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Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED (PS5) Review

Back in 2016, COWCAT Games released Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure on PC and the PlayStation Vita. The following year it branched out to the Xbox One and PS4 platforms, offering free Cross-buy on Sony’s devices, with iOS and Android getting the game in 2017 and the Switch following in 2018. By this point, I think it’s launched on almost as many platforms as Skyrim – so what’s next? Well, today the developer has released Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED, a 4K remaster on the PlayStation 5.

COWCAT Games is a one-man development and publishing studio based in France, owned by Fabrice Breton. Aside from working on his own titles, both Demetrios and the upcoming Brok: The InvestiGator, he’s also ported three awesome games to last-gen systems, Xenon Valyrie+, Riddled Corpses EX, and Demon’s Tier+.

Yesterday, shortly after receiving our review copy of Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED, I sat down and played through the entire game in one sitting. I hadn’t played the game since it launched on the PS4 so I’d forgotten most of the story and quirky interactions, making the experience feel fresh and ‘new’. I like the new colourful visuals, but did I enjoy the story and silly gameplay? Let’s find out…

Demetrios The Big Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED 1

Hmmm, he looks familiar…

Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED (just Demetrios from now on) is a point-and-click adventure game focusing on Bjorn Thonen, an antique dealer from Paris. One night, after returning home drunk, he’s attacked in his home and robbed of what little cash he has and a strange tablet that was being held by a bird atop an ancient podium. Unable to comprehend why anyone would want such a useless object, he decides to seek help from the local police.

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Despite reporting the crime and providing evidence that it may be linked to similar events elsewhere, the police couldn’t care less – pushing our lazy protagonist to take the law into his own hands and investigate the assault and robbery himself. And thus starts Bjorn’s most exciting few days of his life – an adventure that sees you die many times, travel to barren wastelands where nobody should reside, play pinball with the skeletal remains of the occupant of a grave, and piss yourself when the action becomes too intense! 

The game can be completed in around 8-12 hours, depending on how much you interact with the environment and if you’re hunting for all the trophies. However, if you only follow a guide then you can get through it much faster but you end up missing out on most of the humour, random conversations and thoughts our strange protagonist comes up with. Thankfully, you’ll never have to resort to guides and walkthroughs as there’s a rather helpful built-in hint system, which runs on cookies…

Regular screen / Highlight interactive points

Gameplay
Demetrios is your standard first-person point-and-click game, you don’t see your character (except for a handful of scenes) yet they’ll speak up once you interact with anything on the screen. Well, I say ‘speak up’ but there isn’t actually any voice acting within the game, which is a shame as I would have loved to hear some of the silly dialogue read out loud. You can interact with almost everything on each screen, resulting in a lot of comedic observations even if the object has nothing to do with your current situation or task at hand.

To help highlight what can and can’t be interacted with, there’s a mechanic which literally ‘highlights’ everything you can click on, dousing the screen with neon panels as if a high-school student has been marking their textbooks with their new highlighter pens. It seems like a mechanic like this is essential for a point-and-click game, showing you where things are so you don’t have to ‘pixel hunt’ and potentially miss a key object because your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but a lot of games actually omit this feature. So, despite being rather over-the-top and in-your-face, this unique way of displaying what you can click on does the job really well.

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There’s another form of help within Demetrios, cookies. Just like most Artifex Mundi games, every screen has a hidden item to find – AM hides runes and figurines, Demetrios hides three cookies in every single location. Not only is there a trophy for finding all of these (so make sure you’ve not moved on until the counter indicates you have them all), but you can gobble one down at any point for a direct hint on what to do next or where to go. This is a great system as you’ll have more than enough to provide a push throughout the game, plus it’s fun seeing Bjorn eat a cookie you’ve just pulled from a rotting rat corpse, under a pile of trash, or wedged between the bricks of a club in the middle of nowhere. 

Demetrios The Big Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED 3

Sorry, can you spell that…

Controls
I really like what COWCAT Games have done with the controls in Demetrios, they’ve ensured that the game is simple to pick up and play without having fiddly or irritating controller support (remember, it was a PC game first). In general, the core mechanics work just like an Artifex Mundi game – the left Thumb Stick moves the cursor, Cross interacts with things, Square highlights what you can click on, and both Triangle and Circle open the top and bottom menus respectively. 

However, you can also use the Touchpad like a mouse, should you wish to, enabling you to move the cursor around the screen much faster than you can with the Thumb Stick. Also, if you are looking for the cookies but need an extra bit of zoom, moving with the Right Thumb Stick moves the cursor slower whilst showing a zoomed-in view in the top-left corner of the screen! I wish more games in this genre had an option like this, especially Artifex Mundi with their Hidden Object Games – being able to zoom in would be greatly beneficial to those with bad eyesight (like me).

As soon as I realised the Touchpad was a mouse-like feature, I knew I had to try something – playing the game with mouse and keyboard. On the PlayStation 4, if a game was built with the Touchpad working like this, 9/10 times it meant the game would work flawlessly with a mouse plugged in, sometimes both a mouse and keyboard. Sadly, this isn’t the case with Demetrios – the alternative controls did nothing. But, it doesn’t matter as the controller works fine so testing to see if it worked was merely a curiosity.

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Demetrios The Big Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED 4

She looks like a lovely woman…

Toilet Humour
I think Demetrios is the first game I’ve played that asks you at the very beginning how much you like toilet humour, with the option for all, some, or none. Depending on your choice, certain scenes will alter the dialogue and/or limit the choices you have when picking what action or reply you wish to do next. Although it seems like a neat feature that lets you limit the number of gross and crude events and comments, you actually have to have it fully turned on if you wish to grab the platinum – as one of the trophies requires you to pick an option only visible with it turned on.

Nothing is disturbing or full-on offensive, even with the option set to full, it’s all harmless fun which immature people (like myself) will find quite hilarious at times. There are scenes such as peeing on a plant in the police station because there’s a sign telling you not to, followed by photocopying your arse and accidentally leaving behind a present when you only meant to fart, and later you’ll feign puking just before you piss yourself. It’s a very silly game with silly dialogue and choices, yet that’s what makes it so interesting and different to other point-and-click games out there.

Speaking of the dialogue and story, I really like Demetrios and found myself absorbed within Bjorn’s rather unique and unusual world. Every character has their own personality and each one is slightly eccentric, ranging from the dipsy neighbour that can’t cook to save her life, to the cross-eyed fortune teller that speaks in incoherent riddles. I also adore the neighbour’s kid, she absolutely hates Bjorn and does anything she can to annoy him as much as possible – even standing by and watching as he gets killed, rather than going for help.

Demetrios The Big Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED 5

On the first screen!

Death
Demetrios is an adventure game where you can die… Actually, scrap that; Demetrios is a game that encourages you to die as many times as possible and in the strangest ways imaginable. There are a total of 68 game overs possible within the game, each with its own image showing Bjorn in prison, without a hand, abducted by aliens, or within a coffin with a plaque that describes how he passed away. There’s a trophy that unlocks once you’ve found them all, but even if there wasn’t, you’d still go out of your way to see if you could figure out what creative ways you can cause a game over (you instantly return to the point before losing upon doing so).

Some of the deaths are simple, shoving your hand into the plug socket, getting shot, or touching the arse of a rather ruthless killer, for example. Yet some are more creative such as finding out you’re allergic to bees as they sting you, or solving an ancient puzzle incorrectly and falling to your doom. Other situations, such as leaving a room before you’ve got what you came for, only to be abducted by aliens or caught by the receptionist, are some of the more obscure ones to find.

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Thankfully, there’s a handy chart that gradually reveals the game overs you’ve found and shows a secret symbol on those you haven’t. Then, upon completing the game, you unlock a chapter select which you can use to return to a previous point so you can figure out what you’ve missed (or use a guide). This is the same with the cookies – if you’ve missed any then you can use the chapter screen to return and grab the ones you left behind, allowing you to grab that trophy without replaying the whole game (I had to do this as I missed one screen).

You can also rename all the main characters upon completion, should you wish to replay the game with your own characters.

Demetrios The Big Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED 6

I want this made when I die!

Mini-games
There are a number of Mini-games within Demetrios, all of which can be unlocked and played at will within the ‘extras’ menu (along with music and artwork from the game). You can go fishing, race a worm or a horse, shoot animals or throw plates, solve ancient puzzles in a temple, and play pinball in a graveyard. They’re not the most advanced mini-games, but they provide a nice distraction from the silent dialogue and pixel-hunting cookie searching.

Is it a free upgrade?
Short answer, No. Back when Demetrios was released on the PS4, you got both the PS4 and PS Vita versions within the same purchase. However, this new release of the game comes with a very cheap upgrade option, costing only £1.69 if you already own the PS4/PS Vita versions (It’s £7.99 if you don’t). As stated in the rather blunt official trailer, there’s no new content and nothing has changed (other than the bump to 4K, the vibrancy of the colours and a few bugs have been fixed), but considering I hadn’t played the game in almost five years at this point, I feel the minuscule upgrade cost is worth it to experience the game once more

Plus, it has a new trophy list and a shiny platinum trophy waiting for you!

PS5 / PS4

Technical
The first thing I have to address is the new vibrant colours. As the developer describes it, “It’s almost as if HDR was enabled” – that’s exactly what I thought when I first loaded it up, I had to check to see if my TV was actually outputting at SDR or HDR. Everything has more brightness, contrast, vibrancy, and oomph, not only in the scenes but the skin tones of the faces that appear as the characters talk.

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I’ve put a comparison above of the PS5 (on the left) and PS4 (on the left), which you can slide between to see the differences. I really like the new colours, even if I prefer the skin tone of the original game to the PS5 version – everything looks much more colourful and detailed. Also, the game is much crisper on 4K displays, thanks to the native 4K output of this new version, making the hunt for the cookies much easier.

As mentioned above, Demetrios is a silent game in terms of voice acting, there is the odd soundbite so you know someone is there, but none of the dialogue is voiced. This is a shame but I didn’t mind it as much as some people may. I think the developer received this as feedback in previous releases as Brok, their next game, contains voice acting throughout. The game isn’t completely silent though, there’s a decent amount of music that plays in the background.

I did notice a few graphical issues, like text appearing in front of assets moving past them, but nothing major. Also, I encountered a glitch where I couldn’t save anything, but that appeared to resolve itself with the latest patch (the version you’ll get if you buy it now).

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED was just as fun to play through as it was back in 2017. Despite not having any extra content, simply being a new coat of paint over the original game, I’d still recommend people check out this version, even if you’ve played it previously on a last-gen console. The story is very silly, the characters are whimsical, and the deaths are quite amusing, it doesn’t take itself very seriously and delivers an entertaining story that’ll last between 8 and 12 hours depending on how engrossed you are with the many clickable interactions. 

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Don’t forget, if you already own the PS4 and/or PS Vita version, you can upgrade for a small fee on your PS5 console, the PSN website, or the mobile app.

If doing so from the console (unless this has been fixed):
1. Search for Demetrios
2. Click on the game that appears
3. Click the 3 dots then ‘View Product’
4. Click the 3 dots again and pick the “Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED” option
This is the upgrade and it should be heavily discounted.

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED

£7.99
8

Final Score

8.0/10

The Good:

  • Fun story, full of quirky characters
  • Decent length, taking around 8-12 hours to complete without a guide
  • The PS5 version is 4K with more vibrant visuals
  • You're rewarded for finding every way to die!
  • Cheap upgrade if you own the PS4 and PS Vita versions

The Bad:

  • The cookies can be a bit of a pain to find, and you can't eat a cookie for a hint on how to find the next cookie!
  • Some people may not like the new colours
  • There's no voice acting, but considering the developer is working on their next game, I didn't expect them to be added

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