Adventure News
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March 2017

26

Mar

Artificial intelligences in sci-fi tend to be either perfect paragons of rationality and benevolence, or just want to cleanse the planet of us inferior humans. Have you ever wondered what would happen if, instead, they were just as flawed as their creators? Christian Miller (aka Silver Spook Games) has, and the result is Neofeud, a newly-released hardboiled cyberpunk adventure inspired by films such as Elysium, Blade Runner and The Matrix.

The year is 2033 and sentient robots are among us, but things haven't quite worked out as planned for "humanity's unwanted bastard children". Most of them defective deadbeats, they've fallen through the social safety net to land in a massive landfill known as "The Pile", along with mankind’s own failed genetic experiments. Meanwhile, the successfully bio-engineered "Neofeudal Lords" live dream lives of neon, glass, nanotech and cybernetic implants, as flawless and cold as the robots were intended to be. Players control Karl Carbon, ex-cop turned social worker, exiled to the Pile for refusing to shoot an unarmed humanoid. In between dealing with robot gang culture and chimera children, he's drawn into a conspiracy with potentially civilisation-shattering consequences.


Neofeud is a defiantly indie game, with lo-fi graphics in a naive, hand-painted style that could almost be called impressionistic, accompanied by a soundtrack that varies from ambient to metal. Drawing on the developer’s personal experience teaching the inner-city poor of Honolulu, the game promises a fleshed-out world and a plot that may make you question your beliefs. There will also be "tricky yet satisfying" detective work, endless one-liners and occasional action shootouts along the way.

Neofeud has just been released for Windows, with the possibility of Mac and Linux versions to follow. To buy the game or just delve deeper, you can check it out on itch.io.



25

Mar

Stage 2 Studios sure has a habit of sucking all the life out of everything it touches. Normally that's an insult, but not when you're the creators of 2014's Lifeless Planet and its newly-unveiled spiritual successor Lifeless Moon.

Like its predecessor, Lifeless Moon strands players on a space orb, but this time it's a pair of astronauts on a mission to the moon in the 1970s. Rather than finding just an American flag and Neil Armstrong's footprints, however, the astronauts discover an actual town that's uncannily reminiscent of another back on Earth. But the surprises don't end there, as it soon becomes apparent that the town is only the "beginning of a strange and mysterious journey."


That's it for story details so far, but the developers have teased that the story of Lifeless Moon and that of Lifeless Planet (set in the distant future) are "loosely connected," making the new game a kind of spiritual prequel with entirely different characters and setting. Players will encounter some "light platforming" and puzzles on the moon, but for those concerned about the degree of dexterity involved in the first game, rest assured that there will be "a deeper focus on puzzles" this time around, reinforcing the core experience of "exploration and discovery."

Platforms have not yet been confirmed, but with Lifeless Planet available on both PC and consoles, Stage 2 is hoping for another cross-platform release for Lifeless Moon, including VR hardware. While waiting for its target launch sometime in 2018, you can check out the official website for additional details.



24

Mar

Domino Digital's upcoming Peregrin isn't a spin-off Middle-earth adventure about Pippin, but it is a promising fantasy adventure featuring arcane magic, deadly creatures, and a beautiful but treacherous land to explore, as we'll find out when the game is released later this year.

Set "countless years after the Gods sought revenge on Earth," Peregrin stars a young woman named Abi, an adventurer determined to save her scavenger tribe. In order to fulfill a prophecy and "beg the vengeful Gods for forgiveness and to restore life to the ravaged lands of her home," Abi must leave safety behind and venture out across The Divide, a quest that will "see her face many challenges, and reveal the story of the world before it was turned into a wasteland."


Described as a "moving take on the struggle to overcome both personal and collective loss," Peregrin's early screenshots and trailer show off its minimalist stylized art, frequently presented from an isometric viewpoint. The key to overcoming the many obstacles in Abi's path is the use of "arcane powers to solve puzzles and survive battles." By activating area totems, players can then temporarily possess the local creatures, ranging from "simple animals to the divide's hostile guardians," in order to capitalize on the unique abilities of each.

There is currently no firm target release date for Peregrin, but the developers and publisher Green Man Gaming are seeking to complete the game for Windows, Mac, and as-yet-undisclosed consoles sometime in 2017.



23

Mar

The balancing act between public safety and civil liberties is becoming an increasing concern worldwide, and indie developers White Paper Games are exploring this controversial dynamic in their upcoming, ominously-titled The Occupation.

In The Occupation, players control a "whistleblowing journalist" in Northwest England. It's October 24, 1987, and a terrorist attack killing 23 people has "become a catalyst for the creation of The Union Act." This act is highly controversial for its invasion of privacy, and the next four hours will be crucial in determining both "the outcome of the act and the future of the country." As a reporter, you must "decide the narrative" and determine whether "the cost of an extreme action [is] outweighed by the cause of the greater good."


Like the studio's previous game, Ether One, The Occupation is a first-person 3D experience. Unlike its predecessor, however, The Occupation promises to be a politically-driven narrative game that occurs in real time, requiring you to make crucial decisions quickly based on the evidence at hand. The first teaser offers a brief but intriguing glimpse of what can be expected, but for now the developers haven't yet revealed any more about the type of gameplay involved.

This lack of information extends both to the platforms on which the game will be released, and the target release date. Although the project is in "full swing of development" now, White Paper is only saying that they hope to bring The Occupation to "as many platforms as possible" and have a launch goal ready to announce soon. You can monitor its progress in the meantime by visiting the game's official website.



19

Mar

More and more horror adventures are going the way of Amnesia-styled 3D stealth-survival games these days, so it's refreshing to find one like the upcoming Green Mirror, which adheres to the traditional point-and-click formula while still adding in some perilous elements to contend with.

In a story with "clear Lovecraftian influences," Green Mirror casts players in the role of Dylan Riley, a "veteran member of the search and rescue unit" at Steelrock Canyon National Park. When a family goes missing while hiking the forests, Dylan is sent it after them but soon "suffers an accident that leaves him alone in the middle of the night and lost in an unexplored zone of the woods that has been closed to the public because of the dangers it may harbor." And indeed, danger seems to be all around, as "shadows glide through the trees, watching him, strange whispers accompany his steps like a creepy leitmotiv, and something that has inhabited those woods for eons wants to make it clear that he is not welcome there."


The game features crisp, hand-drawn graphics primarily in black-and-white, with just a few touches of colour. Players guide Dylan around in third-person perspective, exploring the "forgotten paths that wind through the undergrowth." Along the way, you'll discover "many hidden mysteries in the dark corners of Steelrock Canyon’s forest waiting to be unveiled, old knowledge yearning to be pronounced again, and more complex motivations than it may seem at first." Unraveling the mystery will require a combination of puzzle-solving and survival elements in the form of Quick Time Events as you "seek help and escape the threats that wait for you in every corner."

There is no firm timeframe yet for Green Mirror's release, but indie developers Bad2theBone Studio and Luminy Studios are currently targeting completion on Windows, Mac, and Linux by the end of this year. You can learn more about the game while you wait by visiting its official website.



18

Mar

Here's a tip for wannabe space explorers: NEVER be part of the initial research team, because you'll inevitably disappear without a trace. Now, being the investigator sent to find out what happened is a whole lot more fun, and players will have the chance to do just that this summer when The Station is released.

Yes, The Station embraces the tried-and-true science fiction premise of a missing space crew, in this case a small three-person team sent to study an alien race whose civilization challenged "everything we know about biology, chemistry, physics, religion" and addressed many of the questions that have always plagued mankind. Unfortunately, this newfound species was embroiled in the middle of a civil war, so the crew was deployed to "research the alien culture in search of a means towards a peaceful relationship." But then they disappeared. With all communications cut off, as a recon specialist you are sent to the "undetectable" facility to determine what became of them. But this is no standard mission, as "what players discover will challenge their view of surveillance, imperialism and moral law," and more importantly, the mystery you unravel will "decide the fate of two civilizations."


Gameplay in The Station will be largely exploratory in nature, as you venture through the station in free-roaming, first-person 3D in search of clues to what transpired. The game has been "creatively shaped by real space industry experts, in partnership with the Canadian Space Society," and players will interact directly with the environment and solve puzzles in order to progress, learning more about the three missing crew members along the way through audio logs and other materials left behind. The gameplay trailer offers a closer look at the sort of experience players can expect.

Created by an indie team of developers whose previous credits include the likes of AAA titles Destiny, BioShock Infinite, and Prototype, The Station is already well along in production, with a target completion date for Windows, Mac, and Linux sometime this summer. In the meantime, you can not only learn more about the game from the official website, but also receive regular updates from the fictional Axiom corporation, the company spearheading the space mission you've been sent to investigate.



17

Mar

Danger, Will Robinson! Wait, no. Wrong robot, wrong Lost in Space. This isn't the campy old 1960s sci-fi television show, but Lemuria: Lost in Space, a newly-released sci-fi adventure blending adventure, RPG, and survival elements. There is danger, though.

The game is named after the Lemuria 7, a spaceship that went missing for over 70 years. Recently it reappeared in the solar system, but badly damaged and completely abandoned. What happened to the ship and its crew, and why did it return? As Abrix, an AI-assisted robot that can hack computers, wield weapons, and operate in extreme temperatures and high levels of radiation, it will be your job to explore the ship's hundred-plus rooms as you "solve dozens of puzzles, find valuable resources and fight with security turrets and other enemies."


Venturing through the ship in free-roaming 3D and completing puzzles will reveal new story details about the ship's crew, as well as reward players with the necessary resources to proceed – running out of battery power or anti-radiation protection will prove fatal. Far from a traditional adventure, Lemuria will also include roleplaying elements such as "special software that allows [Abrix] to upgrade himself during the mission." A hacking minigame will "challenge your math, geographic and logical thinking skills" and result in the ability to overrun security systems, while another allows you to access the ship's network in order to "avoid certain fights with hostile robots."

If you're a little uneasy about the mix of action and adventure, rest assured that you can check it out for yourself through the playable PC demo, recently upgraded with full voice-overs. If you like what you see, the full game is just a click away on Steam.



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