Down in the Dumps is 1996 computer adventure game developed for MSDOS and Microsoft Windows, by the – now defunct – French Haiku Studios and published by Philips Media. The release for Apple Macintosh was published in 1997.
The story of the game is about the Blubs, an extraterrestrial family (father and mother Blub, their son and daughter, the grandparents and the pet Stinkie), who crash with their spaceship on a landfill on Earth after being pursued by the villainous Khan and his criminal associates. After surviving the crash, the Blub family goes on to live on the landfill, while trying to repair their damaged spaceship in order to return home. The player is set out on a mission by grandfather Blub, an inventor and the spaceship's technician, to find the missing parts needed to reconstruct the spaceship. Meanwhile Khan, whose ship also crashed on the landfill after the pursuit of the Blub family, sends out his minions to frustrate the efforts of the Blubs.
Style and Reception
The game consists of five parts called "toons", all set in the landfill – except for part five which takes place in space – featuring one or two of the Blub family members as playable characters. Each of the five sections has its own title, respectively "The Blub, the Rat and the Bad Guy", "The Hypnotic Machine", "The Abominable Robin Blub", "The Bum" and "The End". Also, every episode has its own distinct visual theme, although the overall visual style is very cartoon-like. For example, the player visits the head of a homeless person ("bum") and a society inhabited by frogs, where a series of events somewhat reminiscent of the Robin Hood story is triggered.
The player has to solve different puzzles in order to advance the plot by using a point and click interface. Large portions of the plot are told by pre-rendered cinematics, often triggered at the beginning or the end of a "toon".
Down in the Dumps generally received positive reviews and was lauded because of its visual style, cinematic approach and good graphics, although the humour wasn't appreciated by everyone. Some people also complained about the lack of a real ending to the story, offering a resolution to the situation of the Blubs, and therefore the pointlessness of the whole game. This is because the fifth part of the story – the real ending – is easily overlooked, as it can only be accessed after the credits roll at the end of the fourth episode, as if the developers intended it as an easter egg.