Adventure News
 


April 2013

28

Apr

First it was Heavy Rain, and now it's rain. The weather may have downgraded to a drizzle, but the outcast sure looks sunny with the first video and details about the next stylish adventure coming to the PlayStation 3.

In rain, players are cast in the role of a young boy who sets out to rescue a little girl being chased by ghostly creatures of the night. The twist is, both of them are invisible except for faint silhouettes seen only in the rain. Players must use the boy's ability to move into and out of sight to progress, and "just like in the real world, what can be seen isn’t everything and using imagination is the only way to reveal the truth."

Created by PlayStation C.A.M.P!, a branch of Sony's own internal JAPAN Studio, the game's first screenshots and video highlight the stylish, atmosphere-steeped visuals we can expect. And with its story "told through an artistic approach to narration, rain’s expressive sounds, those of rainfall and splashing water, combined with this otherworldly tale is designed to awaken the sense of uncertainty and solitude inherent in every player."

As the gameplay trailer suggests, there will be some dangers to contend with throughout this surreal world, giving the game a certain action component. But according to the developers, overcoming objectives will be at least as much strategic as it is reflex-driven, as players will be "challenged to think ahead and plan your movements to advance" by using the environment to your advantage.

There is currently no firm releate planned yet for rain, but the game is currently on track for release some time before the end of the year.



22

Apr

Normally futuristic adventures paint a bleak, overcrowded, heavily mechanized picture of the world. But if you look even further ahead, to a time when nature has largely reclaimed the planet, you just might discover the jaw-dropping beauty of The Realm.

In The Realm's far-flung future, the only humans who remain are "now leading a more simple life based around small rural communities entirely divorced from modern technology and science. The age of magic and mysticism has returned and there are rumours of stirrings in the forests." One such human is a strong-willed young girl named Sarina, who "leaves the safety of her village to embark on a desperate quest to discover a cure for her sick mother." Along the way she meets the "legendary giant stone golem named Toru, a gentle but powerful creature, and the unlikely couple begin a treacherous adventure together."

Players will control both Sarina and Toru, utilizing the unique abilities of each to overcome the many environment-base obstacles and dangers they encounter on their journey. Sarina is "fast and nimble, but her size means that she is unable to perform many of the tasks required to progress." Fortunately, the long-dormant Toru is as powerful as he is slow moving, "impervious to many hazards, and throughout the game he learns new skills and abilities from Sarina." Together they seek a legendary flower in a forgotten city, but "their presence in the city awakens a long forgotten shadowy force that controls the Lampheads - mysterious plant-like creatures with a powerful and deadly gaze."

Created by award-winning UK art studio Atomhawk, in partnership with development studio Lantern Interactive, the game's early artwork shows off the stunning hand-painted 2D environments whose locations "reflect the real-life landscapes and architecture of the North East of England", although obviously much different then they appear today. Atomhawks call this approach "Western Art, Eastern Heart", due to its "blend of epic western fantasy art, captivating narrative and heart warming character relationships, influenced by Japanese creators like Miyazaki." While there are some dangers to contend with, The Realm will include plenty of exploration and traditional point-and-click adventuring, with highlighted hotspots presenting a range of context-specific actions for players to choose from.

According to the developers, they can complete the game in eight months if they're able to meet their fundraising goal of £195,000 goal by May 22nd. Failing to meet their target would be a serious setback, though Technical Director Tom Szirtes claims that given all the time they've already put into the game, it wouldn't necessarily spell the end of the game altogether. But adventure fans can help make that prospect a moot point by pledging. A £10 contribution will provide a DRM-free download of the game for PC and Mac, while upper tiers offer rewards such as a behind-the-scenes documentary, beta version and backer forum access, posters, soundtrack CD, and more.

To learn more about the game and to donate to the campaign, visit The Realm's Kickstarter page for complete details.



15

Apr

Acclaimed indie developer ClickShake Games is now offering adventure fans A Small Favor for a small favor. The first part of the deal is a new commercial adventure based on their popular browser-based freeware series, while the second is a request for crowdfunding to help finance it.

A Small Favor casts players in the role of an alien assassin who works as a "Favor Collector", an "armed mercenary willing to do what the rest of society can't and operating outside of the ever watchful gaze of the Galactic Ministry of Regulation. Blackmail, theft, assassination - there is no deed too illegal." Employed by a particularly notorious gangster, the deeply indebted anti-hero faces a lifetime of favor collecting, but "during a routine collection assignment he stumbles upon a downed space craft. Inside he finds a body with a high level ID badge and one small favor that, if completed, could wipe his debt clean and give him the new life he craves. But as he soon finds out, a small favor can quickly become a big one."

Beginning life as a pair of online Flash adventures, the current iteration of A Small Favor represents a "reboot" of the series that promises "an expanded storyline, improved artwork and hours of new gameplay." The new version will be a 2D side-scrolling sci-fi adventure that involves collecting favors in various ways: "sometimes it will be as easy as finding a special item or fixing a situation, other times it will involve an assassination, simply wiping out the problem altogether." The protagonist carries a laser gun that remains a permanent part of his inventory to help solve puzzles, but there will be no reflex-based shooting sequences to contend with.

In order to complete the game for PC and Mac by October, ClickShake is seeking $30,000 by May 15th through Kickstarter. Early contributors can pick up a DRM-free downloadable version of the game for only $6 (price jumps to $10 when the offer expires), along with backer forum access and your name in the credits, while upper tier rewards include the likes of a downloadable copy of the developer's first commercial release, The Ballads of Reemus: When the Bed Bites, plus a disc verison of A Small Favor, T-shirts, and various opportunities to be represented in the game itself.

To learn more about A Small Favor and to contribute to the fundraising campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details.



14

Apr

It's generally a bad idea to tell a woman she's too short, easy, ugly or high maintenance, but the indie developers of Anna listened to the complaints of fans, and have given the free-roaming 3D horror adventure an "Extended Edition" makeover that promises "a completely new interface, new puzzles, new environments"... and death.

Based on authentic folklore, Anna sends players alone into an abandoned real-world sawmill in the Italian Alps. The unnamed protagonist has been having dreams of an old acquaintance named Anna, as is compelled to visit this remote scenic location to understand why. What he discovers upon his arrival, however, is that the area is haunted, and as you "uncover horrific clues and use them to solve puzzles related to your character’s dark past", your actions will not only "determine the mental health of the main character but can also change locations and unveil new secrets leading to one of eight possible endings."

The updated version of Anna will include significant upgrades including new and improved puzzles; a fresh set of environments to go with revamped original locations; graphical enahncements adding new effects, textures, and shaders; a completely reworked interface designed to be more user-friendly; extended soundtrack; a protagonist diary; and an "Intuition" system that lets players collect and combine clues. In what is sure to be a controversial move among adventure gamers, the previously scary-but-never-truly-threatening terrors in Anna have now become a very real danger, as you can die in the new version of the game.

Available now at a wide variety of digital distributors, those who have already purchased Anna should be able to download the new version of the game free of charge. A boxed version of the Extended Edition is also available now in the UK, published by Kalypso Media.



12

Apr

It's been nearly twenty years since The Neverhood, and the classic claymation adventure remains pretty much one-of-a-kind to this day. That may soon change, however, as Doug TenNapel is planning to mold a brand new clay-and-puppet adventure called Armikrog.

First character model for Armikrog

Details of the new game are sketchy at this point, but Armikrog will not be a direct successor to The Neverhood, as EA owns the intellectual rights to the original game. However, the "full-sized" point-and-click adventure for PC and Mac will have new characters in TenNapel's "usual style". Working with Pencil Test Studios, Doug will be joined by fellow Neverhood colleagues Mike Dietz and Ed Schofield, with Terry Taylor once again providing the music.

Whether Armikrog ever sees the light of day will be up to fans, however. TenNapel has confirmed to Adventure Gamers that they will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in May to raise funds for production, with an eye towards completing the game sometime in the middle of 2014.



12

Apr

If you fear the abundance of promising crowdfunding projects is going to bleed you dry, the nightmare continues with an Indiegogo campaign for Footprint Games' horror adventure The Apeiron Project.

The Apeiron Project puts players in the troubled first-person shoes of a man named Steven, who awakens alone in a dark abandoned manor. In seeking a way to escape, Steven must face his childhood fear and "an obscure presence hidden in the deepest part of his memories." As you travel through the game's three main locations -- the manor, a ruined city, and a secret lab, each representing a different period of Steven's life -- you will experience more than ten different nightmares, in which Steven's deepest fears become real.

As seen in the game's early gameplay video, The Apeiron Project is a free-roaming 3D experience. The developers are promising a variety of environments to explore, puzzles to solve, and characters to talk to, with more than a hundred lost memories to collect along the way. There will also "horrible enemies" to confront, but the developers claim that the danger isn't constant and that the action will be secondary to the adventuring.

In order to complete the game for Windows, Mac, and Linux as early as October (with iOS and Android versions to follow), the developers have launched a fundraising campaign. Early birds get the best deal, as a discounted pledge of $5 will get a digital download of the game and your name in the credits, a reward that jumps to $15 once the offer expires. Higher pledges earn such perks as a printed poster, physical copy of the game, T-shirts, and even a place in the game itself.

To learn more about The Apeiron Project and to contribute to the campaign, check out the Indiegogo page for full details. Note that as a flexible funding campaign, the developers will receive all pledges made to the game, regardless of whether it reaches its ultimate goal of $15,000 by May 31st. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



10

Apr

So you still want to be a hero?  That's a good thing, because the world will soon need one in ANU Studio's We Need a Hero.

When a mad biology professor discovers a toxic substance, his formula accidentally drains into the sewers, turning all the species living underground into monsters. Now the world needs a hero, but all it gets is a simple plumber named Jacky, who is "not a clever man and sometimes he does stupid things." Hardly the heroic type, it's nevertheless up to Jacky to defeat the rampaging creatures and save the day.

As seen in the game's first screenshots, We Need a Hero is a hand-drawn, 2D point-and-click adventure. The game's indie developers have designed almost 60 backgrounds to explore, each with a distinct atmosphere, and are promising a large number of puzzles to solve, including some that will be very challenging. As befits a monster game, they are also considering some action sequences and even "boss fights", though this hasn't yet been confirmed for sure.

Production on We Need a Hero has been going on behind the scenes for quite a while now, and though there is currenly no firm release date, the developers are aiming to complete the game by May for PC and iOS and Android tablets.



8

Apr

When designing a unique indie adventure, why not shoot for the moon, right? That's a notion that six students from ENJMIN University in France have take quite literally as they've recently announced their debut project, Lune.

Rather than sending players to the moon, Lune gives players the ability to influence the moon itself. Trapped on an island in the middle of the ocean, a lone protagonist must explore an ancient tower that's now abandoned except for its protective runic Guardians. In between guiding the protagonist directly, you'll assume control of the moon in order to change gravity, manipulate tides, and control the way light is reflected from the sun. As seen in the game's stylish announcement trailer, you can "use your capacity to manipulate water to flood rooms and free stairways. You can also trigger Moonset and walk in the shadows to avoid the unwavering stone Guardians."

According to Sergey Mojov, one of the game's six student designers, Lune defies traditional genre labels. It's not a classic-styled adventure, as there are stealth elements that require you to hide at times, but solving environmental puzzles through lunar influence is an essential component of the game. Regardless of genre distinctions, the developers are eager to make the solitary experience "as much about contemplative exploration as it is about mechanics." Each scenario promises to have multiple outcomes, so players curious to see how they've influenced the world can backtrack to inspect new paths along the way.

Team Lune is currently working on a playable browser-based prototype that will be released for free this June on Windows, Mac, and Linux, in time for Hits Playtime, a French student game competition organized by LeMonde.fr. The number of Facebook likes the game gets in the meantime will improve its chances of winning the competition. A more fully-featured version of Lune is tentatively slated for October, though there is no firm release target yet for the final commercial version of the game.

 



6

Apr

If the thought of an enhanced edition of J.U.L.I.A. is already music to your ears, you ain't heard nothin' yet, because CBE Software's current fundraising campaign aims to finish on a high note with a live online musical concert from Jan Kavan.

Along with being an innovative game designer, Kavan is also an accomplished composer and cellist, and his next live performance will be an "IndieLude" thank you concert for fans who successfully funded his project (although those who haven't are free to watch as well). Kavan will be accompanied on piano by his wife Barbora Kavanová, playing pieces from such composers as Ástor Piazolla and Gabriel Fauré as well as some of Jan's own compositions. The concert will be recorded live and broadcast on YouTube on April 10, 6:00 pm GMT (time zone converter).

Following the recital, Jan and J.U.L.I.A.'s artist Lukáš Medek will answer questions as they continue the final push towards their next "fullscreen exploration" stretch goal that will enable them to recreate all the original mini-images as full screen high quality renders, and switch to a context-specific command interface based upon individual regions. The latest old-new screen comparison of an abandoned research station highlights the differences between versions.

There is still a week left in the Indiegogo campaign for J.U.L.I.A. Enhanced Edition. To learn more about the project, and about the publishing trials faced by CBE with the original version of the game, check out our recent interview with Jan.



4

Apr

The spectre of World War III no longer hovers over us tangibly, but it will in Oberon, an alternate reality political thriller due to arrive sometime in 2014.

The debut adventure from two-man indie team BlackBird Games is set in a world on the eve of war, as the "diplomatic correspondence between the Federal Colonial Republic of Britannia and the Germanic Empire reaches the boiling point". When a nuclear weapons expert is murdered in Berlin, it's up to the titular protagonist to defuse the latest crisis. The "low ranking Slavic special agent stationed in Berlin" must investigate the mysterious circumstances of the scientist's death, a "quest which will lead Oberon to the dark underworld of global politics and beyond…"

As teased in the game's attractive first screenshots, Oberon will follow two separate storylines, one in the game's real-world German capital and the other in the "nightmarish realm of the main character’s dreams". The third-person, point-and-click adventure promises plenty of people to talk to, puzzles to solve, and inventory to collect and combine along the way.

There is no firm release date yet for Oberon, but the developers are currently targeting completion and downloadable launch for PC sometime in the first half of next year.



2

Apr

If you heard that a black-and-white claymation musical starring a gender-ambiguous film noir detective released on April 1st, you'd surely think it was an April Fool's joke. But nothing could be more natural for quirky indie developer Deirdra Kiai, whose latest adventure Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!" is available now for PC, Mac, and iPad.

The titular star of Dominique Pamplemousse is either a male or a female -- no one seems to know, and Dominique isn't inclined to say -- but is nevertheless a private detective in desperate need of a new case. It seems his/her rent problem is solved when he/she is hired by the CEO of a major record company to track down a missing pop star. However, soon "Dominique winds up framed for a crime they didn’t commit, bringing to surface their mysterious past and the events that led them to take up shady detective work in the first place."

Dominique Pamplemousse has a conventional Flash-based point-and-click interface, and is entirely unconventional in every other conceivable way. In this Kickstarter-funded adventure that's heavy on story and light on puzzles, all voices are performed by Kiai herself, and many of the dialogue lines are sung.

The game can be purchased now for PC and Mac exclusively at the official website, where a playable demo is also available. The iPad version of the game can be downloaded from the App Store.