Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry (PS4) REVIEW – Sex Pun Goes Here

Still loud, still crude, but with a bit more substance this time.

Leisure Suit Larry
Developer
Assemble Entertainment
Publisher
CrazyBunch
Platform(s)
PC, PS4, NS
Microtransactions
None
Review Code
Provided by PR
Our Score
7

When I loaded up Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, I’ll admit I was sceptical. Previous games in the misadventures of series protagonist, Larry Laffer, were often crude, full of innuendo and more sex jokes than you could know what to do with. The series unashamedly follows the 40-something loser as he would go out of his way to woo and win over the various female objects of his desire, like the horny 80s era dog he is. I was worried that Larry’s latest escapades would fall under the same banner and offer little substance.

While Wet Dreams Don’t Dry is much the same in that regard, thankfully developer CrazyBunch has made sure to bring Larry into the 21st century. Quite literally waking up in a dark bunker, Larry makes his way from 1987 to 2018 using an elevator, having to adapt to this new time zone and all its many advancements. By making him less one-note than his earlier iterations with a modern setting and fresher take on the character, it’s a pleasant surprise that the latest Leisure Suit instalment is a reasonably entertaining point-and-click game.

Larry finds his way into his old haunt, a dive bar named Lefty’s, having no idea how or why he has been missing for decades. It’s not long before Larry is back to his old self, chatting up any woman in proximity. It is clear early on though that his notion of romance and style is long gone. However, this doesn’t stop him from setting out to win over his dream girl, Faith, one of the top brass at Prune, Wet Dream’s take on Apple (one of many companies parodied, although this is some of the weaker humour presented). This meeting, in turn, sets out the main focus of the game: Larry must reach a score of 90 or higher on the popular dating app, Timber.

To hit these near-impossible heights, Larry must successfully date and fornicate his way to higher ratings. The better the date, the better the score. From then on, you are introduced to a variety of characters across New Loss Wages. The majority of all interactions are light-hearted and mostly played for laughs to see how much the world has changed around Larry, but it was equally a relief and refreshing to note that the dateable characters are not designed merely as Larry’s playthings or fodder. Their sexuality is not who they are, and all their styles, personalities and designs are unique from one another. To this end, Wet Dreams Don’t Dry never falls into a juvenile, male-gaze territory, as Larry is often the butt of the joke for any insensitivities.

Although there are some ‘saucier’ dialogue options to be found, the game does attempt to strike a balance between its plethora of dick jokes and narrative. It would be easy to make Larry a colossal creep, but it is a credit to the writing that he also manages to remain likeable – he might be an idiot, but his remarks are always good-natured and, as the game goes on, you can see the efforts Larry makes to change.

The voice acting is largely solid, too, helping to sell the wide cast of characters to be found in New Lost Wages. Jan Rabson is back as the voice of Larry and does a fine job with his nasally dialogue, although the repetitive/reactionary dialogue when an item can’t combine or you can’t do something does become irksome. Be prepared to hear Larry whine over and over again.

Wet Dreams doesn’t shy away from phallic imagery, either. I quickly lost count of how many buildings or objects in the world looked like a member. That said, the art direction is definitely over the top, knowingly so, but never to the point where it feels grotesque. As weird as it is to say, it’s almost charming. In general, the art of Wet Dreams is colourful and eye-catching, with each new environment distinct from the last. It was always a treat to venture to new areas in the world.

Where Larry’s latest adventure is let down is in the gameplay. Wet Dreams isn’t attempting to reinvent the wheel; it is an old school point-and-click game through and through, which leaves it open to the genres familiar flaws. There were often moments where I became stuck, utterly baffled over how I was supposed to progress or solve a puzzle.

While there were instances where dialogue may offer a clue (though these were unfortunately brief), many times I found myself clicking madly on every possible object I could interact with. Using the shoulder buttons, you can skip between all these objects/people, which did make life easier, but there are still plenty of times when you are denied any useful clues. I would find myself trying to combine every item in my inventory, but this would often lead nowhere helpful.

Some puzzles were absolute head-scratchers – one quest sees you needing to get a sunset backdrop so that you can take a better profile picture for your Timber account. To achieve this, you have to trade a half price sign with the pier vendor because they find it to be ‘vintage’. There were no clear clues that this was the solution until I stumbled upon the answer in one of the many times I tried combining every item with everything. Frankly, there are points in the game where you will have so many items in your inventory, it’s near impossible to know what function most of them have and can get a little overwhelming.

Thankfully, other puzzles are more clear cut, with one involving a condom, a cheese dildo and a rat (it makes sense in context, mostly) although, in this instance, Wet Dreams does jokingly offer the player a refund. It was great to get into a flow of solving puzzle after puzzle, but even though many can be tackled in any order, I do wish that there was a log or objectives tab where I could keep track of what side-quests I was currently on.

Wet Dreams did run smoothly on PS4, for the most part, although I did encounter one issue where the game just stopped when I tried to exit a room, leading me to lose about an hour’s worth of progress. There were other instances where it seemed like the game was loading to catch up to my actions in-game, although these were isolated incidents that didn’t take me too much out of the experience. Another more consistent error is some of the translation of the on-screen text, with a handful of spelling mistakes. It is only a minor setback, but a noticeable one nonetheless.

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry pokes fun at the genre and stays true to the series history by opting for plenty of low brow humour. The dating scene has changed in thirty years, and CrazyBunch keep Larry a likeable presence along the way. The story has interesting moments, although there were times when it felt like it could dig deeper and offer more commentary on the social and gender landscape of today, instead of settling for so much low hanging fruit. The colourful cast of characters are largely handled well, but the puzzles throughout can range from simple to nonsensical, especially when the game throws so many items at you, not all of which have an immediate use or necessity.

The humour won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you are willing to look past this, Wet Dreams Don’t Dry offers a fresh take on Larry Laffer with a mostly solid point-and-click game, but experiences the same pitfalls many similar titles in the same genre do – just don’t be surprised if you need a guide to navigate through the games more frustrating puzzles.

Verdict
Though it has its faults, if you like sex jokes and puzzles tied into a decent point-and-click dating adventure, then Larry Laffer’s latest outing is the game for you.
7

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