Adventure News

November 2009



Download version of A Twist of Fate now available (Update: patch also released)

Though the retail version is still lagging behind, the download version of Runaway: A Twist of Fate gets off to an early start this week, as the game is now available at The Adventure Shop.

The third and final adventure for stars Brian Basco and Gina Timmins begins on a rather ominous note, with Gina attending Brian's funeral. What bizarre sequence of events brought them to that point? That's for players to discover through a variety of scenarios that see Brian convicted of murder and sent to an insane asylum, and that's just for starters. And for the first time in the series, Gina is a playable character here, as she plays a much larger role than she has in previous games.

The full retail release of the game is currently scheduled for early next year, for PC, Wii, and Nintendo DS. For more information about A Twist of Fate, be sure to check out our recent preview and the series website.

UPDATE: A 1.05 patch has already been released, which fixes sound issues during the cinematics and/or the dialogs on some systems. Current saved games are compatible with the patched version. The patch is 12.4 MB and can be downloaded here. Just click the file to run after saving.

Note: The Adventure Shop is an Adventure Gamers affiliate.



Collector's Edition of Dire Grove now available; standard version to follow soon

The latest Mystery Case Files adventure is now available, though it comes with a premium, as the "Collector's Edition" of Dire Grove is now available at Big Fish Games.

The sixth game in the popular casual series continues the trend begun in last year's Return to Ravenhearst of blending hidden object sequences with more traditional adventure gameplay. This time around, Dire Grove also features a live-action backstory, as players must piece together what became of four graduate students who disappeared in a tiny English town during a terrible snowstorm.

Available exclusively at Big Fish, the Collector's Edition features such extras as in-game strategy guide, video outtatkes, and even bonus gameplay. The cost of this version is $19.95, with no coupons or credits applicable and no trial version available.

The standard version of Dire Grove will be available at the Big Fish portal in early December, and usual conditions will apply.

Note: Big Fish Games is an Adventure Gamers affiliate.



Parnanormal indie FMV mystery now available for purchase

All Hallows' Eve may have come and gone uneventfully this year, but the spirit of ghost-hunting lives on (in a fashion) in the newly-released STATIC: Investigator Training.

A third-person FMV adventure that hearkens back to the likes of Phantasmagoria, the new game by indie developer Ethereal Darkness puts players in the role of Julie Masters, an ambitious new member of Berkshire Paranormal. Julie is sent to the Houghton Mansion in North Adams, Massachusetts, where a tragedy occurred in the early 20th century, followed by many documented paranormal events. In modern day, players must explore the mansion and its surrounding areas in order to uncover previously-unrevealed clues into the manor's haunting mystery.

STATIC: Investigator Training is currently available through download for a cost of $9.95 (USD) only at the developer's website, where you can also find a free playable demo to sample.



Comic "touch & slide" crime spoof adventure now in production

While adventures on the iPhone and iPod Touch are becoming more common, to date they have largely been ports and updates of existing games. Irish developer Straandlooper Animation plans to blow that notion away (quite messily) next year with its three-part episodic series, Hector: Badge of Carnage.

The stylish comic crime spoof stars Detective Inspector Hector, a "flawed, misanthropic anti-hero" who is rather unaffectionately known as the "fat arse of the law". In Badge of Carnage, a hostage crisis in the city of Clappers Wreake ("crime capital of Britain") breaks out, leaving Hector with a tough decision to make. He must either "carry out the terrorist’s curiously altruistic demands, or watch as his fellow officers are picked off one by one. Hector’s still on the fence."

A classic point-and-click adventure, though relabeled "touch & slide" by creator Dean Burke to better suit the touch-screen platform, the series promises plenty of offbeat humour, cinematic cutscenes, and puzzles to keep players entertained. The series will debut with We Negotiate with Terrorists, and each episode will "tie together working toward a satisfying climactic payoff, each one ending in a nail biting cliffhanger."

While release plans have not yet been finalized, the developers expect to be finished the first episode early in the new year, and project a production time of 4-6 months for the two subsequent installments. In the meantime, there's a host of Hector information and goodies at the official website, including a couple of animated shorts.



New horror-themed mystery from Future Games to be released for PC and Wii

There's some two-part news today out of Germany, which seems only fitting for a game called Alter Ego. German publisher bitComposer has announced that it will be releasing the latest adventure by Future Games in the first quarter of 2010, on Nintendo Wii as well as PC.

Referred to by the developers as the "successor" to Black Mirror, the new horror-themed mystery sends players back to the late 19th century in a small English town called Plymouth, where a ruthless arisotrat has recently been buried. Local legends tell of his many cruel crimes, but he was never brought to justice during his lifetime. Since his death, however, a series of gruesome murders has occurred, and the town is now gripped in panic and fear. Players will control two different characters, a thief named Timothy Moor and Police Detective Bristol, to investigate from two different angles and ultimately expose a dark, hidden secret.

No specific release details have been revealed yet, but the game is scheduled for release in both North America and Europe. In the meantime, additional information can be found at the game's official website.



Ports of first three Ace Attorney adventures announced by Capcom

One of the most highly acclaimed DS adventure series is ready to take an all-new platform by storm next year, as Capcom has announced ports of the first three Ace Attorney games, to be released through WiiWare over the first half of 2010.

The popular anime courtroom series stars young defense lawyer Phoenix Wright, who must pull out all the stops to defeat a host of ruthless prosecutors and get his clients acquitted. The series is characterized more by its quirky characters and zany antics than any resemblance to real legal proceedings, and the Wii version will be adapted for the home console by having players "present evidence with the wave of the Wii remote or press suspicious testimonies by wiggling it."

The first game in the series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, will offer only the first four episodes from the original release, with the DS-specific case no longer included. The game is expected to release in January 2010, with the next two games, Justice for All and Trials and Tribulations, to follow in March and May, respectively. Each game will cost 1,000 Wii Points ($10.00 USD).



Collector's Edition of new Mystery Case Files to launch next week

Last week Big Fish served up a little tease of its upcoming Mystery Case Files adventure, but today offers a much bigger taste, with the first screenshots, a lengthy new trailer, and release details for not one but two versions of Dire Grove.

The sixth installment in the popular casual game series, and the second to focus heavily on traditional adventure gameplay, Dire Grove sends players following in the footsteps of four graduate students who mysteriously vanished. After finding their rental car, abandoned during a sudden snow storm, players must explore the area in and around the secluded English town of Dire Grove in search of scattered tapes that reveal additional information about the events that led to their disappearance. Much of the storyline will be presented through live-action film clips in a game that's promising to be much more ambitious than its predecessors, with a projected 10-15 hours of gameplay.

How soon you can expect Dire Grove will depend on which version you choose. The game will debut on November 25th with a "Collector's Edition" exclusively for members of the Big Fish Games portal. This enhanced version will come with an in-game strategy guide, video outtakes, concept art, desktop wallpapers, and some bonus gameplay as well, giving players "access to hidden content and additional hidden-object scenes" that won't be available in the standard edition. The Collector's Edition comes with a higher price tag, however, as the game will retail for $19.95 with no coupons or credits applicable. The regular version of the game will be sold with the usual price and conditions, and will be released in early December.

For more details about Dire Grove and the Mystery Case Files series, you'll find them at the official website.



Video and screenshots offers first peek at new game from Rhiannon creators

We’ve known about Coven for quite some time, but could only wonder what it would look like until today. At last, the creators of Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches have released the first screenshots and a trailer for their upcoming game.

The trailer gives some historical insight to the mystery of the game, introducing the foreboding location of Castle Avon and the Welsh harbour town of Glendowershire. Players player must investigate the dark mysteries of the castle and solve the mystery of why Megan Jones was hung as a witch.

Coven will display some stylistic changes from Rhiannon, including a much larger setting to explore, characters to interact with, and according to the developers, even include “within the expectations of our target players, a light sprinkling of action here and there.”

No firm release date has been set for the game, though it’s expected some time next year. More information about Coven can be found at Arberth Studio’s official site.



Independent puzzle-centric title targets release in first quarter of 2010

Fans of solitary, puzzle-centric adventures can finally prepare themselves for a little bit of utopia next year, as a small European studio called Wax Lyrical Games has announced production on its debut title, Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok.

Wittard sends players into a small indoor city called 'The Utopia'. A "pleasure dome" designed by the eccentric architect Baron Wittard, the city was due for its grand opening two years ago, but "that event never happened. A chain of mysterious events has now left the Utopia abandoned and silent. People have gone missing. Electromagnetic disturbances are increasing. These happenings all point to Wittard's desolate Utopia. Armed with only a camera and a torch, you must journey there alone to explore its winding corridors, its secret passageways, and its gloomy halls."

In this first-person "adventure-puzzle" game with 360-degree camera panning, players must explore the lonely remains of the once-impressive city in order to expose a terrible secret the local townsfolk claim was kept by Wittard himself. The developers are promising non-linear gameplay in this "massive and mysterious ruin in the middle of nowhere" that players can explore at leisure.

Though Wax Lyrical has no firm distribution plans in place, they do intend to release the game both on disc and through digital distribution, and are currently targeting completion some time in the first quarter of next year. For more details about the game in the meantime, pop on over to the official website.



After several delays, Snake in the Grass now available for purchase online

It took a little longer than expected, but the third episode of the acclaimed Casebook series has finally arrived, as independent New Zealand developer Areo Games today released Snake in the Grass for online purchase and download.

The third case for Detective James Burton (and the player as the silent partner) sees Burton confronted by an old nemesis. When a murder occurs in the small town of Garden, Burton is sure he knows who is responsible. But all signs point to another culprit entirely, so Burton is left to go "outside the law, following a trail of unsolved crimes to an old haunt."

The Snake in the Grass download is around 1.15 GB in size, and is available exclusively at the developer's website for a cost of $15, where you can also find the first two cases at discounted prices, along with a free standalone demo entitled The Missing Urn.



Gray Matter, Ghost Pirates, Black Mirror 2, 15 Days, So Blonde set for 2010 release

With so many tantalizing adventures released in Germany these days, the question for English-speaking gamers always becomes: when for us? Today, Mamba Games and dtp have unveiled an all-star lineup of new adventures slated for English release in 2010.

Topping the list is Jane Jensen's Gray Matter, but the rest of the lineup is a further who's who in the genre. Also expected some time during the year are the highly-anticipated supernatural sequel Black Mirror 2, Autumn Moon's Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, House of Tales' 15 Days, and the alternate version of So Blonde for Nintendo consoles.

While the name Mamba Games might still be unfamiliar to most people, the fledgling London-based publisher launched its "Odyssia" brand specifically for adventure games last year, debuting with existing titles such as Outcry and The Lost Crown, with plans to release up to 16 different adventures on PC, DS, and Wii by the end of 2010. Today's jaw-dropping lineup is certainly a promising start, though Mamba claims that it will be announcing additional titles in the coming weeks.

There are no specific release dates set for any of these games, but having a publisher is the first important step, and we'll have specific updates as soon as they become available.



Playable sampler precedes sixth Swedish mystery for the amateur sleuth

With the release of the sixth Carol Reed mystery approaching fast, MDNA Games has now released a playable demo of Black Circle.

Her latest adventure sees the amateur detective tackling another murder mystery in Sweden. This time, her neighbour recounts a story of a dead body he discovered that somehow disappeared while he left to fetch the police. The police don't believe the elderly man's story, so it's up to Carol to get to bottom of this curious development.

The demo includes a short optional tutorial, then starts off at the beginning of the full game, introducing the mystery at hand and getting the adventure underway. To download the 89 MB file, simply head over to the game's official website.

There is no firm release date announced for the game's release, but it's expected to be available later this month.



Newest installment of the casual game series to feature live action footage

With last year's Return to Ravenhearst, Big Fish Games moved its popular Mystery Case Files hidden object game series noticeably into the more traditional adventure realm. With the latest installment, Dire Grove, the series seems poised to make the next leap, as hinted in the game's teaser released today.

Little is known about the upcoming sixth PC title in the series, but more information will follow in the coming weeks as the game nears release. In the meantime, the video offers up a tantalizing FMV glimpse into the events that will take players into the "dire grove" this time around, following in the footsteps of four graduate students who travelled to a small township in England and were never heard from again.

For additional details as they become available, and for information about the other Mystery Case Files games, be sure to check out the official series website.



Italian medieval adventure pits players against the plague and other Satanic forces

Adventure gamers have run into a Grand Inquisitor before, but unlike the days of Zork, this time players will become one themselves in Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague, a new Italian adventure now in production.

The medieval adventure co-created by Koala Games and Imagimotion casts players in the dual roles of Nicolas Eymerich and his partner, friar Jacinto Corona. A cruel man whose only goal is to "combat Satan", Eymerich assumes the mantle of Grand Inquistor when sent to a French territory where the Catholic Church has lost its influence. Once there, he discovers that the village is afflicted with a deadly plague and that "madness and heresy have united, forests are on fire hiding monstrous creatures created by the ancient pagan myths, and the Cistercian castle has turned into an impregnable fortress where large stakes burn." It's up to Nicolas and Jacinto to discover the cause of these horrors and put a stop to them.

The presence of monsters doesn't require any combat, according to its developers, as Nicolas Eymerich is largely a traditional point-and-click, 2.5D title. At various times players will control one of the two lead protagonists alone, and sometimes both of them working together. In an interesting nod to old school adventures, the game will also feature a text parser that allows players to communicate with Eymerich. Writer and director Ivan Venturi warns, however, that the Grand Inquisitor is not a good-hearted man, so talking to him will not result in friendly exchanges.

The story has been "freely adapted" from Valerio Evangelisti’s novel Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor”, published in Italy. As the first installment of a planned trilogy of games, The Plague will include 130 environments and about 30 other characters to interact with. It'll be a while until inquisitive minds get to see the finished version of the game, as the developers are tentatively targeting a release late next year for the Italian version. In the meantime, for more details about the game and its unusual protogonists, be sure to check out the official website.

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