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Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry Switch Review: As Hard As Ever

Fans of Leisure Suit Larry's original 80s and 90s games fondly remember their surprisingly accomplished mix of lowbrow comedy and tough puzzle solving. Right after a penis pun made you laugh despite yourself, you'd remember how frustrated you were because you couldn't get through a door that several characters told you to go through. The solution ended up being that you have to combine two entirely unrelated items and use them on a specific pixel. After marveling at how stupid that was, you'd get thrown another dirty joke that had you smirking.

That pattern continued for several sequels thanks to a devoted fanbase who followed the games as the humor got crazier and the puzzles stayed unforgiving. Unfortunately, the creator retired and subsequent attempts to remaster the series failed. This is the age of nostalgia, however, and no beloved cult classic is safe. So, Leisure Suit Larry is coming to the 21st century (and all over it) thanks to a reboot. And this party is happening on the last place you'd expect to see Larry - the Nintendo Switch.

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Rebooting Larry - There's An App For That

via: Crazy Bunch

Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry makes science happen, and Larry is somehow transported from the 80s to the present day. He's still the same perpetual loser in a white polyester suit, hopelessly devoted to whatever woman will give him five seconds of conversation. Only now, he's dating in the modern age thanks to a smartphone and a hookup app. It's the same old Larry, but the time-travel shenanigans give new developer Crazy Bunch plenty of freedom to really embrace the whole "reboot" thing.

Gone is Larry's marriage to Passionate Patty or his exploits after their divorce. There's a fun reference to Larry's nephew from the controversial spin-off games, but that's all he gets. That reference, and many others, shows us that the Crazy Bunch team knows the source material well. They just also know that Larry is at his best when he's chasing ladies and solving ridiculous puzzles.

The chasing ladies part does a great job at toeing the line between risqué humor and respecting women. Many longtime Larry fans groaned when they learned this reboot would be set in the modern day. They worried that a woke Larry would kill the series' trademark humor because you apparently can't be funny without offending people or objectifying women. Fortunately, Crazy Bunch taps into the funniest thing about Larry: he always gets comeuppance for his sleazy ways. Just like in the old days, Larry is often right on the verge of scoring when some unforeseen consequence of his earlier actions comes back to bite him. The modern equivalent has him lying on his online dating profile, subjecting him to a very painful unicorn-themed sex position.

You Want Me To Put What In What?

via: Crazy Bunch

Puzzles, meanwhile, didn't get too much of a reimagining. The core gameplay still puts Larry in several static scenes, surrounded by a variety of mundane and bizarre items that he can just take. Items can be accessed from the inventory at any time, where they can be combined or used on the environment.

The problem is that Larry puzzles often have solutions that make no sense. For instance, a beer known for upsetting stomachs can be combined with a syringe. Then you're supposed to shoot the syringe at a canopy to evaporate the fabric and let sunlight in. There's little indication that the beer would evaporate the canopy, or that you can shoot the syringe. The game seems to just want you to try combining every item with every other item, and then using every item on the environment until something happens. Old-school Larry fans are probably used to this trial-and-error approach to puzzle solving and won't see it as a minus.

Crazy Bunch did add some things to try and help the process. One button is dedicated to summoning indicators that point to every object and person you can interact with. It helps to find the most hidden items and environment prompts. Item descriptions give some hint at what they could be used for. Even so, I rarely felt clever after solving a puzzle, especially the many times I did so, only because I threw every item I had at it until something worked. If a player doesn't feel accomplished after solving a puzzle, something's wrong with the game design. I'd even say it needs an update way more than the jokes did.

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The Old Switcheroo

via: Crazy Bunch

There's a decent chance that none of this is news to you. Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry actually released last year for PC, its native console. The Switch port is just coming out now. So, how does Larry's long-awaited Nintendo debut fare?

Only okay, unfortunately. I've already laid out how Wet Dreams Don't Dry aims to respect the source material, and that sentiment extends to the game's core design. It's a point-and-click PC game through and through. You use a cursor to interact with everything. When that cursor is moved from a mouse to a thumbstick, it feels weird. There's also some inconveniences with how the menu is mapped to the buttons. Simply using an item on the environment involves a series of button presses that feels awkward. It's not horrible by any means, and the touchscreen helps, but the port isn't optimized as well as it could be. Not enough to make me forget that this is a PC game at heart.

On the presentation front, the game looks great in its new hand-drawn art style. The music is catchy but not intrusive. It all aims for a simple, expressive style that looks just as good on Switch as it does anywhere else.

You probably already know if you want to take Larry home tonight. He's an acquired taste, and that hasn't changed much with age. Although he does prefer to mess around in familiar PC territory, a little experimentation never hurt anyone. Just use protection. (That joke would've worked so much better if the Joy-Cons had protective sleeves like Wiimotes.)

3.5 Out Of 5 Stars

A copy of the game was purchased by TheGamer for this review. Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry is available now for PC, Mac, PS4, and Nintendo Switch

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