Adventure News

April 2010



Update: Huge batch of hi-res screenshots now available for viewing

At a press event near Oxford yesterday, German publisher dtp entertainment officially announced that Gray Matter will be released for the Xbox 360 as well as PC.

The presentation took place at a hotel that looked like the kind of old-fashioned English location you'd expect to see in Jane Jensen’s long-awaited new adventure. At the event, the game was demonstrated in action on both platforms. Most of the content shown was from the first part of the game, which still isn't the finished product but provided a reasonable representation of what the final game should look like, as seen in the large batch of screenshots just released. [Note: Since time of writing, an even newer collection of hi-res images has been released. Check out the image gallery to view them all.]


Though the bulk of the game is a traditional point-and-click adventure, we also saw some of the other elements in action, such as the magic interface which presents a series of instructions to follow from Samantha Everett's magic book. The challenge is to find the right trick and use it to distract or take items from other characters. Each one corresponds to a diagram of Sam, where objects must be dropped in correct order onto hotspots such as her hands or up her sleeves. Once the trick is complete you can then perform it, which will fool your audience if done correctly.

The Xbox 360 release will essentially be the same as PC version, although naturally the control system has been adapted. The player moves Sam using the analogue control stick, and hotspots are highlighted when she is near one, eliminating the need for any pixel hunting.

The ever-slipping release date for Gray Matter is currently scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2010. In the meantime, be sure to drop by the newly-redesigned official website.



New Frogwares mystery teased for late 2010

The library of Sherlock Holmes adventure games is starting to catch up to the written series, and you can soon add another name to that list, as a teaser was unveiled today for the great detective's next mystery, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.

Little is known so far about Frogwares' sixth Holmes adventure, and the trailer won't do much to alleviate that. The light atmosphere of children playing with a little Watson marionette is foreboding in its whimsy, as this game is described by its creators as perhaps "the most dangerous investigation of his entire career."

Like the previous game in the serious, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, the new title is being developed for both PC and Xbox 360. No firm release date has yet been announced, but The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is currently slated for a fourth quarter release in 2010.



Continuing surreal mystery adventure now available for purchase

It took a while in arriving, but at long last the second episode of the surreal mystery series 1112 has now been released by Agharta Studios.

In Episode 2, players won't begin by knowing much more than they did when the debut installment finished off. Louis Everett is a middle-aged man living a quiet life with his wife in New Jersey, but he's suffering from unexplained headaches and weird dreams. Now he has arrived in New York under mysterious circumstances, with no idea why, and players must help him discover the reason for his presence in the city.

The time since the first episode hasn't been spent idly. The indie French studio has "totally redesigned" the game engine to make better use of the unique features of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The second episode also promises 25 new environments and 14 additional characters, some of which are on display in the game's trailer.

1112: Episode 2 can be purchased for $4.99 from the iTunes Store, where you can also find the prologue-like initial episode.



Touch-based fantasy adventure from New Zealand targets June release

Calling all iPhone and iPod Touch users (figuratively speaking), a new fantasy adventure is on its way soon, as indie New Zealand developer Launching Pad Games has announced an original new title called Scarlett and the Spark of Life.

At first glance, the game seems to adhere to traditional fairy tale clichés, with a kidnapped princess seeking to flee her captors. Scarlett is no helpless damsel in distress, however, and the plucky heroine needs no Prince Charming to come to her aid. Instead, "with a distinct lack of patience and a crowbar named Chester, she’s going to escape into the sunset on the back of a surly mechanical horse", and along the way she just might discover the "secret spark that brings about life itself".

With the platforms' touch-based controls and compact screens, the developers claim that the "point-and-tap" Scarlett and the Spark of Life has been "designed from the ground up for the iPhone and iPod Touch". This project marks the debut adventure for Launching Pad, but the company is no stranger to puzzle-based gameplay, having previously released two episodes of a free browser-based puzzle-platformer called The Pretender.

There is currently no firm release date scheduled for Scarlett and the Spark of Life, but the developers are targeting completion this June.



Two trailers herald free debut episode called City of the Daleks

So that's who! The BBC has recently announced that it will be the robotic Daleks confronting players in the free first episode of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, entitled City of the Daleks.

In the first of four downloadable episodes, Doctor Who travels to Kaalann, the Dalek capital city. When the TARDIS (a time machine for the uninitiated) arrives in 1963, "London is in ruins. The Daleks have seized control of time and the only chance of saving Earth lies in a desperate quest to Skaro, the Daleks' home planet - before time catches up with Amy, the last survivor of the human race!"

The first trailer highlights some of the gameplay involved, showing Doctor Who and Amy overcoming physical obstacles and engaging in some stealth maneuvers. Along with the official footage, the BBC also released a promotional video of the "Daleks invading Sheffield", which the children seem to find funny... I mean scary (but mostly funny). The video can be streamed at Adventure Gamers' video channel.

City of the Daleks will be released on June 5th for download free of charge.



Daedalic's 2D fantasy adventure now shipping to retailers

It's felt like a long time in coming, but at long last players can purchase The Whispered World for themselves, as the game is now shipping to retailers.

The highly-anticipated 2D fantasy adventure needs no introduction by now, as the tale of the depressed little clown Sadwick and his shapeshifting caterpillar pet Spot has been well documented. Warned in a prophecy about the end of the world that he himself will help bring about, Sadwick and Spot must set out into the Autumn Forest in order to change the current course of events. To catch up on the latest details about this game, be sure to check out our recent preview.

The Whispered World is now shipping in the UK and will soon be released in North America as well. The game is also available now through digital distribution at The Adventure Shop.

Note: Adventure Gamers is an Adventure Shop affiliate.



Trailers offer first glimpse of new DS adventure from Ace Attorney creator

Mix a healthy dose of Phoenix Wright with a little pinch of Shadow of Destiny, then stir in a whole lot of weird, and you may start to approach the concoction behind Capcom's latest DS adventure officially announced today, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.

The Ace Attorney similarities come naturally, as Shu Takumi, the original creator of Capcom’s popular courtroom series, is behind Ghost Trick as well. There are more mysteries to solve here, but this time around, you're dead. Players control an amnesiac ghost named Sissel, who was recently murdered and now has spectral powers that he can use to protect the lives of others marked for death, even as he tries to discover the secrets behind his own tragic end. To do so, he must return to a point four minutes prior to each character's death to change their fates.

According to Capcom, players will have "many routes to choose from to scare off the victims’ assassins" but warns that "Sissel only has until dawn before he has to leave the supernatural world for good." The first videos of Ghost Trick introduce the game's unique characters and highly distinctive aesthetic style, along with a glimpse into the use of Sissel's "ghost tricks" like like possessing and manipulating inanimate objects.

The two videos (a second can be streamed from Adventure Gamers' YouTube channel) will have to tide you over for a while, as Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is currently slated for release this winter.



Runaway developers back with first details about new original project

People are always on the lookout for the next big thing, and thanks to Pendulo Studios and Focus Home Interactive, that's exactly what adventure gamers will soon be getting, as the two companies are joining forces once again to produce The Next BIG Thing.

In this new adventure from the creators of the popular Runaway series, players will be introduced to a new pair of protagonists. This time around it's the charismatic Dan Murray and Liz Allaire. No details are yet known about the story, but the developers are promising to "stay faithful to their unique graphic style" and offer "an intricate story, funny and charismatic characters, wacky mysteries and puzzles, and a definite adult and modern tone." Oh, and monsters.




There may be a while to wait yet for The Next BIG Thing, as there's currently no release date even scheduled for the game yet, but we'll certainly be keeping a close eye on the game's development in the coming months.



New season kicks off with today's multi-platform release of The Penal Zone

After a two year hiatus, the Freelance Police are back today with all-new tricks up their sleeves (well, Sam's sleeves, anyway), as the first episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse has now been released for PC and Mac. The game will also be releasing today -- the first time ever for Sam & Max -- on the PlayStation 3 as well.

In The Penal Zone, players get to control not only the canine shamus, but the little lagomorph himself for the first time. Upon discovering that Max has latent psychic abilities, now the crimefighting duo must find a series of ancient toys that bestows Max with new talents. And they're going to need all of them if they're to stop the alien gorilla General Skunkape from finding the toys and seizing the power for himself.

The Penal Zone is currently available only as part of the five-episode full season of The Devil's Playhouse, which can be ordered directly from Telltale Games, or through the PlayStation Network. The episode can also be purchased individually on the new Apple iPad from the iTunes store.

Update: Playable demos for PC and Mac are also now available from Telltale's website.



Playable sampler of recently released sci-fi indie now available

Hot on the heels of its online release, today a playable demo of Slip Space: The Burma-Shave Analogy is now available for download.

The sci-fi indie adventure casts players as a conscripted agent of the Strategic Intelligence Alliance, given a brain implant and sent to investigate a mysterious disappearing/reappearing building bearing the sign "The Golden Age of Advertising". By exploring what proves to be a temporal-dimension transporter, players soon find themselves in a central hub known as the Shave, which takes them to alternate universes in pursuit of the building creator's five sons.

The demo takes place right at the start of the game, providing a lengthy introduction before depositing players in control just outside the mysterious building. At just under 100 MB, the demo can be downloaded directly from the official website.



Playable English sampler now available for download

If you read through our recent preview of The Whispered World and wished you had your own chance to play the game early, now you can, as the UK publisher has just released a playable demo of the fantasy adventure.

The demo takes place right at the beginning of the game, introducing the two protagonists, a woeful clown named Sadwick and his shapeshifting pet caterpillar Spot. When Sadwick dreams of the end of the world, it's up to him to set out on a quest to save it from its impending doom, which he himself seems destined to play a part in bringing about.

At nearly 600 MB, the demo is a fairly sizable download that can be found at the Deep Silver website. If you like what you see, there isn't much longer to wait until the full version, which is scheduled for release in both the UK and North America later this month.



Downloadable BBC-produced episodes to begin in June for PC and Mac

Devoted Doctor Who fans have long wanted the sci-fi franchise to make a different kind of space jump, this time from TV to gaming, and today that wish is four steps closer to reality, as the BBC has announced production on a free four-part downloadable series called Doctor Who: The Adventure Games.

Coinciding with the latest Doctor Who television season, the four "interactive episodes" promise to "create amazing two-hour dramas in which you control the action." Few details have yet been revealed about the storylines, but the games will feature both new and familiar characters and monsters as the "four original stories will take players on a journey throughout time and space, including one location from the Doctor Who series which has never been seen before on screen."

The production of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games represents a who's who of talent in its own right. Current series stars Matt Smith (the Doctor) and Karen Gillan (Amy) are being digitally recreated for the the games and will provide full voiceovers. The scripts are being handled by writers Phil Ford and James Moran, who have each penned episodes of the television series, while music is provided by TV composer Murray Gold. From a game design standpoint, Revolution's Charles Cecil is contributing his expertise to the project as well.

This isn't the first time Doctor Who has appeared interactively, and indeed the brower-based Attack of the Graske is still available to play while you're waiting for the new series. Doctor Who: The Adventure Games represents a bold step forward, however, and you can keep an eye open for additional details as they become available at the official website.

The first episode is scheduled for release on both PC and Mac in June.



"Twisted" adaptation of Shakespeare's classic now available for purchase

With today's release of mif2000's Hamlet, gamers now have a chance to experience Shakespeare like they never have before.

In this "twisted" comic-styled adaptation of the classic drama, players control a scientist from the future who inadvertently crash lands right on top of Hamlet, just as he's about to avenge his parents' death and rescue his beloved Ophelia. Now it's up to the unassuming protagonist to step into the Danish hero's shoes in order to prevent the course of "history" (at least for him) from changing forever.

In your travels, you'll meet up with several recognizable names from the play, including Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and the evil Claudius. You'll also encounter a numerous puzzle-based obstacles to overcome, and even some "boss" battles, requiring strategic problem-solving rather than quick reflexes.

Hamlet is currently available for download only through Alawar, the game's publisher, at a cost of $9.95 USD. A free one-hour trial demo is also available.



Episodes 4-6 available today; North American release coming later this month

The final three Mysteries of Little Riddle can now be solved by PlayStation 3 gamers, as Episodes 4-6 of the Blue Toad Mystery Files are being released today for download in the UK.

The comic whodunit series by Relentless Software first debuted in December, sending players into the quaint English town of Little Riddle, where a murder promptly occurs right before their eyes. As many as four different players can join in the investigation, interrogating suspects in search of clues to bring the perpetrator to justice.

The first three episodes of the Blue Toad Mystery Files are already bundled together and available both in PAL territories and in North America. With today's release, the second and final set of episodes can now be purchased together in the UK for £9.99, or as individual episodes for £4.79. Episodes 4-6 are soon coming to North America as well, with a scheduled release date of April 29th.

For more information about the series, be sure to check out the official website, and stay tuned for our review of the first three episodes coming soon.

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