Adventure News
 


June 2014

30

Jun

You know you're in for a retro-styled adventure with a game called The Wild Wild Pixel, but indie developer Fabraz hopes to incorporate plenty of modern sensibilities in their upcoming point-and-click debut, currently seeking financing through Kickstarter.

The Wild Wild Pixel stars a young man named Jacques, who's spent his entire life trapped in "The Valley", surrounded by "massive cliff walls that imprison the empty deserts within."  Unlike the other residents, Jacques desperately wants to escape, and has tried many times in the past, but "every attempt was met with mysteriously catastrophic failure." It is now the eve of his latest attempted escape, but "little does he know that he’s about to embark on a journey that will reveal what lies beyond those towering walls. If The Valley lets him."

The early screenshots and trailer show off the game's full voice acting and distinctive pixel art animation, but you can experience more first-hand by playing through the (still unfinished) playable alpha demo. The demo is set in the first of 4-5 planned chapters, each promising up to 5 hours of gameplay. To complement the retro stylings, the developers plan to include features like a "skit system, companion characters, side quests, [and] mini-games" as they try to eliminate "all the bad aspects associated with the genre like illogical item combinations and needlessly cluttered UI, without sacrificing gameplay complexity." They also want to make even the little player decisions matter: "You see a stray dog? Find him an owner. A girl’s being bullied? Save her from her bullies. You did both? The girl ends up playing with the dog outside of town, happy and content."

In order to fulfill such ambitious goals, the developers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $45,000 by July 27th. Successfully meeting their goal would let Fabraz work on the game full-time towards a February 2015 release target for PC and Mac. A minimum early bird pledge of $10 will result in a downloadable copy of the game.

To learn more about The Wild Wild Pixel and support its fundraising campaign, visit the official website and Kickstarter page for full details. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



29

Jun

As adventure gamers, we've all had those "aha!" moments where the light bulb suddenly switches on in our heads. But an indie Polish development team is taking that notion one step further: what if the light bulb is our head?!  That's the premise behind the quirky new point-and-click adventure Bulb Boy, currently raising funds through Kickstarter.

The diminutive Bulb Boy lives in the Electric Forest, growing up in a "big old house with his GRANDPAraffin and Mothdog. It was a time of fun, friendship and love." All that changes one night, however, when "Bulb wakes suddenly from a frightening nightmare to discover that darkness has overshadowed the old family house. GRANDPAraffin and Mothdog have disappeared." In order to find them while warding off the evil creatures now roaming the house, you'll need to use your head – literally!

Having a bulb for a head comes with unique abilities, as "not only does your head light up, emit heat and electrical shocks, [it] can also be unscrewed for use in other places." You'll need all these talents and more as you fend off a host of monsters, including flesh-eating moths, Bulb's favourite plush bunny, whose "snot manifests itself into different shapes and forms and becomes deadly", and a headless chicken that can sense light and "choke the life out of you using its headless neck." Each of the game's four main sections will be protected by a "monstrous boss" and there will be reflex elements involved in defeating some of them, but you'll also need to employ "a little trickery" to succeed.

As seen in the teaser and first screenshots, Bulb Boy is a stylish hand-drawn adventure with no dialogue, just animated thought bubbles used to communicate ideas. Inspired by the likes of Gobliiins and Machinarium, the game promises to combine a cute and likeable main character with a "slow-paced horror story". You can sample the game for yourself, as there is a browser-based tech demo already available.

If you like what you see so far, you'll want to hop on over to the game's Kickstarter campaign, where the developers are seeking $40,000 by July 27th. If successful, the game is due to arrive on PC, Mac, and Linux by October 2015, with iOS and Android ports also possible. A minimum $15 pledge is required to receive a downloadable copy of the game upon completion. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



28

Jun

You might think the life of a worm is pretty low on the karmic scale, but it makes for a pretty intriguing premise in AuraLab's surrealist adventure Karma. Incarnation 1, currently seeking funding through Indiegogo.

In Karma, players control Pip, a "cute-yet-brutal worm, living in a truly surrealistic world." Just incarnated into this form, Pip is naive and knows little of this strange world, and he is as "willing to talk to flowers and stones... as he is ready to swallow whole another representative of local fauna." It's up to players to make Pip's moral choices in this "psychedelic tale of good and evil driven by the laws of Karma."

As demonstrated by the game's early gameplay video, Karma is a highly stylized, hand-drawn point-and-click adventure. There is no spoken dialogue, but there are plenty of decisions to make in a game that promises to be "jam-packed with original humour and brain-bending puzzles". Not only will your choices affect Pip's appearance throughout the game, they'll also impact the storyline itself, opening new avenues and closing off others during a single playthrough. In order to advance, Pip will need to view the world through his inner eye, a "special ability which allows him to perceive the spirit world at any moment of the game." In this "astral plane he'll find additional creatures and hints on how to sucessfully complete the quests."

The game has been in development for quite a while in Russia, and is now ready to take the final steps towards release on PC, Mac, and Linux by the end of this year. In order to do so, the developers are seeking $35,000 through crowdfunding on Indiegogo by August 3rd. A mininum $7 pledge will earn backers a free digital copy of the game, and a portion of all proceeds (this being a game about karma, after all) will go to support the World Wildlife Fund. Note that as a flexible funding campaign, the developers will receive all donations made, regardless of whether they reach their ultimate goal.

To learn more about the game, visit the official website and the Indiegogo fundraising page. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



21

Jun

Victorian England. A vicious killer is on the loose, and only one man can hope to stop him... No, this isn't Sherlock Holmes squaring off against Jack the Ripper once again, it's Bertram Fiddle in pursuit of Geoff the Murderer in an upcoming point-and-tap mobile adventure trilogy.

Bertram Fiddle, leading "Victorian Explorator" in 1884, is in desperate need of a new case, but he gets more than he bargained for in pursuit of Geoff the Murderer, London's "most elusive serial killer". Along with his Cyclopean manservant Gavin, when Fiddle takes to the "dark, shadowy streets of London" he becomes "embroiled in the greatest murder mystery of his time". It's up to Fiddle (and the player) to "unravel the clues and stop Geoff before he strikes again."

Although the premise sounds like a gritty suspense mystery, The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle promises plenty of dark humour to go with its intrigue. Inspired by Victorian-era novels, Hammer horror films, and point-and-click adventures, the game will include "strange creatures and lost worlds" to go with its "stunning vistas and... chilling terrors."

All this will be wrapped up in a hand-drawn, cartoon-style presentation on IOS and Android devices in three parts. The first episode, subtitled A Dreadly Business, is due for release in October. In the meantime, you can find more information about the game at the official website.



20

Jun

Tale of Tales are known for their artistic, genre-defying interactive experiences, and while that continues to be true of their next project, the Belgian team of Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Graveyard, The Path) are going a little more mainstream with Sunset, a new "narrative-driven first-person videogame" currently raising funds through Kickstarter.

Sunset takes place in the early 1970s, entirely within the confines of a "luxurious penthouse apartment against the backdrop of violent revolution in a fictional South American metropolis." Players assume the role of housekeeper Angela Burns, who returns to the "swanky bachelor pad of Gabriel Ortega" each day an hour just before sunset. You'll have your required duties to perform, but in between the "temptation to go through his stuff is irresistible. As you get to know your mysterious employer better, you are sucked into a rebellious plot against a notorious dictator Generalísimo Ricardo Miraflores."

As its premise suggests, Sunset is certainly not a traditional adventure, as this game will include no puzzles. Rather, it is a personal exploration of the emotional story behind the (usually) nameless victims of war. Players can influence Sunset's story in a variety of ways, whether "going through the owner's possessions in search of information for the revolutionaries... or simply making your presence felt in his life by changing his radio station or having your own fun interacting with his 1970s-era high-tech gadgets." You can also impact your relationship with Ortega, even in his absence, as "for each task in the apartment there is more than one way of performing it: a neutral way or a naughty, funny way or flirty way. Gabriel will respond through small notes and other actions. It is up to you to decide how intimate or antagonistic this relationship becomes."

In order to bring Sunset to PC, Mac, and Linux by March 2015, the developers turned to Kickstarter for $25,000 funding by July 17th. That clearly won't be a problem, as the target has already been surpassed, but backers can still reserve a downloadable copy of the game for a minimum pledge of $15, with additional perks offered at higher tiers. For complete details, visit the Kickstarter page to learn more.



19

Jun

Adventure Gamers have good luck with island secrets to date, and indie developer Somgame Studio is hoping to continue that trend with The Secret of the Mayan Island, currently in development for release later this year.

The Secret of the Mayan Island casts players in the role of a researcher of Mayan texts who discovers a forgotten island where an ancient civilization once flourished. Eager to learn more, he sets off for the island, but once there he "encounters a number of obstacles and mysteries left by the Maya which he must solve in order to uncover the scariest secrets hidden on the island. Unexpectedly, the ordinary adventure turns into the most important event for all mankind."

Clearly inspired by Myst, the game is presented in first-person perspective, with 360-degree panning around photorealistic backgrounds. As players explore the island in search of ancient artifacts and secret places, the gameplay, too, takes its cues from Myst, promising "many mysteries and puzzles seamlessly woven into the gameplay."

The game is currently in development for PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices, and could be finished as early as the end of this year.



18

Jun

There's another acclaimed videogame designer making a return this year, though the name won't be as instantly familiar to adventure game fans as his recent predecessors. Paul Cuisset, the French creator of Flashback, is joining forces with Microïds to develop the sci-fi puzzler Subject 13.

Subject 13 casts players in the eponymous role, whose real name is Franklin Fargo. A former physics professor, Fargo has become a recluse living a "solitary and bitter existence" since a robbery targeting him claimed the life of his fiancée Sophie. Suddenly, Fargo "wakes up in an abandoned underground scientific facility with no external contact other than a mysterious voice. The voice calls him 'Subject 13'." In order to escape the facility and discover the reason for his imprisonment, players will need to "interact with the 3D environment around them by collecting, using, and manipulating objects to overcome a multitude of devious barriers to the professor’s escape."

Though Cuisset is best known for Flashback, he is no stranger to more traditional adventures as well, as he was also a lead developer on Delphine titles Future Wars: Time Travelers and Cruise for a Corpse in the early '90s. Subject 13 is being produced in collaboration with Microïds, with Cuisset solely responsible for its story and game design.

Subject 13 is in development now for PC, Mac, and iOS and Android devices, with console versions still being considered. The game is currently on track for release near the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.



17

Jun

It may not sound like there's a whole lot of adventuring possible in a game called The Little Acre, but there is when it leads to a whole new dimension for a father-daughter team in the upcoming indie offering from Irish developer Pewter Game Studios.

From inside his garden shed, Aidan is transported into another dimension through one of his father's eccentric inventions. There he meets a variety of characters who "eat by taking 'life essence' from the living things around them and in doing so take on the characteristics of the things they feed from." One such local, an age-old villager named Twiggy, offers Aidan help in getting home in exchange for rescuing some friends from a town prison. Meanwhile, his daughter Lily is also transported into this mysterious world and begins to "figure out the mystery of this strange world and her missing father and grandfather."


As seen in the early screenshots and trailer, The Little Acre is a fully voiced, hand-drawn, point-and-click 2D adventure, but the alternate dimension gives the game several distinct qualities that makes it stand out from its contemporaries. While the family farm in the regular world is shown in the usual side-view format with traditional-style puzzles, the other dimension provides for a rather dramatic change, both visually and in terms of gameplay. Here the view shifts to an isometric perspective, and puzzle solving for Aidan centers around a "gauntlet device he wears and certain types of plants that you encounter throughout the game. Each of these plants has an 'essence' such as being sleepy, explosive, attractive, etc. and the player can use the gauntlet to suck in this essence and shoot it at other items to essentially transfer this essence into another item." Lily, too, has a unique way of overcoming obstacles in this world.

While the gameplay in this other dimension is described as "a little more action-based", the developers have confirmed that the obstacles don't require significant dexterity. Instead, the puzzles are designed to offer a change of pace from the traditional adventure approach while still "very much solved by thinking about them in your own time."

The Little Acre is currently in development for PC, Mac, and Linux, and if all goes well we could be seeing the game as early as the end of this year. In the meantime, you can vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



12

Jun

You might not look for a "philosophical first-person puzzle game" from Croteam, ceators of the Serious Sam series, but that's exactly what we're going to get when The Talos Principle is released this fall.

While story details are still scarce at the moment, The Talos Principle promises to immerse players in an "increasingly difficult series of complex puzzles woven into a metaphysical parable about intelligence and meaning in an inevitably doomed world." There will be more than 120 puzzles all told, which you will experience "through the eyes of an advanced artificial intelligence construct" as you attempt to "unveil your significance at the behest of your creators." In order to succeed, players must "deploy sophisticated technology furnished by the creators to unravel each predicament entombed within digital recreations of humanity’s ruins. Divert drones, disable turrets, and even replicate time to prove your worth beneath an ancient sky."

We know the developers will have the free-roaming, first-person adventuring down pat, as the game is built on Croteam's own Serious Engine 4 technology, but there's plenty of thought-provoking, adventure-related experience behind the game's story as well, as The Talos Principle is written by Jonas Kyratzes (Infinite Ocean, The Sea Will Claim Everything) and Tom Jubert (The Swapper, FTL).

Currently in development for PC, Mac, Linux, and the PlayStation 4, The Talos Principle is not far off, as the targeted release will be some time in the third quarter of this year.



11

Jun

Daedalic and author Kevin Mentz are leaving behind Memoria's fantasy settings of Aventuria for Victorian-era steampunk in their latest adventure, The Devil's Men, announced today at E3.

The Devil's Men stars 20-year-old Adelaide Spektor, the daughter of famous detective Karol Spektor, who abandoned her as a child. Adelaide lives in a small seaside town beset by a series of murders that trace back to "the old exhibition grounds, where ruins of steel and glass are the new shelter to a gang of waifs and strays, misfits and tramps." With these outsiders asserting more and more influence in town through any means necessary, the principled Adelaide hides in fear of being discovered by the colony and forced into their ranks. When she "witnesses the murder of her father’s old friend, she sees her chance to find Karol Spektor and reclaim her former place in society. But only the notorious colonist and double murderer Emily can help take up Adelaide’s father’s trail."

The game's title is named after a "coterie of scientists who exceeded the limits of the spiritual and material world decades ago, yet are bizarrily perishing one after another." Players will need to guide the two protagonists in their efforts to find the connection between these "Devil's Men" and Karol Spector. Naturally, since this is Daedalic, this will all take place in gorgeous hand-painted environments in "a world made of steampunk elements amidst a fictitious Victorian England." Along the way, there will not not only be "challenging puzzles" to overcome but many opportunities to influence the storyline, as gamers "will have to consider all the possible ways to solve a puzzle, because every decision might change the story."

The Devil's Men is currently on pace for release sometime in spring 2015.



3

Jun

Usually "dark adult fantasy settings" and player-controlled character customization are reserved for RPGs, but indie developer Guru Meditation plans to bring this combination to the adventure genre in The Weavers, albeit with a little action element sprinkled in for good measure.

While plot details are still sketchy at this point, The Weavers spins the yarn of Albrecht, a reckless, ruthless young thief who finds himself blackmailed and disgraced. Without the protection of his former organization, Albrecht must first simply try to escape a stalking enemy, but his adventure soon becomes far more complex, taking him "beyond the veil of normality, encroaching into new planes of existence and completely disrupting his perspective on reality."

Inspired by the point-and-click classics, The Weavers is a hand-drawn, high-resolution adventure, but it is far from a traditional experience. Players will be able to customize Albrecht using three different talent trees in order to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. According to the developers, one branch allows for a more aggressive approach, while another emphasizes social interactions, and the third is all about cunning and adaptability. You can choose to specialize in one area or try to balance two or three, and your decisions will impact the paths available to you. There will also be some action scenes and Quick Time Events in order to provide "a bit of thrill" throughout the game.

Currently in production for Windows, Mac, and Linux, there is no firm release deadline yet for The Weavers, as the developers are planning to launch a Kickstarter for the game in September. In the meantime, you can learn more about it at the official website. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.

 



2

Jun

A promise of torment and sorrow may not sound like a good time, but context is everything, as evidenced by OhNoo Studio's upcoming point-and-click-adventure, Tormentum: Dark Sorrow, currently raising funds through Indiegogo.

Tormentum casts players as the unnamed hero who awakens to find himself trapped in a cage being dragged by a zeppelin-like flying machine. His lone memory is a "faint vision of a hill with a sculpture... depicting a forest of human hands, raised towards the sky. If only he was able to find that place, then maybe his memory would return as well." In order to reach his destination, however, he'll first need to escape a castle imprisonment and traverse a dangerous world on the border of dreams and nightmares.

The amnesiac hero premise may be what the developers admit is a "seemingly hackneyed plot", but what sets Tormentum apart is its surreal setting. As seen in the early teaser and screenshots, the game's hand-painted 2D backgrounds are inspired by artists like Polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski and the Swiss painter, H.R.Giger, with the goal of creating a "world full of darkness and depression." There will be three distinct lands to explore, each with its own architecture, weather, and creatures inhabiting it. Along with a variety of characters to interact with, who may either help or hinder your progress, and puzzles to solve to bypass different locks, traps, gates, and the like, Tormentum will also pose moral choices for players to make that will impact the outcome of the story.

In order to make this disturbing vision a reality for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS and Android devices by the end of this year, OhNoo has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, seeking $9,000 by August 1st. As a fixed funding campaign, the developers will receive the money only if the goal is fully met by the target date. A minimum $9 pledge will earn backers a DRM-free download of the game, which is projected to provide between 4-6 hours of gameplay.

To learn more about the game and contribute to the campaign, visit the Tormentum Indiegogo page for complete details.You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



1

Jun

Calling Clown's Secret a throwback might conjure up visions of low-res pixel art and a chiptune soundtrack, but the upcoming debut point-and-click adventure from indie developer Expression Studios goes much farther back than that. We're not talking 1990s retro here, or even 1980s; think 1920s, the heyday of black-and-white cinema and silent films, and of Charlie Chaplin in particular.

Expression Studios are big fans of The Tramp: the plot of Clown's Secret is inspired by Monsieur Verdoux, and the developers are packing the game full of references to other silent film classics. The leads in their little farce are Hal and Halbert, a detective duo who have been tasked with investigating the disappearance of a wealthy and recently married woman in the city of Tomainia. Hal is young, impulsive and naive, while Halbert is older and calmer, a thinker rather than a talker. Together they'll have to (among other things) turn a lamp into a megaphone, cross a lake by car, put on a dress to flirt with pirates and use the smallest parachute in the world. Not to mention somehow manage to catch a murderer along the way.

The graphics will be in black-and-white (of course), but crisply hand-drawn in a naive style. Like the silent films that serve as its inspiration, it won't be entirely silent, with a score that mixes silent film music with a dash of jazz. And instead of the dialogue cards you might be expecting, the characters will converse via animated pictograms, Machinarium-style. More surprisingly, though, the characters won't be completely quiet either: you'll hear them chatting to each other in gibberish as the animations play out.

Clown's Secret is set to be unveiled for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android devices by the end of 2014. If you want to find out more, you can visit the official website or the developer's blog.