite frankly an almost certainty. Couple that with the acquisition of said objects unlocking new dialogue options with the myriad of characters in game, behind which lies the path to progression and you have yourself a dizzying number of possible combinations that defy guesswork and, at times simple logic.

Back tracking is a part of the game, of course. But methodically clicking though all dialogue with all encountered NPCs after picking up, let’s say, a fucking salt and pepper dispenser is a test of patience too far. I legitimately got stuck a few times, but the more I played the game, the more I resorted to Google as my desire to progress outweighed any possible dopamine hit I might have got from combining [spoiler] a pig and a fucking gimp suit.

Controls and Gameplay

As we’ve already discussed, Wet Dreams is a point and click adventure. The idea is, you point your cursor at things, and, you guessed it, click on them. 90% of the game play is guiding the hapless heterosexual around a fixed background casually half-inching anything that isn’t nailed down. The objects acquired can then be used, either by combining them with other items, or to interact with the surrounding environment. The result of this will either unlock progression in one way or another, often changing the item that Larry has used, marking its import for some later puzzle down the road. Rinse, and repeat.

Most of the time, the puzzles themselves are fairly intuitive, posing no real cranial strain, and completing them is typically quite methodical and straightforward. Equally, there are some puzzles that are absolutely ludicrous but, in inspired moments that genuinely make you feel as though you’ve tapped directly into the twisted minds of the developer, they just click. These moments are less common but ultimately the most satisfying of all.

Larry gets the horn; if it ain’t nailed down, it’s yours for keepsies

The puzzles themselves go from the sublime to the ridiculous, and there were definite moments where I was left scratching my head. As I’ve already generously divulged, I cheated, and cheated hard. Again the issue here is usually I found that I was simply missing something that, had I clicked on the right part of the screen I would have acquired. Each scene itself is generously adorned with interactable items and it is easy to overlook something, despite the mouse wheel button highlighting all available objects.

Even worse, it was more often than not that a new dialogue option had revealed itself in some obscure NPC interaction. True that hints are dropped, and these connections are often well highlighted to the player. The trouble is that is not always the case, and on those rare occasions where my synapses failed to trigger, I challenge anyone to make the connection without significant repeat exploration and backtracking.

Wet Dreams
Have Faith; Larry’s love interest finds herself on Muffington Island

Again, not a problem specific to Wet Dreams, but the further though the game I travelled, and crucially the more of these inexplicable mind-bending, tenuous connections I failed to make, the more likely I was to reach to the internet at large for direction. This inevitably resulted in some solutions presenting themselves to puzzles that I probably could have figured out had I put a little more thought in it. But failing to succinctly differentiate the unsolvable from the usual puzzle fodder simply hastened my fast depleting patience.

Overall, it’s a solid job, but a few incongruous spanners in the works really do detract from the cadence of an otherwise well thought out journey.

Sound Design and Cinematics

These games live and die on the  writing and character interplay. All lines in Wet Dreams are voiced, and as such the same standard can and should be extended to the voice acting there in. To a larger extent, Wet Dreams does a pretty decent job, with the majority of voice audio hitting the suitably absurd note expected. Larry himself carries the part well, with a performance fittingly irritating yet suitably paired for a 80s sex addict. Now then.

Larry navigates the dubious terrain using his curiously familiar ‘Pi” phone

One issue I did encounter repeatedly, however, was that what was voiced by either NPC or protagonist didn’t always equate what was written on screen. Occasional repetition of previously voiced lines mis-matched subtitles, or was skipped entirely. Whilst this wasn’t something that happened constantly, it happened enough to prove jarring.

Cinematics are fairly seldom in the game, and distinguish themselves from the gameplay not at all. But Wet Dreams is not pushing boundaries, and teraflops, if Larry heard the term, is something he would more than likely try and hump than understand. There are a few moments when a specific event will trigger a series of seldom-animated photos montages, often highlighting a successful sexual enterprise by our preferred pervert. Let’s just say that you can play the game with just one hand. In the other you’ll be checking your social media platform of choice, waiting for the cut-scene to finish.

Conclusion

So how to sum up this sex-addled game, so clearly soporific of a genre untested since the 90s? Developers Assemble Entertainment are clearly aware of the game’s outmoded theme, going so far as to demonstrate Larry’s lack on modern cultural awareness with unskippable “sensitivity training session” at the outset of his adventure. Nevertheless, Assembe don’t hold back, squeezing innuendo into every interaction, crowding wall space with pictures that would have Georgia O’Keeffe blush. It thrusts phallic flora and fauna straight into your face at a pace that could have famed cock-gargeler Lindsauy Lohan reflex-gagging. Maybe.

And all of that’s absolutely fine. It’s a Leisure Suit Larry game, after all. You would assume that consumers know what they are getting into. The trouble that I have is that, despite that wanton abandon with which the game forces sexuality down your throat, it is curiously bereft of any real risque moments at all. And this highlights a deeper issue. Leisure Suit Larry is a game made for adults, but designed for children. Even the dialogue font seems out of place for a mature audience (if it’s not Sans-serif I’ll eat my hat). Hiding behind an adult rating is nothing more than innuendo, punctuated by the occasional nip-slip at best.

As good as it gets; Larry celebrates laying his troubles to rest

It’s an odd balance, then. A game labelled as mature with jokes that only a 13 year old will find funny. Which is of course exactly the age I was when I first got my first taste of the series, the game handed from sweaty palm to sweaty palm in a package of floppy disks promising a tantalising peek into a world as yet unseen at that age.

That aside, I did have fun with Wet Dreams. A lot of fun actually. The puzzles themselves were on the whole well thought out, and even when I encountered the inevitable barrier to progress and turned to internet based assistance, I was still compelled to continue, to let the story play out, and more importantly, to get our boy laid one more time. The satisfaction of solving something particularly devilish delivered an unexpected nostalgic rush, memories of playing similar (although undoubtedly better) games over 20 years ago. It is an ode to both a bygone era of sensibilities, but also of a class of games long since forgotten. At the very worst, it has me very excited for Sam and Max: This Time its Virtual!

Final Thoughts on a Throwback to a Forgotten Genre

Leisure Suit Larry; Wet Dreams Dry twice is a decent point and click adventure experience. True that it has its flaws, some inherent to the genre, and some of its own. Its worst failing is undoubtedly a lack of self-awareness, not in this era of modern sensibilities, but in the audience it undoubtedly appeals to, now 20 years older, saturated and ultimately less impressed by cheap satire and innuendo. Then again, if you’re looking for a truly adult experience, there’s easier ways to scratch that itch these days.

Leisure Suit Larry; Wet Dreams Dry Twice is available for purchase on Steam, and for Mac too, priced at £23.99 (20% discount). A release for PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch is penned for Spring 2021.

A predictable 6.9/10, which you are welcome to round up to 7.0. Then again, if that joke’s not your bag, you’d better give this game a swerve.

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Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

A Fun Yet Frustrating Romp in a Forgotten Genre
  • 6.9/10
    Overall - 6.9/10
6.9/10

Summary

Overview

+ Glorious, Familiar Art Style

+ Challenging Puzzles

+ Delightfully Ridiculous

– Frustratingly Hard At Times

– Curiously At Odds with Itself

– Expect Significant Back Tracking

– Occasional Audio Glitching

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