Adventure News
 


November 2013

30

Nov

Developer MidBoss Games is preparing to let us visit the future by taking us into the past in their ultra-retro cyberpunk adventure Read Only Memories, currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

The year is 2064. As a rookie journalist, life’s tough in Neo San Francisco. But events quickly turn hairy when a friend sends you the latest ROM, an intelligent AI device that has replaced all other mobile technology in the Neo-SF of the future. Leaving you nothing but a cryptic note, your friend disappears mysteriously. It seems all is not what it seems with the ROM you’ve been entrusted with, and you embark upon an investigation into the secrets hidden by the AI device and Parallax, the nebulous corporation behind it.

Designed with a simple command-based interface and graphics approximating 8-bit fidelity, the game is a futuristic mystery set in a world of advanced technology. As you progress, you’ll encounter "additional ROMs that can be collected to install new personalities; each personality unlocks new dialog and action options." You'll meet a variety of colorful characters along the way, but be careful in deciding " who to trust, who to work with and who to challenge in this harrowing journey through Neo-SF."

In addition to providing an original adventure tale, Read Only Memories also has its sights set on social and gender issues in our society. The creators of "GaymerX" are putting emphasis on several hot-button topics not traditionally addressed by video games, including discourse on the sexual orientation of its characters and even offering players a choice in the protagonist’s orientation.

Consisting of a prologue and five main acts, Read Only Memories will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux initially, as well as the Ouya console, with ports to Android and iOS devices coming later. The game is currently slated to ship in November 2014 if the game reaches its Kickstarter pledge goal of $62,064 dollars by December 13. You can secure a downloadable copy for the launch platforms with a minimum pledge of only $6, and all pledges made up to the target goal will be matched dollar for dollar by Ouya’s Free the Games Fund.

Visit the Read Only Memories Kickstarter campaign page for more information and to nab a copy for yourself. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight if you'd like to see it released there upon completion.



28

Nov

For those who are intrigued by multiplayer games but shy away from playing with strangers, now you can play one with the person you know best: yourself. At least, you can if the indie sci-fi first-person puzzler Reset achieves its funding through Indiegogo.

Dubbed as a sci-fi, noir murder mystery/puzzle game, Reset is being developed by Finnish indie studio Theory Interactive. Players will take control of a bipedal robot, traversing a post-apocalyptic environment set on a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean. Solving the puzzles and navigating the wreckage left in the wake of some immense calamity, however, is more than one robot can handle. This is where Reset’s signature mechanic comes in.

Similar to parts of Jonathan Blow’s Braid, Reset requires you to essentially experience a two-player game by yourself. You do this by creating clones, setting a “marker” which will allow you to come back to that particular location and moment in time. After performing an action elsewhere and returning in time to your marker, you will occupy a brand new, cloned version of yourself while the old version goes off and echoes whatever you just did (e.g. pull a lever or push an object). Your new clone can now complement this action by throwing a second switch concurrently with the first or riding on the object being pushed by your old alter ego. Think of multiplayer modes in games like Portal 2, where each person does his or her part to reach a shared objective – only now, you’re going it alone.

Details on the plot are rather sparse, as the developers have made a conscious choice to stay silent on any story elements so as not to spoil anything. However, we do know that the narrative will be closely tied to the game’s 33 distinct puzzles, and that additional bits and pieces of information can be found while freely exploring the 16 square kilometer island.

Reset is currently slated to ship for PC in December 2014 if a minimum crowdfunding pledge goal of €65,000 is reached. The fixed funding Indiegogo campaign will run through December 23 of this year, with a digital copy of the game starting at the €20 tier for a limited time.

To support Theory Interactive’s free-roaming 3D puzzle-adventure and find out more about the game, head to its Indiegogo campaign page.



27

Nov

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of a great mythological hero? Indie comic adventure Jason the Greek promises to let you do just that, albeit in a totally tongue-in-cheek way, if the game is successfully funded through Kickstarter.

Billed as “Jason and the Argonauts meets James Kirk and crew,” Jason the Greek promises to be a comedy-filled episodic romp. The first chapter of this point-and-click epic, entitled The Ladies of Lemnos, casts the player as the titular Jason, the “handsome, seductive and quick-witted captain of The Argo,” as he and his crew seek out the location of the legendary Golden Fleece on the island of Lemnos – which is rumored to be populated solely by beautiful women.

Inspired by old LucasArts games such as Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, the game is illustrated in a colorful cartoon third-person style, as seen in the early screenshots and video teaser. You can enjoy more of the game in action, as a short playable demo is already available for download.

If you like what you see of the demo, you can help fund development of the complete first chapter, as British indie developer DreamFever has launched a Kickstarter campaign that seeks to raise £10,000 by December 15. Pledges of £8 or more will include a DRM-free digital copy of the final game.

Jason the Greek: Chapter 1 - The Ladies of Lemnos is set for a summer 2014 release on PC, with possible releases for Linux, Mac, iPad, and Android tablet devices as well. To learn more about the game and to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page and the official website for complete details.



21

Nov

We're all familiar with the classic case of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who stalked the streets of Victorian-era London and made life unsafe for members of the world’s oldest profession. Now UK-based indie developer Alex Francois (a.k.a. Brainchild Studios) is throwing his hat into the ring of point-and-click adventure games inspired by this gruesome mystery in The Slaughter, currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

The Slaughter tells the story of private investigator Sydney Emerson, who, amidst a professional slump, is drawn into an investigation to find The Ripper. The search for clues will take Sydney through London’s back alleys and into some of its seediest slums and opium dens. To prevail, he’ll also have to look to his dreams and hallucinations for leads, adding a surreal element to the already nightmarish setting.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Professing a love for comedy, Francois promises plenty of comic relief woven into the tapestry of The Slaughter, with original music drawing inspiration from the likes of Trent Reznor and Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Nobuo Uematsu.

Bridging the gap between laughter and slaughter is an art style reminiscent of the early VGA days of 2D point-and-click adventures; Francois specifically compares the game’s style to the likes of LucasArts and Revolution classics. Designed using the Construct 2 engine, The Slaughter will be available for PC, Mac, and Linux, and is expected to ship in July 2014 if the game is able to raise £8,000 through Kickstarter by December 13. A digital copy of the game is available starting at the £8 contributor tier.

To learn more about The Slaughter and support the project yourself, visit the game’s Kickstarter page.



19

Nov

If famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman had created a video game, it might have looked something like Decoherence.

In Decoherence, players get to explore the human mind in a philosophical sense. By meeting and getting to know both fictional and history-based characters, you will be given the ability to interpret different worldviews, possibly even your own.

The game casts players in the role of Novena, a woman who is institutionalized in a Magdalene asylum. These asylums were actual religious institutions where sexually promiscuous women or prostitutes were put during the nineteenth and twentieth century for a sort of 'moral cleansing'. However, why Novena is in the asylum is unclear – whether she is a 'fallen' mentally unstable woman or a victim is up to you to explore and interpret.

A first-person point-and-click adventure currently under production by indie developer Cromlech, the game's aesthetics have been influenced by directors such as Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky. These inspirations, along with a mixture of analogue photographs and digital interface elements, fictional and historical characters and phenomenon, plus graphics with a monochrome style in black and white, all contribute to the creation of a realistic world with a mysterious atmosphere.

Decoherence will be released for PC, but Cromlech hope to eventually release the title on multiple platforms. The game is currently a fair way off, with a targeted launch more than a year away. The developers intend to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help finance production, and they are currently working on a playable demo. In the meantime, keep an eye on Decoherence by visiting the game's official website.



17

Nov

For the past six weeks the world of Interactive Fiction (IF) has seen a surge in activity with the advent of the 19th annual IF Competition, which has annually hosted what is considered to be some of the most creative modern text adventures.

This year's competition was very well received, with many of the thirty-five entries picking up glowing reviews within the IF community. The competition also provoked much discussion due to the noticeable rise of hypertext games, a category to which just over half of this year's entries belong.

The top three entries:

1. Coloratura (Lynnea Glasser) – Despite the prevalence of hypertext games, it was Glasser's uniquely surreal parser-based adventure that came away with first place.

2. Robin & Orchid (Ryan Veeder and Emily Boegheim) – Veeder and Boegheim are no strangers to the IF competition; in fact, Veeder won in 2011 with his entry Taco Faction. So it's easy to understand why this slice-of-life piece garnered second place.

3. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free (Carolyn VanEseltine) – VanEseltine has also previously authored for the competition back in 2010 and 2011. This game is most like her 2010 entry, One Eye Open, as both are grim stories that, rather coincidently, came in third place.

You can play any of this year's entries either online or by downloading them from the Interactive Fiction Database.



14

Nov

Her Majesty the Queen is looking to return the British Empire to its former glory by going where no empire has gone before (outer space, of course!), but she can’t do it without some help from her loyal subjects – and other adventure fans around the world.

Indie developer BillyGoat Entertainment has begun fundraising on Kickstarter for their upcoming adventure, Her Majesty’s SPIFFING. Expected to span a three-episode arc, the Monty Python-inspired game will follow the adventures of Captain Frank Lee English and his companion Alad as they venture out among the stars to find new planets to colonize, as part of the SPIFFING (Special Planetary Investigative Force For Inhabiting New Galaxies) program. Aboard the HMSS Imperialise, players will help Captain English complete his quest, “deal with crippling claustrophobia,” and encounter other intrepid explorers along the way.

Played from a third-person 2.5D perspective, SPIFFING will feature familiar point-and-click gameplay and a variety of puzzles and minigames to solve, in addition to “witty dialogue” the player can use to gather clues and advance the plot.

To bring the game to light, the developers have begun a Kickstarter campaign, and are asking for a total of £30,000 before December 17. Players can snag a DRM-free digital copy of all three episodes (as they are completed) for £12 on PC, Mac, and Linux.

Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is scheduled to blast off November 2014. Interested gamers can find more information can be found at the official Kickstarter page.



12

Nov

Classic adventure game fans may soon get a chance to put the old movie tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream” to the test. Canadian independent development studio 4th Monkey Media has brought a concept for a story-driven point-and-click murder mystery with a comedic spin to Kickstarter. The twist? Murder One: Mars is to be set on the Red Planet, away from the safe familiarity of Earth.

Players will take control of special investigators Lloyd and Cole, who have been sent to Mars to solve a murder in Garden Manor, home of the planet’s wealthy mining magnate and Big Cheese, James Garden. Contrasting with the posh manor will be industrial mining facilities and research labs, which are described by the team as “realistic” and “mundane”. Don’t expect a clean, glitzy space colony, but rather the down ‘n’ dirty fare of such classics as Alien and Blade Runner.



4th Monkey has enlisted the help of artists and designers who bring with them plenty of previous experience on various game, TV, and movie projects – over 30 titles all told. Hired to take over script-writing duties for Murder One: Mars, and ensure its comedic nature, is stand-up comic Phil James. Envisioned as the first in a trilogy, the game will feature voice work and hand-drawn 2D artwork and backgrounds, as well as – if the sample footage is any indication – quality animated cinematics as an additional campaign stretch goal.

Though the game is still in its pre-production stage, a delivery date of March 2014 has already been announced for PC, Mac, and Linux. The Kickstarter campaign, running until December 8, is aiming for a $65,000 CAD goal, with a copy of the game available starting at $20. An interesting reward has been included at the top tier, available for only one backer: to actually BE the one whodunit!

Visit the team’s Kickstarter page for more details on Murder One: Mars, and to pick up a copy of the game for yourself with a pledge contribution.



11

Nov

Horror fans will be pleased to hear that Dreampainters, the indie Italian studio behind last year's Anna, is hard at work crafting their next fright-filled outing, White Heaven.

The new game takes place in the same fictional universe as Anna, and tells the tale of Eric Blanc, the son of a wealthy family who is kidnapped and held for ransom by a criminal gang in an abandoned mountain hotel, the titular White Heaven. Players will take control of Eric shortly after he discovers that the door of his cell is unlocked, and will be tasked with helping him flee. However, he has fallen in love with one of his captors, and must go in search of her before he can make his escape. Naturally, his (and the player’s) search will be thwarted by the discovery that dark forces wait for him in the shadowy recesses of the hotel.

Aside from the promise of another chilling first-person experience, White Heaven’s most notable features include full 3D rendering using the upcoming state-of-the-art Unreal Engine 4, and the game’s compatibility with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

White Heaven is slated for release in the first quarter of 2014 on PC and Mac. In the meantime, visit the official website for more information.



3

Nov

State of Play Games' 2011 puzzle adventure Lume was a charming trip into a unique paper-and-cardboard world, but it was also very short – more of a prologue to whet your appetite for the main event to come. Well, Lumino City is about to become that main event.

In Lume, you had to guide the protagonist Lumi in returning power to her grandfather's house. In Lumino City, you face the much trickier task of – you guessed it! – finding out what's gone wrong with an entire city. As you might expect, this makes for a much more substantial game that promises to be "many times the size of the original", with puzzles that are "a more integrated part of the scenes around you."

Like its predecessor, Lumino City is made entirely of paper, cardboard and wood, and is shaping up to look even more beautiful. Where Lume was the work of two people, there's a larger team on board for this one, and it shows; the city is even being designed by a real architect. The developers promise "a massive leap in fidelity, image quality wise and also in the quality of the models," which are being laser-cut and brought to life with electric motors.

Lumino City is coming soon for Windows, Mac and Linux, with iOS versions to follow. You can find out more on the game's official website and the developer's blog.



1

Nov

After the dissolution of Trilobyte in 1999, it seemed that any chance of returning to Stauf’s mansion were laid to rest. But for those who have fond memories of visiting the spooky mansion in 1993’s The 7th Guest, the recently-reformed Trilobyte Games has some exciting news: An official sequel campaign is currently underway on Kickstarter!

In The 7th Guest 3: The Collector, players are invited to return to the town of Harley-on-the-Hudson, where a newly rebuilt Stauf Mansion has been erected by an unknown benefactor. Trilobyte is keeping a tight lid on plot specifics, but hint that players can expect to “discover exactly what happened on that terrible night so long ago when the strange toymaker invited 6 guests to spend a night in his house of horrors.” This time around, players are promised an experience that is “intended for a mature audience”, offering more adult-themed content than the previous games allowed.

Designer Rob Landeros is back at the helm, and he hasn’t forgotten what made The 7th Guest so groundbreaking, so we can expect to see a return to the familiar presentation of FMV scenes superimposed onto a 3D background. With twenty years having passed since the original hit store shelves, however, the developers are taking full advantage of new mobile and touch-screen technologies and incorporating them into the game.



The gameplay will also stay true to the series’ roots, mixing logic and dexterity puzzles with scares and horror elements. In addition to all-new puzzles and riddles to crack, the house itself serves as an ultimate meta-puzzle. Stauf’s mansion is less of a structure and more of a “slippery supernatural creature” that will change dimensions, layout, even size and shape as players progress through it. Some rooms and passageways, for instance, will only be accessible during specific configurations of the house, and be sealed off again the next time it shifts. While many secrets are waiting to be found within the house, only one path will lead to freedom.

Old Man Stauf himself can be seen in the team’s Kickstarter campaign video, beckoning contributors to join in the twisted fun once again. The campaign is seeking $435,000 by December 8, and backers can pick up a digital copy of the game starting at $20 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, though we won't see the finished version for some time, as the game isn't expected until October 2015.

To learn more about The 7th Guest 3: The Collector and to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details.