I might have discovered PC gaming with Zork on a TRS-80 in my local Radio Shack back in the early 80’s, but it wasn’t until Leisure Suit Larry in 1987 that I discovered graphical adventures. I instantly fell in love with the entire library of Sierra games and even managed to get a job up in their mountain studio in Oakhurst, CA in 1990, and wouldn’t you know, my first project was the VGA conversion of Leisure Suit Larry. Not only was this one of the first games to utilize 256 colors, it also offered a mouse-driven interface that would eventually replace the text parser in all adventure games moving forward.
Who would have dreamt that 30+ years later you could play a Leisure Suit Larry game on a mobile device by merely touching the screen, but that is where we are today, as I dove into my review for Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice on iOS, which I tested on both iPhone (8) and iPad (2020 edition). While Larry might say that “size doesn’t matter” I would have to disagree when it comes to playing a game such as this on a mobile screen; the bigger the better. Don’t get me wrong; the game is totally playable on a phone; perhaps more so on the larger screens that have released since my iPhone 8, but I found the iPad offered up the best visual experience when it comes to appreciating all the detail that goes into these graphical adventures. And you can always cast the gameplay to a TV if you want a traditional PC or console experience.
Needless to say I am a huge fan of the Leisure Suit Larry series and was instantly excited when the franchise got a well-deserved reboot four years ago. Wet Dreams Don’t Die literally brought Larry into the future (our present), which only made his misogynistic antics even more awkward and out of place. Now, in this direct sequel to that game (also available on the Apple store), Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice continues the adventures of our dashing leading man, this time starting in Cancum as Larry prepares for his…gulp… wedding?!
The game starts off with a legendary recap of past events for those who haven’t played or maybe forgot the events of the last game. You can certainly enjoy Wet Dreams Dry Twice without having played past games, but your enjoyment will be greater if you have at least played the last one. Mild spoilers follow: Larry was mysteriously transported to the future from the 80’s where he promptly fell in love with Faith, the boss-lady of Prune, maker of the PiPhone. Stuff happens and Faith dies, or did she? Larry suspects she may still be alive and sets off to search for her yet somehow winds up in Cancum in an arranged marriage to the chief’s daughter. You may now assume control of the game…
Wet Dreams Dry Twice shares the same design elements for presentation and gameplay as the previous adventure. You still have your phone AI, Pi (a cross between Cortana and Siri) who regularly chimes in with disapproving comments on your tactless behavior. You still have the same classic point-n-click interface that lets you interact with the world only now you’re tapping the screen with your finger(s) to look at your surrounding and take stuff to solve moderately challenging puzzles. Unlike the original Larry games that were meant to stump you and send you running out to buy invisible ink hint books, this “new” Larry is more about telling and progressing the story than baking your noodle. There are two new elements to the puzzles; the first being able to take pictures of large items you cannot carry around but can use later by referencing the photos, and second, the addition of blueprints that allow you to craft more complex items by assembling your bits of inventory in creative ways.
You’ll spend the first hour of the game trying to escape your upcoming wedding and the island, but the real adventure doesn’t start until you actually make it off Cancum. The game is loaded with humor, both visual sight gags as well as loads of innuendo thinly veiled within the branches of lengthy dialogue trees of more than 40 characters. Thankfully, all of the dialogue is fully voice acted by some talented performers including Jan Rabson who has been voicing Larry since 1993’s Leisure Suit Larry 6.
I actually enjoyed Wet Dreams Dry Twice a bit more than the previous adventure. The puzzles seemed better designed and the overall story was really great. In addition to finding Faith, Larry must also thwart the evil Mr. Wang who has taken over Prune after Faith’s disappearance and is also searching for the former CEO, as she possesses a digital key to unlock some top-secret, world-changing research. There just seems to be a lot more to do and better motivation for doing it. Thankfully your PiPhone has some expanded capabilities that will keep you on mission, and Pi’s witty banter always puts a smile on your face.
There are some nice quality of life features to keep the game moving along. You can two-finger touch to reveal all exits to a scene, and you can press and hold exit icons to skip walking animations when backtracking and click through dialogue that you’ve already heard. With a 3-finger touch you can also reveal all interaction points within any of the game’s 50+ beautifully drawn locations, eliminating any pixel-hunt gameplay. I was surprised by just how well this game works on a mobile device. One annoyance was that completed dialogue options were not pushed to the bottom of the selection list, thus forcing you to scroll down to reveal extended conversation choices, making them easy to miss if you don’t notice the tiny down arrow.
The presentation is perfect both visually with its heavy use of vibrant colors and phallic imagery, as well as the aforementioned voice acting, hilarious sound effects, and awesome island-themed music. The level of detail in the environments will have you scanning every pixel, not just for clues and items, but so many Easter eggs and naughty bits of visual innuendo. The character art and animations are fantastic, and the entire game could easily be adapted into a series on Adult Swim. Even the PiPhone interface and menus are well done, keeping you immersed in the game.
Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice is the perfect follow-up to the equally awesome reboot in 2018. If you played and enjoyed Wet Dreams Don’t Die then there is no question to whether you should pick this up, but even newcomers to the franchise can still hop in and enjoy this game with as much background as I provided above and what you’ll get in the opening recap. This is by far one of the most enjoyable Leisure Suit Larry games I’ve played this century, and it works surprisingly well on mobile devices if that is where you want to play it.
Check it out now in the app store and tell them “Ken Sent Me”.