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Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice review

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice review
Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice review

What can I say about Leisure Suit Larry that hasn’t already been said a million times over the thirty-odd years this series has been going? I mean, there were six classic games from Sierra On-Line, some barely related spin-offs, a couple of forgettable titles with a new star in the 2000s, a well-received remake of the original game in 2013, and finally CrazyBunch’s Wet Dreams Don’t Dry reboot in 2018. That’s a lot of looking for love (usually in the wrong places) for our somewhat-hero Larry Laffer. So when it comes to the latest installment, Wet Dreams Dry Twice, a direct sequel to the 2018 title, is there anything new to add that hasn’t already been said?

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is a very hard yes. Wet Dreams Dry Twice manages to do two things that are usually a difficult proposition for a sequel in a long-running game series. It both delivers what fans expect – in this case, another game with all the humour, innuendo, and phallic symbolism it can muster – and yet also succeeds in presenting a great new story in its own right, in the style of the games of yesteryear but without being hindered by the hang-ups an association with such a revered older series tends to produce.

As a direct follow-up to Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, the game picks up where the previous one finished. Having been unwittingly transported out of the 80s into modern times, Larry now finds himself on the beautiful island of Cancum, having met the love of his life, Faith, the secret boss of technology company Prune, only for her to die soon after. Or so he thought, until discovering that she is possibly still alive, just missing. Upon locating her PiPhone and some of her belongings where she disappeared, Larry’s next mission begins: finding Faith. Unfortunately for Larry, a marriage has been arranged for him with the daughter of the chief of Cancum, a girl he has never met but is assured that she is the most beautiful woman on the island. (Of course, that assurance is from her father, so Larry has some difficulty believing him). His goal is to extricate himself from that particular situation so he can go off wandering the islands of the Kalau’a archipelago in search of his lost love.

He is joined on his adventure by Pi, the artificial intelligence of his PiPhone, fulfilling the same role she did in the last game, acting as the disapproving voice of modern sensibility to Larry’s sometimes crass sexism. One of her missions in life seems to be telling Larry that he’s not being appropriate. There are also some familiar faces here, Lefty being the most obvious. The titular owner of the bar in the first Larry game served as the displaced protagonist’s guide to the 21st century in the previous installment, although this time he’s involved less helpfully as the owner of Los Lefto’s, the only restaurant on Cancum. Of course, Larry once again encounters a succession of beautiful women such as Bobbi Marley, the governor of Kalau’a and owner of the former Soviet hotel that Larry finds himself stranded at after escaping Cancum. Bobbi, besides fining Larry $10,000 for polluting the island, wants to have sex with him, which serves as a nice role reversal, one that Larry himself notes when he asks if she has an endless list of tasks she wants him to perform before she’ll sleep with him.

Most characters have multiple conversation topics you can go through, some of which are required to advance in the story, so it’s best to make sure you listen to everything (or read, if you’d like to click ahead through the subtitles). There’s some great interplay between the other characters and Larry, like when Larry asks to borrow Lefty’s pizza paddle (don’t ask!) and he replies with the humorous, “You mean, you take it and I never see it again?” to which Pi chimes in, saying, “He’s onto you.”

The game is filled with adventure game meta-jokes like this, as well as the expected sex jokes and putdowns, such as when Larry suggests to Bobbi that another woman might want to have sex with him, to which she retorts, “If she doesn’t have anything better to do.” And in what I can only assume is a nod to the insult fighting of the Monkey Island series, Larry eventually uses his large collection of pickup lines in order to defeat someone in an amusing confrontation that really showcases both the excellent writing and the game’s ability to riff on pop culture and classic adventures.

As well as being drawn and animated in the same vivid cartoony art style as its predecessor, each person you speak to is fully voiced. It is especially great that Larry is once again voiced by Jan Rabson, who has performed the character since Leisure Suit Larry 6 in 1993, but every voice-over suits its respective role, even for fairly one-dimensional characters whose accents match the trope, such as a guitar-playing Mexican.

Of course, no Larry game is complete without a bad guy to foil, and this time Mr. Wang, who has taken over the Prune corporation from Faith and Bill Jobs, is that bad guy. His mission is to find Faith as well, but in his case he wants the decryption key to unlock the latest technological wonder she was working on, a self-learning AI. He sends his best agent, Yanmei, to locate Faith as well, and through the course of the game Larry discovers the real plan Mr. Wang has in store. (I won’t spoil the ending, but it involves PiBots.) His adventures take Larry across a number of islands, including a memorable stop at a cave where a failed sci-fi themed festival – a parody of the infamous Fyre festival – is taking place, complete with stereotypical nerds in cosplay (including Roger Wilco from Space Quest and someone in a Star Trek uniform).

Larry’s Pi acts as a guide to help players navigate the game, informing us that it requires left-clicking to walk and right-clicking to interact. You can press the space bar or middle mouse button to bring up all the clickable points on the current screen, which is a nice feature and helps with the occasional pixel hunt. The other main ways in which Larry interacts with the environment around him is through his PiPhone and the apps Pi has installed on it for him. In the first game, the dating app Timber was the main way this was used, but Wet Dreams Dry Twice expands the phone’s capabilities by supplying a to-do list app, which is basically an adventurer’s log to remind Larry what he needs to do next, along with a camera and a blueprint app.

The puzzles tend towards the fetch-and-deliver inventory variety, such as finding and using a tube of lube to … well, that would be telling (but it’s not what you think). Each of these challenges is reasonable and intuitive without much moon logic involved. Where the inventory-based puzzles really dazzle, though, are in two particular areas. Firstly, Larry can use the camera on his phone to take photos of items that might be of use to him later but are either too big or messy for him to reasonably carry. These photos appear in your inventory and can be used the same way as the items themselves would be – when successful, Larry will automatically go and collect the real thing and use that in place of the photo. This addresses the age-old realism problem of how much can an adventure game protagonist actually hold in their pockets. It’s a neat solution to a problem that most people wouldn’t care about, but it does add an extra layer of realism which I appreciate.

Secondly, and more importantly, Larry can find blueprints throughout his adventures that he can use to craft larger items. An example early in the game is the need to build a raft. On the blueprint screen, you are able to drag inventory items using the mouse into the various spaces available on the blueprint, and once they are all in the right place, the more complex object is built. This raft construction also utilizes the photo ability for some of the parts required.

To break up the inventory quests, Wet Dreams Dry Twice delivers a number of mini-games such as a Flappy Bird clone that I found quite frustrating, although there is an option to skip it which I didn’t realise on my first playthrough. There is also a labyrinth at the end of the game that is confusing and easy to get lost in. In fact, it can only be solved if you follow the directions given by one of the characters you meet. The worst part of this particular maze is that it felt like it was added just to pad out the game’s five-hour length and it unnecessarily slows down the story just as it should be reaching its climax.

Graphically, the game is similar to the previous installment, with hi-res cartoon backgrounds and exaggerated shapes and sizes of objects and people, all drawn in bright and attractive colours. The one exception is when Larry is pulled into a simulation he must escape from, which is rendered in an old 16-bit art style that reminded me of the classic Sierra games. It’s all exactly what I expect from Leisure Suit Larry, and I wasn’t disappointed. I especially liked the peach and pink-hued ex-Soviet hotel that doesn’t look like it has had any renovations since it was built in the 1980s, all run-down with cracked paint on the walls and ceiling. What’s notable here, as well as in a lot of other scenes, are the small details, like the guy playing a piano with a bowl of fruit on the piano, flies hovering around it, while a little portable fan cools the pianist.

The visual design frequently adds to the comedy, with phallic symbols everywhere – some subtle, some painfully obvious. In the hotel there are at least three penises drawn in the background behind the “pianist” and a painting of a naked woman on the wall. I should mention at this point that the names of pretty much everything and everyone has a sexual connotation to it. One particularly memorable one is the “Scum Bar” located at the pool near the hotel – another obvious reference to Monkey Island – but the sign has lost its “S” so it’s the “cum Bar” instead.

When I play a Leisure Suit Larry game, I know exactly what to expect: sexual innuendo, a small amount of pixel nudity, bad puns, and slapstick humour from its perfectly voiced lovable loser protagonist and the cast of oddball characters he meets. Wet Dreams Dry Twice delivers all these things in spades. Yet it also offers an engaging story that builds towards a satisfying ending, a beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic, and some modern sensibilities in the way you play the game, adding a welcome new dimension to what are otherwise fairly traditional inventory-based puzzles.

There’s really no need to play any of the classic Sierra series to enjoy this one, but playing Wet Dreams Don’t Dry first would be beneficial as it does lead directly to this installment. If you’re new to the world of Leisure Suit Larry, you’re either going to love this game or hate it, but I think that’s the way Larry games have always divided the playing public. Personally, I loved it. Unlike the previous installment, this one doesn’t rely on the older games for its premise or jokes, instead serving up an adventure that stands on its own two feet. I would recommend Wet Dreams Dry Twice to any adventure fan as a great new installment in a classic series that still works more than thirty years after it began.

 

Our Verdict:

If you like Leisure Suit Larry games, you’ll love Wet Dreams Dry Twice for hitting every mark you expect from the series, accompanied by a strong story and modern-day identity all its own.

GAME INFO Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice is an adventure game by CrazyBunch released in 2020 for Mac and PC. It has a Stylized art style, presented in 2D or 2.5D and is played in a Third-Person perspective. You can download Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice from: We get a small commission from any game you buy through these links.
The Good:
  • Humour is perfectly timed and delivered
  • Beautiful cartoon graphics
  • Great voice acting all around, and Larry in particular
  • Story doesn’t depart too far from the standard formula but also gives Larry a nemesis and a quest to find his lost love
The Bad:
  • Unwelcome labyrinth slows the game down just at the point where it should be building toward its climax
The Good:
  • Humour is perfectly timed and delivered
  • Beautiful cartoon graphics
  • Great voice acting all around, and Larry in particular
  • Story doesn’t depart too far from the standard formula but also gives Larry a nemesis and a quest to find his lost love
The Bad:
  • Unwelcome labyrinth slows the game down just at the point where it should be building toward its climax
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