In 1987, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards was a scandalous cult hit for Sierra. It was an adventure game filled with sexual innuendos and awfully good puns, in which you had to help the titular character lose his virginity within two hours. However, the 2013 remake, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, occasionally feels as pathetic as its virginal 40-year-old protagonist and his dated leisure suit. While the graphics have been overhauled, and given an iconographic action system, the gameplay still feels threadbare.
At best, the puzzles get as dirty as the sordid town of Lost Wages (a Las Vegas parody with areas like Caesar’s Phallus, Studio 69, and the Come-n-Go convenience store): You’ll have to use a blow-up doll as a balloon, swap out the batteries in a vibrator, and remember to rubber up, lest a hooker gives you a deadly STD. More often than not, however, puzzles simply revolve around finding an item in one of the five main areas and bringing it to someone else—e.g., trading a shot of whisky for the combination to a locked cabinet of sex toys, or giving boxed wine to a hobo in return for his pocket knife.
This might not be such an issue if there were a speedier way to navigate, but traveling between locales requires sluggishly hailing a cab and paying for it, which means you’ll also have to earn money by saving or reloading after each round of video slots or blackjack. Worse, there are no hot spots on the map, so moving from room to room sometimes requires blind luck—which can be frustrating when you’re hunting for a sprig of jasmine, or attempting to walk into the bedroom as opposed to the elevator right in front of it.
These inconveniences stand in the way of Al Lowe’s louche sense of humor; it’s actually more enjoyable to look at, touch, lick, talk to, or unzip in front of the various items in the game than it is to use them properly. Failing to click each item in a variety of ways means that you’ll miss out on a good “Ball Me, Ishmael” joke (when rooting around a pile of vintage skin magazines), an apt description such as “The music in here is loud enough to kill the herpes,” or can’t-succeed pick-up lines like “If your right leg is Thanksgiving and your left leg is Christmas, can I visit you between the holidays?” Sadly, these lines are clearly compensating for something, and that’s a lackluster body of gameplay. There’s new content (this isn’t a mere remake, and jokes about in-app purchases and the new hit game Angry Broads are welcome), but it’s stuck in the same mold as the rest of the game, and the few new puzzles are cheap ones—unless you’ve longed to find a way to coax ambergris from a whale.