Following Freeware 17
Following Freeware 17

Following Freeware: December 2011 releases


11-11-11

It’s 11:11pm in the big city when suddenly the power and the telephones both fail. For insomniac high-rise dweller James, this sudden interruption of his music is an incident that merits investigation. But on the otherwise empty streets, a strange dark-suited man insists that he stay inside, and mysterious explosions begin rocking the city. Something very dangerous is wandering about in the dark tonight, and a lack of music is soon the least of James’s worries. With a handful of his fellow citizens, now he must seek safe passage from the city before it’s too late.

 

Screen 7 has produced a sci-fi tale that is dark in all senses of the word. Both the city setting and the characters inhabiting it are presented in full 3D, though with a moderate resolution. The views are displayed in third-person, with wide city vistas for scene transitions and ground-level shots for the more interactive areas. Character portraits during conversations are also 3D, with basic animation to show the person talking. Apart from some sliding when characters move long distances, the animation is reasonably done, with the individuals scaling down as they move further from camera. The audio background befits the dark sci-fi setting, with ominous tones and sound effects.

At the start of the game, the four-cursor point-and-click controls are used to investigate limited hotspots to find out what is going on. As you discover more about the disaster that has struck, you will acquire various companions. These companions often follow you around, occasionally providing hints and insights of their own into the situation. You will also acquire a small inventory, though a sharp eye is sometimes necessary to spot collectable items. This inventory forms the backbone of the puzzles, though some careful exploration is also needed to progress. Whilst the streets are hazardous, the protagonist flees danger automatically, though the game auto-saves anyway. The linear progress of the plot may frustrate some players, but this ensures that the story revelations are revealed in a coherent way.

11-11-11 can be downloaded from the AGS website.


Night and Day

The Realiser, sole newspaper for the town of Reality-on-the-Norm, has received a strange advertisement. With the Grim Reaper long having quit his day job to become zombie Mayor Gower’s right-hand entity, there is a vacancy in the realm of the supernatural. Now it looks like someone is aiming to fill that vacancy, with collection of souls required as proof of ability for the job. When Elandra finds both Davy Jones and Mika have gone missing, she fears the worst. Is Reality in danger?

HandsFree’s addition to the long-running game setting is a worthy addition to the canon. The game makes full use of the RON archive of characters and locations, and the medium resolution graphics will be instantly familiar to fans of the series. You’ll visit many recognisable locations, including the town square, Yahtzeebrand store (now selling Yummy Yaks) and Elandra’s own home. Music is limited to in-game examples, such as the muzak that plays in the store or the more mellow sounds of the bum’s alley-located jukebox.

Using the standard four-cursor point-and-click controls, players must navigate Elandra around town, trying to track down Davy and Mika and solve the mystery of the genesis of the odd advert. In doing so, you will face combination locks, dialogue challenges and an intriguing recipe riddle. There are also standalone challenges, such as spotting three unique and vital volumes in the crammed shelves of the local bookstore. The whole affair is carried off with the trademark surreal humor for which the series is so well known.

Night and Day can be downloaded from the RON website.


Loondon

In a world that has little time for outcasts, Jonah “The Hunch” has only ever known life in a travelling fair. Then one day the wind carried a flyer to his big top home, telling of the wonders of Loondon and the celebration to be held there. Determined to see this wonder for himself, Jonah set off to travel to the legendary city. But with his obvious physical deformity on show for all to see, would he find acceptance in such a place?

 

Flip-n-Tale Games have created an artistic and thought-provoking little game. The look is of an ink drawing, with the uncoloured part in some backgrounds appearing like aged paper. Whilst Jonah and those willing to directly interact with him are shown in full detail, the aloof aristocratic citizens are shown in silhouette, their appearance mirroring that of upper class Victorians. Both detailed and silhouetted characters are smoothly animated, as are the mechanisms you come across. The conversations throughout the game are represented by pictures in talk bubbles rather than words. Transition from scene to scene is handled with mostly black screens styled after silent movie captions. These include a small depiction of Jonah and a rhyming description of that part of his journey. The musical background at the fair is suited to the circus-like setting, with tunes reminiscent of a Victorian music box in most other locations.

With hotpots limited in number and clearly highlighted, progressing through the puzzles will not prove a challenge to the experienced gamer. There is a mechanism that proves quite simple to operate and some limited environmental interaction, though no inventory is maintained. The player is thus free to appreciate the somewhat melancholy tale of Jonah pursuing his dream, and the rejection his physical appearance brings him. This builds to a sad but effective ending, with Jonah’s ultimate fate very much in keeping with the way the world treats him throughout.

Loondon can be played online at Games Free.


Maniac Mansion Mania 40: Trapped in the Cellar

If Dave hadn’t lost the tickets, he and Sandy would be on their way to a Razor gig. Unfortunately, an ill-advised search of the cellar left the couple trapped when the door accidentally locked behind them. With Dave’s absent-minded father failing to hear their calls for rescue, it is up to Razor to save the day and get all three of them to the performance on time.

RayMan brings the 40th episode of this extensive series of fan-made sequels to English-speaking gamers. The graphics include slightly higher resolution versions of the original Dave, Sandy and Razor, though all are readily recognisable for fans of the LucasArts original. This game also includes cameos from familiar characters like Weird Ed Edison, as well as new characters, such as Dave’s bald-headed and absent-minded father Robert. The music covers a wide range of styles, from a gentle in-house piece to a more rocking tune for Razor’s entrance.

Using the verb list carried over from the original Maniac Mansion, Razor must scour the house and surrounding area for a means of freeing Dave and Sandy. Inventory plays a key role in many puzzles, though there is also some dialogue and a combination to resolve. Razor’s comments when interacting with certain items can give some clues on what to do, with other dialogue also pointing the way. Whilst mostly played straight, the game also shows flashes of the surreal humour of its inspiration, especially at times such as a strange discovery in the shower.

Maniac Mansion Mania 40: Trapped in the Cellar can be downloaded from the Maniac Mansion Mania website.


Myosotis: Chapter 1

If there’s one thing a private investigator cannot resist, it is a call for help from a damsel in distress. And if that damsel in distress is an old flame, nothing can hold him back. But when answering that call leads to a hotel with a lift that operates itself, a single guest room and secret passages leading to strange and unsettling locations, maybe this is one call that should have been ignored.

 

This opening chapter of a series from Mark Marin is a surreal beginning. The initial setting has the feel of a noir detective movie, with grey-scale rainy streets presented in a minimalist style. The protagonist appears almost entirely as a silhouette, in trench coat and wide-brimmed hat, leaning forward and walking with a determined stalking motion. Once inside the hotel, while the basic graphic style and colouring is maintained, things take an odd turn as the rooms start to resemble some sort of strange laboratory complex. Text representing the lead character’s internal dialogue appears at the bottom of the screen. This is displayed as if being typed on a manual typewriter, though the speed may lead some players to move to the next scene, missing out on the full comment. A nicely sung but sad song provides the background to proceedings.

Using a basic point-and-click interface, you initially simply have to walk from scene to scene. Once you have entered the only room in the hotel, however, you are faced with a series of challenges to open a door to the next location. These vary from selecting the desired objects from a number on display to working out a combination sequence. The challenges appear largely abstract, and only in the closing moments of the game will you get any idea of what is going on. The story in this chapter is largely limited to reminiscences of the past, though the ending does hold promise of an intriguing ongoing plot to be continued later on.

Myosotis: Chapter 1 can be played online at Cool Buddy.
 



Other new releases

Not all games are created equal, and freeware games especially come in all shapes and sizes. Not to be overlooked, the following list might also be of interest, though these games may be significantly shorter or less polished, more experimental titles than those detailed above, some perhaps only borderline adventures to begin with.

Sneak Thief 4 by Pastel Games – Puzzle your way into an airborne lab in this latest instalment in the series.

Max Strong: Private Investigator by esthetix and bbrusi – Solve a mysterious theft as the eponymous sleuth.

Bart Simpson Island Escape by inkagames – When a prank gone wrong strands him on remote island, Bart must use his wits to escape.

The Wok by BeGamer – When monsters steal the mystical Wok, a quest begins to retrieve the powerful totem.

Obama and Pigsaw’s gift by inkagames – Pigsaw is unhappy about being on Santa’s naughty list, and blackmails the US president into dealing with the problem.

Robot Mom by Fast Games – Join a poor little robot on a quest to find out where he comes from.
 



That’s it for this month. Think we’ve missed a gem or want to tell us about your own game? Then pop in to our Adventure forum and tell us about it!


Related Games

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Wretcher

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Fribbeldib

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The Visitor Returns

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11-11-11

Platform(s): PC

Night and Day

Platform(s): PC

Loondon

Platform(s): PC, Mac

Myosotis: Chapter 1

Platform(s): PC, Mac



About the Author
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Steve Brown
Freeware Coordinator

Following Freeware

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Comments

Arial Type Arial Type
Jan 27, 2012

Indeed, a wonderful time for Space Quest fans! But where is Space Quest Incinerations, the third game that came out on 11 Jan? Also a very solid production as far as I can tell.

Jackal Jackal
Jan 27, 2012

As you say, it came out in January. Wink This is the December round-up. No doubt the new game will be in next month’s. Takes a while to cover this many games.

stepurhan stepurhan
Jan 28, 2012

Yes Incinerations is on my list to look at for January.

Speaking of Space Quest, special thanks to my colleague, Rob Murrant, for doing the write-ups on these this month. Saved me having to show my woeful ignorance of the series.

inflikkt inflikkt
Jan 28, 2012

im in nostalgic bliss with all this space quest!!!  Smile  the remake of sq2 is so great! The incredible music, the fun slightly modified puzzles and amazing artwork… it is like a dream come true to be able to finally play it after waiting all these years. Smile  i also just discovered vohaul strikes back.  really impressed with it as well… and as i read this just now im discovering there is another game?!  thnx arial type! im so excited..  this is incredible Grin happy adventure game month for me here

Arial Type Arial Type
Jan 28, 2012

Ah, for some reason I thought it was a random “what do we have here?” feature Smile Never mind then, you are really doing a huge amount of work.

stepurhan stepurhan
Jan 28, 2012

Random? No siree. I scour a number of sources for adventure releases each month and then look at them all to determine what is worth covering.

But the internet is a broad place to search and I can’t guarantee picking up all the good stuff. If you want to make sure a quality release comes to my attention, this very site’s Freeware forum is the place to do it.

Bobski101 Bobski101
Jan 30, 2012

Thanks Steve!

Sergiu
Feb 3, 2012

Author of the “disturbing piece of background music” from “The Visitor Returns” here…glad you liked my music. I’ve been a fan of adventure games forever, and a follower of this site for many years…my no. 1 resource for adventure gaming.
Stay tuned for more releases :-D

Sergiu Muresan

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