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500-Word Indies

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Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!" - Windows, iOS (April 2013)

by Sam Derboo - July 26, 2014

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A stop-motion noir detective story adventure game musical made of clay and cardboard - who needs 500 words when 13 are enough to let just about everyone know whether they're going to dismiss this game as pretentious garbage or celebrate it as one of the most artful games in history. But just in case anyone still wants to read more, here are the rest of the words:

Dominique Pamplemousse is - naturally - one of those down-on-their-luck detectives that are bound to be around wherever there's a black and white filter. But just as Dominique is about to get thrown out of what already is the most shabby room in town, a rich-as-fuck record boss appears to solicit the gumshoe's assisance. She caught her high school age daughter secretly dating her most profitable singer. Soon after, the pop star disappeared without a trace, and it's up to Dominique to find him.

The game is structured as a traditional point-and-click adventure, and it even has some rather simple puzzles that require to find hotspots and guess which of the handful locations is important next. Most of the time is spent meeting all the characters several times and clicking through all the dialog options, though. If actually judged as an adventure game, the verdict would ultimately be "much too short and insubstantial".

Dominique Pamplemousse's main raison d'etre is not to be found in the gameplay, and not even in the visual style. No, the real surprise comes when the characters first start talking. A good portion of the dialog is not spoken, but sung. The style of singing is certainly not for everyone, and the singer's voice is not the most pleasant, but it sure is something else. It doesn't work flawlessly, though - there are lots of awkward pauses as the characters wait for the music to hit the right cue, and sung lines can never be skipped ahead.

The clay figures with their huge, googly eyes look adequately disturbing, but there's something pitiful about using clay animation and then have it display only in monochrome. In other words, a noir work with clay is just silly. Which means the game wins? Definitely a minus is the dearth of animations in this clay animation. There's a bit of choppy head-waggling and arms-waving, every character has a single sideways walk cycle, and that's about it.

Dominique is a unique video game protagonist due to explicitly indeterminate gender. The promotional material claims that the game is "about gender and the economy", but that is not entirely accurate. Other characters frequently stumble over their inability to acquire knowledge of Dominique's gender, but that's really all there is to it. It never ties into the actual plot and stands as somewhat of a running gag, only that it's not necessarily meant to be funny. What the story really is obsessed with is corporate greed and the vain pursuit of clinical "perfection", as exemplified by Auto-Tune.

Pro Tip: If you purchase this game filled with anticipation of hearing the Fat Lady mentioned in the title sing, you might end up just a little bit disappointed.

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Developer:

  • Deirdra Kiai Productions

Genre:

Theme:

Type:

  • Commercial

Dominique Pamplemousse (Windows)

Dominique Pamplemousse (Windows)

Dominique Pamplemousse (Windows)



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