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Video Game / Deponia
aka: Deponia Doomsday

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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 egoistical Rufus a ticket off the junk pile he calls home. So begins a point-and-click adventure where Rufus takes his unconscious love from his home in 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 and 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' ex-girlfriend; Wenzel, Rufus' 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 and brain surgeon who enjoys meditation and alcohol. Deponia, also known as Welcome to Deponia, was released in January 2012 by Daedalic 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 selves to find Goal, reach Elysium and save Deponia from the forces of Organon once and for all.

That was thought to be the end of the series, but on February 25th, 2016, Daedalic announced a fourth game, Deponia Doomsday, released five days later on March 1st, 2016. Rufus wakes up from a very strange and horrifying dream in which, right after the ending of the third game, Elysium crashed into Deponia, leaving him as the only survivor on the planet. Determined to not let that happen and with the help of McChronicle, an eccentric scientist that has detected temporal anomalies manifesting on the planet, Rufus must travel in time to prevent Deponia and Elysium from being destroyed. Yet again.

Warning! This being an Adventure Game series, spoilers abound. Browse at your own risk!

This series provides examples of:

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  • Accidental Pervert: Sort of a weird example in the first game. Midway through, Rufus believes that Wenzel is hiding the unconscious Goal in his shower (which happens to be running at the time). He throws the shower door open, only to discover that it's Toni inside and she happens to be bathing. She seems more mildly annoyed than genuinely upset at the intrusion, although Rufus reacts with no small amount of Squick.
  • Action Girl: Spunky Goal in Chaos on Deponia personifies this trope as an aspect of Goal's overall personality.
    • Future Goal has shades of this in Deponia Doomsday.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Lampshaded by Doc. Rufus in game one gave up his chance to go to Deponia for Goal's sake. Cue game two, he's back to working to reach Elysium.
  • Affectionate Parody: The games have some elements of this towards the Adventure Game genre, especially with Rufus, who's basically an Up to Eleven version of an average adventure game protagonist's personality.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In Chaos on Deponia, a robot-Mini-Mecha shopkeeper has clearly trapped its creator within its glass cockpit and acts of its own volition while the pilot tries to get Rufus's attention. Naturally, no-one notices this.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Baby Goal has to be wooed by enlisting Rufus into the revolutionary cause.
    • 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.
  • All-Knowing Singing Narrator: The games feature a bard (backed up by a chorus) who sings between chapters about Rufus's progress as part of a Framing Device.
    Huzzah the chorus guys rule!
  • Ambiguous Ending: The ending of Goodbye Deponia 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 many fans chose to assume the worst.) The series' fourth entry, Doomsday Deponia, initially looked like it had provided a retroactive subversion, as an older, grizzled Rufus was shown in the previews and the game's prologue, indicating that he did survive the fall... but THAT game's ending turns it into a double subversion, as the old Rufus turned out to be from an alternate future that Rufus and Goal deliberately prevent. We did get confirmation that Elysium fell without being able to use Deponia, leading to both worlds suffering from the crash. Goal was one of the few survivors, and Deponia Doomsday ends with her exploring the ruins of the planet, moving on without Rufus.
  • And I Must Scream: Until her implant is fixed, Goal is barely able to walk and semiconscious. She is still able to think but can only speak in gibberish until Doc helps her out.
  • Artificial Human: The Organon, who were created to be disposable workers and soldiers in the 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 only remaining prototypes for the rest of them.
  • Ascended Extra: Bozo and Doc are minor NPCs in the first game. In the second and third, they play much larger roles.
  • The Atoner: From Goodbye Deponia, Hermes, one of the minds behind Elysium's Utopia 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, the identical-looking narrator, and the button used for activating the Developer commentary are based on the head developer of the game.
  • Author Tract: Doomsday ends up being a massive one against the backlash towards Goodbye's Bittersweet Ending. Rufus' attempts to change his fate ultimately accomplish nothing and actually end up making everything worse by undoing all his victories and dooming both Deponia and Elysium (and, apparently, also Utopia) to certain doom, and the ending explicitly states that all of this could have been avoided if Rufus and Goal (and, indeed, the fanbase) had just accepted this fate at the end of Goodbye. In the end, Doomsday's conflict is resolved by Goal being convinced to let go, accept what's happened and move on.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Bambina, Bozo's weapons-shop-owning Psycho Ex-Girlfriend.
    • Donna in Goodbye Deponia switches from random gibberish to random (and gruesomely creative) threats of bodily harm, upon which she will attempt to act.
  • Bag of Spilling: Rufus lampshades this in the second game, after somehow losing a remote which was in his pocket. He comments that he must have a hole in them since it happened several times before.
    • The fourth game takes both the trope itself and its lampshading a step further, with Rufus's entire inventory getting wiped clean.
  • Beard of Evil:
    • Cletus has a goatee.
    • Seagull sports a full beard.
    • All of the Organon, though with a twist: their beards are cybernetic devices.
    • Rufus himself sports a toned-down version, a kind of Chin Scruff of Comedic Sociopathy. This is likely because he is a prototype clone from the same template as the one used for the Organon. Upgraded to a full Beard of Sorrow in Deponia Doomsday's prologue due to Goal's death in an attempt to avert his Heroic Sacrifice in Goodbye Deponia.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The Hell Hotel of the third game is inhabited by one.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Spunky Goal has to be wooed by beating her in a platypus-themed, American Gladiators-style jousting match.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In game two, Lady Goal in Donna's body shoots Donna's henchmen who took her hostage.
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All of the games.
    • First game: Rufus saves Deponia, but is forced to let Goal leave with Cletus for his plan to work. He realizes that the cartridges got swapped, which means Goal has her memories of seeing the inhabitants.
    • 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 may have had to give up his life to protect Goal.
    • Fourth game: Goal is convinced by Time-Traveller!Rufus to stop trying to rescue Original!Rufus in order to prevent a time loop and The End of the World as We Know It, with both Rufuses dying in the process; Elysium eventually crashes, Goal lets go of the past and walks towards a new life on Deponia. But a version of Goal and Rufus are trapped in the era of dinosaurs and decide to make the most of their time together.
  • 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.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The game was originally made by a German company, so you'll notice a lot of weird lines, grammar not meshing correctly, and other such inconsistencies.
    • When examining a pipe early in the game, this is the only line given:
    Rufus: This brings water to the houses. Or with fluid nitrogen. Depending on the escape plan.
  • Bookends: 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 apparent death. The fourth game keeps the tradition going.
  • 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 immediately by pointing out that, despite his flaws, Rufus is the only reason they're still alive or even aware of the doomsday situation.
  • Break the Haughty: Oooooh boy! The series could very well be renamed "Break the Haughty: The Point'n Break series". A huge chunk of the tetralogy (99,9999% of it) is based around making Rufus go through Hell and back over and over thanks to his enormous ego, whether it's in a comedic or serious way.
  • Brick Joke: Several of these happen across the series, with the joke set up in one game and the punchline arriving in another. The king of these is probably the character of Lotti, a one-hit extra in the first game whose story is explained in the fourth.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • In the first game, the tunnel between Toni's house and the town square is inconveniently closed off at the beginning of the game.
    • Not much later in the first game, Gizmo's emergency station is closed until Rufus gets the recipe for the espresso blend.
    • In the second game, the Floating Black Market is closed off for the final section of the game, leaving just the dock area accessible.
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome: Inverted in Goodbye Deponia. In the end, Rufus talks about how selfish and unchanging he is... to "prove" that it's Cletus sacrificing his life for Goal and Deponia.
  • But Thou Must!: In the first game, you don't get a choice about betraying Goal by removing her cartridge and replacing it with the backup.
  • The Cameo: The only time Bozo and Doc make an appearance in Deponia Doomsday is during the credits where it's shown that both they and McChronicle are enjoying their time in Elysium together.
  • Cat Up a Tree: In the first game, in order to escape from jail, you must invoke this trope by putting a cat on a tree so that Gizmo changes into his firefighter mode.
  • 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.
  • Character Development: Rufus starts the game as a Brilliant, but Lazy selfish man that only wants to reach Elysium. His motivations change when he hears the Organon is threatening Goal's life and that they want to blow up Deponia. Rufus still wants to go to Elysium, but Goal and Deponia take priority.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The fourth game has loads upon loads upon loads of details and minor characters, the full impact of which is only realised later (sometimes much, much later) in the story.
  • 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. Fortunately for him, they're back in full force in Deponia Doomsday.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hermes' explanation that clones' hair changes color when they grow up is and important plot point in the context of the scene, but comes up again later when the baby Goal Rufus has been trying to rescue turns out to be Donna.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The three original Organon clones { Rufus, Cletus and Argus) had red, blue and green hair respectively, although it darkened when they grew older.
  • Circling Birdies: Rufus gets the circling-stars variation during a brief cutscene in the third game.
  • Colony Drop: Chaos on Deponia reveals that not only is Elysium a spaceship meant to send the former Deponian elite to a pristine new planet using Deponia's explosion as its means of propulsion, but that it will crash into Deponia if that is not done soon. With Deponia's destruction averted by the end of Goodbye Deponia, this is shown to be all but inevitable. Deponia Doomsday reveals that Elysium does fall back down onto the planet, but does not cause much damage - and the game's ending further reveals that, were Elysium to be successfully launched, it would have crashed into Utopia, destroying itself and the entire planet in the process.
  • 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.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Rufus suffers from a fairly acute case, in line with the series's Up to Eleven approach to some adventure game cliches. As it turns out, he is literally programmed to do so, being one of the prototype clones of the Organon engineered to have no regard for life.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back:
    • 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 Deponia Lady Goal comes within a few moments of betraying Rufus and Spunky Goal, but ultimately decides to come back.
  • Corpsing: In-Universe, Rufus will break out in giggles on Chaos on Deponia if he hears Janosch's lisp, offending the resistance group (of whom Janosch leads); in order to convince them to help him, he has to get through explaining the Organon plot on Deponia without triggering said lisp when Janosch reiterates it.
  • 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. In the beginning of Deponia Doomsday, we get the see a fast forward cutscene of Deponia's development from simple primitive settlements on terrain islands to bustling industrial cities to the trash planet it is now. As if that wasn't enough, the time-travel shenanigans of the game cause it to suffer a Class-3a Apocalypse How, and Survivor Rufus voluntarily completes the Organon's original plan. Fortunately, it doesn't stick.
  • 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.
  • Create Your Own Villain: In Deponia Doomsday, Ronnie would have remained an annoyingly cheerful AI caretaker instead of revising his understanding of "fun" to include gruesome torture and mass murder had Rufus not accidentally reset his programming while trying to give it Ripple Effect-Proof Memory in order to progress. And had he not done that, fewlocks would not have become a threat at all either.
  • Crossdresser: Lotti, the mayor's office receptionist in the first game, happens to be a huge, very male-looking person with a Perma-Stubble and a Lantern Jaw of Justice wearing a pink dress and lipstick, trying to talk in a high-pitched feminine voice but constantly slipping into a deep, loud and angry male one. The story behind this is revealed in Deponia Doomsday.
  • 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 gondolier to be eaten alive by junk crabs and turning the baby dolphins into cat food are probably the worst examples.
    • Using Baby Goal as a living lightning rod to prevent Rufus' getting struck by lightning when climbing a radio tower. And she just told you that SHE'S AFRAID OF LIGHTNING. Worsened by the fact that she spells out things *not* to do in a thunder storm, which you must actually get her to do to proceed.
    • It gets even harsher in Goodbye Deponia: Poisoning someone to make it look like they have the Whooping Pox (twice to two different people); 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 giant swamp beast; and breaking said swamp beast's diet by doing so. Though, in fairness, those last two 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. Immediately lampshaded 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 (which had only two Organons being struck by the mine car and a gag with Future!Rufus dying to stop a reactor problem), and a generally more violent streak overall.
    • The second chapter, where you're doing things such as causing 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, slavery, pedophilia jokes, and a lot more swearing.
    • The fourth game almost appears Lighter and Softer in some of these aspects, with notably lower levels of Black Comedy involved, but it still deals with the matter of inevitability of Rufus being unable to achieve a happy ending, Goal having to go through loss and heartbreak and Elysium crashing back down on the planet. The Stone Age timeline where the protagonists end up being stuck is probably the nicest fate any of their versions get.
  • 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...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wenzel and, especially, Toni qualify.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In the Deponia world, adultery isn't seen as a big deal compared to the arrival of potential doomsday and escaping the planet. Goal is engaged to Cletus, but he's angrier about Rufus trying to impersonate him rather than the insinuation that Goal is attracted to Rufus for his bronze heart. Cletus never finds out in game two that several versions of Goal kissed Rufus, and he doesn't seem to care. Again, his bigger concern is getting off Deponia with her, any version of her.
  • 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, and the closest he gets to importance is hosting a necessary-to-complete minigame in the fourth.
    • Cletus, who was very important to the events of the first three games, serves little from the fourth game, aside from some plot reveal on why he's engaged to Goal in the first place.
  • Determinator:
    • Rufus just doesn't know how to give up.
    • 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.
    • Goal qualifies for this in Deponia Doomsday what with trying to save Rufus despite very real and deadly threats against her if she does, culminating in a Pyrrhic Victory that sees her die to prevent Rufus's own death from a HeroicSacrifice made for her sake. Since this course of events sets off Disaster Dominoes culminating in an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, convincing her to let go and move on becomes the ultimate driving goal of the game.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The ending of Goodbye Deponia is only made borderline bittersweet/downer because of what amounts to a tiny accident.
    • The Utopians in Deponia Doomsday are a two-man Outside-Context Problem team whose appearance leads to McChronicle's otherwise successful time machine project failing, and their resolve to leave absolutely everything as it was ensures the failure of Goal's quest just on the off chance Rufus might do something that'd lead to Utopia's destruction in the future; the destructive future they're fighting is largely the result of their own meddling.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: In the first game, Rufus obtains the codes and saves Deponia for the time being, but has lost the trust of Goal, which makes her return to Elysium with Cletus. In Goodbye Deponia, Rufus must make a Heroic Sacrifice to save Goal, having her escape to Elysium with Cletus, who has taken Rufus's identity. Whether Goal fully knows if the Rufus she is with is really Cletus or not is left to the players speculation. The fourth game makes matters more complicated: Goal is revealed to know the truth, the original Rufus cannot be saved no matter how hard she tries and she eventually finds the courage to let him go and mourn him, but a second Rufus and Goal from an Alternate Timeline end up being stuck together in the Deponian age of the dinosaurs.
  • Didn't Think This Through: This is Rufus's signature character trait. One highlighted moment is when against a tied-up Lady Goal's protests, he inserts her mind cartridge into the criminal boss that took her and Doc hostage. Lady Goal dispatches Donna's guards, but decides to abandon Rufus, Deponia, and her alternate personalities. Doc asserts they have to catch up and stop her, before she leaves with Cletus and the codes.
  • Die Laughing: At the end of Goodbye Deponia, in a moment of Mood Whiplash, Rufus, while falling to his apparent death, cracks up when Barry gets hit by a satellite on the way down.
  • Disappeared Dad: Rufus' 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 shot by game's end. By that 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the final act of Welcome to Deponia, Rufus must retrieve Goal's memory cartridge containing her memories of her "visit" to Deponia from the Organon forces. The device he retrieves it from overtly resembles a humanoid mooning the player. Guess where it's pulled from?
  • 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.
  • Downer Ending: The endings for the first three games can be either this or just bittersweet, depending on who you ask. The ending of the fourth game, though...
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Something that Goal mentions in the director's commentary for game one. She would have been more useful if her memory implant hadn't been destroyed in the fall, causing her to be semiconscious and speaking gibberish. As we see, she is a veritable Action Girl when the occasion calls for it. In game two, Rufus accidentally split her personality into three different minds, causing him to spend a lot of time convincing them to get the necessary surgery. Goal is slightly more useful in game three when her implant gets repaired properly, but then Rufus accidentally overdoses her with truth serum, making her a damsel again. It's finally averted in game four where Goal has her mind for the whole game, just not the perspective that Rufus eventually gains.
  • 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. You get to see what it would look like in Deponia Doomsday.
  • Ear Worm: In the "knocking" puzzle in Chaos, Rufus must remember a secret code knock, but he keeps getting distracted by the catchy music that plays in the marketplace, making him forget the knock. To solve this puzzle, you go into the game's settings and turn the background music off.
  • 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.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Elysium falls, (a) Rufus dies, and mankind as a whole is once again trapped in the junkyard wasteland it created. On the other hand, Goal has learned both the value of never giving up and knowing when to let go, and humanity will eventually get its act together to create a brand new spaceship that will actually succeed in reaching Utopia, whereupon they will be greeted warmly by its inhabitants.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rufus has done terrible things to reach Elysium, from drugging his girlfriend to plugging up the local radio lines. But even he thinks it's horrible to just wipe out the Deponians who are his neighbors just bceause they're in the way. Finding out from Cletus that Deponia will blow up is what starts his Character Development.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Cletus will do terrible things to Goal, but he does care about her. He's horrified when shooting at Rufus at the beginning of Chaos sends Rufus and Goal falling to their deaths.
  • 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.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Deponia Doomsday's Solid Rufus and Future Goal.
  • Extreme Speculative Stratification: In the backstory, the elite population founded a floating city called Elysium and emigrated there en masse, leaving the poor to wallow in their waste on what quickly became a trash planet. After generations of separation, the Elysians became convinced that no life could survive on Deponia and planned to blow it up.
  • 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. Also, Rufus, Cletus, and Argus frequently fail to use the correct accent while impersonating each other, but nobody ever notices this.
    • Ulysses never notices 11,000 Organon soldiers being loaded into the last highboat to Elysium, despite being on said highboat. Even after they're all on board, Ulysses is unaware until someone mentions it.
  • Fanservice:
    • At some point in the second and third games, Goal winds up in revealing attire. 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 jumpsuit in the game's opening stanza. Both alternate outfits are used on the box art of their respective games. To top it all off, if you get all the collectibles, your reward is a naked pin-up of Goal (Unless you used the cheating method, then it becomes a similarly-revealing pin-up of Rufus.)
    • Toni's outfits always seem to do a good job of showing off her... assets.
    • Near the end of the first game's first act the player gets to walk in on her showering. Why a house has its shower in plain view of the living area is a mystery.
    • In Goodbye Deponia June at one point wears a very skimpy outfit while dancing provocatively, but as she's being humiliatingly forced to play the monkey for an organ grinder in order to earn a crank to get back to her boyfriend who, unbeknownst to her, is currently being consumed by some sort of Puppeteer Parasite, it's hard to be titillated by the situation.
    • Goal's outfit is quite form-fitting as well. As if that wasn't enough, Deponia Doomsday has her use her Most Common Superpower to draw the attention of a guard while Rufus does his thing.
  • Female Gaze: The fair sex is not left without their share of treats either. Rokko of Deponia Doomsday is a particularly prominent example.
  • 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...
    • In the first game, Rufus comments and brags in front of Wenzel that his altruist nature has foiled his plans to reach Elysium yet again and that it sucks being such a good person. This describes perfectly the endings for all three games: Rufus will be given the option to either reach Elysium and/or be with Goal, at the cost of doing something morally reprehensible; but Rufus will always do what's best for Goal and/or Deponia and will choose not to, which will cause him nothing but pain.
  • Framing Device: The All-Knowing Singing Narrator is recounting the events of the games to his wife/girlfriend as a sort of fable.
    The Narrator: The message at the core's... like... huzzah, as a rule!
    Huzzah the chorus guys rule!
    • In Chaos on Deponia, the narrator's songs are a response to her renewed complaints and threats to dump him.
    The Narrator: So do unpack the bag, now it's anyway way too late to sack / me, and secondly, where am I gonna stay?
    Huzzah, let's hope far away!
    • In Goodbye Deponia, the narrator begins singing about the events of the third game in an apparent attempt to persuade his girlfriend not to dump him once again, but seems to undergo Character Development like the protagonist of the game itself, and in the end, echoes the moral of the ending as applied to himself, accepting her decision.
    • In Deponia Doomsday, the only narrator song is a very tetchy response to his girlfriend, who's having second thoughts about breaking up, while the narrator is bitterly convinced that there's no going back. The apparent target of the song is also the players, specifically those who were unhappy with the ending of the previous game.
    The Narrator: ''At this stage it's evident there will be no happy end! Suck it up, princess, no-one cares for your tears! It's over, I've no damns to give for second thoughts that you're stuck with, looking for loopholes and wondering "what if?"!
    Huzzah, still wondering "what if?"!
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: One of the puzzles in the second game requires you to disable the music in the game settings menu.
  • Funny Background Event: In the second game, a robot shopkeeper has clearly imprisoned his creator, who is constantly banging on the glass to get attention, but Rufus can neither see or hear him.
    • Inverted in the prologue, where you control Rufus as he performs these to a foreground conversation with Grandma Utz, doing the exact opposite of what his companions assure her he is like.
  • Future Spandex: Goal wears a set of these, immediately distinguishing her from the Deponians who where more diverse clothing. Cletus in turn wears a similar outfit, but it flares a bit more around the legs, arms, and especially the neck. This turns out to be common Elysian attire.
  • Gambit Pileup: The culmination of everyone's plans in the third game's final act results in this.
  • 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.
  • Gender Bender: The fruit vendor in Goodbye Deponia after you give him the hormone brew.
  • 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.
  • Glass Eye: Doc has one, and it never seems to point in the same direction as his real one.
  • Global Airship: Bozo's trash trawler serves as a seagoing variant in Chaos on Deponia, ferrying the protagonists between islands and other locations in the second act.
  • 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.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In Deponia Doomsday, The Utopians induce one using the wreck of McChronicle's chronocar in an effort to make him and Rufus return their hijacked time machine. It works.
  • Guide Dang It!: In all four games, frequently thanks to the Moon Logic Puzzle staple of adventure games.
    • Welcome to Deponia
      • Beating the game with the Silliness Switch on, which turns every line of text in the game into "Droggeljug!" Including item labels, exit labels, Dialogue Trees, and item descriptions. Even if you know exactly what to do, can you remember the exact positions of every dialog option? Fortunately, the game's relative shortness and viability of Trial-and-Error Gameplay make this task a lot easier than it would seem at first.
      • There are a number of easily-overlooked junk items scattered around the game, which do not appear when using the middle-mouse selector but can be collected to form a scrap-statue of Rufus. This particular puzzle was included in the Complete Steam version of the game, since the Droggeljug mode and its associated achievement were removed.
    • Chaos On Deponia
      • There is a jigsaw-puzzle Pin Up of Goal separated into twelve parts, which are very difficult to find because they are very small, blend easily with their environment, and again aren't highlighted by your cursor or the middle mouse button. You could 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 (i.e., with a fresh savegame on a new profile).
      • One puzzle require you to go into the options menu and turn the background music off to proceed at one point. Rufus does comment on the fact that it is background music, but there's no indication that it's not another inventory puzzle.
      • There's also a puzzle involving the password for Janosch's new hideout. All you have is a note that says "+ - +" and somehow the player has to find out that they need to knock on the door, and when Liebold knocks back a number of times, you have to add or substract the number of knocks he does to yours based on the note. To make the explanation simpler, if you knock three times and he knocks once, you have to knock four times (the first sign is a +), following the note's orders until you get the correct combination to open the door.
    • Goodbye Deponia
      • There are 15 platypus eggs hidden throughout the game. Like the above puzzles, 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.
    • Deponia Doomsday
      • The tradition continues with 12 collectible hats. Again, no middle-mouse guide and they're well-hidden.
      • One puzzle requires you to take a picture which will satisfy a love-testing machine. To this end you need to mock up a fake Goal and add three things: ambiance, food, and jewelry. The latter two are fairly straightforward. The third requires you to, quite literally, pluck a star from the heavens, which is made doubly annoying because the interface itself treats it as a look-only object until you've tried to grab it once, at which point it becomes an option.
      • The first chapter of the game features a puzzle to obtain the bottle brush where all but one elements required to solve it are made apparent. The missing one requires talking to Lotti and telling her she has no bust, prompting her to give you corset wire that she doesn't need, which provides the headband to make ear mufflers for Zoon.
  • 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.
    • Played with in the third game, where Rufus freezes himself as part of a puzzle; using it properly lets you cheat death, otherwise you must start over.
    • In Deponia Doomsday, Rufus and Goal are frozen in an ice maker, waking up at the end of the world.
  • Have a Nice Death: Rufus can actually die in the second game, complete with Sierra-style death dialog. This is done 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 the game when she takes action. The third game has a puzzle (see above) 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, at least in part, 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. The food, at least, appears to be true to its reputation.
  • Henchmen Race: The Organon, genetically engineered and cloned to follow orders with little questioning, to lack respect for life, and not to fear death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Goodbye Deponia is rather full of them.
    • 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 supposed 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.
    • Future Goal and McChronicle stay behind in interim time overrun by fewlocks so that the other Goal and Rufus may escape.
    • Deponia Doomsday effectively doubles the one from Goodbye Deponia, with the Time-Traveller!Rufus falling to his death after warning Goal and Rufus about the consequences of her attempt to save him.
  • 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.
  • Human Popsicle: A caveman at the North Pole in the second game.
    • In Deponia Doomsday, this is the result of the Utopians' understanding of the term "iced" as applied to Rufus and Goal. They are thawed out just before the end of the world, becoming a Spanner in the Works in the process.
  • 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.
  • Identical Stranger: Rufus and Cletus look remarkably similar. And as the third game shows, so does Organon Bailiff Argus. Justified by all of them being variants of the same genotype of Artificial Human.
  • 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.
  • Impact Silhouette: In the beginning of Chaos on Deponia, Rufus accidentally pitches Grandma Utz's bird through the bathroom door, leaving a bird-shaped hole.
  • Imperfect Ritual: One example is brewing a Gargle Blaster to wake Goal.
  • Indy Ploy: You can make a drinking game out of the ways Rufus improvises his way both into an out of trouble.
  • Inherently Funny Words: "Drogglejug!"
    • "Huzzah!"
  • 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. After identifying a blob of the devil-like image as himself, the Psychologist suggests that he may in fact be possessed.
  • 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.
  • Innocent Innuendo: In Deponia Doomsday, inspecting cartridge slots on Elysium prompts Rufus to say they remind him of Goal. When done in the computer core in the presence of Ronnie, he reacts with disgust, to which Rufus clarifies he was talking about Goal's brain implant cartridge.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Rufus basically runs on this and, incredibly, makes it work to achieve seemingly impossible things. Notably, characters in the third and fourth game eventually wind up specifically requesting that Rufus do this, because they realise they are in so far over their heads that no sensible plan will save them.
  • 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: 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.
  • Jerkass: In a series with Rufus as the lead, villains tend to be this. Cletus, for instance, is an outstanding example.
    • Rufus' father, Captain Seagull, abandoned Rufus at a theme park when he was only eight. He has all of Rufus' flaws (minus the childishness), and no redeeming virtues. During the second game 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 just because he wants an apology, and succeeds in shooting him after bringing up his wife's death.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lady Goal's "The Reason You Suck" Speech isn't wrong. She points out that Rufus lets everyone down and can't be the hero, and that he is chaos incarnate. She also says Deponia is no place to live.
  • The Jinx: Rufus is basically bad-luck incarnate. Lampshaded several times throughout the series, most notably by an expert fisherman who constantly tries to shoo Rufus away, because his mere presence prevents the fisherman from catching anything but garbage.
  • Karma Houdini: Inverted. After all Rufus goes through in the series, culminating in him saving Deponia at the last possible moment, it's hard not to think that he deserves his life's dream of making it to Elysium. The game's writers apparently disagree.
    • Arguably Cletus, who is nothing but a smug asshole throughout the series who even considers the possibility of destroying Deponia to save Elysium even though he knows it's habited. Even with all the lying and deceit he promotes throughout the games, he let's Rufus sacrifice himself because Cletus doesn't want to do it himself, gets to go back to Elysium safely with Goal, gets to assume Rufus's identity and takes even all the fame a glory that was meant to go to the real Rufus for himself.
  • 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.
  • Landfill Beyond the Stars: Deponia is a planet-wide junkyard.
  • 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. In general, this being a story-based franchise, the promotional materials for each new game spoil most of the previous games' important twists and revelations.
  • Laugh Track: Events in the Bozo family household are accompanied by this and other Domestic-Comedy audio cues. Overlaps with Breaking the Fourth Wall a bit, since Rufus is aware of it.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Each game contains some jokes built on this, ranging from Aside Glances to Take Thats in nature. The fourth game is particularly rich in the latter.
  • 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.
    • In a literal example during Goodbye Deponia, Rufus' neck becomes entangled in a rope during the multi-Rufus chapter. Switching to one of the other clones at that moment awards the player an achievement to that effect.
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif: The Organon Hymn, which turns out to be the main theme you've been hearing for the entire series.
  • Literal Metaphor: Towards the end of Doomsday, the Utopians send one Rufus back while telling the other and Goal that they're about to be "iced". They assume he's using a euphemism for killing them. They are wrong.
  • 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 in Translation: Lampshaded in the third game when, midway through the Hell Hotel chapter, Rufus abruptly addresses the audience and says, "There was a really funny joke here in the original German version of the game, but it got lost in translation." He's not lying either; there was a joke there in the German version regarding the Bedsheet Ghost, but it relied on some clever wordplay between the German words "spannbettlaken" (fitted sheet) and "spanner" (peeping tom) that was all but impossible to translate while still retaining the humour.
  • MacGuffin: The Ascension Codes.
    • Living MacGuffin: Goal, as a result of her memory cartridge storing those codes.
  • Made of Iron: Rufus survives punishment that would've killed most other people several times over, on multiple occasions. It helps justify some of the more extreme Slapstick Humor at his expense. Likely comes from his being a prototype clone for the Organon template, a Clone Army engineered for durability in combat and survival, among other things.
  • Male Gaze: More than a few shots of Goal, Toni and some other ladies of the games feature angles and focus points that prominently display their features. Toni and Goal's outfits also happen to be quite form-fitting regardless of camera angles.
  • Meaningful Name: Several.
    • Most obviously, Goal, whose rescue from a situation (usually of Rufus' making) is Rufus', well, (secondary) goal for the first three original games (the primary one being to get to Elysium).
    • Rufus was named after the reddish hair he had as a child, "rufus" being Latin for "red".
    • Rufus, Cletus, Argus, Ulysses, and Hermes are the only characters with Greco-Roman names. With the possible exception of Ulysses, Hermes created the others, who are all clones of one another.
    • Deponia itself; "deponere" is a Latin verb meaning "put away" or "cast aside", which is exactly what the Elysians did with Deponia. The planet is so full of cast-away junk it's a true Landfill Beyond the Stars.
    • McChronicle in the fourth game, what with him being the inventor of a time machine and all. And as it turns out, his grandfather was a time-traveler too.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery:
    • Doc's idea of brain surgery involves a large saw blade and several other equally inappropriate tools.
    • In Goodbye Deponia, Rufus must perform tapeworm-removal surgery on Cletus at one point. Cletus surprisingly survives it despite the process becoming an everything-removal surgery.
  • 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.
  • Midword Rhyme: Lots from the narrator. Many of his verses are like long run-on sentences, with each line going straight into the next breaking words in half along the way.
  • 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.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Deponia Doomsday shows that a machine dedicated to creating those exists on Elysium. Naturally, it's vital for progressing through the chapter. It's virtually identical to the cloning machine Rufus was made in, complete with a hydraulic hammer splatting any unwanted results.
  • Mood Whiplash: The series LOVES to do this, switching from its general black comedy and wackiness to seriousness and sadness in the middle and final sections of each game:
    • Welcome to Deponia: Goal's sad pleas to Rufus (middle) and his lies being revealed twice (final).
    • Chaos in Deponia: Lady Goal's reveal and betrayal (middle) and Goal letting Rufus fall (final).
    • Goodbye Deponia: Goal's death and the Hell section (middle) and Rufus sacrificing himself and letting the bad guys win so Goal can be safe (final).
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Cletus says this when his shooting at Rufus causes Goal to fall with Rufus to almost-certain death.
    • In Goodbye Deponia, Rufus is subjected to one of these when his usual method of solving problems (basically just winging it and ignoring the consequences) comes back to bite him in a big way. Trapped inside a machine meant to torture other people, he is led over to Goal with Argus intending to extract the Ascension Codes out of her. Rufus attempts to operate the machine, only to have it go out of control and inject Goal with a fatal overdose of sedative. Rufus wails the trope line while the machine he's in is tossed overboard. Also serves as an intro to the game's Darkest Hour.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Twofold. The narration of these videos sarcastically plug the games as wholesome adventures in contrast to the mad nastiness that occurs in them. However, both of these factors obfuscate how the stories get far darker and dramatic than the slapstick would imply.
  • Never Was This Universe: Toyed with: Deponia is implied to be a fantasy world without any connection to our own, yet characters occasionally mention actual Earth history; this could be cultural Translation Convention, or Deponia could be our own world far into the gloomy future.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: A variant: Gizmo fills the position of chief of police, fire marshal, 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.
  • 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*: During the first game, Goal ends up talking in nothing but this, save for a brief lucid episode, after her neural implant is damaged.
    • By the second game 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. During some cutscenes, Goal's nostrils just appear when she needs them, and disappear when she's done.
  • 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.
  • Ocean Punk: Chaos on Deponia mixes this with the Scavenged Punk flair of the original.
  • 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. Usually Rufus will try to projectile himself to Elysium in some kind of makeshift contraption, only to crash into a vehicle on its way to Elysium instead, but he averts this in the third game only for it to come back and kick off the climax. The fourth game revives the tradition, though this only comes into play in the first chapter, as in the prologue, Rufus sees a vision of his future self blowing Deponia up in front of the wreck of Elysium.
  • Orphaned Punchline: After you get Baby Goal to enter the fortune teller's tent in the second game, Rufus will always enter the tent just as the fortune teller has revealed the details of some unspecified but embarrassing fact about his future.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Goodbye Deponia has a vampire platypus.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Utopians, anthropomorphic elephants native to the planet Utopia, kickstart the plot of Deponia Doomsday by coming from the future, where they had already made contact with Deponians, to visit Deponia's past and take in the historic atmosphere. However, their visit accidentally derails the timeline and leads to Rufus stealing their time machine, leading to the events of the game, which prompts them to adopt a Knight Templar mentality of preserving the timeline at all costs, which include derailing Goal's efforts to save Rufus, and in the end lead to successful timeline restoration as they and alternate Goal and Rufus(es) end up stranded in the Stone Age.
  • Percussive Maintenance: What Rufus does to the espresso machine when Lonzo tells him to increase the pressure.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The hidden junk items in the first game, puzzle pieces in the second game, and platypus eggs in the third game are all in areas that can be rendered inaccessible if you progress too far in the plot.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Usually by accident, but when Rufus is nearby, expect explosions very soon.
    • Deponia Doomsday shows that the residents of Kuvaq are used to this and take precautions. Electric appliances, barbecues and even lights are turned off around him wherever he goes. Not that it helps them any.
    Gizmo:I don't want to see any naked flames near Rufus!
  • 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 serious 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, raises the question as to why Rufus couldn't have just hauled himself up to safety instead of dropping to his doom, or actually convinced Goal to save him.
  • Portal Crossroad World: Interim time. All travel between time portals seems to pass through it, and Paradox City was built there by time travelers out of trash that fell through them. Turns into Hyperspace Is a Scary Place when the fewlocks overrun it.
  • Precision F-Strike: For the most part, the game only uses mild swears like "piss" and "hell", although during more intense moments, you'll occasionally hear a "shit" in there, too. While it only happens once in the first game, it gets more frequent as the series goes on and the stakes are raised. On the other hand, there is only one instance of an actual F-bomb throughout the entire trilogy, and it's used to incredibly powerful effect during the third game, by the narrator in his intro to the game's Darkest Hour (which additionally uses a much more somber melody than the one in all his other songs.)
    Regarding Goal's death, and the loss of the as-
    scension codes, I'll desist from my usual bon mots
    Things were in a mess, the tightness in his chest
    Was no less as big as the Colossus of Rhodes
    And as he fell from the skies, his life flashed before his eyes
    He did finally comprehend this was the definite end
    Game over this time, he completely fucked up!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bozo gives Rufus a titanic one in Goodbye Deponia that actually cures his depression. And considering the kind of stuff Rufus did during the game, you cannot help but agree with him.
  • The Reveal: Though common knowledge now, the big twist of the first game was that Rufus and Cletus are identical and that the Organon intend to blow up Deponia.
    • In the second game, it's that Elysium is a starship that wasn't designed to stay in the sky forever, and that Deponia is meant to be blown up to generate enough force to propel Elysium to Utopia, a much more habitable planet.
    • The third game has several:
      • Argus is also identical to Rufus and Cletus.
      • The Organon are a clone race, and Rufus, Cletus, and Argus are the three surviving genetic prototypes.
      • Goal is Ulysses' daughter, and his entire motivation is to get her safely to Utopia.
      • Much of the resentment between Rufus and Seagull comes from Rufus being at fault for the death of Rufus's adoptive mother.
    • The fourth game does not disappoint either.
      • Utopia is not only habitable, but inhabited by anthropomorphic elephants. Two time-traveling natives of the planet, arriving from the future where Deponians and Utopians made first contact to see the past for themselves, end up accidentally upsetting the timeline and serve as Outside Context Problems of the story in their attempts to restore the original course of events.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: In "Deponia", Rufus' conversation with the Post-Bot about the catch with the Postal-Cats'-Hatch.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: A key element in Deponia Doomsday, where it's granted by wearing a Tinfoil Hat lined with straw. Rufus is revealed to possess one by default thanks to a metal plate in his skull implanted by Gizmo after one of his more catastrophic attempts to reach Elysium.
  • Rule of Three: A Recurring Element. Three Goal personalities. Three Organon Prototypes. Three Rufus Clones. And so on. This being obfuscated in Deponia Doomsday is a major plot point as it's revealed that there are three time loops intertwined with one another and causing all the chaos, and three different Goals involved with the same (a young Goal before she went to Deponia, a Future Goal who failed to travel back in time to save Rufus and lived to an old age in Paradox City, and a Future Goal who did manage to make it to Rufus' fall.
  • Running Gag: Rufus turns every song he hears (including, sometimes, the background music) into something self-aggrandizing.
    • 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.
  • Save Both Worlds: In Deponia Doomsday, the Utopians reveal that were Elysium to be launched, it would have resulted in a Colony Drop on Utopia, wiping out both itself and the entire planet. Thus, Rufus's sacrifice ends up saving Deponia, Elysium and Utopia.
  • Scavenged Punk: What else did you expect from a series set on a Landfill Beyond the Stars? This is put to use by Rufus in many a puzzle, ranging from brewing a Gargle Blaster out of battery acid, gunpowder and medicine in a machine that runs on nuclear power to building a functional Teleport Gun using a cello bow, clock hands and time machine fuel.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: Used as two puzzles in Goodbye Deponia, first with a quirky laundry machine who spits out clothes (and Rufus) depending on what was put into it; the second, with literal doors and hallways, 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.
  • Sequelitis: invoked Deponia Doomsday is a stylistically metaphorical deconstruction of needless sequels and reboots vis-a-vis time loops, showing how endings aren't necessarily bad things, as they give the lead-up to them weight and meaning, whereas contrived conflicts and repetitive narratives can rob them of the same.
  • Series Continuity Error: Bozo's trawler door opens with its hinges on different sides between the first game and the following games. Somewhat justified in that Bozo takes time at the beginning of the second game to refit parts of the trawler (which is presumably where the crane came from as well).
  • Series Fauxnale: Subverted. Goodbye Deponia was made to be the definitive end to the series, and its sequel Deponia Doomsday cements that status.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Spunky Goal sports a sexy platypus outfit when battling in the platypus bataka 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."
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the fourth game, all the efforts Rufus made to change the future and save Deponia and Elysium end up being all for naught and he dies anyways.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Chaos on Deponia has several to other Daedalic games:
      • Returning through the teleporter in the second game's final act causes Rufus to briefly enter The Whispered World.
      • There are a notable few to Edna and Harvey including hearing the narrator's voice during the second game 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 the game would be launched almost nine months later.
    • In the first game, you can find a platypus plush that looks very similar to Perry the Platypus.
    • Chaos on Deponia has two Homages to puzzles from Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. 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.
    • In Chaos on Deponia there are also Shout-Outs to Star Wars (as detailed under I Have No Son!) and The Fly.
    • 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.
    • In Goodbye Deponia, Rufus knocks on doors in the hotel with the same distinctive cadence made famous by the Terminator 2: Judgment Day soundtrack.
    • Also in the hotel of "Goodbye Deponia", Rufus can crawl into a closet and cry behind the closed door about his fears to fail saving Deponia from doom. Aftwerwards, he comes out and tells himself with greatest confidence: "I'm the best!" - thereby very much mirroring the behaviour of J. D. in an early episode of Scrubs.
    • The endgame achievement for Deponia Doomsday has a picture of Rufus doing the Dragon Ball Z Fusion Dance with himself.
    • The game materials officially refer to the Bad Future Rufus as Solid Rufus.
    • The Mix-and-Match Critters Always Chaotic Evil Fewlock race from Deponia Doomsday is a homage to Morlocks of The Time Machine. Their name and behavior is enough to clue in anyone familiar with the work or its adaptations, but it is made particularly clear by the race being created as a servant race on the upper-class Elysium, then turning on the Elysians, themselves dead ringers for the Eloi, and eating them.
    • The intro for Deponia Doomsday has some optic similarities to Doctor Who intro sequences - not a miracle though, considering the whole game consistently deals with time-travelling.
    • One of the time machines parked outside the diner in Paradox City in Deponia Doomsday is called the Re-Tardis.
    • Ronnie is a cloyingly cheerful AI whose avatar is a flower with a smiley face. Over the course of the game (with thanks to Rufus's interference), he goes off the rails and becomes murderously sadistic and evil, completing the shout-out.
    • In Chaos in Deponia, Rufus manages to win the lottery using the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.
  • Shower of Awkward: Played for Fanservice. Rufus walks in on Toni showering about halfway through the first game. Toni is more irritated than genuinely upset, while Rufus reacts with obvious discomfort.
  • 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.
    • Come to think of it, neither is Toni, Donna, or any other female that has the misfortune of coming across Rufus.
  • Silliness Switch: Droggeljug!
  • Smug Snake: Captain Seagull, and how. Arguably, Cletus as well.
  • Snipe Hunt: In the first chapter of Goodbye, Doc and Bozo send Rufus on an errand to fetch a "plasma exchange whoop-dee-doo mammoth fur relay" so he doesn't interfere with their work. The fact that he actually finds one is actually less surprising than the fact that he later realizes what their true motive was.
  • Soft Water: This saves both Rufus and Goal in the second game. (Goal at least. Rufus probably would've survived it anyways, as he has a habit of surviving long falls under unfavorable conditions.)
  • 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 an impediment based on an exaggeration of a Dutch accent, causing him to pronounce his all his "s"-es as "sh"-es, as well as certain other consonant shifts, which always causes Rufus to restrain his laughter. It's actually relevant to a puzzle in the second game, where Rufus must carefully choose a set of phrases that cannot trigger this when repeated by Janosch.
  • 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. She's arguably the facet of Goal who gets along best with Rufus.
    • 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.
  • Spot the Imposter: Happens several times in the series due to Rufus, Cletus, and Argus all looking identical while in Elysian clothes. The most overt reference to the trope is Played for Drama at the end of Goodbye Deponia, thanks to an interesting twist. The setup has Rufus, Cletus, and Argus all dressed identically and trapped in a jammed turbine, with Goal trying to figure out which one is Rufus so she knows who to save. All three claim to be Rufus but, with time running out and Goal's life in danger, the real Rufus abruptly changes tack and claims to be Cletus instead (while simultaneously identifying the real Cletus as Rufus). He quickly reasons to Goal that he must be telling the truth because the real Rufus would be too selfish to ever let another take his place while he sacrifices himself to save her. A moment later, he frees himself from the turbine and falls to his death.
  • The Story That Never Was: Deponia Doomsday has a tangled story with time travel, time resetting and time loops that ultimately ends with Rufus convincing everybody that the tragic end of the previous game is the best option.
  • Take That!:
    • A few easily-missed ones in the third game poke at big gaming in general and Electronic Arts in particular. To elaborate, attempting to use a money coin on a dumpster brings a DLC-remeniscient popup window advertising a useless but shiny product for a microtransaction, while examining the doctor's medicine cabinet reveals a number of deleterious drugs ending with another advertisement for "other Eeh-Aay products".
    • At one point in Goodbye Deponia, Rufus is groping around in the dark and finds something "dry, long, and thin" which he jokingly identifies as "...the plot of "Secret Files: Tunguska"! Or a low-hanging branch. Either one."
  • Take That, Audience!: The fourth game as a whole serves as one towards those who complained about the Bittersweet Ending of the third, as well as the developers themselves. To wit, the introduction song and every single chapter contain remarks about "wondering what if", "happy endings" and multiple discussions about reaction to endings in general, serial installments and Trilogy Creep. The ending serves only to cement the conclusion of Goodbye Deponia, with Goal being convinced to let go and abandon her quest to save Rufus all but serving as an Audience Surrogate.
  • Take a Third Option: At the end of Chaos on Deponia after 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.
  • Take Your Time: Time only advances at the speed of plot in all of the games, so there is no time limit to solving anything. Averted in Deponia Doomsday in those puzzles that include its new timer mechanic. Lampshaded by a particular sequence near the end of the game, where waiting out the one-minute Exact Time to Failure nets you an achievement and a few extra lines of dialogue while playing the trope tongue-in-cheek straight.
  • Temporal Paradox: Rufus is confronted with Future!Rufus on a few occasions; this is played for laughs as an Easter Egg in the first game, then used as a puzzle in the second (with disintegration being the result of failure for screwing up the timeline).
  • Terrible Pick-Up Lines: Rufus tries a classic.. too bad that she really did fall from the sky:
    Rufus: Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Subverted. 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, his numerous schemes fail, and plenty of life-long 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 the 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 dream, he sacrifices himself to save Goal, seemingly plunging to his death back on the planet 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.
  • Time Travel: Used for a throwaway gag in the original game, then again in the sequel. Deponia Doomsday introduces the concept in earnest and manages to play with nearly every single main time travel trope in the book.
    • Timey-Wimey Ball: Deponia Doomsday has a series of time loops, interrupted loops, forward and backward travel, and Ripple Effect-Proof Memory creating a timeline so convoluted that describing it would require listing out most of the plot.
  • 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.
  • Umbrellas Are Lightning Rods: Invoked in the Chaos on Deponia sequel where Rufus must trick Goal into holding an umbrella, among other lightning-unsafe activities such as standing in a wading pool, so that she'll be struck by lightning and he can climb a communications tower without being struck himself.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The minigames in general, but some of them more so thanks to making changes to the interface and even the style of the game itself. The most notable examples are Platypus Bataka and the Junk Knight adventure.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Rufus passes qualification with top marks thanks to his Comedic Sociopathy and general Jerkass tendencies. As it turns out, most of his negative sides are the result of, or at least heavily influenced by, his being engineered to possess them as a prototype Organon clone. He is not without his Hidden Depths, however.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: A very literal example with Elysium: it's a spaceship meant to carry the aristocracy to an unspoiled world called Utopia, using the violent destruction of their home planet as its propulsion, the rest of Deponia's residents be damned.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In addition to the gameplay-required cruelty mentioned above, the player has the option to repeatedly punch the injured Rufus clone in his gunshot wound. Doing so enough times yields the "Sadist" achievement. A similar, though less severe case crops up in Deponia Doomsday.
  • Villainous Rescue: When Rufus is left trapped by Argus, who is preparing to let a rotor kill him, guess who picks up a stray antennae and attacks Argus? None other than Cletus!.
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Joked about by Rufus late in the first 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 volume/weight than realistically possible over the game with no visual impact.
  • Wham Episode: In the third game, the interrogation scene and the following chapter.
    • To wit, after pulling off a successful caper and getting a golden opportunity to reach Elysium and save Deponia with no further conflict, an innocent mistake by Rufus right before they rest for the night ultimately escalates in such a way as to get Goal captured. During the interrogation, Argus reveals himself to also be identical to Rufus and Cletus and details his plan to overthrow Ulysses and have the Organon take over Elysium, offering Goal a chance to elope with him instead of Rufus, who is secretly trapped in an interrogation torture bot and hearing everything. Rufus attempts to escape the bot and subdue Argus but accidentally presses a button that injects Goal with a lethal overdose of sedatives. As she succumbs, the bot is thrown overboard with Rufus still stuck inside. After a particularly solemn chapter intro which shows Rufus banging on the sides of the bot and wailing all the way down, he lands in what seems to be Hell, but turns out to be a cloning facility. Here he finds Goal's body and meets Hermes, the remorseful mastermind behind the plan to destroy Deponia and the creator of the Organon, who turn out to be a clone race. Hermes reveals himself to be Rufus' true "father" and that Rufus, Cletus, and Argus are all genetic prototypes for the Organon, before sacrificing himself to give Rufus one last chance to bring Goal back to life and find another means to save both Elysium and Deponia. The entire chapter is presented dead-seriously compared to the whole trilogy up to that point, and even once levity returns afterwards, there is a permanent shift to a darker tone for the rest of the story.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The first game ends with one of these, revealing that Rufus wound up with the backup copy of Goal's brain implant— which means the one that wound up in Goal is the one with her memories intact.
    • In Deponia Doomsday, Rufus's arrival on Elysium, where the look of pure joy on his face shifts to horror as the Reveal Shot pans out to show Elysium crashing and burning around him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In the penultimate act of Goodbye Deponia, most, if not all, of the Porto Fisco survivors are stuffed into the tank and shot at the highboat bound for Elysium. Some are missing: Janosch, Cowboy Dodo, Cyndi, Hotti, and Cutis, who are presumably still locked inside the Organon headquarters and won't be rescued since no one knows they're there. There's also Donna, who disappears once Seagull shoots Rufus. It's also not revealed what becomes of Argus, and the 11,000-strong Organon army that's still aboard the highboat even if he died.
    • In Deponia Doomsday, it's never stated what happens to Cletus after he fails to keep Elysium afloat. If he's alive, Goal has left him.
    • Discussed by the Junk Knights in Deponia Doomsday.
  • 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. Rufus and Goal return the favor on separate occasions, with Rufus snapping at the others for sending him on a Snipe Hunt so he stays out of their hair, and Goal later calling them out for getting on Rufus's case when he's the only reason anyone ever knew they were in danger.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Rufus is given the option to take over Cletus' life, including marrying Goal during the first game. 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.
    • And once more in the finale, where Rufus chooses to sacrifice himself and let Cletus take over his life as if nothing happened, if it means getting Goal off the crashing highboat and to safety.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: It is explicitly stated there are 11,000 Organon soldiers. A long line of Organon are seen marching into the last highboat to Elysium. They appear to be boarding at a rate of two per second; this would mean it would take only about an hour and a half to load all the soldiers. That means if you leave the game running for a few hours in this scene, many more Organon than are supposed to exist will march into the highboat. Oops! Since the exact number is not relevant, they probably should have avoided giving a number at all.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: As the games progress, people start to put more faith in Rufus' insane plans and apparent indestructibility as his luck starts to run out at an exponential rate.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: One final betrayal by Argus results in Rufus falling to his apparent death before ever reaching Elysium, even though he was finally close enough to even see the airlocks. Cletus ends up taking his place and no one aside from possibly Goal knows that Rufus himself never made it.
    • Deponia Doomsday takes this to new levels, as the entire quest to avert Rufus's death ends up for naught courtesy of the Utopians and cementing his demise as inevitable.
      • In both of the above cases, Goal ends up bearing the brunt of the impact.
  • You Bastard!: A lot of the vitriol thrown at Rufus seems specifically aimed at the player; the psychiatrist in particular diagnoses Rufus with being at the mercy of "a malevolent entity".
  • 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.
    • This is also the writer's intended Aesop for the series, in that Rufus doesn't reach Elysium because he was never meant to. Many fans weren't exactly pleased about this, especially with the contrived and mean-spirited way it was handled.
    • The fourth game implements time travel into the series with the possibly of changing the past and fixing wrongs only to subvert that possibility and solidify this point further.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: See Heel Realization.
  • Zany Scheme: Deponia is basically Zany Scheme: The Game. Each entry in the series qualifies, with flying colors. If there's a goal Rufus wants to achieve, he will do any illogical and often illegal action to achieve it.
    • Played with in the fourth game. Rufus runs into a "love-meter" blocking his progress that requires a photograph of himself and Goal to show they are deeply in love with each other. Naturally, Rufus sets about concocting a scheme involving taking a picture with a fake Goal, only to be intercepted at the very end by Goal herself saying she'd convinced the Gate Guardian to let them pass and reacting with appalled surprise by what he'd cooked up. At the beginning of the next chapter, it's revealed that she had pulled off the exact same scheme with roles flipped while Rufus was gathering materials for his own. She gives Rufus a smile as he finds out about it.

Alternative Title(s): Goodbye Deponia, Chaos On Deponia, Deponia Doomsday


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