The place you wake up in is poorly lit by red bulbs, grimly displaying dirty, blood-flecked walls. A man in an orange jumpsuit and disturbing mask greets you in dark and echoing tones. It seems that you are the prisoner of a madman, and in his hands your future only holds pain and death. But in a stroke of good fortune, he has decided you are too weak to do anything and left you unshackled. Can you take advantage of this lapse and free yourself from a killer’s lair?
Psionic Games have woven a disturbing little horror story. Presented in first-person slideshow format, the setting is unpleasantly realistic. The cell where you start out is a truly unwelcoming place, with insects crawling on the walls and a mix of old rusted pipework running across the ceilings and walls. Once you have escaped this initial location, you will find the rest of this fiend’s playground no more inviting, with poor flickering lights and filth everywhere. As well as the insect animation, the various machines you operate are also fully animated when activated. Sound effects like the squish of poking a dead rat are present throughout. A disturbing, echoing ambient tone and beat add to the atmosphere in the background.
This is not a game for the faint-hearted, as the horror setting is embraced to the full. You will find plenty of evidence of the less fortunate souls that preceded you in this dungeon, most often in the form of crumpled and blood-stained notes. Many of the puzzle solutions are distasteful as well, requiring you to delve into things you might otherwise shun. You will grab a variety of inventory items and put them to good use, along with using the machinery in this subterranean vault to help you turn tables on your captor. This game largely avoids the arbitrary nature of many escape games, with puzzle solutions that are logical in the context of the setting. As well as the overall tense mood, the game incorporates a number of more blatant scares which are likely to catch already nervous players unaware.
Killer Escape can be played online at Mousebreaker.
The humans built the robots, then the humans died out. Without the influence of mankind to guide them, the robots turned to evil. Such a course of action could only lead to one thing. The robots descended into robot hell. Now one brave little machine is seeking a way out of this dark place. By piecing together the things the robots have lost, this little bot hopes to rise to be worthy of a good life again.
This offering from Dr Slash and Gexo Galls takes a philosophical premise and weaves an interesting story from it. The backgrounds are a simple pen-and-ink style with a certain cartoon feel. Good use of shading serves to give some depth to the scenery. As befits a robot hell, the backgrounds portray a dimly lit junkyard, with broken machinery, dirt and radioactive canisters piled up. The player character starts as a squat cylindrical robot, with simple but effective animation. Apart from a lively opening tune, the background music consists only of a simple low tone, rising and falling. However, sound effects such as the protagonist clanking as it falls down a pipe are prevalent throughout.
Your original mechanical body only has one simple ability, to use a teleport platform located near where you start. As you search for a way out of your predicament, you will acquire more robot parts, referred to as elements, which then grant you different abilities. Much of the puzzle work involves swapping elements in and out as you equip yourself with the abilities required to pass each obstacle. There is also a mechanism puzzle whose simple button and switch controls mask a tricky challenge. Towards the end of the game there is a task that will require players to be moderately quick with the mouse to pass the final barrier to escape.
Mechanismo can be downloaded from the AGS website.
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.
Moonlight by Jonas Kyratzes – Experience a surreal interactive story about life, dreams, and Stephen Fry.
Mindless by amidos2006 – On a remote island, two tribes constantly strive against one another. Will you take a side in this conflict?
Ubooly and Friends by Beardshaker – Can you help Ubooly solve the cryptic clues and find his friends hidden across a tropical island?
The Prince Edward by MARTINRosso – Prince Edward, son of Henry IV, sets out to explore the castle to relieve his boredom.
From Heaven to Hell: Chapter 0 – Present by LoneLyBoy16 – Falling asleep to the news, you wake up to a disturbing darkness.
Tickets4Love by esthetix – To woo a lady, a young man must procure tickets to the sold-out Addison Madison concert.
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!