From online comics to animations and card games, Cyanide & Happiness has been pushing its signature almost-stick people into the cultural zeitgeist over the last few years. It continues that trend with Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse, a new point-and-click adventure game. Humor and references are everywhere, and the animations are right there with any shorts you would be watching online. Think of how South Park: The Stick of Truth felt like you were playing a South Park episode — Freakpocalypse offers a similar experience.
Given how prevalent point-and-click adventure games were in the ‘90s, it’s crazy to think how little we see of them now. In those days, the genre practically ran LucasFilm Games, but now, you only get them as rereleases of older games. Overall, Freakpocalypse stays true to the genre, for better or worse, while delivering the raunchy, crude entertainment you would expect from something with the Cyanide & Happiness name on it. (Freakpocalypse isn’t even its first game, though the 2018 battle royale, Rapture Rejects, was forgettable. At least this one feels like I am playing a game set in the C&H universe. )
Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalyose follows Coop, a loser kid who is in his senior year at Netherton High School. In true C&H fashion, the humor is in your face and pounded home at every turn. Almost everyone in this world thinks very little of Coop. It’s not just his classmates; everyone in this town has something demeaning to say to this red-headed dweeb. Even Coop himself plays into the jokes from time to time.
I’m happy to say I never got tired of hearing Coop moan and complain about his rough life. Sending him to interact with every person and object helped nail a human aspect to him that surprised me. He is a punching bag, but he is our punching bag. The way he interacts with the world around him is what sells this game for me.
While gameplay for Freakpocalypse doesn’t do anything new, it helps you live in Coop’s shoes. Click on any object and you have the option to look at it, touch it, or talk to it. Looking is usually just a way for Coop to explain what it is. Touching is how you add items to your inventory or get some funny one-liners from him. Finally, talking will start conversations with both people and objects. It might just have some self-deprecating comments or a good pun, but every time you interact with something, you get something unique, and often it’s genuinely funny.
While the humor in Freakpocalypse lives up to the C&H name and works well in the adventure game genre, the puzzles are very hit or miss. One reason point-and-click games have become so rare is players got tired of dealing with the obscure puzzles each game presented, and this game is no exception.
There were too many times I was stuck on a puzzle that made me spend hours clicking and interacting with every object on each screen, only to finally find a small item I overlooked hidden in the environment. Each quest gives you one hint to solve the problem, but even if you have an idea of what you’re supposed to do, you might not find the proper tools to pull it off. It is a frustrating experience that would have me pulling my hair out, if I had any.
Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocalypse is an amusing game that feels at home in the point-and-click genre, even if the feeling of being lost for so long with no indication of how you will move forward is rough. If you are a fan of the comics or animations, definitely give the game a try for the laughs. But I’d probably wait for some guides — or better yet, read some of ours — to help when you inevitably get completely lost.