• Log In | Sign Up

  • News
  • Reviews
  • Games Database
  • Game Discovery
  • Search
  • New Releases
  • Forums

Adventure Gamers - Forums

Welcome to Adventure Gamers. Please Sign In or Join Now to post.

You are here: HomeForum Home → Gaming → General → Thread


   

Intense Degree’s AGS gaming journal

Avatar

Total Posts: 1115

Joined 2009-04-28

PM

This is an idea that I have basically stolen borrowed from Lucien21 and his brilliant gaming journal.

The difference here is that I will only review/comment on games made with the AGS engine, which are free and available for download on PC.

If you haven’t come across AGS before, it is a free adventure game creation tool which has been around for a good while and is regarded (by me at least!) as one of the best free adventure engines. Lots of games (seriously, lots!) have been made using this, ranging from commercial titles (such as Resonance, The Blackwell series, Gemini rue…) to a multitude of freeware titles including Yahtzee’s Trilby games, Ben304’s games, The Ben Jordan series and many more. They frequently crop up in Stepurhan’s fantastic “following freeware” series on the front page.

Chances are that any of you who have ever had thoughts of making an adventure game have, like me, tried to use it but found that the amount of work needed to even make a really short and terrible game is massive beyond belief!

Now don’t get me wrong, the games made with AGS vary, some are brilliant and some are terrible and the point of this thread is to draw attention to some of the better and lesser known ones which are available for free. Choices will be based on which ones I happen to play, or old ones I like anyway!

Caveats:

Most of the games made with AGS are done by one guy (or gal) at home in their spare time outside work, or occasionally by a small team of amateurs. Therefore set your expectations accordingly. If you only like highly polished 20 hr+ commercial games with photorealistic graphics then many of these will not interest you (although some still will!).

But if you are interested in spending an hour (or sometimes quite a lot more) playing a decent game for free that was created just by “some guy” then this really is time well spent as there are honestly some absolute gems out there. Hopefully this thread will highlight a few.

So please, by all means, use or ignore this thread as you will. However, if you come to these games not expecting a completely professional standard commercial 20hr game, keeping an open mind to what you might play and are interested at all in the game making process, then join me in a voyage a little way into the vast and tempestuous sea of AGS gaming!

Disclaimer:

Beware, you may, just possibly, be inspired to start making your own adventure game which will suck up all your free time and effort. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Please do feel free to post your own comments/thoughts on the games.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

Avatar

Total Posts: 1115

Joined 2009-04-28

PM

Arden’s vale

This is a short game set in the familiar fantasy times of sorcerers and pseudo-medieval living, beloved of this type of fantasy game. It is certainly reminiscent of the King’s Quest series both in graphical style and wistful fantasy.

In terms of plot you play as Riel, a young maiden, who visits her sister in a neighbouring village only to find she is sick, apparently enchanted by a nearby sorcerer. However, no-one from the village is able to get to the sorcerer’s castle to find the magical item needed for healing thanks to a force field he has in place around his castle. Can Riel, as an inhabitant of another village, do it? There’s only one way to find out!

The game is not simply a King’s Quest clone however. References to King’s Quest abound but whilst there is a serious basis to the story there is an element of sharp humour which creeps in and gives a little personality to the game which sets it apart from the completely straight and chivalrous KQ style.

Graphically, this game is good looking in what some call the “retro” style and above average for a small indie production. Animations are in place (with one acknowledged exception!) and are generally nicely done.

The puzzles manage to rise above the bog standard cliché “use key on door” type, being generally imaginative and logical. In terms of difficulty, the game is certainly not without challenge with one “mini-game” style puzzle being really quite difficult. Having said that, you are given the option to change the difficulty level for this puzzle, or even skip it entirely if it isn’t your sort of thing, for a loss in points. In my opinion the game fits nicely into the “challenging but not too difficult” box.

There is one puzzle which might come under the heading of “pixel hunt” (although it is clear enough really) and you can die in the game. However, as it is a short game you are never going to have to backtrack an annoyingly long way even if you have forgotten to save in a while.

There is more than one path to the ending, but this is more of a variation than a completely different story line.

The game has a good feel to it, holds together well and made for a wholly enjoyable hour or two for me.

Overall, this is a little gem of a game, which was recognised in the AGS awards 2011, winning in the “Best Short Game” category. Provided you enjoy this sort of setting and style, this should be on everyone’s list of games to play when you have a couple of hours spare.

Released 2011 - get it for free here.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

Avatar

Total Posts: 332

Joined 2003-10-16

PM

Excellent first choice. A nicely put together package which managed to be its own game while paying homage to some of its commercial predecessors.

I look forward to more reviews.

     

No Nonsense Nonsonnets 44

Quest for Knowledge

I’m hoping to find name for game that I played long ago
The people here so well-informed, someone is sure to know
A time machine, grandfather clock, I give it to myself
Oh never mind, the box is sitting there upon my shelf

For real retro gaming nerds, name that game.

Avatar

Total Posts: 796

Joined 2009-11-10

PM

Great idea! Ever since I got AGS running on my tablet, I’ve been on the lookout for great AGS games… There really are some gems out there (recently, I really enjoyed PISS and reactor 09). I’ll definitely checkout Arden’s Vale.

     
Avatar

Total Posts: 5865

Joined 2007-07-22

PM

Great stuff, AGS rules. I tried a bit of the demo of Arden’s Vale and indeed it looked interesting. I thought it was a Full Length game, though, something like A Tale of Two Kingdoms, but doesn’t matter.

Will you be doing older games or just newer ones? Also, what’s with the AGS site? Did they change something, because I remember it being better organized and more functional before? Meh

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

Avatar

Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

PM

Cool,  seems like a good first game maybe i’ll check it out.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

Avatar

Total Posts: 29

Joined 2007-06-22

PM

Egocentric much? Eh, who am I kidding; like trucker caps, v-necks and uttering LOL, the blog-thread trend will always be cool to some.

     

“This cosmic dance of bursting decadence and withheld permissions twists all our arms collectively, but, if sweetness can win, and it can, then I’ll still be here tomorrow to high-five you yesterday my friend. Peace.” -Old Tart Toter

Avatar

Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

PM

TiAgUh - 06 September 2012 06:02 PM

Egocentric much? Eh, who am I kidding; like trucker caps, v-necks and uttering LOL, the blog-thread trend will always be cool to some.

Or maybe he just wants to share the fun he is having with these games and highlight them to his online friends who may wish to play them.

However sniping from the sideline and being a troll is always easier for some.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

Avatar

Total Posts: 1115

Joined 2009-04-28

PM

TiAgUh - 06 September 2012 06:02 PM

Egocentric much?

Yes, probably a little.

Please feel free to ignore the thread and add me to your ignore list if it upsets you.

Backontopic:

Yeah i’m planning on covering some older games too, there’s a big back catalogue with some great games. Smile

The AGS site and forums had a revamp recently, similar to AG here. Most of it seems to work OK although I think some of the links are still a bit dodgy.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

Avatar

Total Posts: 5865

Joined 2007-07-22

PM

Great, but I have a question: Why it’s not in Adventure forum? Gasp

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

Avatar

Total Posts: 7619

Joined 2011-10-21

PM

Interesting thread!

Will you be doing free AGs that used other software as well (like “RPG Maker” that spawned To the Moon)?

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

Avatar

Total Posts: 1115

Joined 2009-04-28

PM

@Diego

Hmmm, good question.

I suppose because indie/freeware stuff used to be separate from the adventure forum and also because I am copying Lucien21’s idea so blatently, I just went for the same forum!

I suppose it might be better suited to Adventure, maybe a mod could move it if they agree?

@Timovieman

To be honest I know AGS and AGS games pretty well but not so much other engines like RPGmaker, Wintermute, Visionaire etc. Therefore I will probably stick with AGS made games. No reason for someone else not to do the others though!

Of course, Step picks up new freeware games across many engines anyway in following freeware.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

Avatar

Total Posts: 1115

Joined 2009-04-28

PM

The Visitor

Right off the bat, I can’t help but think that this short review won’t do this game justice!

The premise is hardly an original one, an alien crash landing on earth and his attempts to get back home. The puzzles seem to revolve largely around fixing items around the house. There is little active dialogue between characters.

However, the above statements fall well short of a proper view of this game and completely fail to do it justice.

You play as both the alien, Agent Moss and Danny, a human on earth who is “invaded” by a one man (or alien!) visit from outer space.

Agent Moss is a little green man whose clueless and careless approach to flying a saucer in search of humans to abduct for their endorphins is brought to an unceremonious halt when he crashes into the statue of liberty. He bails out in an escape pod and crash lands in the grounds of Danny’s house, from where he must escape back to Omega 1.

Danny is unemployed, living with his dad and older drunken brother (who are both out at the beginning of the game) and is bullied by his brother unmercifully. Can Danny save another beating and can Moss get home?

Graphically, this game is perhaps not classically beautiful but is surprisingly detailed and overall achieves a very pleasing, if simplistic effect. The detail spreads to the layout of the house too, with a surprising number of rooms to explore, the house being complete with attic, basement, a large number of rooms over 2 floors, large rear garden with garage, treehouse, jetty and more, all which can be explored and have their own purpose. I would definitely live in this house!

Whilst, as I have said above, there are quite a lot of “fix the household appliance” type puzzles, they do not get old or boring and are varied and inventive enough to keep you interested and enjoying the game thoroughly. Whilst there is not an abundance of dialogue, there are a large number of inventory items which form the subject matter of most of the puzzles in their use around the game world.

There is a dark and edgy side to the humour and tone of the game prevents it getting too samey. There are also small cutscenes littered about which give a little more depth to the backstory of the game.

Criticisms? I really liked this game and don’t want to say anything bad about it, but in all honesty I have to say that the characters are a little bit on the childish side, i.e. the relationship between the brothers and family generally. Also the humour won’t always quite hit for everyone and the “get past the ferocious… cat!” style of one or two of the puzzles may jar slightly if the humour isn’t for you.

Similarly, part of the ending is a little childish also, although this is not enough to ruin the effect of the whole.

Overall though, this is a great first game from NickyNyce and easily kept me entertained for a good couple of hours. In fact the sequel has just been released and I’m looking forward to playing it already!

Released 2011 - get it here.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

Total Posts: 162

Joined 2004-12-30

PM

Used to play a lot of AGS games (Yahtzee’s, Ben Jordan, Pleurghberg (sp?), etc.), but have fallen out of the loop in the last few years. Might keep my eye on this thread for any recommendations!

     
Avatar

Total Posts: 332

Joined 2003-10-16

PM

I didn’t find the slightly childish nature of the characters a problem with The Visitor. It felt fitting to the overall tone of the game for me. The only issue I had was how far you had to walk sometimes.

For a first game this was just incredible. A huge game with good graphics, two player characters and extensive cutscenes (I loved tnose moments when the player saw Agent Moss walk past a window as the human PC was oblivious. Great stuff.

     

No Nonsense Nonsonnets 44

Quest for Knowledge

I’m hoping to find name for game that I played long ago
The people here so well-informed, someone is sure to know
A time machine, grandfather clock, I give it to myself
Oh never mind, the box is sitting there upon my shelf

For real retro gaming nerds, name that game.

Avatar

Total Posts: 1115

Joined 2009-04-28

PM

The Oracle

Delving a little further back in AGS history this time…

This game is a little out of the ordinary for an AGS game in that it is first person and uses photography rather than pixel, hand-drawn or other art. It is made further uncommon by doing both of these elements very well.

There are certainly examples of other AGS games that use photographic backgrounds, but too often these feel simply like a cop-out to save drawing the backgrounds and are horribly inconsistent, usually with badly drawn sprites or poser 3d characters which stick out like a sore thumb. My personal opinion is that, usually, photograph backgrounds in AGS mean a poor game all round.

However, that is a long way from being the case here. We have really well taken photographs spanning 2 continents and a surprising variety of locations which fit together fluently and include some really very good animations of the background.

I believe that all of the photographs within the game were taken specifically for the game by its creator on location - no google images! Clearly the choice of this method was not just a cop-out and explains part of the reason why this game works so well.

Plot wise, the very beginning of the game feels a little cliché, a mysterious answer phone message from our first person protagonist’s brother, a letter sent to a post box for which we have lost the key… However, the game gets a lot more interesting almost straight away and overall there is no feeling of having seen it all before.

Your travels will take you from Canada to Portugal and elsewhere in search of both your missing brother and his apparent incredible discovery. The feel of the game is certainly realistic but is also tinged with the supernatural giving a darker and slightly surreal feel as the game progresses. I won’t say too much about the plot here except that it unravels nicely throughout the game and I don’t want to spoil anything!

Puzzle wise, this isn’t Riven, but neither is it a complete pushover. Being first person, exploration certainly plays its part and inventory based puzzles are the order of the day, together with interaction with the game world for some slightly more Myst-like puzzles. Puzzles are generally good although there is one serious inventory combining puzzle which had me stumped for quite a while (turned out to be little more than my own stupidity!)

There is also a built in in-game hint system which works well and is subtle enough to be very easy to ignore if you want to go it alone. You will probably not even find it unless you go looking for it!

Locations are good and varied, from the snow laden streets of a Canadian town, to the Mediterranean warmth of a Portuguese seaside resort, old forts, Japanese gardens, churches, castles… all well photographed and a joy to explore.

Overall there are over 140 screens in 8 different locations. Maybe not full length, but not a short game by any means!

Being 1st person, there is little in terms of character interaction and dialogue, although what is there is certainly fit for purpose. You will also not need to read through pages and pages of journals etc. as in some 1st person games, which will come as a relief for some!

The soundtrack consists of vaguely ambient tracks made by various people on teh interwebs (properly credited in game) which fit the game well and give a pleasing result.

All in all this is a very well made and enjoyable game which will take a couple of hours at least to play. Engaging story, good looking locations and generally nice puzzles make this a must play for any fans of 1st person games, and is still recommended for any “Myst haters”!

Released 2006 - get it here.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

You are here: HomeForum Home → Gaming → General → Thread

Welcome to the Adventure Gamers forums!