Adventure News
 


December 2014

29

Dec

Fans of the point-and-click adventure Tiny Thief have a reason to be happy this holiday season, with the announcement that a spiritual successor is in the works. Titled Love You To Bits, the game is being developed by Alike Studio and Pati.io, two Spanish outfits comprised of former members of the studio responsible for Tiny Thief.

Although story and gameplay details are vague at the moment, the game follows an as-yet-unnamed human protagonist as he journeys in search of his robot girlfriend, who has been broken into pieces and scattered across the universe. Along the way he will encounter planets "full of fantastic aliens, space-time puzzles, and hidden objects to collect" while searching for his lost love, promising a varied trove of activity to engage gamers.


The early screenshots and trailer show off the cute cartoony art style that should be familiar to Tiny Thief players, and the bright, out-of-this-world color palette that creates an inviting, fun atmosphere, though in much different environments this time around.

Love You To Bits is expected to launch in the second quarter 2015, first on iOS devices, with release on Android, PC, and Mac platforms to follow at a later date. Interested gamers can check out the official website for more information in the coming months.



28

Dec

Sony has had good success with choice-based thrillers like Heavy Rain and BEYOND: Two Souls in the past, and is now looking to Supermassive Games for a similar sort of exclusive called Until Dawn.

Until Dawn features a group of eight friends who meet at a remote mountain resort but when things "quickly turn sinister, they start to suspect they aren’t alone." Throughout the course of one "night of unexpected terror", you must step into the "quaking boots of each of the eight terrified characters as you search for clues to the deranged killer's identity." In doing so, it will be up to you to determine the fate of them all. The more you explore, the more you'll come to understand that "anyone can live, anyone can die", and the decisions you make will determine which is which. But it won't be easy to choose a course, because "things aren't always what they seem. Twists and turns will keep you guessing right to the end."


The primary focus of Until Dawn's gameplay will be its "innovative choice mechanics and the Butterfly-Effect interface", which allow players to "clearly see the path of their story amid the thousands that are possible." The stakes are high and the repercussions are real, as both "seemingly insignificant choices as well as huge moral dilemmas that will question your sense of fairness, good and evil, can have major unforeseen consequences." Any decision might "ripple unseen into moments of grave peril, or they may very well save a life." Not every decision is subtle, however, as sometimes you'll be forced to make the "impossible choices" that directly impact the survival of your friends. With so many storyline branches available, the developers promise that "no two experiences will be the same."

As with Sony's earlier exclusives, Until Dawn will benefit from a slick production package, including a Hollywood cast headlined by Hayden Panettiere and realistic graphics rendered with the Killzone Shadowfall Engine. Along with the cinematic teasers released, a recent gameplay video shows the game in action, as Panettiere's character Sam must escape her first terrifying encounter.

While there is no release date avilable just yet, PlayStation 4 owners can anticipate Until Dawn arriving sometime in 2015.



27

Dec

Animation Arts has kept their games fairly close to home so far, but now the creator of Lost Horizon and the Secret Files series is turning their sights to outer space for their upcoming sci-fi adventure, Monolith.

Monolith casts players in the role of astronaut Nolan Carter, who awakens from cryosleep to find that his damaged ship has crash landed on a planet in the outer sector. In order to survive, Carter decides to follow a mysterious pulsating signal, hoping to find help at its source. But what he discovers causes him to question not only everything he believes, but his very sanity as well.


As seen in the early screenshots, Monolith featues hand-drawn, cel-shaded graphics inspired by the likes of genre classics such as The Dig and Beneath a Steel Sky, combining 2D backgrounds with 3D characters. Though promising 50 distinct scenes to explore, this will not be a long game, projected to offer between 4-5 hours of traditional adventure gameplay.

There is currently no firm release date for Monolith, but the game is being developed for Windows, iOS and Android devices and is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2015.



24

Dec

There's a high seas adventure coming in 2015, though the upcoming Herald promises not cannonfire, swashbucklers, or undead zombie pirates, but a "choice-based adventure about authority, prejudice and colonialism."

Set in an alternate 1857, the "West stands united as a single empire: the Protectorate. With the onset of modernity, the Protectorate is struggling to maintain order, as tensions arise resulting from great inequality and prejudice." Into this tenuous socio-political climate steps Devan Rensburg, a man of "mixed heritage in search of his roots." Seeking passage to the East, Devan takes a job aboard a merchant ship called the HLV Herald. With "people on board from many different backgrounds, the Herald is a microcosm of society", and Devan's job is to "look after and interact with a diverse cast of opinionated passengers and crew."

Described by indie Dutch developer Wispfire as a "3D interactive drama", Herald promises to let players "experience 19th century colonialism and prejudice by showing, through choice and interactive dialogue, both the strengths and futilities of siding with or rebelling against an authority." Your daily tasks will see you "scrub the decks, raise sails and assist passengers with their trivial issues", continually reminded of the fact that "you have neither the appearance of a pure western imperial nor the upbringing and background of a true native colonial."


Blending hand-painted 2D art and 3D environments, Herald is a mix of visual novel and point-and-click adventure in the final days of the Age of Sail. You can freely explore the ship and interact with the environment, and there will even be some puzzles to solve, though the primary emphasis will be on the story and interactive conversations. Player choice will play a key role in character development, as you establish Devan's identity in this "world divided by race, class and religion."

Herald is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux, and while there's no definitive timetable for its release, we can expect to see it some time in 2015. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game at its official website.



23

Dec

Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis are teetotalers compared to Sir Lancelot, and their hangovers have nothing on the morning after for the "sexiest Knight of the Round Table." Atoning for his massive screw-up during a wild bender the night before provides the completely absurd premise of the upcoming "silly medieval point and click adventure game", Lancelot's Hangover.

It took Lancelot and Gawain ten years to track down the coveted Holy Grail, but at last they succeeded! So what do they do with their cherished cup-like trophy? As any sports team will tell you, you fill it with booze and then drink out of it... and in Lancelot's case, you drink, and drink, and drink some more. What starts with "a few beers" leads to Lancelot waking up the next morning "in his underwear in a gay bar. The keeper tells him that he has lost the Holy Grail playing cards and Gawain has been kidnapped by environmental activists. If he does not want to be killed by Arthur, Lancelot has to get back the Grail and his companion in arms before the king of Britain discovers what happened."


Solely responsible for the game's design and production, indie Belgian developer declerfayt refers to Lancelot's Hangover as "Monkey Island meets Monty Python's Holy Grail", and the half-naked protagonist, crudely drawn 256-color graphics, and utterly irreverent humour certainly support that claim. If you're open to a healthy dose of political incorrectness, you can download the free beta prologue for PC now, which offers an early glimpse into the "humour, the dialogs, the main characters and the graphical style of the game."  A later demo is planned to introduce the "funny puzzles and the point-and-click gameplay."

To learn more about Lancelot's Hangover, visit the official website. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight while you wait for its release on PC and Mac sometime in 2015.



21

Dec

Anchors aweigh, adventure fans! A sleak new indie title named Burly Men at Sea has been sighted on the horizon. Currently in production by husband-and-wife development team Brain&Brain, the 2D point-and-click game is being billed as a "folktale about a trio of large bearded fellows on a fantastical adventure at sea," in which the player's decisions made throughout the game will have an impact on how the story unfolds.

David and Brooke Condolora, who debuted earlier this year with Doggins, aren't calling their creation an "adventure" in the traditional sense, as they indicate that there will be no inventory or dialogue trees to dig through, nor will the puzzles primarily involve finding one's way around obstacles. Rather, the game is being compared to Kentucky Route Zero and The Cave, where exploration and puzzle-solving will involve "discovering the multiple ways out of a situation, then choosing one," and seeing how that shapes the story as the game progresses. Players can expect to have a different experience each time through the game due to a branching narrative mechanic.

Burly Men at Sea also features an eye-catching art style inspired by Scandinavian illustration, with clean lines and bright pastel colors imbuing a distinctly minimalist feel, which should please even the most die-hard landlubber averse to the nitty-gritty sights that can accompany real-world sea life.

Scheduled to set sail next spring, Burly Men at Sea will be available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android platforms. Gamers who want to get their sea-legs before the game releases can follow the official website for more information.



20

Dec

If you ever wondered how adventure games were born, there's a brand new one currently being hatched in an incubator in Spain. The game is Realm of the Turtle King, an episodic series set to debut early next year.

Realm of the Turtle King casts players in the role of Hero Neustadt, a "wannabe adventurer" whose truly adventurous grandfather disappeared 13 years earlier during an expedition in search of the "elusive Turtle King, a mythical land turtle." Legend has it that the "centuries-old animal, or Tu’i Malila in Tongan, carries a map leading to infinite wealth on its shield", and Hero's grandfather became obsessed with finding the treasure before mysteriously vanishing. Now 1930, Hero has graduated as an anthropologist from the university of Zürich, and he "rallies the remaining four members of the expedition, who are of age and communicate with homing pigeons", to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. This pursuit promises to take players "along several islands within the kingdom of Tonga and the Cook Islands, ultimately ending at the Valley of the Giants."


Early work-in-progress teaser trailer


With stylish graphics already on the display in the early screenshots, the game is described as a classic-styled, third-person adventure set in an "immersive, comic book-like world reminiscent of TinTin, with the light-heartedness of Monkey Island and the Indiana Jones games." Player choice will be a factor, as "certain decisions will determine how the story and character develop", and there will be more than one solution to many of the puzzles. The game is being developed using a point-and-click interface with both cursor control and touch in mind, as initial platforms will include PC, Android, and iOS devices.

Indie Dutch studio Mindbreaker Games are currently producing the game in Barcelona after being chosen to participate in an entrepreneurial videogame incubator program called GameBCN. As the only international developers involved in the initiative, the two-person team are able to work on the game full time and aim to complete the first of a planned five episodes by March (though the final number may be subject to change). The first episode will be released free of charge, likely concurrent with the second commercial episode. The game will be a "true serial with interconnected episodes" according to Mindbreaker, so the goal is to limit the wait between subsequent episodes to 3-5 months each.

For some background insight into Realm of the Turtle King and its unique production opportunity, check out the developer's blog to learn more.



19

Dec

For fans of Capcom’s Phoenix Wright courtroom dramas, developer Sketchy Logic hopes to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that their forthcoming legal adventure Aviary Attorney will perfectly fit the bill. The current Kickstarter campaign offers testimony of a game crafted very much in the vein of the well-known litigation series that clearly inspired it, yet taking a unique approach to its setting, characters, and art style.

Featuring an all-animal cast, Aviary Attorney puts players in control of Jayjay Falcon, a legal eagle with a thirst for justice. Jayjay must investigate a total of four cases throughout the game (with the promise of additional cases offered as crowdfunding stretch goals), requiring him to visit relevant locations around the city to gather evidence, then argue his case in court by interrogating witnesses and providing the evidence at appropriate times to back up or refute their testimonies. The aviary attorney, however, is realistically fallible – a time limit is set for the investigative parts of the game, forcing players to think on their feet or risk showing up underprepared for court. Likewise, cases can be either won or lost; the game will continue either way, but with darker repercussions after a loss.


Aviary Attorney is set in 1800s Paris, and the designers have very much kept the game’s presentation in keeping with its setting. Character designs are directly lifted from (or in some cases inspired by) the works of French caricaturist J.J. Grandville from his book The Public and Private Life of Animals, giving them a distinct sepia-toned pencil-sketch flair, though animated. The soundtrack is likewise appropriate for the era, consisting of pieces by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. With these elements in place, Paris’s atmosphere should feel suitably genuine as a result.

The Kickstarter campaign is very close to its initial goal of £7,000, which it must reach before its January 8th deadline. Mac or Windows copies of the game, which could be available as early as June 2015, can be secured with pledges starting at £7. In the meantime, Sketchy Logic has set up a developer blog where you can learn more about Aviary Attorney, and you can also support the game on Steam Greenlight.



18

Dec

What happens when sandbox world-building collides with a storytelling focus? We're about to find out, as Telltale Games and Mojango are joining forces for a new episodic games series called Minecraft: Story Mode.

Telltale needs no introduction around these parts, but the creator of such interactive narrative-driven sensations as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us has now set its sights on an a decidedly unliterary universe. Minecraft, officially released in November 2011, is a game essentially about "breaking and placing blocks" marked by "consistent physics, a bundle of mobs, and a distinctive look, but no real story to speak of." Doesn't sound much like Telltale material on the surface, but if The LEGO Movie has taught us anything, it's that blocks can make for great stories in the right hands. And as Telltale President Kevin Bruner claims, "Minecraft is a world of infinite possibility and imagination."

Minecraft: Story Mode will be a collaborative effort between Telltale, Mojang (series creator) and members of the Minecraft community. The new series promises to be "similar in tone to Minecraft itself" and "introduce new characters and familiar themes, but will be an entirely original Minecraft experience inspired by the game." And for the many Minecraft fans who might be worried about having the world tied to a specific story, fear not, as the developers claim this is just "one way to delve deeper without laying down official lore."

To learn more about Minecraft: Story Mode, click the image below to play "Info Quest II", a playful interactive introduction to the new series (and a bit about Minecraft 2).

Click image to play


Minecraft: Story Mode will be developed for PC and Mac, Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and iOS and Android devices. There is currently no firm release date scheduled, but the game will come out some time in 2015.



16

Dec

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is clearly Peltast Design’s mantra in designing the naval-themed follow-up to the 2012 freeware title Why Am I Dead? (recently re-released as Why Am I Dead?: Rebirth). The new game is fittingly titled Why Am I Dead at Sea? and the two games are cut from the same cloth, both in their simplistic presentations as well as their narrative-focused gameplay, with one key difference: this one will be sold commercially.

As the spirit of a recently-deceased passenger aboard a ship, you traverse the 16-bit minimalistic environments, reading minds and possessing crew and fellow passengers alike to turn up information on what caused your death in the first place. Characters have established relationships with each other, which in turn impacts the dialog choices available to you during conversations. Each character will have a unique dialog with the other passengers, so choose who you possess wisely.


The developers promise that each character is hiding at least one secret for you to uncover, and you’ll need to help them through a variety of problems to progress through the story. To find out how you met your demise, you must fully come to understand what makes all of the ship’s other residents tick.

Currently aiming for an early 2015 release for both PC and Mac, Why Am I Dead at Sea? can be supported on Steam Greenlight in the meantime. You can also learn more about the game through at its official website.



15

Dec

One doesn't normally associate serial killer mysteries and pixel art with Chinese culture, but east meets west in a unique way in Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, an upcoming historical mystery adventure from indie developer Nupixo Games.

The titular detective is Di Renjie, a real-world chancellor during the reign of empress Wu Zetian in seventh century China. In this fictional story, Wu Zetian has just risen to power, but "within months of her ascension to the throne, murmurs of discontentment and revolution swell as detractors and enemies begin plotting against her." Into this tempest steps the newly-appointed investigating magistrate, who must "overcome his own inner demons and his allegiance to the previous emperor" in order to solve a gruesome series of courtesan murders that "will lead him on a collision course with the Imperial court and the empress herself."  


The Montreal-based developers describe the game's pixel art style as an "homage to old school graphics", while also adding their own "visual signature and design sensibilities." Inspired by the genre classics, its point-and-click gameplay will consist largely of a traditional blend of "exploration, dialogue choices, interaction with objects and clues, and puzzle-solving", but as a detective, you will also be able to "re-enact the scene of a crime to put your theories to the test" once you've gathered enough clues.

Currently in production for PC and Mac, there is no firm release date scheduled yet for Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, as Nupixo is planning a Kickstarter campaign for early 2015 in order to bring the game to fruition. In the meantime, check out the official website to learn more.



14

Dec

The first two times were free, but this time it's gonna cost ya'. At least, that's the hope for indie developer Ryan Khatam, who is seeking crowdfunding through Kickstarter for an episodic Johnny Rocketfingers 3.

Johnny Rocketfingers is anything but a traditional hero. For one thing, he's a stick man. He's also lewd, crude boozer, and a violent drug addict. His third outing will take Johnny far from his "slummy apartment" as he awakens on his back amidst a "nightmarish alien landscape." With no idea how or why he got there, feeling "dazed and confused, he pulls himself upward, deciding to explore this strange and certainly dangerous new territory." In order to find answers in the hope of returning home (such as it is), Johnny must contend with "natural obstacles such as chasms, giant bones, fallen rocks and large bodies of water" as well as "vicious otherworldly creatures" like sea serpents, extraterrestrial cannibal tribesmen, and giant blood leeches in the ground.

Johnny first arrived on the scene in 2003 in a free black-and-white, browser-based Flash adventure, followed by a sequel with "a grander story and tougher puzzles" in 2006, although not with much more colour. The new game will certainly change the latter, promising vivid colours in the same gritty hand-drawn style of its predecessors. Khatam is nothing if not confident about his ambitions, describing the game as a mix of "the quality of storytelling, puzzles and humor of Monkey Island infused with the grittiness and cinematic stylishness of Scorsese and Tarantino movies (and) with the high-end animation quality of Anime Films and 1940s Cartoons."


Described as a "point-and-click adventure game on steroids", Johnny Rocketfingers 3 promises to be "packed with so many cutscenes that it plays like an animated film", and yet in between it will play like a traditional adventure spent "exploring environments, picking up objects and solving puzzles." But there are dangers in this world, so Johnny can and likely will die often, though the game will simply restore you just before the fateful moment.

All this animation is going to be costly, which is why Khatam is seeking $88,000 by January 19th through Kickstarter. This will cover just the first of five planned episodes, each consisting of approximately three hours of gameplay. Backers can scoop a copy of the episode for as little as $17 for a limited time, after which the price goes up to $20. The game is being developed for PC, Mac, and Linux, with possible ports to iOS and Android devices possible thanks to the game's Unity engine.

To learn more about Johnny Rocketfingers 3, check out the Kickstarter page for complete details. To get a feel for the series and its very adult themes, you can still play Johnny Rocketfingers 1 and Johnny Rocketfingers 2 online at Newgrounds.



13

Dec

If recent adventure games have left you feeling desperate, Deaf Bird Entertainment hopes to have the cure for your blues, as the German indie developers have announced their space-themed comedy adventure, A Little Less Desperation.

Fulfilling the need for a hero in a world in short supply of them is Jacob, a vegetable farmer who falls into the role of savior when he witnesses a UFO crash land on Earth and decides to help the little alien on board get back to his home planet. The alien, Harold, is in fact a fugitive running from interstellar law, and soon Jacob becomes embroiled with a spacefaring bounty huntress, who whisks both him and Harold away toward the stars. There Jacob “comes into the firing line of a mighty and evil robot” and must face a perilous (but hilarious) future.


Featuring a hand-drawn, high-resolution look, A Little Less Desperation promises to be full of humor and classic point-and-click gameplay. Jacob won’t be able to die or get stuck on his quest, though the developers do warn that some of the puzzles will be quite challenging at times. The game will also feature more than 60 scenes to explore and a variety of “wacky” characters. In fact, the developers revel in the freedom to be as offbeat as they want, promising “an odd game with the cranky feel of real handicraft.”

Slated to launch for both PC and Mac, A Little Less Desperation will come with dual language English/German voiceovers, and feature a 5-7 hour experience. Oh yeah, and there’s Elvis: according to an enigmatic nugget of information on the official website, The King is due a cameo appearance in outer space sometime in the foreseeable future! There is currently no firm release date, but a tech demo is planned for early next year.



12

Dec

What Kentucky Route Zero did for the Bluegrass State, now indie developers [bracket]games are hoping to do for Alabama with To Azimuth, currently in the home stretch (and sorely needing support) on Kickstarter.

To Azimuth is described as an "alien abduction mystery set in 1970s Alabama." The game puts players in the dual roles of siblings Nate and Susannah Windham as they search for their brother Eli, who has mysteriously disappeared. As they begin to investigate, the two "find evidence that Eli may have been taken by extraterrestrials, pulling them into a narrative involving governmental agencies, truth control, and conspiracy theories, while also examining Eli's history with drug and alcohol abuse following his return from serving in Vietnam."


The developers refer to the project as an "adventure game at heart, involving a good bit of exploring environments and finding information and clues, but with a heavy focus on narrative and decision-making by players." Rather than simply alternating between characters, the game will offer "two separate, but intertwining, single-player campaigns." Meaningful player decisions affect both the story and the characters themselves, and "decisions made in a playthrough as Nate can be imported into a playthrough as Susannah and vice versa." Though puzzle-solving won't be the primary focus, you can also expect to encounter environmental puzzles based in real-world logic along the way.

The developers are hoping to complete the game for Windows, Mac, and Linux as early as September 2015, but in order to do so they'll need a groundswell of last-minute support for their Kickstarter campaign. The goal is a modest $20,000, but with only five days to go as of writing, the campaign is in jeopardy of missing its target. For those interested in supporting the game, a minimum $10 pledge will get you a digital copy upon completion.

To learn more about To Azimuth, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



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