Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry Review

July 22, 2019
REVIEWS
PS4
Also on: PC, Switch

Oh my. I’m not quite sure I can believe this. It’s 2019 and Larry Laffer is on the Sony PlayStation 4, in a port of the 2018 PC game Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry. The title itself provides some insight towards the nature of the game, and its star. Perhaps though, a little history is needed — even for the more mature Jump Dash Roll readers — given the fact that Larry has been around for over thirty years. 

Larry first came to life in 1987 thanks to the Sierra-published Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizard. Larry is — and always is — a total player, at least in his head, he is. In reality he’s a bit of a sleaze and a loser who, despite numerous attempts, just can’t woo the variety and volume of ladies he tries to. The games were the kind of thing a smattering of young boys will have wanted to play in the late ‘80s, but probably never got to. Now, so many years later and in such a different world, it’s mildly depressing we are still playing NEW Larry games. 

Just look at all that cool. How much cool can a cool cat have?

In this latest title, Larry wakes up in some darkened room with little memory of what happened, nor knowledge of where he is, and why he’s there. Once you find your way outside — beating the first puzzle after applying tried and tested point and click skills — you’ll recognise where you are, at least. Or, Larry will, I should say. It’s where he used to spend a lot of his nights, only after a while it turns out it’s the future. Cue all kinds of brilliantly crappy jokes regarding the fact that Larry is a relic in modern times. 

The game’s story effectively takes you on a journey as an observer of Larry, as he garners a crash course in the world today, including what is and isn’t acceptable. Yes, the German developer, CrazyBunch, has ensured that every possible willy and sex joke that can be made is made, and it’s played on popular culture with a company named Prune, which created the Pi Phone and had Bill “BJ” Jobs running things. What it's also done though is make sure that despite all of this, what is acceptable today is made clear through the game and the narrative, lest anyone get the wrong message and think this is a Leisure Suit Larry game from the ‘80s made now, rather than a Leisure Suit Larry game made now with its single protagonist being from the ‘80s. Whilst this balance is there, and the devs should be congratulated for it, at the end of the day it’s still Larry Laffer trying to have it off with people in a pretty crude way. This is not really fun nowadays, if it ever was. 

Yes, that is a Cortana-alike on the Pi phone. In the men's bathroom, which clearly hasn't been cleaned since Larry was first there.

The gameplay itself is classic point and click. By that I mean there are a number of puzzles to solve, many of which make logical sense with a bit of lateral thinking, whilst others require you to highlight everything in the room and combine each with something from your inventory in the hope it will unlock the solution. 

Each scene is drawn really well and looks crisp and colourful with lots of detail hidden around the screen if you care to take the time and look. Moving around the gameworld with your pad is easy enough but selecting and using items can be quite laborious when you use your analogue sticks to move the icon over to something, often missing what’s there. You can use a trigger button to cycle through every selectable item in the room to aid you, which is essential, but again pretty laborious as you have to go through the items sequentially that way. 

Even the dog is wondering what's going on and why it's there. Poor doggie.

Whilst the voice acting across the board is decent, with the original Larry returning (Jan Rabson), you should prepare to get used to it all pretty quickly. You’ll be spending a lot of time just trying, failing and trying again, to make progress and that means you can expect to hear the dialogue multiple times over. After a while you’re just skipping it all, in voice and text, which illustrates the writing quality is not the greatest, although that again marries up very well with the game’s lineage and heritage. It’s worth pointing out that the creator of Larry, Al Lowe, was not involved here and everything you see comes from the German team who made it. Some of the jokes, or otherwise, littered throughout the game then can probably be explained pretty well by the foreign origin and any issues in localisation, or perhaps just even differences in culture and humour when comparing you and I to the writers and game developers. 

If you’re an average level player you’ll find yourself spending around ten hours with Larry this time around. Your mileage may vary a little depending on how good you are, or how much dialogue you skip and how often you do so, but the game is what the game is so don’t expect significantly more or less if you play all the way to the end. 

Same barman, same bar, different year.


Starting this review, and the game, I was largely unimpressed with Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry as the character is a relic from a long time ago, and the game doesn’t forget this. As you progress through the game it becomes clear the developer knows this and attempts to balance things out with the story and others surrounding Larry. Despite this, I still felt a little peculiar playing and nothing really worked for me, even if most things taken in absentia, or out of context, might do. With this latest adventure of Larry’s, we have a serviceable point and click on console with a particular brand of humour that works if taken the right way by anyone choosing to play. That group is limited however, and overall we could probably have carried on just fine without this niche character in this day and age.

5
Larry Laffer is a relic of the bygone age and despite the developer recognising this, and striking a balance, the whole thing on reflection is a puzzler we just don’t need.

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Luciano Howard

I've been gaming for 30+ years on the Commodore VIC-20 to the Nintendo Switch and most things in-between. I enjoy all kinds of games but if I had to pick a couple right now, I'd say I adore Mario and love Dark Souls. I can talk about either ad infinitum...