Adventure News

April 2012



Debut of Telltale's zombie-themed adventure series now available for download

They're alive! (Or at least, undead.)  Zombies are on the prowl today, as Telltale has released the debut episode of its new series, The Walking Dead, along with a brand new trailer.

Telling an all-new story in the world of Robert Kirkman's acclaimed comic book series of the same name, the new five-part series follows the survivors of a zombie apocalypse.  In the first episode, A New Day, players must guide a former college professor named Lee Everett, who was recently convicted of murder, and a little girl named Clementine out of Atlanta to Lee's hometown of Macon.


The Walking Dead is not a traditional adventure, offering few puzzles while including occasional Quick Time Events to avoid danger.  However, nor is the emphasis on "action", or on zombie-killing horror.  Rather, the narrative focus is on the characters themselves, depicting "how people caught in an apocalypse deal with facing their own death every day, and the horrible choices they have to make to survive." And choices have a tangible effect here, impacting the way the story plays out.

The first episode is available now for PC and Mac directly from Telltale and other download portals only as part of a full-season purchase. The game has also been released as a standalone episode today on the PlayStation Network, and will be launched soon on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

For more details about The Walking Dead, check out our preview of the game.



Creators of Hector: Badge of Carnage unveil upcoming adventure lineup

If you've dared to wonder what the twisted minds behind Hector: Badge of Carnage have been up to lately, it turns out they've been coming up with lots of bold new ideas at Straandlooper Animation, at least three of which they plan to turn into adventure (or adventure-like) games.

Thunder in Donford[/url] is described by designer Dean Burke as "in some ways the spiritual successor to Hector, and in other ways entirely unique, throwing in alternative gameplay to shake things up."  The game promises to be "packed with preposterous point-&-click style irreverence. A boisterous, non-stop cross-country ricochet across Britain, slapped together with the meticulous delusions of a paranoid conspiracy theorist lorry driver, Trev Duvay. Part time trucker, full time loner on an unforgettable crazy road trip that will probably scar your fragile mind for life."

Named after the famous paradoxical thought experiment, Schrödinger’s Cat stars a "dark, dimension-jumping feline superhero who’s both dead and alive, unwittingly charged with disentangling the secrets of time, space, the atomic, the astronomical and the infinite. Up against anything from an unruly band of disagreeable leptons to the sinister creeping tendrils of Dark Matter, Schrödinger’s Cat is sure to blow the lid off all the things you never knew about life, the universe and everything."  Breaking from the more traditional genre conventions, this game will include some action-adventure elements in a mix of "part puzzler, part platformer, part punch-up".

Last but certainly not least, The Sirrush Conundrum will be an "epic puzzler" that takes players into the "hidden worlds of espionage and the dark underside of global business’ relations with governments. Accompany outspoken politico and ‘toff’ dissident James Newton Wellbeloved aka Newt as he runs from a kill order and at the same time has to unravel and foil a labyrinthine and outrageous international plot that leads him into the far reaches of alternative archaeology and – for a lifelong skeptic – a mind blowing immersion in so-called ‘psychic’ techniques."

All three games are still in the story and concept development phase, but Straandlooper has received a Slate Development Loan from Northern Ireland Screen to match their own funding, and they are currently in the process of seeking additional finances to begin full production on the new projects for PC, Mac, and iOS platforms. Even if they were to receive support for all three right away, it's doubtful that they would be developed simultaneously given the small size of the team, but if all goes well, we'll be seeing plenty from Straandlooper in the years to come.



Surreal new adventure from Amanita Design now available for PC, Mac, and Linux

If you've ever wanted to play in a treehouse, Botanicula will give you that chance today (albeit in a way you probably never imagined), as the highly-ancticipated new game from Amanita Design is now available for download.

The creator of Samorost and Machinarium has developed an all-new world to explore this time around, but it's no less surreal and imaginative than its predecessors.  In Botanicula, five little tree critters set out on a quest to save the last surviving seed when their tree home is invaded by a gang of marauding parasites. 


Botanicula is available for download now for PC, Mac, and Linux from the developer's website and  (For a limited time, the game is being offered as part of a pay-what-you-want Humble Bundle, which includes free downloads of Samorost 2 and  Machinarium, plus soundtracks for each.  Those who pay more than the contribution average also receive the puzzler Windosill as well as the outstanding feature film Kooky.)

For complete details about the game, be sure to check out our Botanicula review.



Unique comic crate puzzler now available for PC, Mac, and iOS

Today's a very good day for quirky independent puzzlers, as MacGuffin's Curse has just been launched for PC, Mac, and iOS.

The new game from Brawsome, the Aussie developer behind Jolly Rover, isn't a traditional adventure game, instead presenting a series of environmental crate-pushing puzzles with a comical story focus in between.  Lucas MacGuffin becomes cursed when he steals a magical artifact from the museum, and is now doomed to become a werewolf in moonlight.  That may be the least of his worries, however, as the theft puts the city in security lockdown, and a nefarious nemesis has plans to acquire the amulet for himself.  Only by strategically using both his human and lycanthropic forms can Lucas escape the traps and foil his foe.


MacGuffin's Curse is available for download now on PC and Mac exclusively on Steam, and at the App Store for both iPhone and iPad.  For more information about the game, check out first-look preview and head over to the official website.



Community supporters choose metaphysical sci-fi thriller as first Pinkerton Road project

The fans have spoken (at least, those who put their money where their mouths were), and the first game from Jane Jensen's Pinkerton Road Studio will be Moebius.

As part of the ongoing "Community Supported Gaming" fundraising campaign at Kickstarter, Jensen gave early supporters the choice of three potential games as her next project.  Options included Gray Matter 2 and a 19th century historical mystery/romance with the working title Anglophile Adventure.  But Moebius came out the winner, as fans were lured by the promise of another "metaphysical sci-fi thriller in the vein of Dante’s Equation and Gabriel Knight."

Moebius stars antiquities dealer Malachi Rector, a young, handsome man with "a knack for sensing 'the soul' of an object", who travels the world hunting for unique artifacts. When his "upscale Manhattan store is destroyed in a fire, Rector is hired by millionaire Amble Dexter to investigate a series of events and document them in his meticulous way." The first such indicent is the death of a lovely, talented woman in Venice whose death proves to have "great hidden significance. It appears that Amble Dexter and his associates are playing with the fabric of life in a way Rector never imagined possible". Even he is destined to play his part, so it's now up to him to discover the full truth and "decide whether to play his pre-scripted role or try to change the outcome."

As you'd expect from a Jane Jensen adventure, Moebius will be a third-person, point-and-click title.  The game will feature a 2D graphic novel visual style and include two difficulty modes, with optional features like hints, hotspot highlighter, and a simplified interface if so desired.

If Pinkerton Road's fundraising campaign is successful, the plan is for Moebius to be released sometime around March 2013.  When asked if the game would still be her first project regardless of the Kickstarter results, Jensen confirmed that it would be, though the need to reach out to other investors would obviously set back the projected timeline. 



Popular iOS adventure port now available through Steam

A year after launching to commercial and critical acclaim on the iOS, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP has at last made its way to the PC today. 

Superbrothers casts players in the role of a female "warrior monk on a laid back adventure in a bronze age mountain wilderness", but this is no traditional fantasy adventure.  Instead, the game is an "exploratory action adventure videogame with an emphasis on audiovisual style. Traverse a mythic little realm, use a sword to do battle & evoke sworcery to solve mystical musical mysteries. Co-operate with friends via Twitter, experience a videogame world that is affected by moon phases & help a wandering warrior monk complete her woeful errand."


Although the game does feature a small amount of combat, action is certainly not the primary emphasis in this game, which the developers refer to as "a streamlined 21st century re-imagining of the point & click adventure videogames of yesteryear. Alternately, because of the primacy of Jim Guthrie's musical score, S:S&S EP can be understood as a prog rock concept album you can hang out in."

The port of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is available exclusively through Steam for PC (currently discounted in a launch day sale), though a Mac version is expected in the coming months.  The game is also sold at the App Store for both iPhone and iPad.



Creators of Space Quest team up once again for new sci-fi adventure

The flood of classic adventure developers returning to the genre fold continues today, with word that Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy are teaming up once again for a brand new adventure.

The renowned Two Guys from Andromeda (now going by the unnumbered moniker "Guys from Andromeda") are of course best known as the creators of Space Quest.  It's certainly been a while since they worked together at Sierra, but the website and video announcing their new project declare that "After a brief 25+ year hiatus we (Mark and Scott) have joined forces once again and are tooling-up to bring you a new Space Adventure, or SPACEVENTURE™, if you will."


There are currently no details about the new project available, but the developers are promising the game will incorporate the "same style of comedy, wonder and excellence you expect from a Two Guys adventure." While no fundraising appeal accompanied the recent announcement, it seems likely that one will follow in future, as Crowe and Murphy note that "The way games are made and gotten into a player’s home has changed greatly... We are adapting to the changes, taking advantage of them and charting our own course through space."

For more information about the project, check out the official website.



Prison-based indie adventure set in world beset by extreme weather conditions

People may sometimes think that if games journalists know so much about games, why don't they just make a game themselves? Well, that's exactly what Eurogamer's Lewis Denby and The Telegraph's Ashton Raze have done, announcing their first collaborative adventure game, Richard & Alice.

Richard & Alice is set in a world afflicted by extreme weather conditions. Parts of the world have been buried under months of snowfall, while others suffered from droughts that have rendered them deserts. Naturally, the result was panic: "Chaos reigned. Terrified authorities around the world began a campaign of zero tolerance, and once-luxurious prisons quickly became saturated with inmates."

This "story-focused adventure" casts players primarily in the role of Richard, an inmate of one such overcrowded penitentiary, but flashbacks will also be played as Alice, another recent arrival. From within the confines of the prison walls, players will find themselves "exploring Alice’s mysterious past while they work out what’s really going on in the outside world."

While no firm release date has been set, Richard & Alice is currently on pace for launch sometime later this year, to be released through digital distribution on PC. For more details about the game, keep an eye on the official website and the developer's blog.



Additional videos introduce the five main tree critter characters

Not to be lost amidst all the Kickstarter hoopla of late are some highly anticipated games that are almost ready for release. Heading that list (Hype-o-Meter don't lie) is Amanita's Botanicula, which is celebrating its launch date announcement with a brand new video.

The latest game from the creators of Samorost and Machinarium casts players in the multiple roles of five tiny tree critters, who must begin a quest to save their home when the last remaining seed in their treehouse is invaded by parasites. But life isn't easy when you're small, and as the new trailer suggests, the world is full of dangers and obstacles that will take all of them working together to overcome.

But just who are these strange and unusual protagonists? For a closer look, be sure to check out the charming introductory character videos below. Those will have to tide you over for a while, but not too much longer, as Botanicula is scheduled for release on PC, Mac, and Linux at the official website on April 19th.



Unique "Community Supported Gaming" campaign offers yearly subscription model

Leave it to Jane Jensen to take a familiar idea and put a creative spin on it. While Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert are promising a Double Fine Adventure, and Chris Jones will soon be reviving Tex Murphy for a new mystery, Jane and her husband Robert Holmes are taking the community-supported funding model to a whole new level as they launch their new independent development studio, Pinkerton Road.

After teasing fans that "something is coming" in advertisements right here on Adventure Gamers the past few days, today the acclaimed designer and master storyteller unveiled the big surprise, and it's not quite what you might expect. The good news right off the bat: She's going to start making adventure games again! That's "games", plural! And as many have speculated, a Kickstarter campaign is involved, but here is where Jane's idea differs from the norm. Rather than simply asking people to contribute to a single project, Pinkerton Road will use a broader "Community Supported Gaming" (CSG) model to help finance production. Based on a similar agricultural model (not coincidentally, as the studio itself is based on Jensen's Pennsylvania farm), the idea is to have backers pledge funds to support the company for an entire year. And what a year they have planned.

According to the Kickstarter page, meeting the target goal of $300,000 will result in two new games. Lola and Lucy's Big Adventure is a kid's ebook/game that's been in production for some time now and is nearly ready for release. Beyond that, however, is the promise of a downloadable "all new original adventure game by Jane in the vein of Gabriel Knight and Gray Matter", due approximately March 2013. Sound good? Well, if you're considering reaching for your wallet, it gets juicier, as reaching a secondary goal of $600,000 will include a second full-scale adventure.

While there's no immediate Gabriel Knight sequel on the horizon (sorry, though you can be sure that Jensen's return to adventure game design will have all the right people taking notice), just some of the concepts under consideration include what Jane describes as "a fun idea" for Gray Matter 2, an "anglophile adventure" (a game set in the period of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy), and Moebius, which Jensen teases as being a game "Gabriel Knight fans will like".



Which of the proposed projects first gets off the ground will be decided not by Jane Jensen, but by Pinkerton Road supporters. And of course there are many other exclusive rewards as well. These range from a single PC game download and access to Pinkerton Road updates and CSG-only forum for $16 to getting all new games, beta test invitations, and signed pdf "design bibles" for $50. Pledges of $100 include packaged DVD versions of all new games, a T-shirt, and a game music CD, while the upper tiers include goodies like a visit to Pinkerton Road Studio and signed artwork.

If the Kickstarter goal seems modest for a full-fledged new Jane Jensen adventure (or two), that's because Pinkerton Studio isn't totally dependent on community support, though supplemental public funding helps ensure the creative freedom to make "the kinds of games that YOU and WE want to play". In the unlikely event the fundraising campaign does not meet its target, Jensen told Adventure Gamers, "If we don't reach our funding goal on Kickstarter, then the studio will be on a slower boat -- we'll reach out to investors and hope to fund one game that way. And once that game is released it can, hopefully, help fund more games." But raising enough funds using the CSG model is Jensen's preference, so she can maintain more control over her ideas and build a direct relationship with her fans.

So it's official: Jane Jensen is back, ladies and gentlemen! For more about the CSG model, pledge rewards, additional concept art, and an eerily amusing video (also displayed above -- click to view) hosted by Jensen's stepdaughter (and Scarlet Furies lead singer) Raleigh Holmes, visit the Kickstarter campaign for full details.