Adventure News
 


June 2013

28

Jun

It's been nearly six years since Jack Keane confronted a crazed scientist with a trained army of monkeys on Tooth Island, and at long last the bumbling ship's captain is back in an all-new swashbuckling adventure, The Fire Within.

Jack Keane 2 starts off just where you'd expect: with Jack in trouble. It's the late 1800s, and Jack has intentionally let himself be locked up in a Shanghai prison in order to learn the secret about a lost treasure from one of the inmates there. The problem is that Jack forgot to plan an escape route, and getting out will be just the first obstacle in a globe-trotting adventure that takes Jack to such places as Egypt, Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, and even the developer's home town of Hamburg, Germany.

Last time out, Jack met a straight-shooting country girl named Amanda, but in the sequel he also attracts the interest of a sophisticated city girl named Eve. Playing as both female love interests at times, it's a triangle that's destined for fireworks in a game that promises plenty of exciting "action" in a pure adventure gaming format. The original German version was released with keyboard-only controls, but responding to feedback from the gaming community, Deck13 has added a point-and-click control scheme to the English version, giving players the choice of preferred methods.

Jack Keane 2: The Fire Within is available now exclusively for PC at participating digital distrubutors such as GOG, GamersGate and Steam. To learn more Jack's second adventure, be sure to check out our preview of the game.



27

Jun

Professor Hershel Layton has spawned several successful puzzle-adventures on the Nintendo DS platforms, and now he's spawned a son, who debuts in a game of his own today as Layton Brothers: Mystery Room launches today on iOS.

The "genius son" of the original Layton is one of many top detectives who assemble to take on "only the most extraordinary and twisted cases in what is known as the 'Mystery Room'." Along with his new assistant, Detective Constable Lucy Baker, Layton Jr. will delve into the "dark secrets" of nine different cases, but "it’s up to the player to investigate the evidence, find the contradictions, and unravel the truth that lies shrouded in mystery."

As seen in the game's launch trailer, Layton Brothers looks to have more Phoenix Wright influence than this famous puzzle-solving father. Not in terms of name characters, but with gameplay that includes carefully investigating crime scenes, zooming in to "examine suspicious objects to add them to your mounting list of evidence" as you "piece them together to form an airtight case," as well as exposing the "crucial contradictions in the case files as you match them with evidence that just doesn’t add up" while you "call in the witnesses and find out if they have anything to hide." Finally, you must "face the culprit in the final showdown: These criminal masterminds won’t make solving their heinous crimes easy. Find the holes in their arguments until their lies shatter around them, bringing the truth of each mystery to light."

Available exclusively for iOS devices on the App Store, the first two cases of Layton Brothers: Mystery Room are free to all, with optional in-app purchases of the remaining cases in two different "case file packs". Only by solving all nine will players uncover the truth behind a "drastic change that occurs in Inspector Layton’s personality" glimpsed throughout his various cases. The two free cases include:

File No. 01: “The Hand Sandwich”: A woman was found murdered at the seaside hotel of a bustling travel destination. Her asphyxiated body lies on the balcony with one hand inside the sandwich that was to be her last meal.  Who is guilty of murder? What is the significance of the sandwich?

File No. 02: “The Bungled Burglary”:   A man was murdered inside his apartment. Two suspects emerge based on eyewitness testimonies, but the murder weapon seems to have vanished into thin air.  Who is the perpetrator, and what kind of murder weapon disappears from a locked room?

To learn more about Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, be sure to visit the official website.



27

Jun

Leisure Suit Larry's unspoken motto has always been "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." But even though he did succeed in spawning an incredibly popular series of classic comic Sierra adventures in the 1980s and '90s, he's still game to try again, bigger and better than ever in the newly-released Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded.

First released back in 1987, Leisure Suit Larry casts players in the polyester duds of lovable loser Larry Laffer for one wild and crazy night as he seeks to meet the girl (or girls) of his dreams. The Reloaded version, one of the earliest high-profile adventures to be funded through Kickstarter, updates the original in a variety of ways, including hi-res, hand-drawn artwork and animation, and an all-new "Vegas-style" musical score by Austin Wintory (including series creator Al Lowe on sax).

But this is more than just a polished remake, as the game promises to include a host of new dialogue written by Lowe and fellow collaborator Josh Mandel, full voice acting for non-mobile versions, and all-new content with "expanded puzzles, locations, women, humor and gameplay." And though it wouldn't be a Larry game if it didn't "drip with innuendos, flirt with perversity, and ooze sexuality", what there still won't be is any full-frontal nudity, "four-letter words" or on-screen sex. (You'll have to have your own adventures for that.)

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lound Lizards: Reloaded is available today for Windows, Mac, and Linux for $19.99 from the official website. The $4.99 voiceless versions will be available shortly for iOS at the App Store and Android devices at Google Play.



20

Jun

The devil may be in the details, but it seems he also found his way into The Detail, a "grim" episodic mystery adventure currently in production for release next year.

The Detail casts players in the dual roles of a "hard-nosed detective named Reggie Moore who has grown disillusioned with the bureaucratic system of justice, and a former police informant named Joseph Miller who is being dragged back into the life in order to clear the debt that looms over his past." A series of crimes has engulfed the "dark and embittered city" in which they live, and players must balance "both sides of the thin line called justice, in a world filled with violence, drugs, human trafficking and corruption."

The game's first teaser shows off the gritty noir theme "inspired by TV crime drama series like The Wire, an art style that borrows heavily from graphic novels like The Watchmen," and the "deep, story-driven gameplay similar to Telltale Games' The Walking Dead, where your choices carry consequences that alter the course of the narrative."

Created by indie Finnish developer Rival Games, The Detail is a planned episodic adventure that will debut in the first quarter of 2014 for Windows, Mac and Linux (with tablets to follow later), with all subsequent episodes to be released before year end. There's no need to wait to have a closer look, however, as a playable demo is already available from the official website.



20

Jun

The indie adventure scene continues to crank out new releases in the absence of many higher-profile launches, and the latest to be delivered to PCs is Alexander Kucherenko's Adventures of Max Fax.

Max is a "young, slightly lazy, curious guy with a sense of humor" who decides to help out a neighbor when she requests his assistance. Setting out from his 13th floor apartment, however, Max learns that someone has been stealing all the newspapers. Determined to find the culprit, Max's pursuit of the thief takes him all throughout the building, meeting a variety of eclectic characters along the way, many of whom have problems of their own to solve.

Created as the first episode in a planned series of standalone adventures (with a larger story arc loosely connnecting each new installment), Max Fax is a bright and colorful, comedic 2D point-and-click adventure, as shown in the early gameplay trailer.

If you like what you see so far, you can download a playable demo or purchase the game for under $4 directly from the official website. (Note that Kucherenko has updated the game since first being launched to fix reported translation and technical issues.)



19

Jun

It's been nearly five years since players last encountered Dracula in a full-fledged adventure game, but time is meaningless to vampires, and the notorious Transylvanian Count has re-emerged today like he was never away in his fourth outing, Dracula 4: The Shadow of the Dragon.

This time around, players control an art restorer named Ellen Cross, who is "assigned by the New York Metropolitan Museum to identify a masterpiece that has just reappeared in Budapest. A few months earlier, this masterpiece along with its collection had mysteriously disappeared at sea." The investigation leads Ellen to various locations around the world, including Turkey, Hungary, England, and the United States as she follows in the footsteps of Vlad Tepes and meets a number of "enigmatic characters such as Adam B. Stoker, the famous novelist’s great grandson."

Despite the "4" in the title, The Shadow of the Dragon is connected only in name to the first three games in the series, but like its predecessors, it will once again be a first-person point-and-click adventure with 360-degree panning. The game will include a "casual" mode for players who want assistance, and an "adventure" mode for those who want to experience the full challenge. Among the many puzzles to solve along the way, players will discover that "Ellen Cross is affected by a severe disease that weakens her. Consequently, they will have to regularly combine and use the medication to restore Ellen’s health, or they won’t be able to carry out specific actions."

Available exclusively for download, Dracula 4: The Shadow of the Dragon can be purchased now for PC and Mac through participating digital distributors such as The Adventure Shop and GamersGate. A mobile version of the game for iOS and Android devices is expected soon.



17

Jun

It's not just any pirate who's willing to share treasure freely, but Nelly Cootalot is one such buccaneer, as a playable demo of her second adventure is now available for download.

The Fowl Fleet is a commercial sequel to Alasdair Beckett-King's popular freeware adventure Spoonbeaks Ahoy!. This time around, the "pirate heroine and defender of endangered and adorable creatures" must once again oppose the nefarious Baron Widebeard, who has "kidnapped a fleet of birds and hypnotised them to do his bidding. What is he planning? Can he be stopped? In what way is a frozen volcano involved?" Nelly's pursuit of the Baron will "take her from Port Rubicund in the South Seas to the lonely isle of Gloomholm in the icy north," where she'll "meet outlandish characters and face perplexing challenges in her quest for the Treasure of the Seventh Sea."

The demo starts players off aboard the Mailship Undeliverable, where Nellys is soon informed of her new quest by the ghostly Captain Bloodbead. But before she can set out on another swashbuckling adventure, she'll first need to get herself out of the mailroom.

The 85 MB demo can be downloaded for PC, Mac, and Linux from the game's Kickstarter page, where The Fowl Fleet is heading into the home stretch in hot pursuit of its £15,000 goal by June 29th.



15

Jun

The success of titles like Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire didn't lead to a flood of new big-budget adventures like we'd hoped, but there's at least one AAA adventure on the horizon in the form of Square Enix's Murdered: Soul Suspect.

Players control Ronan O’Connor, a "detective with a checkered past, whose life is brought to an untimely end by a brutal and relentless killer. Unable to move on and stuck in the limbo world of Dusk, he won’t find peace until he can bring his killer to justice from the afterlife." Being a ghost, O'Connor has both special supernatural abilities and physical limitations. As he explores a fictionalized version of Salem, Massachusetts, he is unable to communicate directly with detectives investigating his death or make any substantial physical impact on the world, but he can freely walk through walls and "read the minds of the living, influencing their thoughts and actions."

While much of Murdered: Soul Suspect's gameplay involves investigating clues and interrogating the "ghosts of Salem’s past citizens to piece together the puzzle", there will also be occasional stealth action elements involved as O'Connor must battle "demonic spirits to save his soul and uncover the shocking truth about who is responsible for his death."

There is no firm release date scheduled yet for this game, but Murdered: Soul Suspect is currently on track for release early in 2014 for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.



15

Jun

It may be a slow time for big-name adventures right now, but that hasn't stopped the indies from cranking them out this month, with no fewer than four new releases in recent days.


Kentucky Route Zero: Act 2


After leaving us scratching our heads but desperately craving more with its surreal debut installment, the five-part Kentucky Route Zero picks up right where it left off in Act 2. This "magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in Kentucky and the mysterious folks who travel it" once again casts players in the role of Conway, an antique furniture deliveryman simply seeking to make his final delivery, along with his rail-thin old dog in a straw hat and a TV repairwoman he picked up along the way. But nothing is as it seems on Route Zero, and the group will find themselves navigating a bizarre new set of dream-like environments and obstacles.

Available exclusively as part of a full-season purchase for PC and Mac, Kentucky Route Zero: Act 2 can be found at official website, which offers both DRM-free downloads and Steam keys.


Jack Haunt: Old Haunting Grounds


Adventure gamers know better than anyone that being dead isn't the end of the world. In fact, it's often the start of a glorious adventure. In the lighthearted '50s-era supernatural pulp mystery Jack Haunt: Old Haunting Grounds, players will control the eponymous character, a long-dead ghost who now has just one night to "unravel the house’s ghastly tale, discover whodunit, raise the dead, find your remains and live out the fantasy of being a dime-store novel detective. And if you can’t find your body before the sun goes down? Then it's lights out for good for ol’ Jack the Private Investigator."

Jack Haunt: Old Haunting Grounds can be purchased for $5 from the developer's website, exclusively for PC.


Nancy the Happy Whore and the Perfidious Petrol Station


Leisure Suit Larry may still be dragging his heels, but the titular star of Nancy the Happy Whore and the Perfidious Petrol Station is already out prowling the streets. No, not like THAT! All Nancy's really trying to do is tank up on her way to the "Big City", but she quickly "discovers more than she bargained for in this gruesome gas station. Relying on her wits and the help of her best friend and crack-fiend, Susie the Drug Addict, things start to go from 'bad' to 'weird' as she must not only find vital fuel for her car, but also put a stop to an armed robbery, defeat an ancient and evil (but extremely polite) cult, and show a young man that becoming a hippy is never the right answer."

Originally released as part of last summer's Summerbatch indie sale, this comic adventure has now been upgraded with full voice acting and released as a standalone adventure. You can download Nancy the Happy Whore and the Perfidious Petrol Station for PC from Desura or FireFlower Games for $4.49 or €3.99, respectively.


Alone in the Park


The adventure genre is full of games starring likeable characters who meet memorable characters on epic, heroic quests... Alone in the Park is not one of those games. Promising a "slow-paced, low-octane blend of text and graphical adventure gameplay", here players control "a rather misanthropic gamer who finds herself lured away from her computer to embark upon a real world quest: finding hidden treasure in a National Park. Annoyingly, doing this requires her to locate and reassemble pieces of a treasure map. And instead of being populated with cool creatures like giant vampire squid bats or something, the park's forests, lakes and mountains are home to the lamest NPCs imaginable."

Originally released as a browser-based freeware adventure in 2011, Alone in the Park has received a "major revamping" for its commercial release for PC, Mac, and iPad. The iPad version is available now for $3.99 on the App Store, and the $5 PC/Mac versions will be launched shortly on the official website.



13

Jun

Being one of the select few survivors of a plague would be a horror of (literally) epidemic proportions in real life, but it sure makes for great gaming fodder. At least, the indie developers at Crashable Studios are hoping it does, as they've recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance their retro indie adventure, Alum.

Alum is the game's titular star, who has lost his loved ones to the deadly plague and now seeks to discover where the disease came from and whether a cure exists. His investigation begins in the city of Cosmos and eventually leads Alum on a "grand quest of discovering love, evil, deep truths, conspiracy, rebel factions, friendly monsters, and monstrous friends."

As demonstrated in the game's crowdfunding pitch video and early screenshots, Alum is an old-school pixel art adventure with verb-based interaction icons intended to resemble the classic games that inspired it (Quest for Glory, Space Quest, and Monkey Island are among the influences cited by the developers). Rounding out the traditional 2D presentation, the graphics promise to feature "completely hand drawn characters, backgrounds and animations".

In order to finish the game no later than April 2014, a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to finance the remaining production of Alum, seeking $10,000 by July 4th. If successful, the stated goal of the three-man development team is a game with approximately 80 diverse backgrounds, original music, and full voice acting to complement its far-reaching storyline and "sinister puzzles that will keep you on your toes." A minimum pledge of $10 will reward backers with a downloadable version of the game exclusively for PC.

For complete details about Alum and its fundraising campaign, visit the Kickstarter page to learn more and support the project.



11

Jun

You just can't keep a zombie adventure down. Of course, in the case of Telltale's The Walking Dead, that's a very good thing, making today's video teaser and announcement of an upcoming single episode downloadable expansion welcome news indeed.

In 400 Days, players will grapple once again with both the undead and mankind's own inhumanity as they "struggle to survive the first 400 days of the apocalypse." The stories are distinct but connected, playable in any order, and are "centered in and around a Georgia truck stop, where players will be thrust into horrifying situations that will test their morals and control the flow of the story through their decisions and actions."

Although not directly tied to the full first season of The Walking Dead, 400 Days is a downloadable expansion to the original series that will require "at least Episode One of Season One to be installed on a user's game system in order to play." The new game will be sold for US$4.99 (or equivalent) on a wide variety of platforms, including PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iOS. Both the full first season and the upcoming DLC will also be released together on PlayStation Vita for the first time.

There is currently no firm release date set for 400 Days, but you can expect The Walking Dead's zombie horde to rise again sometime this summer.



10

Jun

Providing gamers with a little late-night entertainment, the indie creators of Lune have just launched a browser-based alpha demo for their unique moon-based puzzler.

Lune strands players alone in a tower on an island in the middle of the ocean. Rather than simply controlling the abandoned protagonist, players can also manipulate the moon itself to influence tides, reflect light, and modify gravity in various ways to overcome the many environmental obstacles in your path and avoid the island's stone guardians.

Rather than creating a traditional adventure, Team Lune claims that the game is "about experiencing things" in a very personal way without any words to tell the story or offer instructions. As advertised, the playable demo is available now directly from the official website, thrusting you straight into the action with no preamble (but I'll give you a hint: keyboard controls moon, mouse controls character). 

There is currently no firm deadline set for the release of Lune, but the developers are targeting completion for Windows, Mac, and Linux sometime this fall.



9

Jun

The word "harvest" may bring to mind pastoral scenes of farms and fields, but it takes on a whole different meaning in the upcoming futuristic detective mystery by that name, currently seeking funds through Kickstarter.

Indie developer GondeFire's Harvest (not to be confused with Michael B. Clark's 2002 adventure) takes place in a future where chemical war has left "99% of the Earth's population unable to produce offspring. The remaining fertile humans are crucial to the survival of mankind, however they begin to disappear mysteriously." Players will control a detective working in Detroit as he attempts to "solve the case and help save the world from human extinction."

Described by designer Kevin Gondek as a stylistic mix between Snatcher and Phoenix Wright, the gameplay in this first-person adventure is largely conducted through action menus with basic commands such as "Look, Investigate and Move", while useful tools needed for your investigation can be accessed through the item menu. Along the way, players will need to contend with periodic action sequences throughout the game as well.

Harvest promises to be hand-painted in high resolution, as teased in the early concept artwork and trailer. In order to polish the game with rich animation, full voiceovers, music and sound effects, however, GondeFire is seeking $10,000 by July 1st through Kickstarter. A successful campaign will result in the game (ideally) being completed in February 2014 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with other platforms possible if stretch goals are reached. A $20 contribution will result in a downloadable version of the game upon release.

To learn more about Harvest and the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for the full scoop and pledge options.



8

Jun

After being teased with some stylish hand-painted watercolor screenshots of The Coral Cave, adventure fans will want to keep a close eye on Atelier Sentô's surreal Okinawa island-based title until it's released late next year.

Set on a remote island in the Okinawa archipelego, The Coral Cave tells the story of a young girl named Mizuka. After experiencing a strange dream one night, she wakes up to find "a terrible danger is threatening her village. Mizuka must explore the surroundings and enter a mysterious spirit world in order to save her island."

Created by French comic artists Cécile Brun and Olivier Pichard, The Coral Cave will be "entirely handmade in watercolors and will feature lots of animations, characters and backgrounds." As seen in early screenshots, the developers' fondness for Hayao Miyazaki's films is clearly evident, but the design was directly inspired by their personal travels in Okinawa. This includes the closed-eye character art for Mizuka, as the artists "loved the faces" of some local children they met in the area.

Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait a while to experience the full game, as given the small development team working on it, The Coral Cave likely won't be completed until the end of 2014. In the meantime, you can view keep an eye on the game's progress at the developer's website.



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