[Redd Reviews] Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Die
Welcome Back Larry! We’re Glad You Came!
It's been 22 years since Larry Laffer, Al Lowe's lustful loser in the white
leisure suit, was last seen entering the cabin of Captain Thygh in Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!. Now he's back from virtual and in-game isolation and has been thrust into a 21st century world that makes no sense to him at all.
In his absence, the world has moved on. Attitudes towards sexual identity and
dating have changed. The #MeToo movement and gender activism have brought about a new, more enlightened acceptance of gender rights and a deeper understanding of how men should treat women.
None of which makes an iota of difference to Larry. Within the first few minutes of the game, our suave sophisticant is already using his breath freshener spray and buying drinks for the first woman he meets.
And while the franchise reboot may have a new Germany-based indie developer
(CrazyBunch) and publisher (Assemble Entertainment), a 22-year gap in the
timeline, and no involvement from Al Lowe at all, some things haven’t changed: Larry’s is still as clueless as ever about what women want and his luck with the ladies continues to be more miss than hit.
It’s Old School In A New School Uniform
Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Die is something of a homage to the classic point-and-click adventure games of the 1980s. The game engine may be new, but the mechanics of the game remain faithful to the genre classics, and to the previous installments in the franchise. The writing is as cheesy as ever, and the jokes and puns—both visual and vocal—are frequently of the silly, groan-inducing, boys’ locker-room type.
You’ll spend a lot of time picking up items and trying to use or combine them with everything possible in your efforts to solve the games’ puzzles. Some of the items only appear or become interactive once you’ve progressed far enough along the storyline and need you to return repeatedly to revisit previously unlocked locations.
This trial-and-error approach to problem solving is another of the classic adventure game tropes. And there’s a lot of locations for you to visit, and a lot of items for you to collect throughout the game. (Pro Tip: If you really get stuck, press Spacebar to highlight all of the objects, items, and people that you can interact with in a scene.)
But Do You Even Insta Larry?
The non-linear game world set in modern times with over 30 hand-drawn locations is filled with a hugely varied assortment of characters. Again, as is traditional in Larry games, these characters, and many of the organisations in the game, parody and critique their real-world counterparts.
You fast-travel around the map using Unter, find new dates using the Timber app on your PiPhone, and keep a record of your conquests by posting about them on Instacrap and Farcebook.
The character stereotypes and clichés are all here: the social media influencer, the hipsters, the tech nerd and his neckbearded geek mate, the vegan, the feminist, the drag artist, the rock chick, the cam girl. And many more.
And while it all sounds a little sleazy, silly and juvenile, (okay, maybe more than just ‘a little’) the underlying feeling I got playing the game is one I’ve not had for a long time. It was one of enjoyment from playing a game that allows us to laugh at ourselves and our world for a change, instead of continually finding things to be offended about. Nothing in the game is off-limits. The language is rude and crude at times, the satire is direct and biting on occasion, the comedy reminiscent of a time when it was okay to offend everyone equally and not take things so seriously.
Larry is still an insensitive chump whose dating ideals are relics of a long-gone age. The men and women he interacts with call him out for his idiocy and his pseudo-sexist nature. He doesn’t win by being a naïve, misogynistic homophobe from the 80s. It's all very self-aware. In order to achieve his aim of taking Faith, the girl of his dreams, out on a date, he must change his thinking and approach.
He must complete tasks and conquer puzzles for reasons other than just getting laid again. Larry is still Larry, but most of the time his actions play into the comedy of errors that is a staple of his life. He's trying to use the men and women he meets to get to Faith, but in turn, it's he who gets used as he gets sent back and forth as he tries to solve these people's problems.
Give It To Me Larry, Uh Huh, Uh Huh!
There are a few small issues with the release I played—some subtitles not matching the spoken script, a couple of translation and spelling issues—but nothing that can’t be corrected in small patches. Technically, the game ran smoothly with no glitches or crashes at all during my play-through.
Other than that, the game represents good value at its asking price of R175 on Steam right now. If you’re unsure about it, perhaps hold off for a while to ensure the minor glitches are resolved, and perhaps pick it up later with a small discount.
If you’re vehemently anti-the-Steam monopoly, you can also find it on GOG but you'll have to accept the lack of regional pricing there as the cost of upholding your principles. Wet Dreams Don’t Die is listed at $29.99 on GOG (but there is a 15% discount running on it at the moment.)
What Will The Neighbours Say?
Interestingly, two of the best reviews of the game that I’ve read were both from female journalists:
Wet Dreams Don't Dry is raunchy, self-referential, and unapologetic. I really, really hope that more games take risks like this one does and return to a point where we can have a fun, adult narrative without fear of everyone getting uptight about it. I sincerely hope this is the first in a revival of the franchise and I can't wait to see how much of an ass Larry makes of himself in the next installment.
The story is eye-wateringly rude throughout, and every attempt to make a hole look like something else is gleefully seized with both hands by the creative team. It’s so over-the-top that you can’t help but smile at it, particularly thanks to the vibrant art style. This iteration of Larry could very well be something you find stashed away in an older relative’s drawers along with some smut magazines, and it has more than earned its Mature rating in the US. Playing it leaves you feeling a little embarrassed and a little dirty but in a sort of...good way?
- Faithful to the original Larry games
- Lots of amusing jokes and suitably smutty double entendres
- Tons of inventory items to collect and puzzles to solve
- Excellent voice acting and cartoon graphics
The Not So Good:
- Some minor language and script errors
- Hidden interactive points makes it easy to miss important items
- Large amount of retracing and backtracking could lead to frustration
Redd’s Rating for Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry is a firm 7½ phallic symbols.
- This article contains multiple double entendres and many silly sexual puns, for which I make no apologies. Should you find that these offend you in any way, you may want to take a long, hard, deeply penetrative look at yourself. ↩︎