Avert your eyes! Even in avatar form, Steve's shirt can cause retinal damage.
As the first part of our AdventureX coverage did before it, the second half of our round-up continues to bring back fond memories. My trademark bright shirt caught the attention of many. One person posting a photo of the event was able to use the shirt to tag me in it, even though they took the picture from two floors up. That same shirt was immortalised in an AdventureX character, drawn by Alasdair Beckett-King, as one of the rewards from the successful Kickstarter campaign. The good nature of even well-known names in the business was also on display, with both Pendulo's Josué Monchan and Revolution's Charles Cecil readily agreeing to pose for photos waving to my non-adventure gaming wife (for whom I collect such pictures every year). But the focus of the weekend was still the games, and here is the second half of what was on display – or rather, what I was able to see, as even an entire weekend was not enough to sample every game available.
Yelltown had always been a backwater place never really famous for anything. Then came the unexplained cases of a mysterious fever. A fever that arose without any explanation. A fever that developed into a disease that killed within hours. Now the residents of Yelltown are strictly quarantined under the auspices of the Rancho Health Corporation. But when local handyman Harper Pendrell discovers an apparent victim of the disease on the streets, she hints that there may be something more sinister going on.
The gloomy nature of Backwoods Entertainment’s story is carried over in the look of this game. The characters have exaggerated physiology, being overly tall with long, thin limbs. The architecture of the town has a run-down feel as well, with the lighting giving a dull winter twilight quality. As if that wasn’t enough, the action is also backed by slow, melancholy music. The game is controlled using standard point-and-click mechanics and is viewed in third-person, with locations having a single fixed viewpoint. The demo started with the lead character, Harper, being called out from his semi-derelict home to fix Professor MacBute’s laptop. Again. This involved some small inventory use, and a bit of hunting around the Professor’s lab. Returning from this task you meet the ill woman, with her dialogue suggesting a conspiracy that will presumably form the main story of the full game. Just enough was provided to pique interest, and I look forward to seeing more of this game.
More information can be found on the official website. The game is slated for release at some point in 2017.
Young Agatha Knife has led an unusual childhood. For most of her seven-year life, she has lived in her mother’s butcher shop. In that time she has developed a somewhat unusual relationship with the animals the shop sells. Suffering from insomnia, she goes down to the back room of the shop at night. There she chats with the animals, before killing them and chopping them up for sale. But recent weeks have seen patronage fall sharply, and the shop is in danger of closing. Seeking a way of saving the family business, Agatha hits upon an unorthodox solution. By turning meat-eating into the religion Carnivorism, she can attract loyal “converts” to the shop.
Mango Protocol's Javier Galvez and Mariona Valls
Vegetarians are unlikely to find Mango Protocol’s game to their liking. The graphics feature a cartoon style similar to the studio’s previous production Mechanika, and Agatha’s antics are seen from 2.5D third-person view, with typical point-and-click controls to move and interact. The protagonist dresses like a sweet little girl, with bright cheery clothing and one sock that simply won’t stay up. The chipper music tries to maintain this upbeat tone, while the messy hand-written font for dialogue (with the option to change to a more readable version if desired) also accents Agatha's childlike outlook. However, her unkempt dark hair and tendency to carry a large cleaver and knife give an indication of her true nature. The demo started with a visit to church to pray for more people to shop at the butcher’s. There the Reverend Bleak talked of his visits to the god known as Time Lord, and the need to buy cheese to ward off disaster. From this, Agatha discovered a business that creates religions, and sets about inventing one of her own that worships the Great Bleeding Pig. The demo ended as she achieved the first steps to establishing her new religion.
More information can be found on the game’s website. The developers are aiming for a release in spring 2017.
In an alternate version of the 19th century, Europe and the Middle East have banded together to form a huge colonial empire. The main means of travelling the vast reaches of this empire are merchant clippers, such as the titular HLV Herald. Young Devan Rensberg was fortunate enough to secure a position as steward on this vessel, travelling to the land of his birth. But the Herald had a most eventful journey. Later summoned to the presence of The Rani, a lady of influence at this destination, Devan must recount the tale of the trip, and his part in what transpired on the way.
Wispfire's Roy van der Schilden
The background graphics of Wispfire’s Herald are impressive 3D models, from the sumptuous tower home of The Rani to the somewhat more cramped quarters of the ship. During the action, presented in third-person with a variety of camera angles for each location, characters are also 3D models, but are further represented by half-body portraits when speaking. These are not simply static images: as well as the mouth moving to match the speech, the characters blink and engage in other movements to accentuate what they are saying. The game is also fully voiced to a high quality. The demo involved a search for a missing gun aboard ship, the captain having banned anyone being armed. This required Devan to work out how to gain access to officers’ cabins for discreet searches, picking up clues from written documents and observation of the environment.
More information can be found on the developer's website. The projected release date is the first quarter of 2017.
The Season of the Warlock
Victorian aristocrat Lord Alistair Ainsworth has always been a sceptic. After lecturing on the legends of Groldavia at a London University, he decides it is time to do some field research in that country. Taking residence in an ancient castle, he finds the most fascinating legend in the story of Waldemar the Warlock. This legendary necromancer lived several centuries ago, and Alistair feels that a book about the warlock’s exploits will earn him fame and recognition at last. But his research may come at a high price. When the portrait of Waldemar starts talking to him, Alistair must choose whether to aid the ancient sorcerer or find a way to expel him from the world once and for all.
encomplot's Javier Cadenas
Encomplot, the developers of this third-person point-and-click game, cite classic horror films – in particular those from the Hammer studio – as their main influence. This is clear not only from the tone of the game, but from Lord Alistair’s striking resemblance to famed Hammer horror actor Vincent Price. The demo took place within the Groldavian castle where Alistair has set up residence, and put the player in the shoes of his faithful butler, Nigel. Rendered in detailed 3D, the castle has a gloomy feel that also captures the feeling of the classics. The characters are also beautifully animated and well-voiced. When a local lady paying a social call lost her poodle within the building, I set out to find it. I subsequently located it in the kitchen, though my admiration of the detail in that room distracted me from the fact that it appeared to have tripped head-first into a mincing machine. In my brief play, I was unable to find a way of tactfully dealing with this tragic event.
More information can be found on the game's website.Continued on the next page...
Platform(s): Android, iPad, Mac, PC, Linux
Platform(s): Mac, PC, Linux
Platform(s): Mac, PC, Linux
Platform(s): Mac, PC
Platform(s): Mac, PC
Platform(s): Android, iPad, iPhone, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Platform(s): Android, iPad, iPhone, Mac, PC, Linux
Reporting from E3, GDC, AdventureX, Gamescom and other gaming events around the world
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