An assault left you stuck in a wheelchair with a bad case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. With your movements restricted, you were forced to find some way to occupy your time. You found what you thought you needed in a series of investigations into conspiracy theories previously conducted by your father. As your insatiable interest grows to dwarf his, you become increasingly withdrawn. With your world becoming more closed in, and rubbish accumulating around you, it seems that rather than helping you, this obsession is dragging you further down.
Whilst it is based on the Unity engine, Manos Agianniotakis has built The Circle's controls from scratch for use with virtual reality technology. The game uses normal VR goggles, and controls fitted over each of the player's hands. The demo previewed a few interactive scenes from different points in the game. In the real world sections, you are seated at a desk, with the surrounding room rendered in high detail. The two hand controls allow you to manipulate objects as if you were there, including throwing them if you move your hand as you press the button to release. These scenes are interspersed with dream sequences, where holding the button down causes your dream avatar to walk forward. Populated with monochromatic silhouettes, these prove all the more disturbing as they fade in and out of existence as you move. Whilst this was just a taster, the plan is for even small player decisions such as cleaning up trash or leaving it alone to have an effect on the character's mood. This will then have a knock-on effect for what you can do later on.
More information can be found on the official website.
Back in the 16th century, King Henry VIII ruled over England. In the modern age, presidential candidate Drumpf is in need of good advisers. Both men have something in common: a desire for power, a need to have supremacy over others. Making the right decisions and taking good advice could lead them to that power. Making the wrong decisions or acting on bad counsel could lead to their downfall. As the branches multiply with each choice made, only time will tell if they have been wise or foolish.
Buchanan Productions' Greg Buchanan and Seb Peters
Both of these scenarios play out in an anthology series called Supremacy, whose ultimate intention is to span large parts of human history in a variety of branching text-based stories. The text displays on the right side of the screen, with appropriate imagery appearing on the left. Periodically choices are highlighted within the text, with your decision impacting the course of the story from there. The effect of early choices can have far-reaching consequences, as I discovered in my try at “Paper Drumpf”. I attempted the opening section two separate times, changing my very first decision between playthroughs. I then played out the subsequent dozen or so choices with identical selections in both. The differences between the two grew as I progressed, with one culminating in my recounting the incident as an anecdote addressed to Drumpf and the other ending with my shocking demise.
With graduation approaching the young couple, Bo and Ao are preparing to leave their flat. As their home throughout the time they were studying, this place is as full of their memories as it is of their things. Their lengthy presence in this place has lent it an almost magical quality, and as Bo tours the flat one last time while packing, that magic shines through.
Humble Grove's Tom Davison
This game is intended to be an introductory chapter in a larger series by Humble Grove called No Longer Home. The action is semi-autobiographical in nature, recalling a time when the developers also had to leave such a place. One hopes that it is not too accurate a reflection of their experience, given that one of the new occupants of the flat appears to be a giant alien. The graphics display a minimalist look, presented in an isometric view. Left and right arrow keys rotate the current room, allowing you to see all sides. Interaction is handled via the mouse, and even the action cursors get into the dream-like quality of the action, as pointing at a hotspot results in a stylised symbol. When the only option is to look, the shape at the centre of the eye shows whether to expect a monologue about an object, or a discussion with another character. The demo I played consisted largely of exploring and examining the environment, with no traditional challenges preventing progress.
More information can be found on the developer’s itch.io page.
In retrospect, perhaps telling your parents you had a girlfriend was a bad idea. You just wanted them to stop bugging you about it, but soon they are going to be paying you a visit. Since you don’t actually have a girlfriend at the moment, this could prove a somewhat tricky meeting. But you have several weeks before they are due to arrive. You’re sure that a resourceful chap like yourself can find a suitable partner to keep your parents happy in that time.
Waifu High Development's George Belimpas and Louis Silva
Presented in 2D art, with both characters and locations done in an anime style, Waifu High combines the visual novel and dating sim-type games. Focussing on the former gives you the experience of a directed narrative, whilst the latter has you building up stats to allow you to achieve goals. These can involve study to improve intellect or physical activity to improve strength. Players are given complete freedom to switch back and forth between the two styles. But this isn’t the only way the game plans to mix things up. As well as game genres, a variety of fiction genres are intended to be thrown into the mix. At the moment the only two story options are Drama and Slice of Life, but the goal is to add such other genres as Horror and Time Travel fiction. The developers also intend to add a crafting (cooking) system and a variety of side quests to keep players engaged.
More information can be found on the developer’s itch.io page. Whilst a final release date is still uncertain, the developers hope to have the game available sometime in 2017.