Dominique Pamplemousse
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Dominique Pamplemousse is not the best looking or sounding game available but it has a lot of heart a pretty unique experience to offer. It tackles some interesting topics in a unique manner and packs some nice twists in its short playtime. When judged purely as a game it is a little lacking but as an experience it is quite good.

Gameplay: Film noir style point & click adventure.

Graphics: A mixture of claymation and homemade props.

Sound: The singing might not appeal to everyone

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Dominique Pamplemousse

Developer: Deirdra Kiai Productions | Publisher: Deirdra Kiai Productions | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Point & Click Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Dominique Pamplemousse is a private detective of indeterminate gender who hasn’t had a case in quite a while. With nothing better to do than play Freecell and dodge rent checks, Dominique is all too glad when a new case suddenly pops up. A famous pop singer has gone missing and the wealthy CEO of a record company hires Dominique to investigate his mysterious disappearance.

Indie games have built a reputation for tackling themes and topics that mainstream titles tend to shy away from, but Dominique Pamplemousse does it in a way I have not yet seen before. It bills itself as a game about gender and the economy but the subtle way in which it approaches these subjects is quite interesting. For example, the way in which other characters try to figure out what Dominique’s gender is and the casual way in which Dominique reacts to their confusion is quite funny. The characters you encounter also appear to be the usual stereotypes until you get to know them a little better and discover they don’t quite match up with your preconceived notions.

The game was created with a modest budget that it achieved through Indiegogo funding so anyone expecting a big budget production is in for a surprise. The closest thing I have to describe the art style would be “organic.” The developer has pretty much crafted the characters and gameworld out of clay and whatever was lying about the house. The handcrafted cardboard and fabric sets look rough around the edges but this just adds to the whimsical charm of the game. Likewise, the claymation characters have more in common with Gumby than Wallace and Grommit. The whole game is also displayed in black and white for that classic film noir feel. Graphic junkies will also be upset to learn that everything is displayed in 4:3 format, with black side bars on widescreen monitors.

The actual gameplay is fairly standard point and click adventure fare but don’t expect too much interaction. After selecting a location you can either speak to the person you find there or click on objects in the scene to examine. You select your interrogation options from a list and then sit back and watch as characters frequently break into song.

The characters sing about pretty much everything but their enthusiasm tends to overshadow their actual abilities. It fits the nature of the game but not everybody is going to find it humorous, which is something I discovered by the amount of people telling me to wear headphones while playing.

I would have liked to see a stronger emphasis on puzzle solving as the game can be completed pretty much just by going through all the locations and dialogue options. You have an inventory but clicking on the right object with the right item in the inventory is about as complicated as it gets. This means that the game is rather short and can be completed in just over an hour if you don’t mess about. There are some plot twists along the way and you have a choice between two endings to the story but there isn’t much replay value. The game can be quite funny, scaring people with bagpipes springs to mind, but I wouldn’t exactly call any of the interactions laugh out loud.

As with any game that attempts to do something different from the norm, this title is not going to appeal to everyone. Some players will appreciate what the developer achieved with the art style and characters while others won’t be able to look beyond the visuals. The game was made in Flash so the demo is playable straight from your browser. Although you can pick up Dominique Pamplemousse for less than $5 from Steam, I still recommend checking out the demo first to see if it is something that will suit your taste.

*Review originally published 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP or later.
  • Processor: 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel® Atom™ 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks.
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 128MB of graphics memory.
  • Storage: 60 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 and above
  • Processor: Intel Core™ Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 128MB of graphics memory.
  • Storage: 65 MB available space

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