Cyanide & Happiness, the flagship comic series of explosm.net, by Kris Wilson (original creator), Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin, and Dave McElfatrick, is probably one of the most popular webcomics you can find—it certainly was around 10 years ago, when social media sites like Facebook and Tumblr were in their prime. Being that popular, it was only a matter of time before finally transitioning into video games. In fact, prior to the release of Cyanide & Happiness: Rapture Rejects, in 2018, they created 2 boardgames after a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns. Curiously enough, Rapture Rejects is still an Early Access game, but now we got a brand new adventure for PC and Switch: Freakpocalypse.
To be honest, this game will be better appreciated by Cyanide & Happiness fans, as many outsiders could find its dark humor and sexual jokes intimidating, but who doesn't enjoy a good point-and-click adventure that's more like an excuse for interactive gags than it is a game?
What to Expect
As we just mentioned, Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse is a game catered to C&H fans. Here you will find a simple premise adorned with crazy characters, ridiculous situations, and some occasional puzzles, similar to what you'd find in, for example, Leisure Suit Larry games. Beware, though, as this is an M-rated title full of sexual references and controversial dialogue, something all fans of Cyanide & Happiness appreciate but not everyone will enjoy.
Another thing you need to know is that this is nothing but the first part of a trilogy, which explains its abrupt end...
Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse definitely excels when it comes to the visuals and faithfully represents the spirit of a webcomic gone video game. All cutscenes look precisely like what you would expect from a high-quality animated series, but the whole game shares the same colorful spirit, something that goes really well with such a humorous plot. To be fair, most video games that are based on 2D comics or TV shows look good if the developers respect the art style, but in this case, it also works better because of the genre. After all, who doesn't like a streamlined point-and-click adventure?
Look, the music is good and all, but it's not like this game has the best original soundtrack ever. It works, and that's enough for us. That being said, we definitely need to praise the voice acting as it totally conveys the essence of a game that never takes itself seriously without failing to land the jokes or reinforcing stereotypes for comedy reasons. You won't find any award-winning performances, but all characters sound like they do in your head when you read a Cyanide & Happiness comic.
It all starts with Cooper McCarthy, the protagonist, dreaming of becoming a superhero and saving his friends from the malicious Dr. Dropout, who wants to transform all students in Cooper's school into stupid versions of themselves. The problem is, this alternate reality is just an escape from Coop's academic obligations... and, to make it all worse, he's not only a bad student but also the loser everyone—including the teachers—likes to bully, so there are zero chances of him becoming the hero of such a story.
Once Coop snaps back to reality, our goal is to help him get things done, which also means helping other people get things done. In true point-and-click fashion, we need to explore the school—and later, the whole neighborhood—and find items we can use or combine to solve simple puzzles, like lifting a desk to reach a missing book or stealing condoms from a local store. As we explore, we'll find several crazy characters that will make fun of us or completely ignore us, always in the most painful yet hilarious way. The antagonists of this adventure are Kent, the repugnant rich kid, Chet, the muscular jock, and Brittanii, a blonde cheerleader who also happens to be Chet's girlfriend... but again, almost everyone in this game hates Coop, so can we really blame them?
Although some puzzles are undoubtedly more challenging than others, you don't need to be a Harvard student or hardcore point-and-click player to understand what to do and how to proceed. This first episode of the trilogy can be completed in under an hour if you only focus on your main chores, with maybe an extra hour of content if you also complete your secondary chores. And yes, they are called chores in-game!
Other than following the story, talking to random characters could lead to new quests, and some of them will reward you with specific costumes. There are some hats hidden in plain sight, too, and some actions could get you a themed shirt, like giving yourself a scar with a saw. While looking for secret chores and cosmetics is fun, the narrative will lock you from 100% the game unless you are extremely lucky. In our case, we abandoned the school in the hope of coming back later, only to discover that it wasn't even possible...
If you really feel the itch to unlock every achievement and find every costume, starting a new run is not a bad idea, but once you know how to solve all main puzzles, it will probably feel more like a speedrun. Although we enjoyed our time with Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse, we just want to play the other 2 games instead of going back... and yet we don't rule out the possibility of replaying it once the second part comes out.
In its current state, Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse feels unsatisfying, and its abrupt ending makes it even more noticeable.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
If you are a fan of Cyanide & Happiness comics, then you will definitely have fun exploring all corners of this game and helping Coop help his neighbors and classmates, hoping to find a prom date. If you're not familiar with C&H comics, then there's still a slim chance you can enjoy it, but the lack of content and simplicity will be hard to ignore—and that's if you're okay with its political incorrectness.
That R-rated humor that Cyanide & Happiness has us used to.
Beautiful cartoony graphics.
It's too short and we have to wait for the rest of the story.
C&H fans will love it, but the general audience might find its simple gameplay boring and not appealing enough.
Honey's Final Verdict:
It's too early to judge this trilogy. Although the first part doesn't really work as a standalone game, there's still hope for Freakpocalypse. It's too short, too easy, and too shallow plot-wise, but what were you expecting? It's just an excuse to visit Cyanide & Happiness's universe, and we're sure some of you will appreciate the occasion!
If you really want to spend some money in around an hour of gameplay, Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse is now available on PC and Switch. Unfortunately, we don't know when parts 2 and 3 will release.
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...