Following Freeware: March 2014
Following Freeware: March 2014

Following Freeware: March 2014 releases


The coming of age – a Lorna Bains whodunit, and The day after you went away


The year is 1993, the place Tallahassee, Florida. In The coming of age – a Lorna Bains whodunit by ReVenture Games, you play the titular college student whose ambition is to become a journalist. To earn money for her education and a trip to New York, she has a job as a waitress in a respectable cafe. Today is a special day for her. Not only is it her 21st birthday, she will also be writing her application letter to a big New York City newspaper. She has a good chance of being hired because she's one of the best in her class. Unfortunately for Lorna, when she finds her boss murdered in his office after her shift, her day takes a dramatic turn.

The coming of age – a Lorna Bains whodunit

The sequel, The day after you went away (released just a day after the prologue), takes place in the cafe on the day following the murder. Lorna doesn't work at the cafe anymore, and the guests speculate about what has happened. Betty, the murdered boss's wife, gets a bit delirious and suddenly sees the whole place in a weird dream in which she is rolling around on a Segway and the guests say the strangest things. With essentially no story or puzzles, this game is not so much a full-fledged adventure as it is a funny (depending on your taste of humor) addition to The coming of age.

The artwork of both The coming of age and The day after you went away is done in a colorful, naive style. Some scenes look like they have been drawn with felt-tip pens, which creates an interesting effect. People walk around the cafe in strange ways. One of the guests does a sort of zombie dance when he leaves, which is very funny. More serious is the fact that the characters don't display proper perspective, so they seem to grow when they walk away from the player. They also walk through each other sometimes, and Lorna can even walk through one of the tables. While most of the presentation is shown in third-person mode, one screen in The coming of age is in first-person, which is a good way of enhancing the experience of that particular scene.

The voice acting is very good in both games. Most of the characters, especially Lorna, have a thick Southern accent and every person has his/her own peculiarities. There is also an invisible narrator who sometimes argues with Lorna a bit. Unfortunately, the second half of The coming of age is not subtitled, though in the first part all spoken text appears in the middle or upper left corner of the screen. Most scenes in each game are accompanied by light music at a very low volume, with tunes that suit the settings. For instance, in the cafe a pianola can be heard, and in the dramatic scenes after the murder, some fitting classical-styled music is played.

The day after you went away

There is only one meta-puzzle in The coming of age: you have to find out who the murderer is, why s/he did it and whether s/he had an accomplice. If you point out the wrong murderer or motive, bad things happen to Lorna. Fortunately, you can try again. Although the mystery is fun to solve, it would be nice if any new adventures with Lorna contain some actual puzzles. The coming of age ends with a sequence that shows what happens to Lorna after she identifies the murderer, while the final credits give information about what happened to all the other characters in the game. Unlike its predecessor, The day after you went away is not suitable for children due to swearing and explicit spoken sexual content.

The two games are both controlled with the mouse. There are big buttons on the top and sometimes on the bottom of the screen that you can click to choose an action like Do, See, Taste, etc. There is no inventory and also no way to save the game. Whilst you are playing, The coming of age will save itself at a certain point but you can only return to your saved game while you are still playing. There is no way to return to the save point after you quit playing if you want to resume later.

The coming of age – a Laura Bains whodunit can be downloaded from ReVenture Games.

The day after you went away can be downloaded from Adventure Game Studio.

 

Moustache Quest


Mike’s father was a master of the moustache, almost-ten-time winner of the Facial Hair Championship before a mysterious incident took his life. Alas, Mike is not quite up to his father’s standards, lacking manliness, style and confidence. Determined to live up to his father’s legacy, Mike has sought out his old friend and mentor Bear McBeardy. Under the tutelage of this master of the hirsute arts, Mike will go to the top of the facial hair game, or die trying.

Written for a “Moustache”-themed MAGS competition, this is a decidedly odd adventure from Oldschool_Wolf. The graphical style is moderately low-resolution, with some of the feel of the earlier Lucasfilm games. Mike’s quest will take him from the wrestling training ring of Bear McBeardy to the grand stage of the competition itself. All but the sole female character in the game sport facial hair of some sort, and the characters are decently animated. Backing music is provided by a light jazz number that plays throughout.

The essence of gameplay is to undertake three quests to bolster the qualities Mike lacks. These involve exploring the handful of locations and engaging in dialogue with the characters you find there. It seems that everyone has been touched by the Facial Hair Championship, mostly in a tragic way, with each having a tale to tell about the competition. You will also gather a small inventory and use it in an unorthodox way. This includes some animals that are used in a way some might find disturbing, though it is not shown graphically, and it is made clear in-game that this is not generally appropriate behaviour.

Moustache Quest 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.

J-Tubeus: Steam Adventure by Tandemark – A robot is captured by another, evil robot, and has to solve a lot of puzzles to regain its freedom in this beautiful Machinarium clone.

Dungeon of the Ultra Crumpet by lokitaiwan – Experience a surreal Choose Your Path text adventure.

Lema Sabachthani by Billbis – In Roman times, an imprisoned man facing execution reflects on the events leading to his current circumstance.

The 4th Wall by HanaIndiana – A game character will come to regret questioning the existence of “god”.

Kind Knight by Abroy – A brave knight sets off to rescue a princess from an evil magician.
 



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!
 



Steve Brown and Willem Tjerkstra contributed to this article.

The Last Door: Season One - Episode Four: Ancient Shadows available at:

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Comments

diego diego
May 8, 2014

Tried Bickadoodle… really something else in terms of bringing the “school notebook” to life Smile along with the Monty Python-esque animations. It reminds me of Nelly Cootalot, but also of Machinarium with the “thought bubbles”. My only gripe is that you can’t “double click” for fast travel, and it’s sorta strange to hear male mumble for the princess protagonist. Grin

stepurhan stepurhan
May 17, 2014

Solve the horse puzzle early on and travel does generally become quicker.

hammer
May 26, 2014

Re: the Last Door, I registered on their page and it still won’t let me download an episode without paying 15 euros first (obviously not a good deal, since the whole collector’s edition is like 10 bucks). I don’t think this should be filed under freeware anymore…

stepurhan stepurhan
May 27, 2014

Were you trying to access Chapter 1 of Season 2? The latest chapter has always only been available to those who donate. You should find the earlier chapters still free for download or online play. Even then the 15 euros is just a suggested amount, and the online versions are free to play in other places.

hammer
Jun 1, 2014

No, Chapter 1 of Season 1. Apparently you can still play it online for free, but if you want to download it, you have to pay.

stepurhan stepurhan
Jun 1, 2014

I will make a note in the database entry to that effect. However, since you can still play it for free online, it is still freeware. The fact that you cannot download a copy does not change that.

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