Narrator: It's kind of pathetic, you get all erratic / about dirty dishes congesting the sink. / I'm tired of your bothers, remember our fathers / who dwelled in a world filled with rubbish and stink. / But when all hope was lost, someone raised from the dust. / He was handsome and cunning, his haircut had style! / Courage was shining in his eyes as he said "Screw you guys! / Mind your own business, I'm off now, goodbye!"
Chorus: Huzzah, he's off now goodbye!
On a landfill-planet called Deponia, there lives a clever and ambitious but reckless and short-sighted fool named Rufus, who wants nothing more than to get off of Deponia and reach the beautiful flying city of Elysium in the sky. After his latest failed escape attempt, he manages to knock an Elysian girl called Goal off the cruiser she is traveling on to the surface below, breaking her brain implant in the process. This prompts her fiance to offer a reward for her return, giving the egotisical Rufus a ticket off the junk pile he calls a home. So begins an adventure where Rufus takes his unconscious love from his home at Kuvaq across the trash-filled world to the meeting with her fiance, all the while chased by the Organon, cyborg-soldiers with insidious plans for Goal & Deponia.The rest of the cast includes a variety of colorful characters, almost all of whom hate or are casually contemptuous of Rufus. These include Toni, Rufus's ex-girlfriend; Wenzel, Rufus's best friend who laughs at his multiple attempts to escape; Cletus, Goal's Elysian fiance who looks identical to Rufus but with a goatee; and Doc, a handyman & brain surgeon who enjoys meditation and alcohol. Deponia is a point-&-click adventure game that was released in January 2012 by Deadalic Entertainment.A sequel titled Chaos on Deponia was released in November, 2012. This game takes place just a few days after the end of the first game. Rufus, having turned over a new leaf and completely reformed, finds himself having to save Goal once again from a problem that he created. Specifically, her mind has been split into three parts, each with a fragment of her identity, and he needs to earn the respect/affection of all of them in order to put Goal back together again. And then he needs to save Deponia from the Organon. Again.The third game and Grand Finale of the trilogy, titled Goodbye Deponia, was released on October 18, 2013. After putting Goal's personality back together, she disappears yet again. When looking for her, he finds a cloning machine and thinks that he has found the solution to his problem: More Rufuses would mean more efficiency in his mission! ...Right? Now Rufus has to coordinate his tripled self to find Goal, reach Elysium and save Deponia from the forces of Organon once and for all.
This game provides examples of:
Added Alliterative Appeal: In "Welcome to Deponia", Rufus' conversation with the Post-Bot about the catch with the Postal-Cats'-Hatch.
Affectionate Parody: The game have some elements of it towards the Adventure Game genre, especially with Rufus, who's basically has a Up to Eleven version of an average adventure game protagonist's personality.
Her other two personalities are not immune to this clause either. Lady Goal shows far more interest in the aloof Seagull than the more eager Rufus, and Spunky Goal treats Rufus with contempt right up until he proves he can beat her up in Platypus Bataka.
Ambiguous Ending: The ending leaves some big questions unanswered, which is a somewhat odd choice given the overall whimsical tone of the series. Did Rufus really die? What happened to Argus? What will happen to Elysium now that the Council of Elders know that Deponia is inhabited and have ordered the suspension of the Utopia mission?
Word of God has confirmed that this was a deliberate choice, as the developers wanted the fate of Deponia and its inhabitants to be left up to the imagination of the players, to the point where they have suggested that it's possible that Rufus survived his fall (though most fans have chosen to assume the worst). The reception to that decision amongst the fanbase has been... mixed, to say the least.
Artificial Human: The Organon, who were created to be disposable workers and soldiers in service of Elysium. To better fulfill their role, they were engineered to have little respect for life. Understandably, this also makes them particularly brutal enforcers as far as the Deponians are concerned. Argus, Cletus, and even Rufus himself happen to be the prototypes for the rest of them.
The Atoner: From Goodbye Deponia, Hermes, one of the minds behind Elysium's Utopian project and creator of the Organon. He ended up having second thoughts about blowing up the planet and elected to stay behind on Deponia to try and find a solution.
Author Avatar: The Gondolier who is eaten by junk crabs to finish a puzzle and the identical-looking Chorus Guy is based on the head developer of the game.
Big Damn Villains: Cletus, after seeming to have fallen to his demise in the final part of Goodbye Deponia, turns out to be okay, and tries to stop Argus after he reveals his intentions to carry out the invasion of Elysium and almost kills Rufus.
Big "NO!": Goodbye Deponia has a couple of them, with probably the most noteworthy being Goal, reacting to Rufus jumping to his death.
Bilingual Bonus: With the English version in the second game. The jukebox songs and some signs on the black market are written in a strange looking alphabet, these can be translated into roman letters, but only when you can read German since they were not changed in the translation. In case of the jukebox this can actually reveal a far more sexual title for the third song, which can be translated as the "the condom song".
Birds of a Feather: Rufus and Spunky Goal get along the best out of her three split personalities, due in no small part to the fact that Spunky Goal essentially is Rufus, with a bit of Toni thrown in.
First game: Rufus saves Deponia, but is forced to let Goal leave with Cletus for his plan to work.
Second game: Rufus and Goal are together at last, but Deponia is still in danger, and Rufus is no closer to Elysium.
Third game: The Organon have been stopped, Deponia will not be destroyed and Goal is safe in Elysium, but Rufus had to give up his life to protect Goal.
Black Comedy: The whole series engages in it to a degree, with various bystanders (including children and animals) being accidentally (or sometimes not...) tormented, maimed, or killed, all played for laughs (and contrasting sharply with the bright, cartoony visuals and overall lighthearted tone of the story). However, the series gets progressively darker in its comedy as it goes along, and by the time the third game comes around, it starts venturing into Crosses the Line Twice and Dude, Not Funny! territory.
Considering the developer and some of their other works, this series is actually comparatively lighthearted.
Book Ends: The first and second games begin and end with Rufus falling out of the sky and somehow not dying. By extension, the series on the whole begins with that and ends with Rufus falling out of the sky again... this time to his death.
Both Sides Have a Point: In Goodbye Deponia, the people finally flat-out tell Rufus that he's an inconsiderate jackass and a screwup. Goal counters that, despite his flaws, Rufus is literally the only reason they're still alive.
Changed My Mind, Kid: The only reason Chaos on Deponia doesn't have an outright Downer Ending is because Lady Goal suddenly and unexpectedly changed her mind about going with Cletus, because she didn't want to abandon Spunky Goal.
Chekhov's Boomerang: Power inverters, special components that reverse the function of whatever device they're installed in. Rufus finds and uses quite a few of them during his adventures, and bemoans the lack of said devices in Goodbye Deponia.
Combinatorial Explosion: Many (but not all) of the stranger attempts at using or combining items have unique responses. For instance, use a nodding bird with a parrot in the first game and Rufus says something along the lines of:
"One is flapping its beak all the time and the other one's nodding continuously. They should get married."
Some achievements require combining certain objects with others in ways that don't serve to advance the plot, especially in Goodbye Deponia.
Rufus almost takes the place of Cletus to be with Goal in the first game, but chooses to tell her the truth to save Deponia.
At the end of Chaos on DeponiaLady Goal comes within a few moments of betraying Rufus and Spunky Goal, but ultimately decides to come back.
Crapsack World: Deponia is just miles upon miles of junk. It's implied that Elysium's trash is dumped on Deponia by the Organon, as part of an eons-old class struggle. The people aren't too terrible, for the most part, but their environment would be unlivable in real life.
Crazy Enough to Work: In Goodbye Deponia, it's the eleventh hour, the plan to save Deponia by obliterating Elysium has been foiled by Rufus, and all the reasonable people can't think of something quickly enough. So they turn to Rufus, because when it comes to seat-of-your-pants action with barely a chance of success, he's your man. And sure enough, his plan works.
Cruelty Is the Only Option: Some of the things you have to make Rufus do to proceed are outright horrible, But Thou Must. Causing the gondalier to be eaten alive by junk crabs and turning the baby dolphins into cat food are probably the worst examples.
Not to mention using Baby Goal as a living lightning rod to prevent getting struck by lightning again when climbing a tower. And she just told you that SHE'S AFRAID OF LIGHTNING.
It gets even harsher in Goodbye Deponia, including such things as poisoning an ally to make it look like they have the Whooping Pox (twice over), ruining Toni's hard-earned state of calm, having a child stick an antenna into a power socket (and get electrified in the process), breaking up a loving couple so one can be forced to work as a dancing monkey and the other can be enslaved (and possibly eaten in the future), feeding the aforementioned child and his siblings to a swamp beast, and breaking said swamp beast's diet by doing so. Though, in fairness, those last couple weren't quite intentional.
Cut and Paste Environments: The tutorial room from the second game is an exact copy of the tutorial from the first game (with the tutorial-giver characters switched) despite being ostensibly different places. Immediatelylampshaded and Played for Laughs. By the repeat of it in the third game, it is considered a Running Gag. When Rufus ends up in it later in the game during his Darkest Hour and cannot escape getting killed in it over and over again, he considers himself to be in hell.
Darker and Edgier: Chaos on Deponia is still silly and slapsticky, but there's far more onscreen deaths than in the first game, and a generally more violent streak overall.
Fitting enough by the second chapter where you cause baby dolphins to be made into cat food is also where references to Edna and Harvey start creeping in.
By the third game, the series has reached Anyone Can Die levels of dark, plus jokes about killing and maiming children, pedophilia jokes, and a lot more swearing.
Darkest Hour: In the third game. The latest plan to save Deponia has fallen through, Rufus just killed Goal, and now he's in his own personal hell. Or so it appears, at least...
Demoted to Extra: Wenzel. The tutorial and dialog at the beginning imply him to be Rufus' constant companion and snarky sidekick, but in the rest of the game he is just an obstruction to get Goal. Unlike Toni, he is completely missing from the sequel. Bozo in the sequel is presented the same way in the tutorial but does actually serve as companion throughout the story. Rufus briefly comments on him in the third game.
Cletus as well in the third game. Despite Rufus' efforts to take him out and replace him to get to Elysium, he keeps on showing up. This is most apparent in his escaping capture by Argus and the Organon in the penultimate chapter and the reveal that he did not fall to his death in the final chapter.
Die Laughing: At the end of Goodbye Deponia, in a moment of Mood Whiplash, Rufus, while falling to his death, cracks up when Barry gets hit by a satellite on the way down.
Disappeared Dad: Rufus's father attempted to escape Deponia when Rufus was only eight. Considering that he was mayor at the time, the townsfolk on the whole weren't very pleased about it. He reappears in the second game as a minor villain, and is unceremoniously killed by the end. By this point, their relations have soured to such an extent that Rufus doesn't even comment on it. In the third game, he managed to survive and become the leader of the Resistance, only to die while trying to murder Rufus for being a screwup. Rufus again doesn't give it much thought.
Doomed Moral Victor: Invoked by Cletus in regards to Rufus. He brags about Rufus being forced to be the loser, because winning would mean Rufus would have to become Cletus. Goal makes a similar point earlier on, but without the attitude. There's no small amount of irony in the fact that Cletus is eventually forced to become Rufus after the latter's Heroic Sacrifice.
The Door Slams You: In Chaos on Deponia, Rufus's "ring the doorbell and hide" prank always backfires because of this trope. In fact, the puzzle requires it. When Goal's in Spunky mode, she'll eventually swing the door so hard she'll end up leaving a Rufus-shaped dent in it, which Rufus then uses to make a wax mold of his face.
Dressing as the Enemy: Rufus often disguises himself as Cletus, and gets to dress as an Organon in Goodbye Deponia.
Dumbass Has a Point: Rufus actually gets Doc to concede that the extremely complicated mind-switching device for Goal is, in essence, a simple remote.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Organon's plans for Deponia. The second game reveals that the purpose of this destruction is to create a blast large enough to propel Elysium to another, more habitable planet. It's finally averted in the third game, leaving the Elysians stuck trying to work out an alternative.
Eldritch Abomination: The dreaded McThulhu rests beneath the Chez Schlumpi restaurant in Chaos on Deponia. The sole worker/cultist in the restaurant's takeout window refers to it as "the manager" and to customers ordering food as "sacrifices."
Enemy Mine: Cletus helps the rebellion in Goodbye Deponia,Subverted when he double crosses them. Later played straight, when Rufus, Cletus and Argus join forces to stop the detonation of Deponia.
Everything's Better with Platypi: Apparently they're a common animal around the Rust Red Sea, because they're all over the place in Chaos on Deponia. Chapter 1 has you joining the local chapter of the Platypus club and raising the mystical Platypus Guardians of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Goodbye Deponia introduces even more, the eggs of which serve as a collection sidequest like the Goal portrait in the previous game.
Evil Brit: Argus and Cletus both speak with British accents.
Evil Twin: Cletus looks almost identical to Rufus (he has a goatee), and is perfectly willing to overlook genocide if it means Elysium can be better off. Then Argus is revealed to be another twin, outright identical to Cletus. Rufus discovers that they are part of a prototype batch of clones meant to implement the destruction of Deponia. All the Organon look like Rufus.
Evil vs. Evil: In the third game, Cletus, who wants to go forward with the "blow up Deponia so Elysium can escape" plan, comes into conflict with Argus, who's planning an Organon invasion of Elysium.
Failed a Spot Check: Even though Rufus and Cletus look virtually identical, there is one glaringly obvious difference that everyone fails to notice: Cletus has a full goatee, while Rufus just has some scruffy chin hair.
FanService: Goal usually winds up in revealing attire at least once a game. In Chaos on Deponia, Spunky Goal dons a fur-bikini ensemble for the Platypus Bataka minigame, while in Goodbye Deponia she's ripped right out of her clothes in the game's opening stanza. Both outfits are used on the box art of their respective games.
Toni's outfits always seem to do a good job of showing off her... assets.
Not to mention, near the end of the first game the player gets to walk in on her showering.
Fishing for Sole: One puzzle in the second game requires getting a fisherman to fish you up a boot. Surprisingly, even in this junk-filled world, it's actually harder for him to fish up a boot than it is to get an actual fish.
Floating Continent: Elysium. It's actually a spaceship intended to carry its inhabitants to a new, unspoiled world.
Foreshadowing: At the start of Chaos on Deponia, Rufus and Cletus argue about Goal, with Cletus talking about the different sides of her personality, specifically mentioning about how the third part "sides with me!"
Later, in Goodbye Deponia, after cloning himself, the three Rufuses fall down chutes matching their icon colors, before slamming into the ends of their chutes and falling down into darkness, one by one. This order - Blue, then Green, then Red - matches the order of their eventual deaths.
In the second and third games, whenever Rufus talks to the fortune teller about his future, the fortune teller explains that he sees nothing but darkness. He also foresaw the world ending, so the player likely assumed that the more dire of his predictions were simply for dramatic flavour, but it turns out his predictions on Rufus were a bit more accurate...
Future Spandex: Goal wears a set of these, immediately distinguishing her from the Deponians who were more diverse clothing. Cletus in turn wears a similar outfit, but flares a bit more around the legs, arms, and especially the neck.
Game-Breaking Bug: The rail-switching puzzle in the first game can be rendered impossible. A glitch can cause Rufus to be immediately turned around as soon as the track sequence starts, invalidating even a proper run because the game considers going back through the entrance a fail. It seems to be linked to skipping dialog, so letting that play out helps. If that doesn't work, you can always skip the puzzle after selecting the proper route, because you'll still get the achievement for succeeding even if the game decides you failed moments later.
The Goal pin-up puzzle would only allow one of the two associated achievements to be earned normally. After getting one, the other had to be earned by clearing all save data and disabling the Steam Cloud sync, since the finished puzzle prevented any further progress. This was fixed in a patch that resets the puzzle with each new game. The following game dealt with the problem by making the collectibles static and progress cumulative over multiple playthroughs.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: You get a Steam achievement for blowing the dust off the sign in the escape pod at the start of Chaos on Deponia enough times. The achievement is called "Blow job" and the description is "Actually, that would have been Toni's job..."
Gilligan Cut: When you're sent off to buy cartridges for Goal's operation, you're given a choice between several models. Once you pick one, it immediately cuts back to Doc's shop, revealing Rufus purchased the crappy ones to get a free lollipop.
The Grim Reaper: In Goodbye Deponia, you see someone who clearly resembles him. It turns out to be Hermes, the clone facility admin behind the creation of the Organon - his face is gaunt and zombie-like due to Clone Degeneration of sorts.
Chaos On Deponia has a jigsaw-puzzle Pin Up of Goal separated into nine parts, which are very difficult to find because they are very small, blend easily with their environment, and aren't highlighted by your cursor or the middle mouse button. You can get around this by reloading a previous save game and finding the same piece over and over, which is even an achievement ("Cheater"), but there's a separate achievement for finding them all fairly.
The puzzle where you have to go into the options menu and turn the background music off to proceed. Rufus does comment on the fact that it is background music, but there's no indication that it's not another inventory puzzle.
Goodbye Deponia has 15 platypus eggs hidden throughout the game. Like the above puzzle, they aren't highlighted and are well hidden, though they are easier to distinguish than the puzzle pieces. They are also spread over more areas you can't return to, and you can't cheat like with the puzzle. You can, however, get them over multiple playthroughs.
Harmless Freezing: One puzzle in the second game requires freezing an animal. It unfreezes as soon as you've delivered it, and it just shakes it off like it was merely wet.
Have a Nice Death: You can actually die in the second game, complete with Sierra-style death dialog. You die by abusing your resistance leader status too much in front of Toni. Also a Red Herring since while Toni repeatedly threatens you with bodily harm and says physical comedy is a solution of a puzzle, you actually die and have to reload when she decides to take action. The third game has a puzzle which kills you every time you fail it, only for Rufus to suddenly appear back at the start. There's even an achievement for failing it numerous times.
Heel Realization: Rufus has one of these after Organon Bailiff Argus points out all the things that will make him a better partner than Cletus.
Helium Speech: The Chorus Guys get a dose of helium for one of the songs in Goodbye Deponia.
Hell Hotel: Rufus and co. visit one in Goodbye Deponia. It is an Informed Flaw though, since you never see any of the bodies the concierge mentions, the one ghost you find is a probably fake Bedsheet Ghost, and the Apocalypse Cult you meet in the laundry room is completely right about the world ending the next day.
Henchmen Race: The Organon, genetically engineered and cloned to follow orders with little questioning, to lack respect for life, and not to fear death.
Hermes, the clone master, gives his life so Goal can be saved and Rufus can clone himself twice over to save Deponia.
The Prime Controller is willing to blow himself up with Deponia if it means stopping Argus from taking over Elysium and saving his daughter by sending her to a new world.
Finally, Rufus himself falls to his death from the highboat, unwilling to let Goal die while trying to distinguish him from Argus and Cletus.
Played for laughs in the original if Rufus interacts with a glowing green pool near the end of the game. A future version of himself suddenly appears without explanation and tells him that he's triggered a nuclear chain reaction that will destroy everything and one of them has to sacrifice themselves to stop it. They play Rock-Paper-Scissors for it, with the future-version losing every time and subsequently jumping into the water.
Hope Springs Eternal: This is what sets Rufus apart from most others. No matter how hopeless the situation or seemingly impossible the task, Rufus always believes it can be done. In fact, Hermes reveals that this is a genetic trait.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Rufus lampshades this when he complains that Elysium attire cannot hold anything, when his coat can, by his own admission, somehow hold a pair of cats and a parrot. In the sequel, Rufus manages to carry an entire wading pool around.
I Have No Son: Invoked repeatedly by Captain Seagull on Rufus. Specifically, he claims that Rufus is no relation, just a trash baby he found and reluctantly took in. This is later revealed to be true: Rufus, Cletus, and Argus are all clones.
Inkblot Test: In Goodbye Deponia, Rufus has to answer one to convince the proctor that he needs psychotropics. Unfortunately, his rather cheerful and bizarre interpretations of the images lead the therapist to believe he's not taking the exercise seriously.
In Medias Res: The second game starts out with Rufus meeting Goal again, only for her to ask how he got there and why there's a giant, burning saw blade stuck in the side of the pod. A quick flashback chapter fills in the blanks.
Inventory Management Puzzle: Parodied in the second game. If you really work at it, you can go over the inventory limit. If you manage this, the game produces an additional box to hold the extra item and gives you an achievement.
I Resemble That Remark: Amusing variant at the start of the second game where Grandma Utz constantly raises doubts about Rufus while he proceeds to do the exact things she's worrying about in the background, just as Doc manages reassure her that Rufus is OK.
Ironic Hell: In the end, Rufus deliberately sacrifices himself to resolve a Spot the Imposter scenario which is putting Goal at risk. Cletus ends up posing as Rufus and escapes to Elysium. It's hinted Goal knows this, however, because she then forces him to dress and act like Rufus despite his obvious displeasure, while she looks mournfully down at Deponia.
Jerk Ass: In a series with Rufus as the lead, villains tend to be this. Cletus, for instance, is an outstanding example.
Rufus' father, Captain Seagull, who abandoned Rufus at a theme park when he was only eight. He has all of Rufus' flaws (minus the childishness), and no redeeming virtues. He also tries to steal Goal. Taking his claim of not being Rufus' biological father into account, means that it was entirely his influence which made Rufus what he is. In Goodbye Deponia, he tries to kill Rufus (and succeeds in doing in one copy) just because he wants an apology.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Captain Seagull, a.k.a. Rufus' father, is unceremoniously shot dead by Argus in a You Have Failed Me moment. Rufus sees the whole thing; if he noticed, he gave no indication afterwards that he cared. He returns in Goodbye Deponia with an eyepatch and a peg leg. Rufus still doesn't care for him.
Klatchian Coffee: Espresso, used to wake Goal from a pseudo-comatose state. Said espresso is made from, among other things, gunpowder, a chili pepper, a medical stimulant, and battery acid.
La Résistance: The second game features a very ineffectual one that does little more than sit around munching snacks and talking about their oppression, doing little if any actual resisting. Then Rufus become their spiritual leader, at which point they Take a Level in Badass, going from the aforementioned to raising an armed rebellion and storming the Organon blast tower at the climax.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: The trailer for Chaos on Deponia shows that Rufus looks a lot like Cletus, and the trailer for Goodbye Deponia reveals Elysium's plan to blow up Deponia.
Left Hanging: The fates of several minor characters left in bad situations thanks to Rufus, as well as the ultimate solution for saving both Deponia and Elysium, are left unanswered at the end of the finale.
Left the Background Music On: In the second game, both Rufus and a pharmacist comment on the background music, and have dialog if you turn it off. It's even part of a puzzle.
Loony Fan: Barry in the third game is a fairly mild example. Well, until the end, when he jumps to his death just to congratulate his hero, anyway.
Loophole Abuse: One puzzle in the second game requires Rufus to do this. He meets a poet named Crane, who claims he doesn't need anything that his materialist neighbor Captain Seagull needs. Rufus brings him several memos Seagull has written about things he needs that Crane has, and proceeds to take these things because Crane must not need them.
It goes a step further. After several rounds of the above, Crane cracks and tells Rufus to "just go ahead and take everything". Rufus uses this leverage to take something Captain Seagull doesn't need: the ashes of Crane's late mother. Rufus's line regarding the matter says it best:
"Hey, I didn't make the rules. I just bent them a little."
In the gadget shop, the robot shopkeeper won't let you steal any items, and is insistent that the descriptions of his products are accurate. To steal from him, you have to break the supposedly unbreakable glasses of pure darkness then get the shopkeeper to wear them. By his own logic, they must work, so Rufus can steal with impunity because admitting that he can see Rufus would be to admit to false advertising. It works, but the robot is quite annoyed.
Lost Forever: The puzzle pieces in the second game are all in areas that can be rendered inaccessible if you progress too far in the plot. Same goes for the platypus eggs in the third.
Doc's idea of brain surgery involves a large saw blade and several other equally inappropriate tools.
In Goodbye Deponia, Rufus has to perform surgery on Cletus at one point. Cletus surprisingly survives it.
Me's a Crowd: Late in Goodbye Deponia, Rufus clones himself into three since he doesn't have enough time to save the day and Goal on his own.
Misfit Mobilization Moment: Rufus becoming their spiritual leader causes the resistance of the second game to go from three whiny and inactive losers to a proper group of fighters.
Mistaken for Profound: The leader of Disorganized Crime in the second game. Her "orders" are just a series of tics which have been assigned meaning by her underlings.
Mood Whiplash: And how. At the end of a series that has been a mostly light-hearted, adventurous outing of a Determinator to end all Determinators, with the hero's final goal in sight... he sacrifices himself and lets the bad guy win.
Mundane Utility: Lonzo's espresso machine, which uses a nuclear reactor to produce a tiny cup of coffee.
Going beyond that, Rufus's dad makes a device that can manipulate the planet's magnetosphere. What does he and his successor, Mayor Lotek, do with said device? Use it as a sleeping aid. What does Rufus do with it? Mess up the postal system.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: About half the problems Rufus has to solve throughout the series are problems he himself created, in one way or another.
Noodle Incident: Rufus's many escape attempts, including one which took a week to remove all the Cacti needles from his butt.
Non Sequitur Thud: Goal ends up talking in nothing but this, save for a brief lucid episode, after her neural implant is damaged.
By the sequel, however, it is gone entirely, due to Goal's original implant getting damaged so badly that she needed a replacement.
The Noseless: Some women are drawn without noses. There doesn't appear to be any reason why some women have noses and others don't.
Not So Different: Rufus gets this a lot from or in reference to Cletus. It's especially prominent in Chaos on Deponia, in which Goal's deciding between Cletus and Rufus stretches over the whole game.
Once an Episode: Each game starts with Rufus carrying out a poorly planned attempt to reach Elysium, which backfires horribly and gets Goal in trouble.
Orphaned Punchline: After you get Baby Goal to enter the fortune teller's tent in the sequel, Rufus will always enter the tent just as the fortune teller has revealed the details of some unspecified but embarrassing fact about his future.
Percussive Maintenance: What Rufus does to the espresso machine when Lonzo tells him to increase the pressure.
Pet the Dog: Cletus actually sabotages the Organon's plan to bomb Deponia (not to be confused with blowing it up; this bomb would simply kill all life in the Red Rust Sea) in the second game because it would make Goal happy. Of course, he's pretty convinced the planet will be destroyed anyway, even if the Elders do know it's inhabited, but by then it won't be his fault.
Plot Hole: A pretty big one, right at the end of Goodbye Deponia. When Argus, Cletus, and Rufus become stuck in the engine turbine, it's made abundantly clear several times that the turbine only remains stationary because the three of them are jamming the rotor blades; if one of them even shifts slightly, the turbine starts moving again, and the whole premise of the subsequent Goal puzzle is that as soon as she pulls one of them free, the turbine will start up again and kill the other two. Yet when Rufus chooses to let go and plunge to his death in order to save Goal, the turbine stays completely stationary, giving Goal plenty of time to pull Cletus out (the turbine starts up afterwards, presumably killing Argus, though it is never shown or referenced). This, of course, begs the question as to why Rufus couldn't have just hauled himself up to safety instead of dropping to his doom.
Another from Goodbye Deponia is pretty much the entire subplot around Goaly being Donna. Why did Donna look identical to Goal as a baby? And, more to the point, who dyed her hair when she wound up in the cloning lab and why? Pretty much the only ones with the opportunity to do so were Hermes and Argus, but neither of them have a reason to do so.
Precision F-Strike: In a cutscene near the end of the first game's second act, one of the Organon gets this as two of his colleagues talk about their ridiculous armor improvements (extra tracking sensors in their lenses, boots, and beards) while he got nothing.
Rufus believes Bozo to be a pirate, and doesn't seem to be able to hear Bozo's statements to the contrary.
At least once a game, Rufus will criticize someone for being lazy and/or uncreative, before capping it off by saying they may as well be a video game writer.
Scooby-Dooby Doors: Used as a puzzle in Goodbye Deponia, the goal being to trick the bad guys into accosting Cletus by mistake and then take his place (as Rufus so often does).
Screw Destiny: Lots of people tell Rufus that he'll never get off Deponia - being stuck there is a part of who he is. Rufus begs to differ. He succeeds, twice, but refuses to follow through on screwing destiny because the cost to his humanity would be too high.
Sequel Hook: For the first game, things like what happened to Rufus's father, why Cletus is a dead ringer for him, and why the Organon want to blow up Deponia are never elaborated on fully, and right before the credits, "The End?.." appears.
Chaos on Deponia one-ups its predecessor by adding a "Not" to the beginning of "The End" at the credits sequence. Though all immediate problems are solved, Deponia still needs saving.
Sexy Whatever Outfit: Spunky Goal sports a sexy platypus outfit when battling in the platypus bakara arena. Rufus' corresponding outfit is less "sexy" and more "absurd theme park Mascot Fighter".
Shaggy Dog Story: A dramatic example in Goodbye Deponia. Green Rufus' task of reclaiming the nucleic acid and restoring Goal to her proper age ends with him succeeding, only to discover that "Goaly" was actually a clone of Donna all along.
Shaggy Frog Story: The entire first game is being told by the singing narrator to explain why he shouldn't have to do chores. In the end, even he admits he has no idea how it does that and claims the real moral is "the chorus guys rule."
Shout-Out: Chaos on Deponia has several to other Daedalic games.
There a notable few to Edna and Harvey including hearing the narrators voice during the second chapter and the gondolier's death and resulting skeleton are very similar to deaths in Harvey's New Eyes.
At the Floating Black Market's uptown there is a poster of the magician Great Zaroff, who is a character from The Night Of The Rabbit. Bonus points if you consider that this game would be launched almost nine months later.
Chaos on Deponia has two, let's call them Homages to puzzles from Monkey Island 2 (because calling it plagiarism might be too harsh). Rufus' intial plan to reach Elysium looks very similar to the torture device Guybrush Threepwood escapes from, and later Rufus has to pull the same "trick the fisherman into giving up his fishing pole by presenting him with a large fish you acquired elsewhere" puzzle.
Speaking of Monkey Island, in Goodbye Deponia Janosch berates Rufus for breaking his banana picker.
Goodbye Deponia has a fairly in-depth one in the Sewer Bar. The tavern's three customers are a hairy desperado, an heir to a peach-farming company, and a red-clad, mustachioed plumber drinking away his sorrows because "his deceased brother tried to smash a brick wall with his head after eating some mysterious mushrooms." After drinking the brew's swill, the desperado turns into a full-on ape, the plumber insists he's grown bigger and stronger (though Rufus thinks it's just because he's standing on the table), and the peach-farming heir turns into a heiress, whom both the other occupants take a shine to. The whole thing ends with the ape hurling barrels at the plumber, who dodges them by jumping, while the buxom blonde trembles in the corner.
Slapstick Knows no Gender: Goal is in no way exempt from being sucked into the tornado of Amusing Injuries that is usually brought on by Rufus. Heck, the entire second game is centered around her being so injured by a series of accidents that her brain splits into three pieces. And even on top of that, part of the last leg of the game is an extended sequence involving tricking her naive personality into getting struck by lightning - you can even talk about it with one of her other personalities (who is resigned and very reluctant) for extra dickery. The various resigned/frustrated reactions her personalities have about this are all golden.
Smug Snake: Captain Seagull, and hard. Arguably, Cletus as well.
Soft Water: This saves both Rufus and Goal in the second game.
Space Clothes: The futuristic clothes of the Elysians and Organons are in steep contrast to the cobbled-together clothing of the Deponians.
Speech Impediment: Janosch has a Sean Connery-style impediment causing him to pronounce his all his "s"-es as "sh"-es, which Rufus laughs at constantly. It's actually relevant to a puzzle.
Split Personality: Goal gets a variation on this in Chaos on Deponia - her mind was stored on hard-disk-like brain implant, but after some Rufus-related shenanigans the data on it is split into three disks, each of which contains a third of Goal's personality. Rufus can use a remote control to flip Goal between her selves. Tuning in the right Goal for the right situation is a core mechanic of the game. Goal's parts are:
Baby Goal: Childish, cheery, and naive. Baby Goal is the most optimistic and supportive, but also the most easily manipulated.
Lady Goal: Arrogant, aloof, and utterly disgusted with the filth and low class of Deponia. Lady Goal seems to be the most intelligent and reasonable, but that doesn't mean she'll be sympathetic. She's the one who remembers the Ascension Codes to reach Elysium, and she also betrays Rufus and her other parts to run off with Cletus.
Spunky Goal: Adventurous, impatient, and bold. Spunky Goal is only slightly less brash than Rufus himself, on top of being stronger and more aggressive.
Literal Split Personality: Near the end of the game, parts of her end up in the body of someone else, and then proceed to argue with the original body.
Take a Third Option: At the end of Chaos on Deponiaafter learning that the only way to save Elysium is to destroy Deponia, Rufus insists to Lady Goal that they can find a mutually-beneficial solution if they try hard enough.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Subverted. Hard. Rufus spends his entire life past age 8 trying to get to Elysium, hoping to leave the trash world Deponia behind and live a life of luxury. Everyone tells him it's impossible, numerous schemes fail, and plenty of injuries occur in the process. Over the course of the game, Rufus comes tantalizingly close to his goal several times, but it is always snatched away from him at the last second, at least twice due to his own guilty conscience preventing him from taking advantage of a situation that's dropped in his lap. But at the end of the game, with Elysium so close they can see the airlocks and Rufus seemingly on the verge of FINALLY being able to attain his life's goal,he sacrifices himself to save Goal, plunging back to his death on the planet below that he so hated. As an added kick in the teeth, all of his companions who doubted him the whole way DO make it (thanks to his own efforts), making Rufus pretty much the only major character who doesn't eventually wind up on Elysium.
Trailers Always Spoil: The GOG trailer for Deponia shows a substantial number of puzzle solutions and some of the game's best moments in it.
We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Joked about by Rufus late in the game when he steals Cletus' Elysian attire. Specifically, he complains how it won't be able to store as much as his coat, which has been able to store more weight than humanly possible over the game with no visual impact.
What the Hell, Hero?: Goes both ways in Goodbye Deponia. Multiple characters call Rufus on his constant It's All About Me behavior and annoying sabotage of their plans. Goal in turn calls them out for getting on his case when Rufus is the only reason they ever knew they were in danger.
What You Are in the Dark: Rufus is given the option to take over Cletus' life, including Goal. Instead, he decides to save a planet full of trash and people who hate him.
Done again in the sequel, when Rufus is challenged to either let Goal believe a lie that's favorable to him or admit that he is a liar and perhaps lose Goal forever. He goes with the latter.
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: A variant: Gizmo fills the position of Chief of Police, Fireman, and Town Doctor simultaneously, switching between them as need be. Naturally, Rufus exploits this multiple times to distract him from the matter at hand. At the time, having one man do all three jobs seemed sufficient in such a small town. They never expected someone like Rufus to show up.
You Can't Fight Fate: When Rufus walks into the tent of a Fortune Teller, the guru inside predicts that Rufus will steal his bananas. Rufus will say he doesn't want them, but the guru will invoke this trope until Rufus takes them anyway. Naturally, they're a vital component of a puzzle.