For gamers of a certain age, playing Leisure Suit Larry was a rite of passage. Before the internet, it was one of the only ways our generation could view pixelated female forms, with adult humor that seemed more in-line with a novelty shop than a video game. Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is the iOS (and PC) remake of that groundbreaking game, and after our hands-on time with it (not like that, you pervert!) we felt an equal amount of attraction and repulsion to this sleazy adventure game.
First, the attraction: Leisure Suit Larry is looking good, for once in his life. His tacky loungewear and coiffed, receding hairline look especially great with the redrawn backgrounds. We spent some time stumbling around Lefty’s Bar, the first location in the game, where Larry can hit on the only woman at the bar and chat up the other drunks.
Larry’s dialogue options were plentiful, because in addition to looking, talking, touching, and other typical adventure-game actions, you could also use your zipper on just about anything in the bar. Usually this prompted a gentle reminder from the narrator that urinating in public was both illegal and socially unacceptable, but there were unique responses for just about any combination of actions and objects.
Even if you’ve played the original Leisure Suit Larry, don’t expect a basic remake. We were told that the developers set out to “break the walkthroughs” that you’ll find online, so even if you generally know what to do, the specifics have been changed in this edition. For example, you still have to make your way out of Lefty’s Bar to find a prostitute, but obtaining the password requires a different set of steps.
We’re encouraged by the art direction and revamped design, but there are still a few wrinkles in Larry’s suit. The iOS version of the game may not include the full voice acting of the PC version, due to size limitations– the developers are still uncertain whether it’s worth releasing the game as a 1GB download without voices, or 2GB with voices. We’re also not sure how they’ll choose to price this game, so it could be in the premium price range. And in our early version, some of the animations were incomplete, so we can’t say for certain that the entire game is running smoothly with only a few months to go before launch.
Leisure Suit Larry’s adult humor should still be tame enough for the App Store, and Replay Games seems confident that Apple won’t skewer their R-rated comedy when it’s time to approve the game. But Larry’s lovelorn quest may not have the naughty appeal it once did. We’re just not sure how gamers today will respond to this late-80s throwback. With titillation just a Google Image search away, the new Leisure Suit Larry will hopefully emphasize thoughtful gameplay and humor over cheap thrills.