Adventure News
 


August 2013

31

Aug

The argument is familiar to any adventure gamer: detractors decry the genre as stagnant, having seen no real gameplay evolution since graphic adventures crowded out their text-only counterparts. Many adventure fans respond: “why change a winning formula?”. Developer North Side aims to stir up this old debate with Bot Colony, an episodic espionage-foiling adventure doing away with many familiar adventure gaming staples and replacing them with voice-controlled communication.

Set in 2021, players will take on the role of a robot cognition specialist on the island of Agrihan in the Marianas archipelago. Agrihan serves as a manufacturing base for Nakagawa, a Japanese corporation that plans to use the robots to colonize Mars. You are sent to the island because “Nakagawa fears that KHT [a competing North Korean robot manufacturer] may have infiltrated the island and found a way to access the prototypes. Bot Colony allows you to conduct the investigation and track down the perpetrator using your own name, with your own back-story.”

Although keyboard input will be available for communication, Bot Colony is designed primarily with microphone use in mind. Before beginning the game, to account for variances in vocal pitch and accent, the player will need to calibrate the game to recognize their own voice. English will be the only supported language. Another new element introduced by Bot Colony is the game's AI, which allows robots to learn “about human behavior, objects, and the world at large to expand an ever-evolving knowledge database.” There will be a choice between first- or third-person perspective, and a mouse/keyboard combination will be used to control the game's camera and your character's movement.

Playable exclusively online, the series prologue episode (The Intruder) is a training simulation wherein the player must verbally and remotely guide a domestic robot to investigate the house of a research manager that's been invaded by a spy. After passing this simulation, the Bot Colony itself will be opened for exploration. There will be 12 episodes in total, with a new episode projected to be released every 1-2 months.

No release date has been announced for public release, but the first two episodes are currently in alpha testing. Soon a transition will be made to open beta, which will be paid-for-content that will crowdfund Bot Colony's further development. To learn more about this unique game with ambitious ideas, visit the official website for complete details.



30

Aug

From the maw of Kickstarter – or as the case may be here, from the twisted pink tentacles – comes word of Octopus City Blues, a surreal new adventure game developed by Ghost in a Bottle, an independent team of six hailing from various parts of the globe.

Octopus City Blues follows the exploits of Kaf Kafkaryan as he explores both Octopus City and the vivid environs of his dreams. Kaf is an antihero: a coward; a gutless man with little self-confidence; an octopus blood junkie and trimmer of the tentacles overtaking the city. His personality directly affects how the game plays, as managing his stress and guilt during exploration will both expand and limit player options.

Kaf becomes entangled in a conspiracy with far-reaching consequences for the city – a city which takes its namesake from the giant octopus it is built upon. Octopus City is a dynamic environment that is frequently changing, so “you might visit the central plaza to find people gathered around the dead body of a homeless man. On another day, you might witness a musical performance in the same place. These small events are not part of the main plot, but serve to enrich the world”.

This game promises “the most lovely tentacles ever conceived.” (Though it's surely stepping on Day of the Tentacle’s toes with such a claim!) These are rendered in a retro pixel art design, recapturing the look of games of yore as you travel around Octopus City, the last human bastion and only remaining octopus city on the planet. As you explore, you'll take in the sights of this steampunk, aquatic-creature adventure – especially its bustling nightlife filled with wacky and twisted inhabitants, many of whom have a terrible addiction to octopus blood.

Much like its subject matter, the gameplay is certainly not like any traditional adventure. Although it will include a few basic puzzles, Octopus City Blues plans to largely avoid the genre's traditional sense of puzzle-solving. Instead, the environment itself, NPC interactions, and player choice and consequence form the basis of a larger narrative puzzle. With no combat involved, exploring, talking to secondary characters (each with their own personal schedules and relationships), learning new skills, and playing mini-games will be essential to progress in the demented Octopus City.

Octopus City Blues is on Kickstarter now, hoping to reach its goal of $7000 by September 26th in order to release the game on PC, Mac, and Linux in December 2014. A $10 pledge will net you the entirety of this addled adventure, DRM-free on the platform of your choice. There is also an official website with additional details about the game.



30

Aug

It's not often that games can be both a prequel and sequel, but Daedalic's Memoria is poised to be just that as it releases today for PC and Mac.

As a follow up to last year's The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, players will once again control the young bird catcher named Geron as he seeks a way to help his beloved fairy Nuri. In order to do that, he'll need to solve the centuries-old mystery of Princess Sadja, who disappeared from the land while fighting demons, never to be heard from again. We won't just learn about Sadja through Geron's investigation, however, as the Princess is the second playable character, revealing exactly what occurred half a millennium ago.

Memoria is available today exclusively for download at participating digital distributors like GamersGate and Steam. For more information about the game, check out our review preview.



29

Aug

There's been a suicide in the Hotel Lisbon! Except, just how could anyone manage to stab themselves 14 times in the back? While quietly drinking coffee?

New Portuguese developer Nerd Monkeys is hoping you'll want to find out in the company of Detective Case (the world's worst detective) and Clown Bot (his sidekick, part-time joke machine and aspiring clown, whose dreams are more than a little hampered by a fear of children). Giving the secret away just a little in the title, Murder in the Hotel Lisbon is a point-and-click comedy adventure that will be released later this year for Windows, Mac and Linux (with the possibility of a release for "clever bricks and flat computers" down the line).

Case and Bot are an odd couple: Case is a tough, hard-drinking cop with all the usual personal issues, while Bot is charming and smart enough to realise he's inside a game. You'll need both to gather clues, interview suspects and quiz them on your findings, but Case and Bot each have their own unique interview style, so you'll need to decide whether to employ Bot's charm or Case's roughness. As well as the main storyline, the game will include optional side quests. 

Promising passion, humour, mystery, horror and drama – though, we suspect, with a heavier emphasis on humour – Murder in the Hotel Lisbon will have a distinctly retro look and play-style, being "inspired by the classic point-and-click adventures from the '80s and '90s". The pixel art cartoon graphics have been designed to match the resolution of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, though thankfully without that system's limited palette. Staying faithful to its '80s inspiration and cartoon feel, the game will feature written speech bubbles rather than spoken voices. It will, however, feature a live soundtrack with two guest bands.

To learn more about Detective Case and Clown Bot while waiting for the digital download-only release before the end of the year, you can visit the game's official website or follow the two-man development team on Facebook.



24

Aug

Little Red Dog Games wants your money, but they don't want you giving it to them blindly. The indie Canadian developer has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for its debut point-and-click political comedy adventure Conspirocracy that will also serve to support the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Conspirocracy is set in an "exaggerated, highly-bureaucratic re-imagining of Toronto", where a school teacher wakes one morning to discover that "his entire life is missing from public record. His bank account, his health care, his credit cards are all frozen when the government declares him to be a non-person." In order to reclaim his lost identity, he'll need to minimize the stress on his weak heart even as he struggles against the "nefarious forces that have conspired against him."

Loosely inspired by the Douglas Adams classic text adventure Bureaucracy, Conspirocracy promises to include retro-styled pixel art graphics, full voice acting, "challenging" puzzles, unlockable achievements, and a "stress management system" that requires players to monitor anxiety levels, as too many stressful incidents can kill the protagonist.

Conspirocracy has already been in development for some time, but in order to deliver the finished game as fully envisioned by November, Little Red Dog has turned to Indiegogo to raise $5,000 by September 27.  A minimum $10 pledge will grant backers a free copy of the game for PC (a Mac port is also planned but not yet confirmed), and half of all proceeds will go to the Foundation Fighting Blindness. As a flexible funding campaign, the developers (and in turn the FFB) will receive any money donated, but with the game so close to completion already, they're determined to release the game to backers even if they fall short of their target goal.

To learn more about Conspirocracy and to pledge to the fundraising campaign, visit the Indiegogo page for full details.



23

Aug

The biggest complaint from gamers (including us) when Dracula 4: The Shadow of the Dragon was released earlier this summer was that it wasn't a whole game! An abrupt, unexpected "to be continued" left a bad taste in many mouths, but fortunately we don't have long to wait for the story's conclusion, as Anuman Interactive today announced that Dracula 5: The Blood Legacy will be released later this year under its Microïds adventure label.

Not many details have been revealed about the plot so far, but the new game will pick up where the last left off. Art restorer Ellen Cross, dying from a rare blood disease while she investigates the bizarre reappearance of valuable artwork believed lost, now has "nothing left to lose will not give up without clearing up this mystery."  Her pursuit promises to take players "all around the world" solving puzzles and interacting with a variety of characters whose "motivations are ambiguous."

There is no firm released date set, but Dracula 5: The Blood Legacy is due to be launched sometime before the end of 2013. To learn more, be sure to visit the game's official website.



23

Aug

Gamers who like a little sci-fi with their adventuring have a reason to smile today, as word of the indie-developed Shadow of Nebula, a third-person point-and-click game, just dropped out of hyperspace.

Currently in development by four-member Polish team kettleslayer, much of what we know so far about the plot involves its backstory: In the year 3102, humanity has managed to colonize the entire Milky Way galaxy, and the galactic powers-that-be desire a more effective way to control their far-flung citizenry. Following the discovery of a large, abandoned alien ship described by the developers as an “organic root”-like vessel, scientist Alfred Nebula deciphers the aliens' advanced technology, developing “nanobots” that have the capacity to heal the human body. Yet they also have the ability to affect the host’s “moods and thoughts” – just the kind of thing that the galactic government might be interested in. Horrified at the disastrous effects this could have on the galaxy-at-large, Nebula attempts to destroy all trace of his research.

Naturally, he misses a few key items, setting the stage for events in Shadow of Nebula.

The game itself takes place thirty years later and centers on Jack, a spaceship pilot who is waylaid by “space pirates” at the beginning of the game and forced to land on an ostensibly uninhabited planet named Venice Blue. The first goal will be to help Jack leave the planet, but as we all know, alien worlds that are supposed to be lifeless usually manage to have a few surprises in store, so players can expect challenges right from the start. In the course of the game, Jack will get caught up in events that threaten the entire human race, but the exact nature of this threat has not been revealed yet (might Nebula’s research play a role?).

In addition to a complex story, the developers promise some interesting gameplay features as well, including an environment known as “Cyberspace,” an all-digital world that can be explored at any time during the game, an in-game encyclopedia, as well as a “new way of using quick time events,” made to fit the game’s 2.5D perspective and controls. They also teased us with a mysterious “surprise,” but were not willing to reveal any details just yet.

Shadow of Nebula is tentatively scheduled to warp onto PC and Mac platforms in Winter 2014, with release on iOS and Android devices possible as well. In order to complete the game by then, however, the team has indicated that they are looking at a possible Indiegogo funding campaign in the “near future.”

For more information about the game, check out Shadow of Nebula’s official website or their Facebook fanpage.



22

Aug

For years, Doctor John Watson has lived firmly in the shadow of consulting detective Sherlock Holmes. Indie developer Victory Square Games aims to change that, however, with the release of Elementary, My Dear Holmes! early next year if they're able to secure crowdfunding for their role-reversal adventure.

In Elementary, My Dear Holmes!, players will guide Watson through mystery and adventure in turn of the 20th century Europe, all while accompanied by his “pompous, deceiving” sidekick Sherlock Holmes. Along the way, Watson will deal with several familiar characters, including Inspector Lestrade, Irene Adler, and Professor Moriarty. 

The game will have options for both point-and-click and direct-control interfaces, either in first-person if the fundraising campaign only reaches its minimum goal, or third-person if it succeeds in reaching its stretch goals. The art at the minimum funding level will be 2D with hand-drawn elements and a simple, graphic user interface, though these may also change if the higher funding goals are met.

Elementary, My Dear Holmes! is currently seeking $50,000 by September 13 through Kickstarter as part of the OUYA Free the Games initiative, which will match all donations dollar for dollar, up to a total of $250,000. A minimum pledge of $15 is needed to receive a copy of the game as a reward. If fully funded, Victory Square Games plans to release Elementary, My Dear Holmes! in March 2014 exclusively for the OUYA and September 2014 for Windows. Android, Linux, Mac, and iOS versions will also see releases if stretch goals are met.

To learn more about the game and contribute to its campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details.



19

Aug

It's been six years since an Agatha Christie mystery last graced computer screens, but the drought looks set to end soon, as Anuman Interactive announced today that they've acquired the rights to publish new games based on Christie's novels under its Microïds adventure label.

No details about specific games have yet been revealed, but the agreement includes a "series of investigation games" based on Christie's work. According to Microïds' founder Elliot Grassiano, the new games are "taking on the challenge of bringing some of the crime novelist’s most iconic stories and detectives, such as Hercule Poirot, to life. This deal promises loads of surprises, twisting plots, quality dialogue and drama, subtle interrogations and unexpected outcomes for the fans."

The upcoming Agatha Christie games will be developed for PC and Mac, as well as iOS and Android devices.



15

Aug

He may have fallen short on his crowdfunding campaign for A Vampyre Story: Year One, but that isn't holding Bill Tiller back from creating new games, as the acclaimed artist/designer is joining forces with Swiss animation studio IF Games to release a new two-part adventure called Perils of Man on iPad later this year.

When sixteen year-old Ana Eberling receives an unexpected gift from her missing father, a "rogue scientist" who disappeared when she was very young, she soon discovers that "her ancestors were inventors of an incredible technology that gave them the power to eliminate uncertainty. Ana needs to know why her family has fiercely kept this potential boon to humanity from the public for generations, and if the answer to that question has something to do with her missing father. Ultimately, Ana must decide if a perfectly predictable world is a curse on humanity, or a triumph for mankind."

Co-developed by Tiller and Swiss studio IF Games, each Perils of Man episode promises to offer 2-3 hours of time-travelling gameplay that "spans 150 years, darting from a tramp freighter adrift in the South China seas to impending disaster at the Chicago World's Fair, bringing a host of unforgettable characters, perilous exploits, and existential riddles along for the ride." As you unlock the secrets of a "mysterious chronicle of history’s disasters and catastrophes", you'll gain the ability to "timewalk to real-world events from the gilded age of scientific invention." And through a "special gameplay mechanic that reveals a hidden matrix of cause and effect", you'll also "command the fates of thousands by mastering a hidden technology that gives the player the ability to foresee risk."

Created exclusively for iPad, the first episode of Perils of Man is not far off, as it's expected to launch on the App Store in October. Better yet, the second and final installment will follow soon after, arriving sometime before the end of the year.



15

Aug

What do you call a game with plenty of exploration but no combat and no puzzles other than unravelling the grand mystery of what went wrong? You call it Gone Home, that's what, an experimental investigative adventure released today by The Fullbright Company.

Katie Greenbriar is coming home. She's been away for a year, backpacking through Europe. But when she arrives at the family home in the summer of 1995, it's clear that something has gone terribly wrong. The house is dark and deserted, with no sign of her parents or little sister. Where is everybody, and what happened here? To find answers to these questions, Katie must thoroughly root through the house and piece together the mystery of her family's disappearance.

A finalist in the 2013 Independent Games Festival for Excellence in Narrative, Gone Home forsakes traditional puzzle-solving, instead emphasizing free-roaming exploration though its real-time 3D environments. As you rummage through every nook and cranny, you'll discover notes and audio journals that not only shine light on the events that preceded your arrival, but also paint a dramatic picture of the family you left behind.

Gone Home will be available today exclusively for download either from Steam or directly from the official website for Windows, Mac, and Linux. To learn more about the game, check out our recent recent preview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



13

Aug

It's been 15 years since the bandages came off in Dreamforge's memorably disturbing Sanitarium, and at long last the key developers from the 36th best all-time adventure game are back with a "spiritual successor", a new psychological horror game called Shades of Sanity that is now seeking support through Kickstarter.

Shades of Sanity casts players in the role of Joseph Springer, a "schizophrenic patient who skips out on his therapy sessions, and drives down to Virginia to repair his estranged relationship with his wife." What could go wrong? Just about everything, it seems, because "as Springer nears the house, he blacks out and wakes up in a strange environment filled with conflicting clues and disturbing visions."

As teased in the early screenshots and video teaser, Shades of Sanity is not a third-person isometric adventure like its popular predecessor, but rather a first-person, free-roaming adventure in realtime 3D. Promising to be steeped in story and atmosphere, this "puzzle/adventure game" will also include a few action sequences. However, adjustable difficulty settings for both puzzles and action will let players tailor the challenge level to their own preference and ability.

Spearheaded by former Dreamforge designers Rob Seres and Keith Leonard, a new indie team called Sword and Spirit are hoping to release the game on PC by October 2014, but in order to do so they'll first need to raise $200,000 through Kickstarter by September 27th. A limited-time "early bird" pledge of $15 will get backers a downloadable copy of the game, after which time the minimum jumps to $25.

To contribute to the campaign and learn more about Shades of Sanity, visit the Kickstarter page and official website for complete details.



13

Aug

Move over Guybrush, there's a new pirate in town!

Caribbean Island: A Pirate Adventure is a new third-person point-and-click adventure game from Argentinian developer Voon. Heavily inspired by the Monkey Island series (and sharing its 2.5D perspective and richly animated art style), Caribbean Island features Oliver, an "eccentric" pirate who encounters an old shopkeeper on one of the titular islands at the start of the game.

This grizzled proprietor is no ordinary rum-dealer, though, as he provides Oliver with one of two maps leading to the Gold Tortuga, a mysterious treasure. Unfortunately for our hero, who is described as surviving "by using wit and negotiation rather than weapons or force," the developers indicate that the other map is in the hands of an as-yet unnamed villain, who will no doubt provide the game's initial challenges before our swashbuckling protagonist can embark on the real treasure hunt.

Players are promised various "trials and puzzles" throughout the adventure, which will consist of four in-game chapters provided that Voon raises the necessary booty. To this end, the developers have docked at crowdfunding site Indiegogo to secure $30,000 by September 27th. Unlike some crowdfunding efforts, this one is a “flexible” campaign, meaning that Voon keeps whatever money they take in, regardless of whether they reach the target amount. Even if the funds fall short of the goal, however, the developers promise that Caribbean Island will still set sail, but in a scaled-back form. Those who contribute $20 will receive the game, but 300 "Early-bird" funders can snag a copy for $15.

Caribbean Island: A Pirate Adventure is slated for release in September 2014, and will be available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. Additional funding levels could bring the game to Ouya and Gamestick as well.



8

Aug

It's not often that Xbox 360 owners can lord adventure game supremacy over everyone else, but for the next few weeks they'll be able to do just that after the release of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

Created by Swedish film director Josef Fares and developer Starbreeze Studios, Brothers tells an "epic fairy tale" of two sons desperate to save their ailing father. To find a cure, they must venture far from home and brave a number of obstacles and perils, working together cooperatively in order to survive. If they are to succeed, "one must be strong where the other is weak, brave where the other is fearful, they must be… brothers."

Players will alternate control between brothers as you "experience co-op play in single player mode." There will be puzzles to solve along the way, but this is not a traditional adventure, so you can also expect to fight "boss battles" as you explore the varied environments.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is available now exclusively for download on Xbox 360 for 1200 Microsoft Points. PC and PlayStation 3 gamers don't have much longer to wait, fortunately, as the PC version is due out on Steam on August 28th and the PS3 version will launch on the PlayStation network on September 3rd.



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