Adventure News

October 2014



It's rare for Xbox systems to get adventure game exclusives, but that's just what will happen in early 2015 when NERO arrives on the Xbox One.

Described as a "magic adventure in an unknown world", NERO casts players in the role of a child travelling with a mysterious black-cloaked companion. While most story details are being kept under wraps for now, indie Italian developers Storm in a Teacup claim that: "NERO is about love. NERO is about faith. NERO is about feelings. NERO is about questions that need to be answered." If that sounds vague, perhaps it's because "the goal of this epic journey is to find something you really care about", which may be different for everyone – for one person it might be something material, for another something spiritual. The story is based around the simple question, "what are you ready to sacrifice for someone you really love?"

As seen in the early screenshots and trailers, NERO is a free-roaming, first-person adventure with "dreamlike visuals", an original atmospheric soundtrack, and a "rich interactive environment filled with puzzles". Inspired by the likes of Myst and Journey, the developers promise that "the world of NERO is wide, magic and varied enough to make exploring an ongoing challenge." Exploration will be paramount, as there are optional environmental details and bonus puzzles to find that will result in a better understanding of the story. Unlike either Myst or Journey, NERO's "complex" story will be fully narrated as the two protagonists progress in their journey.

There is no firm release date for NERO, but the game is currently on track for release sometime in the the first quarter of next year. In the meantime, you can follow its progress on the official website.



The time has almost come to break out those costumes, carve pumpkins, and fill the pillowcases to overflowing with sweets and treats! And for those who just can’t wait to bask in the spooky goodness that Halloween promises, independent developer Nostalgic Software have quite a trick in store for Android owners.

Candy, Please! is the latest offering in the Quiet, Please! series of handheld adventures. Following in the footsteps of the Yuletide-themed Quiet Christmas, Candy, Please! tasks you with fulfilling your childhood wish and amassing the candy motherlode in your neighborhood on All Hallows’ Eve. But to do so, you’ll need to be crafty and prepare for multiple go-rounds, as one simply will not do. And first you’ll need to explore, assemble your costumes, even carve your own pumpkin to make sure the night is a successful one.

Candy, Please! promises a lighthearted world full of puzzles and that classic adventure-game spirit of exploration. It is available now for Android platforms, and can be purchased for $1.99 USD from Google Play or the Amazon App Store.



Who's ready for The Antiques Roadshow: The Adventure Game? Okay, you might have to wait a while for that particular title to come along, but there's another game along those lines whose release is right around the corner. The Shopkeeper, currently in the home stretch from Viennese developer verse publications, is being billed as a combination of "The Twilight Zone, classic LucasArts adventures, and The Antiques Roadshow," though it thankfully aims for inspiration more from Rod Serling stories and less from public television programs.

The game tells the story of a man on the hunt for a special gift to impress a "difficult" older relative of his, and in his quest stumbles upon a small antique shop full of items with their own stories to tell, "some quirky, some macabre." Although details are being left intentionally vague in order to keep the mystery intact, the game’s trailer strongly hints that the protagonist has less-than-altruistic intentions for the "gift's" recipient. There's obviously more to the proceedings than meets the eye in any case, as touching the wrong item may have "unexpected consequences" for the main character as he uncovers each object's past.

The Shopkeeper will be a mouse-driven, third-person point-and-click affair, hand-drawn in 2D graphic novel-style. It will also feature a fully-voiced cast of characters, including Jeff Ricketts (Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the lead. For those who want to unearth all the mysteries this little shop of (probable) horrors has to offer, it is worth noting that the game will require multiple playthroughs for a full experience. The developers describe it as a "short-form" narrative that will encourage a completist playstyle.

Primed for release on PC, Mac, and Linux, prospective customers can expect to snag the game on Steam later this month. Until then, more information can be found at verse publications' official website.



The first taste may be free, but once you're hooked it's going to cost you. No, we're not pushing drugs here, just describing the marketing tactics of House on Fire's The Silent Age series, which launched free to great acclaim last year. Now the series returns with its second and final installment, but this time there's a price tag attached.

The Silent Age casts players in the role of an "average Joe", a custodian whose encounter with a dying man thrusts him into a time-traveling adventure to help save an imminent apocalypse. In the first game, Joe found himself shifting back and forth between his present day 1972 and 40 years later, a future in which everyone is already dead, the world eerily silent. The second installment promises to conclude Joe's "quest to save mankind from a hellish demise."

Like its predecessor, Episode Two will feature an "eerie soundtrack and stylistic visuals that will keep you in suspense as you solve mind-bending puzzles." Along the way, you'll explore over 60 new locations and interact with new characters using an "optimized interface" for touch devices. The sequel also boasts of including an improved dialogue system, dynamic new animations, and enhanced graphic effects.

If you missed out on Episode One the first time around, it is still available free of charge for both iPhone and iPad and Android devices. If you like what you see, the sequel is now available for $4.99 as an in-app purchase on all devices.



We've all had crazy dreams at night, only to laugh at their absurdity when we wake up in the morning. But indie developers RainDance LX ask "what if everything just stayed as strange and out-of-place in the morning as it did in your dreams?" That is the basis of their upcoming adventure, Between Me and the Night.

In this "surrealist videogame that walks the thin path between sanity and madness", players control a fiery red-haired, nameless young boy who lives in a floating house. During the day you can explore this stange house, interacting with the environment, solving puzzles and "boosting skills" that you'll need come nightfall. Once the sun sets, no matter how hard you try to stay awake, eventually you'll fall asleep and "have to face the colossal fears that are in his mind."

As seen in the game's early screenshots and first teaser, Between Me and the Night is a third-person adventure with stylish hand-drawn visuals that promises to dwell on multiple levels of duality, including good vs. evil, sanity vs. insanity, and of course day vs. night. Originally begun as a student project in Spain, it is now being financed by Lace Games, who RainDance CEO Joao Ortega claims are giving the small indie team "all the creative control and liberty (needed to) make exactly the game we planned from the beginning."

Currently in development for PC, we should see Between Me and the Night released sometime in the middle of 2015. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress at its official website.



Over 20 years ago, Myst helped revolutionize videogames in the burgeoning CD-ROM era. Since then, the game has gone on to spawn multiple sequels and spin-offs, while its extensive cultural backstory has been captured in numerous novels. Now the series is taking aim at television, as Cyan Worlds has signed an agreement with Legendary Entertainment to produce a Myst program.

The better news for adventure gamers is that this will be more than simply a passive viewing experience, as it's being designed as a true cross-media interactive event. As reported in VentureBeat, Cyan's VP of Business Development Blake Lewin claims that the goal is "not just to create a compelling TV drama but to develop a true transmedia product that will include a companion video game that extends the story across both media. With 70 percent of tablet owners using their device while watching TV, Cyan sees the potential to push the boundaries of interactive storytelling to a new level.”

While Cyan isn't ready to share any details about the project itself or release timeline just yet, they have confirmed to Adventure Gamers that franchise co-creator Rand Miller will be involved creatively in the project. More information will be available in the coming months, giving us something else to look forward to from Cyan, along with their highly anticipated non-Myst adventure, Obduction.



A new 3D hand-painted adventure named POKU, from indie studios Kalopsia Games and Renopy Games, should provide a breath of fresh air in more ways than one when it's released late next year.

POKU is set on Paloma, a "floating island populated by bizarre people who adore the wind and consider it godlike." Players control a clever girl named Aria, who discovers a mysterious egg in the forest one day in an encounter that will "change her – and the entire floating island – forever."

While POKU make look like a 2D adventure at first glance due to its distinctive painterly style, it is actually in full 3D, as seen in the game's first teaser. In fact, it is "exactly this 2D-3D contrast that some puzzles of the game will be based on, playing with camera position and perspective." A third-person game, the current plan is to make POKU a point-and-click adventure, though as the developers are considering console releases along with PC, they are exploring direct control options as well.

Production on POKU is still in the relatively early stages, but if it's expected we'll see it completed sometime in 2016. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.



If ever you needed proof that Interactive Fiction (IF) is still very much alive and kicking, look no further than the Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. Since its inception in 1995 it has become a centrepiece of the IF community, playing host to many critically-acclaimed and highly influential games, such as Photopia, Slouching Towards Bedlam and, more recently, Coloratura.

This year there are 42 entries – seven more than last year. There is something for everyone, from the more traditional parser-based adventures to hypertext and choice-based games. Some even have a bit of both worlds; for instance, one entry is a partly-graphical hypertext game that pays homage to point-and-click adventures.

You can play the entries through the IFComp website, either online or as a direct download. However, to vote on the entries, there is a requirement that you play at least five games beforehand.

The competition will end on the 15th November, after which time the winners will be announced and the various prizes awarded.



Adventure game fans are no strangers to the English town of Cornwall, but instead of hunting ghosts this time, we'll soon be hunting treasure in Cheeky Sprite Studios' The Secret Cove, which is currently seeking some treasure of its own through Kickstarter.

The Secret Cove casts players in the role of a "down-on-your-luck, out of work deckhand" living in a rundown beach cottage. Seeking solace in the bottom of a bottle at the local pub, your fortunes change one stormy night when you "overhear two old fisherman talking tales of Cornish folklore, smuggling and the legend of 'The Secret Cove'. One of the fishermen arrogantly boasts that he has proof that the legend may just be true, claiming he has the journal of a deceased notorious smuggler that will lead him to lost treasure."

In your quest for the legendary treasure hidden "deep within the lost smugglers' tunnels", you will venture both above and below ground, and even underwater, visiting many real Cornish locations such as St. Ives Wharf, Padstow Harbour, Minack Theatre, St. Michael's Mount, Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, and Tintagel Castle. As you interact with these 3D rendered environments, you can freely explore the "non-linear game world, solve puzzles, find artifacts and create tools to help you on your way."

In order to complete the game by October 2015 for PC, Mac, iOS, Windows 8 and Android devices, the developers are asking for £50,000 through Kickstarter by October 24. Backers who make a minimum £10 pledge will get a downloadable copy of the game. To learn more and contribute to its crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for full details.

Update: Since time of writing, this Kickstarter has been canceled.



The month of ghostly tales is upon us, and helping to usher it in is indie developer Dayv Hack's The Haunting of Willow Hill, now available for iOS and Android devices.

In The Haunting of Willow Hill, you are called in when the titular small town "falls victim to a ghastly apparition’s repeated attacks." It only gets worse upon your arrival, however, as the townsfolk begin dying. As you investigate, you'll discover that a 150-year-old unsolved murder is at the root of the town's troubles, and it's up to you to "decipher the mystery, solve whodunit, and catch the killer before it’s too late."

A free-roaming, first-person adventure, The Haunting of Willow Hill is not a horror game, but rather a "story-driven murder mystery/adventure with haunting overtones." Before you can identify the culprit, you'll first need to "solve puzzles (and) talk to the residents of Willow Hill" in order to uncover the relevant clues.

A mobile exclusive, The Haunting of Willow Hill is available now for only $1.99 at both the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android.



Many games have been influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, but only one game bears the official licensed seal of approval – or at least, it will if Senscape's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is able to successfully raise enough funds through Kickstarter.

The latest point-and-click adventure by the creator of Scratches and Asylum is a "faithful and painstakingly researched adaptation" of its literary namesake, thrusting players into the dual roles of "both the inquisitive Charles Dexter Ward and Dr. Marinus Willett in a race against time to save Providence (and possibly humankind) from the evil warlock Joseph Curwen, who has made a pact with powerful forces of ineffable cosmic hideousness to exert his abhorrent influence across centuries."

The entire game is set in Lovecraft's hometown, inviting players to "explore mystery-laden Providence and uncover its enchanting secrets, research ancient history of witchcraft and occultism in shadow-blighted Salem, and sneak into an eerie Pawtuxet farm to meet unspeakable horrors lurking underneath." Stops along the way will range from "dusty libraries where awaits the hideous Necronomicon, through excursions to nightmarish cemeteries where time-worn bones tell of horrible past events, to sojourns in the old Salem-Village of crumbling gables and clustered gambrel roofs where wizards of yore still prowl."

Unlike Senscape's other games, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward will be a third-person adventure, though everything else promises exactly what we've come to expect from the indie Argentine studio. There will be "no weapons, no enemies, no jumping, no running, and no dying" in the game, nor cheap scares (or tentacles!), as the focus will be "strictly on story and mood".

In conjunction with the game, Senscape's Agustín Cordes and Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi will be filming "The Shadow Over Providence", which offers "both a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of Charles Dexter Ward and a documentary on Lovecraft’s life in Providence." Viewers can follow along as Cordes and Joshi "travel to Providence and scout the remaining locations that were key in Lovecraft’s lifetime, including the John Hay Library, Moses Brown School, the 'actual' home of the Ward family, and the queer building that inspired Curwen’s old house in Olney Court."

In order to make all this possible, the developers are seeking $250,000 through Kickstarter by the rather fitting deadline of October 31st. A minimum early bird pledge of $15 will earn backers a DRM-free download of the game for Windows, Mac, or Linux. If all goes well, we could see the game completed as early as the end of 2015, as the artists who have completed their work on the still-in-production Asylum can get started on the new game right away.

To learn more about H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for full details.