Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry review: Immature e-jubilation

Larry returns in his first full-length adventure in some time. How does it hold up to the originals? Our review.

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A new Leisure Suit Larry game in this day and age seems anachronistic. It looks like almost everyone in the industry is being cautious, so their products don't offend anyone. Because of the climate, Leisure Suit Larry seemed like a series that would forever be stuck in the past, a relic of a time when people allowed themselves to laugh a bit more instead of continually finding things to be offended about. Here we are, though, with a new entry in the series. Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry released earlier this month, and though Larry's quest to find love is still raunchy and raw, I never found it to be uncaring in its execution.

Land of the Lounge Lizards

Wet Dreams Don't Dry does a bit of a soft reboot on the series. At some time in the late 1980s, Larry is the subject of some bizarre kidnapping and ends up frozen in a lab underneath the city of Lost Wages until the current day. He awakens in a world of smartphones, hipsters, and dating apps.

The rude awakening to the complications of modern life leaves Larry even more of a fish out of water than usual. He awakens in the lab and escapes to emerge in a familiar location: the place where the whole series got its start, Lefty's Bar. While the interior of Lefty's Bar has deteriorated in the time since Larry first stepped through its doors in Land of the Lounge Lizards, dependable Lefty is still polishing his glass over and over just as you remember it.

However, Larry soon finds out about the internet, social networks, and dating in the age of smartphones. After finding a prototype smartphone in a pile of "crud" in the bathroom of Lefty's Bar, he returns it to the company that manufactured it, Prune (a spoof of Apple). There he locks eyes with his love interest for the game, Faith, an assistant to the CEO of Prune.

However, with the game being set in the present, Faith isn't interested until he manages to accrue a Timber score of 90. Timber is Wet Dreams Don't Dry's take on the dating app Tinder, and to boost his score, Larry has to date as many women (or men) as he can.

Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) Feat. Larry Laffer

While the world has changed, Larry hasn't. As you meet your prospective Timber matches, Larry lays on the sleaze as he always has, and like always he's rebuked. Instead, Larry has to help each of these women out with a particular problem before they'll reward him with a date.

The nudity and sexual exploits have been toned down considerably since Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, so don't expect the game to be all boobs and buttholes (sadly). While there's a ton of humor involving sexual topics, it's all very self-aware. Larry might be a cad, but most of the time it plays into the comedy of errors. He's trying to use these women to get to Faith, but in turn, it's he who gets used as he gets sent all across New Lost Wages to try and solve these women's problems.

Along the way, Larry has to confront lifestyles and ideas that have sprung up since he was frozen. Feminism, hipsters, cam girls, and vegans are all either unheard of or mostly abstract in Larry's mind. Where the writing succeeds, though, is that it isn't afraid to make fun of Larry's approach to life and the conventions of modern society. 

What really made the game funny to me (besides the poop and dick jokes), was that it broke everyone's balls. The script feels more like comedy did a decade or so ago when it was acceptable to make fun of everyone equally.

In Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals

Wet Dreams Don't Dry takes a step back from the 3D worlds and CGI of Magna Cum Laude and Box Office Bust and is presented in the classic adventure perspective of 2.5D. Both the characters and the backgrounds are hand-drawn sprites that tap into the pastels of the 1980s and 1990s for inspiration.

The voice cast is excellent as well. Jan Rabson (who was also Tetsuo in the original English Akira dub) reprises his role as Larry. If you're a fan of Larry 6, 7, and Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded, it's great news as I don't think anyone else could pull off the sleazy naivete like Robson.

Every part is voiced, and the rest of the cast has excellent chemistry. Poor voice acting can absolutely kill an adventure game, and it's great to see this one really shine. There are a few small issues where the subtitles don't always reflect what the characters are actually saying, though, which is a bit of a problem in some scenes – this can easily be fixed in a patch, however, if the developers take the time to resolve it. 

Shape Up or Slip Out

Unfortunately, Wet Dreams Don't Dry succumbs to an issue a lot of classic adventure games have: obscure puzzle solutions. You get a ton of items in the game, and not all of them have obvious uses. Some can be combined, and others will sit in your inventory for an hour or more after you get them before you find their purpose.

It can also be hard to tell exactly what you can interact with in the game. In one instance, I had to get a pair of poopy underwear that a girl threw away out of the trash (for a noble cause) and I just could not figure out how to do it. Every time I tried to touch it, Larry just told me how much he didn't want to put his hand in the trash. I figured I had to leave and find some item he could use to grab it without it touching his bare skin, but the actual solution was to click on the trash bag drawstring. Given that the interaction area for the drawstring was minuscule in comparison to that for the trash bag itself, it was incredibly easy to miss.

There is, thankfully, a way to see every interaction hotspot in an area by pressing the space bar. However, this takes some of the fun out of my game in the opinion. It kind of feels like cheating. I recommend using it as a last resort if you really want to figure out the game by yourself. Perhaps these occasionally obtuse puzzles are meant to artificially lengthen the game since it's a bit short at 3-5 hours otherwise, which does make things occasionally frustrating. 

Love for Sail

I love Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry. Part of it is likely the raging sense of nostalgia I get from playing it. Games like this just aren't made anymore, and it's great to actually get a chuckle out of a game instead of its characters being bland, humorless, flesh masses. The other part is that it's actually a well-written, fun game that can make you fall in love with a chauvinist slob like Larry.

Wet Dreams Don't Dry is raunchy, self-referential, and unapologetic. I really, really hope that more games take risks like this one does and return to a point where we can have a fun, adult narrative without fear of everyone getting uptight about it. I sincerely hope this is the first in a revival of the franchise and I can't wait to see how much of an ass Larry makes of himself in the next installment.

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

Pros
  • Fun, raunchy humor that is rare to find in games these days.
  • Hand-drawn sprites and environments hearken back to the days of 1990s adventures.
  • Excellent voice cast.
Cons
  • A bit on the short side at 4-5 hours.
  • Puzzles solutions can be obtuse.
  • Some minor subtitle errors.
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