In February, developer Giant Door released co-op adventure Derpy Conga. Despite being the group’s first project, the game received positive reviews on Steam for its cute style, character design and more.
The laws of physics in the game? Don’t mind if I do! This adorable puzzle-platformer shows players how good it is to have many friends. Just grab onto the next person, and start your derpy adventure. But remember, the longer the conga line, the harder it is to manage it. But, if you have some friends to help you out, you can overcome any obstacles.
Are you ready to save your planet from certain destruction? The plot of the game is extremely simple. You are a resident of a small planet inhabited by various life forms. A meteorite is flying towards your home, and, having noticed the approaching calamity, you are trying to prevent it.
However, all your attempts are futile – equipment breaks down and the fear paralyzes you. So you decide to make new tech, which requires you to hop into your space ship to traverse the cosmos and gather the required materials.
But, much like it happened with your equipment, your ship constantly breaks down and forces you to seek out your relatives and friends to help you out and collect new parts.
One Big Friendly Family
Traveling through the far-away corners of the universe, we’ll stumble upon many various creatures. The cute voices of alien creatures might even make you feel a little touched. Speaking of that, each species has its own sounds, including the tiny footsteps. Happy muzzles of the alien creatures will not leave you indifferent, they are worried for the safety of their world and their comrades that got scattered throughout the planet, stretching their hands towards you and each other.
On your journey you encounter different kinds of friends: each of them has unique abilities to help you throughout your quest. For example, your brown comrades can light your path or get an extinguished fire going again. Your character, yellow like a yolk, is the main one in the game, and it is with it that the conga line starts and the chain of friendship begins.
You will not be able to unhook your hands and break the line until the level is done. The bigger the conga line, the harder it is to control. But on the other hand, you will not be able to reach the SOS point alone, so prepare to be on the lookout for the many colorful alien friends on your way.
In Derpy Conga, you will be able to learn some abilities to use with your alien friends, such as forming a line, transforming it into a circle or jumping. More or less, these are all of the abilities of your little joint team.
The game’s mechanics are based on physics and can be a bit depressing from time to time. Platform jumping is my personal little nightmare, and the jump often feel too small when you have a great number of friends in your team.
The puzzles are quite simple and feature some interesting ideas behind their implementation, but sometimes you will just stand around scratching your head and staring at a puzzle, wondering where do you even begin. For example, moving a metal ball through the sand. As it turns out, you were required to draw an image of a figure you saw on a closed door in order to unlock it and press on.
You also have to choose the correct friend to deal with certain puzzles, like the brown ones for the fire-based sequences.
In the game, I had to deal with a variety of bugs from textures that didn’t want to load to the actions of the aliens themselves. When you have 7+ friends following you, you can command them to form a circle around the object to pull it with you. I really liked that mechanic, and how every time the conga line would connect hands, the friends would emit a joyful squeak and clap.
However, quite often the little creatures would refuse to interact with objects, hold hands or just would remain standing frozen in place. At first I thought that I was the only one with such a problem, but as it turned out that wasn’t the case. Quite a few players have commented about the creatures’ refusal to interact with objects or each other. Some helpful comments have pointed out that it can be fixed by doing a “leap of faith” into water.
I had to use that advice a few times in my game. However, I did not find a way to deal with disappearing textures that would either not show up at all or spring into life right in front of your characters. Swinging and rotating the camera around helped somewhat.
I’d like to make a note on the puzzles as well, or rather their execution. For some puzzles, the game doesn’t give players enough time to think over their solution. Roughly speaking, you see a puzzle, you get pushed into trying it out immediately which likely leads to failure or the time runs out, and you venture back in to try again.
For example, the running crabs that are carrying platforms on their backs. The goal is to reach another hill by placing the crab in front of the cliff and using its platform to make it to the other side. But the crab will stay motionless only for about 20 seconds or so, which is entirely not enough. Or setting one of your alien friends alight to be able to run to the nearby bonfire and keep the chain going. In the majority of the cases, I kept failing the objective.
The game’s visual part is quite amazing. The developers have put in a lot of work to make sure that the game looks colorful, without any annoying extra details. The locations seem alive, decorated with a variety of foliage and unusual – even a bit strange – animals wandering about. Giant tortoises, fish of different size and shape that gracefully jump out of the ocean, etc.
The music doesn’t try to rush you anywhere, on the contrary, it evokes the sense of calmness and peace. You can just stop somewhere on the island and look into the distance to take in the view.
One for All or All for One?
The game supports both the keyboard + mouse controls as well as controllers. You can play through the entirety of the campaign alone or grab a friend to join you in this adventure. You control your yellow alien with the screen divided in half but if you were to link hands, Derpy Conga will merge you into one whole unit.
Note: the Steam key was received for free for the purposes of this review.