Adventure News

January 2013



The first episode of Phoenix Online's Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller left players (and more than a few victims) hanging – not surprising in a debut entitled The Hangman. But now Episode 2 has arrived, and this time it's The Wise Monkey who's on the prowl.

All thoughts of the previous serial killer are quickly set aside, along with Erica Reed's unresolved quest to avenge her brother's murder three years previously, when a rare female serial killer appears on the scene with a propensity to brutally dismember various body parts of the victims. What's worse, Erica's colleague and "sometimes lover" Sully is kidnapped by the murdererer, and "only Erica's sixth sense can save him, but with the Wise Monkey sharpening her scalpels, time is running out."

(Note: Video may contain spoilers for Episode 1)

As with the first installment of the planned four-part series, The Wise Monkey is available either as a standalone episode or part of a full season pass. A list of participating download portals is provided at the developer's website. You can also buy the game directly from Phoenix Online, or if you bought the first episode individually and are sold on the rest of the series, you can purchase the second through fourth episodes at a discounted price of $19.99.

To learn more about The Wise Monkey, check out our review of the game. If you'd like to show further support for Cognition, you can vote for it on Steam Greenlight.



Note: This news has been updated to reflect the change in status of Inherit the Earth 2.

The crowdfunding deluge continues this month with two promising new adventures seeking public support, while a campaign for a familiar name was similarly launched and already canceled early.

(un)Lucky 7

Speaking of anthropomorphic animals, walking, talking critters (and one android) are also the stars of (un)Lucky 7. These are no cute and cuddly types, however, but hardened criminals sentenced to life imprisonment. Their one chance at freedom is to become the "Lucky 7" explorers of uncharted space in a ship with an experimental new engine. This "chance of a lifetime" soon proves anything but, however, as "upon arriving on an alien planet they find an entrance to a strange base, seemingly lifeless and abandoned. Soon, they are trapped inside, forced to fight for their life and searching for a way back home."

(un)Lucky 7 is the product of two-man Polish studio Asylum Creatures, who describe the game as a "horror, sci-fi themed, jRPG-view, story-driven, pixelart puzzle game." Playing as a pilot named Moro, players will need to "explore this hostile place, uncovering its history and solving its dark mysteries. All the while developing and maintaining different relations with the rest of the crew (many of which depend on your actions)."

The game will include both inventory and logic puzzles to solve, as well as some that require group participation in order to make use of the particular skills of the rest of your crew. The main focus of the game, however, is on "telling a great story with a lot of unexpected twists, unique characters and relations between them. And of course quite a few good scares." Decisions matter in (un)Lucky 7, as the developers promise multiple endings depending on your chosen path throughout the game.

In order to release the game as intended by July, the developers are seeking €46,000 by February 20th. As an Indiegogo campaign with flexible funding, the developers will benefit from all contributions, regardless of whether it meets its target goal, though fewer pledges will result in a longer production time and fewer features. A €10 contribution will get you a downloadable copy of the game upon release, while upper tiers include rewards like a "bonus standalone short game connected with the original story", posters, and an NPC based on you or a character of your design. For complete details, visit the (un)Lucky 7 Indiegogo page. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.


With not an animal in sight (or even a protagonist), Homesick is a first-person, free-roaming 3D adventure. During the day, you'll peacefully explore an abandoned building as its caretaker, "encountering puzzles and clues, and opening new areas of the building. You seem to have been there so long that direct sunlight is blindingly bright, yet you feel at home. But when you sleep, you are plagued by nightmares, frantically running down hallways chased by darkness, an axe in hand, trying to escape."

Developed by two-person American team Lucky Pause, Homesick is a game of discovery, as you "learn who you are, what you are doing, and what happened" in this unusual building. Inspired by such diverse adventures as Monkey Island and Myst, the developers are promising to include a variety of challenging but logical puzzles, some of which have multiple paths and some completely optional. There will be both a daytime world and dark nightmare world to explore, and the puzzles you solve in one will effect the other.

Seeking to raise a modest $8,000 by February 18th on Kickstarter, the goal is to release the game on PC by July, with Mac and Linux options possible if enough funds are received. A minimum $10 pledge will earn you a downloadable copy of the game and your name in the credits, while larger donations will result in more interactive options like printed content written by you or a photo of yourself appearing in-game. Also eligible for voting on Steam Greenlight, you can learn more about Homesick and contribute to the campaign through the game's Kickstarter page.

Also seeking funding this month was Wyrmkeep Entertainment's Inherit the Earth 2. However, due to an unanticipated lack of game-related assets to support the appeal, the Kickstarter campaign has been canceled. Indie developer Joe Pearce says he does hope to complete the game through other means, but there are currently no firm plans in place to pursue that goal. Following is the original news story in its entirety.

Inherit the Earth 2

It's been nearly 20 years since Rif the Fox and his fellow anthropomorphic animal companions appeared in their first adventure, but Wyrmkeep Entertainment is looking to revive the fantasy franchise at long last with a family-friendly sequel, Inherit the Earth 2. This time around, unfounded rumours abound among the "Morph Tribes of the Known Lands" that the Orb once used to predict the weather had not been destroyed as originally believed. At first dismissed as idle gossip, "the arrival of a chieftess’s daughter with a startling revelation leads to Rif embarking on a new adventure."

The sequel takes place after the original game and the subsequent Little Lost Wolf webcomic, which themselves were set far in the future, long after mankind has disappeared, leaving the world in control of civilized animal tribes. Inherit the Earth 2 will feature "entirely new art, music and story, incorporated with a modern adventure game engine."

The design is already complete and the game in pre-production, but in order to make it a reality, the developers are seeking $135,000 by Feb 17th. A successful Kickstarter campaign will enable a fully-fledged adventure targeting a November release on Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS, though failure to raise the necessary funds would inevitably jeopardize the game's size and scope and delay it considerably, and possibly result in its cancelation altogether.

As usual, pledge rewards include a free downloadable copy of the game, this time with a $10 minimum, with higher tiers offering such perks as private forum access, signed artwork, T-shirts, and an original character of your design appearing in the game. To donate or simply to learn more about the game, check out the Inherit the Earth 2 Kickstarter page.



Remember Ron Gilbert? Designed a couple adventures back in the day called Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island? Yes, that Ron Gilbert, the legendary adventure game designer who returns at long last to the genre today with his long-awaited The Cave.

The Cave is no ordinary adventure, mind you, and this is no ordinary cave. Pushing boundaries much as he did back in 1987, Gilbert's new game gives players the choice of three playable roles (from seven available), including a missing-toothed hillbilly, an Asian monk, a bespectacled scientist, and a pair of googly-eyed twins, among others. Each has his or her own unique skills, personality, and backstory to uncover, while the cave itself serves as the omniscient narrator.

Playing either alone or with one or two friends in local (same room, not online) co-operative gameplay, spelunking players will explore a surprising variety of cave locations, including "a subterranean amusement park and a medieval castle, not to mention a fully armed and ready-to-launch nuclear-tipped ICBM." There will be some minor platforming elements to contend with along the way, but these are intended merely to increase interactivity rather than provide a reflex-based challenge.

The Cave is available exclusively for download today on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and WiiU. To learn more about the game, check our our recent multiplayer preview and behind-the-scenes interview.



If the thought of mixing jazz and punk sounds a little unusual, wait 'til you get a load of Jazzpunk later this year.

The debut adventure title from two-man indie team Necrophone Games in Toronto, Jazzpunk is a "stylized first-person adventure comedy" set mostly in Vera City in the year 1959b (not a typo). Players control the mysterious Agent Polyblank, an "independent contractor of sorts working for a man known as the Director, who provides you with medication and missions." In undertaking these missions, you must "explore a variety of retro-futuristic locations, and perform all manner of gadget-driven capers."

As seen in the game's video teaser, Jazzpunk is a free-roaming, first-person 3D adventure with a "cartoon cyberpunk" tone, promising to take players through "dense technology-infused locales, dripping with a fresh coat of colour and humour."

There is currently no firm launch date scheduled, but the developers expect to have Jazzpunk ready for downloadable release on PC and Mac sometime this year, possibly as early as summer. In the meantime, keep an eye on the official website for more details.



If you've been anxiously awaiting your annual winter vacation to Norrköping, Sweden, you can soon book your (virtual) travel plans, as indie developer MDNA games has just revealed the latest Carol Reed adventure, Cold Case Summer.

In the ninth mystery of her amateur detective career, Carol declines a request for help from a mysterious man who refuses to divulge his identity. The very next morning, however, the same man is found dead in the Norrköping River, so Carol decides to look into the case. What she discovers is a trail that leads back to the 1986 unsolved assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, a shocking revelation that jeopardizes her own safety the more she pursues the truth.

Cold Case Summer is currently well along in production, and the developer hopes to release the game both on disc and through digital distribution by the end of February, with a playable demo arriving earlier in the month.



When one door closes, another opens... That sounds like an encouraging thought, but what you'll find behind each door in the upcoming horror adventure Doorways is yet another dark manifestation of nightmarish imagination.

In the first adventure from indie Argentian developer Saibot Studios, players will explore a variety of worlds that represent "a twisted representation of your mind mixed with the ones from the psychos you’ll have to face." Nothing is ever quite what it seems, and you'll struggle for answers to questions like: "What's real? What kind of nightmare is this that can hurt you or even kill you? Why do you remember things you never lived?"

As demonstrated by its teaser trailer, Doorways is a first-person, free-roaming 3D adventure. Each unique world has varying gameplay concepts that range from "simple mind puzzles to timed and agility-demanding situations". Some are based on exploration and labyrinth crawling, others include more traditional inventory puzzles, while still other problems must be solved under pressure, whether from dangerous creatures, traps, or other obstacles. The goal is to keep players "on the edge of their seats, never knowing what will come next."

Doorways promises to include both tense psychological horror and outright jump scares, and will slowly dole out the backstory through notes, flashbacks, and dramatic cutscenes. If successful, the developers aim to make Doorways an episodic adventure that introduces new terrifying worlds to explore as little as a few months apart.

The first chapter of Doorways is currently on track for downloadable release on PC this March. If you'd like to see the game released on Steam, it is currently eligible for voting on Greenlight. For more information about the game while you wait, drop by the official website.



If you're tone deaf, you'll want to run screaming from the room now, but for those who like the sound (literally) of unique new puzzle-adventure experiences, keep an eye (and ear) on Phosfiend Systems' FRACT OSC when it's released later this year.

Described by indie designer Richard E Flanagan as a mix of "Myst meets Rez meets Tron", FRACT OSC is an open-world first-person puzzle adventure quite unlike any we've seen before. Inspired by elements of electronic music and set on a broken-down, "abstract forgotten world of analog sounds, samples and glitches", players will solve puzzles to "rebuild its forgotten machinery, which then allows them to create their own sounds and music within the world."

As seen in the game's video developer diary, the free-roaming, fully 3D puzzler has a unique, minimalist art style to go with its music-inspired puzzles and synthesized "dynamic user-controlled audio system". The game will also include music and sound-shaping tools, and let players create their own music and share it with others. There is what the developers refer to as a "loose narrative" tying the game's events together, but it's left to the player to discover just what that is.

Originally begun as a university project before being expanded to a commercial adventure, FRACT OSC is currently on pace for launch on PC and Mac sometime this year (including on Steam Greenlight it if gets enough votes), though no firm release date has yet been announced.  In the meantime, check out the official website for more information.



All aboard! Next stop: outer space, in the upcoming sci-fi comic indie adventure from Hungry Planet Games, Astroloco: Worst Contact.

By the year 2153, mankind has begun colonizing space using "ridiculously deadly, moon-sized trains - 'Astro Locomotives'. They're operated by enormous, competing railroad companies and train vs. train combat is (expensively) common."  As if that weren't bad enough, it's now up to a "mistreated mechanic and a swashbuckling pilot as you try to save Gilbert Station from destruction at the hands of an alien death fleet!"

As the game's latest trailer and first screenshots demonstrate, Astroloco is a retro-styled point-and-click adventure inspired by the 1990s classics. The game will be fully voiced and feature an original sountrack, while the distinctive art style will be familiar to those who have played Murray Lewis and David Blake's popular freeware adventures Plan M and subAtomic, each of which won their respective Ludum Dare competitions for best humour. Astroloco promises to deliver more of the same comedic writing and plenty of interesting puzzles and minigames.

The best news of all is that we don't have long to wait. Astroloco: Worst Contact is currently on track for PC release on January 31st through download portals such as Amazon, Green Man Gaming and FireFlower Games (and possibly Steam if enough people vote for it on Greenlight). In the meantime, you can check the game out for yourself, as a playable demo is already available.



While many of us think the Persian Gulf War took place in 1991, the "First" Persian Gulf War between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s provides the dramatic backdrop for a new adventure from indie developer RSK Entertainment, The Way of Love: Sub Zero.

Set during the armed conflict between Iran and Ba'athist Iraq that lasted from 1980 to 1988, The Way of Love stars two playable protagonists.  The first is an Iranian Air Force pilot named Asif, who is betrayed by a traitor and captured while attempting to return important documents to his country that could determine the fate of the war. He is able to safely hide the documents first, however, and now it's up to a man named Rasoul to recover them and hopefully rescue Asif as well.

Although the first teaser displays a graphic novel-style cinematic format, The Way of Love is a traditional third-person adventure in 2.5D style.  The game will feature more than 80 different backgrounds, and include artificial intelligence for secondary characters, as enemy troops will respond differently to you depending on which uniform the protagonists are wearing.

This isn't the only adventure that RSK is working on, as we're still waiting on the previously announced Murder in Tehran's Alleys 1933 (currently being localized with English voiceovers) and Forgotten Sound to be released. But The Way of Love: Sub Zero isn't far off, as the game has been completed in the developer's original Persian language and is currently being translated into English for a projected downloadable launch date in April.



With 2012 behind us, it's out with the old, in with the new, as the first two adventures of 2013 have now been released in the form of Kentucky Route Zero: Act 1 and ASA: A Space Adventure.

Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero is an episodic "magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it." Focusing more on "characterization, atmosphere and storytelling" than puzzles, the game's central protagonist is a truck driver named Conway who's attempting one final antique furniture delivery for his financially troubled employer.

The first of five planned acts of Kentucky Route Zero is available now from the official website, either as a standalone episode or as part of a full-series bundle. Both versions are offered as DRM-free downloads for Windows and Mac, with a Linux version expected soon.

ASA: A Space Adventure

Where have all the Myst-style games gone? Perhaps into outer space, like Simon Mesnard's ASA: A Space Adventure, which casts players in the role of an astronaut who is teleported by a mysterious black cube to an unknown spaceship in the year 2057. With no obvious means of escape, you'll need to explore the ship, along with two alien planets and a satellite, in order to find your way home.

Based on Mesnard's self-published novel and short film, ASA is now a node-based adventure with 360-degree panoramic views. There is a playable demo available, and if you like what you see, the full game can be downloaded for PC from the developer's website.