Adventure News

September 2015



If you still have an old Sega Dreamcast system lying around, you might want to blow the dust off it for a couple of bundled first-person adventure games, Elansar and its sequel Philia. Not to worry if you don't, however, as the games are also available on more modern platforms.

Elansar and Philia are related games in which players must explore a remote island, solving puzzles to unlock the island's mysteries. In the first game, you must rescue a woman named Elina, while in the sequel you play as Elina, delving the surreal depths of her subconscious mind in search of her husband, before finally ending up on the same island again. No more has been revealed about the plot, as discovering the details for yourself is the point of the story. Both games are displayed in 640x480 resolution, with Elansar using a Myst-like slideshow format and Philia adding panoramic camera control.

Originally created three years ago by indie developer Orion, specifically with porting to older systems in mind, Elansar and Philia can now be purchased together in a region-free Dreamcast disc bundle directly from the publisher, HUCAST Games. The Dreamcast discs also include Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of each game, though the latter can also be purchased digitally through the developer's website. Both Elansar and Philia are also available for Android devices.



Mankind has been busy seeking life on Mars of late, but that search will take on a whole new meaning in the upcoming open world sci-fi adventure Dome City.

Based on István Nemere’s novel The Secret of the Dome City, the game casts players in the multiple roles of three different protagonists who find themselves stranded in the Red Planet's titular domed city that's been abandoned for 100 years. Very few plot details have been revealed so far, as uncovering the mysteries of Dome City represents the bulk of the adventure. What we do know is that this will be a "choice-oriented" game in which players can alter the direction of the story, and even the final outcome.

Dome City is a first-person adventure that gives players plenty of freedom to explore this city where "where nothing is really as it seems." Indie Hungarian developers Overon Station promise "endless possibilities" in roaming and rummaging through the city's many buildings, rooms, and storage compartments. Along the way you'll encounter a variety of "complex and mind-bending" logic puzzles that range in difficulty levels and require "using mathematics, physics, and astronomy skills to solve the mysteries in town whilst trying to survive." As you progress, you'll need to "discover the hidden clues that leads to food, water, energy or let you find spare parts for the new spaceship." There will also be some action sequences sprinkled in, though the developers claim that no shooting is involved.

The current plan for Dome City is to release a single-person adventure first, but the developers are also considering a multiplayer option as well, though the latter will require successful crowdfunding in order to complete. There is currently no firm release date for the game, but if all goes well we could see it released on PC sometime next fall.



It's not uncommon in science fiction for an extravagant city in the sky to house the rich, while the poorest souls who can't afford such luxury are left to fend for themselves on the decimated planet surface. But the upcoming steampunk adventure Columnae: A Past Under Construction plans to meet those worlds somewhere in the middle: specifically within the gigantic metal pillars that separate them.

Columnae stars one of the survivors left behind in the pillars, forced to live by "parasitizing" on the resources coming from a giant apparatus below called Machina, built to automatically extract the planet's resources for the residents of the safe haven of Deus above. Not only "unable to enter Deus, but also unwilling to cooperate with people living on nearby Cliffs, the society of Columnae is plagued by corruption, political manipulation, power struggle and poverty." In the attempt to escape your plight and ascend into Deus, you'll need to "explore the world of Columnae, search the underground Machina, visit the neighboring Cliffs and discover the Greenhouse Dome in the middle of nowhere." All of this will be presented in silhouette-style graphics that give the world a very distinctive look.

Speaking of the middle, Columnae is taking a unique approach to chronology as well. Indie Serbian developer Moonburnt Studio hopes to create a "non-linear experience by exploring retrocausality." What that means is that the game begins in the middle of the story, but rather than simply learning about the past and shape the future, your decisions will affect history as well. As you progress, the game will "try to find an explanation in the past for your behaviour in the present. Since the story unfolds in an achronological way, when you play the chapters set in the past, you’ll be able to see those causes, potentially different on each playthrough." As unconventional as the setting and timeline may be, however, this story-driven game does promise to include such traditional point-and-click staples as item-based puzzles and character dialogues.

There is currently no firm timeline for Columnae, as just like in the game, you'll have the opportunity to directly alter the course of its future when a crowdfunding campaign is launched in the near future.



Fans of Larry Elmore’s vintage 1980s comic book SnarfQuest (and adventure fans in general) have reason to celebrate once again. With the successful conclusion of a Kickstarter campaign, the inimitable zeetvah warrior on a quest to become the king of his tribe will soon make his return in SnarfQuest Tales, an episodic point-and-click adventure game.

Fully voiced and vibrantly animated, the game is planned as five separate episodes, each a new quest that represents part of a larger overall storyline. The gameplay will revolve around well-known adventure tropes, in the hopes of emulating the iconic series of the 1980s. Snarf will have to solve plenty of puzzles, including “fetch quests, quicktime challenges, word problems, and mechanical puzzles”. Along for the ride are Snarf’s companions, including “the armored warrior wizard Aveeare and the barbarian babe Telerie Windyarm”.

As a collaboration between the former Dungeons & Dragons illustrator and Cellbloc Studios, SnarfQuest Tales hopes to bridge the gap between Elmore’s mature themes and a more family-friendly presentation, so that fans both old and new can enjoy Snarf’s new interactive adventures together. But while the sexual content of Elmore’s writing and illustrations has been toned down, its humor is still evident, which you can see for yourself right away, as a playable demo of the game is already available.

Releasing digitally for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the initial episode should surface in the first quarter of 2016, with subsequent episodes slated to launch every three months. A DRM-free hard copy will ultimately be for sale as well, once all episodes have seen the light of day.



How do you spell “success?” If you ask Polish developer OhNoo Studio, they’d probably answer T-S-I-O-Q-U-E, as that's the name of their upcoming comic fantasy adventure which recently completed its Kickstarter funding campaign, garnering just over $39,000 in support. Tsioque originally began in 2011 as a personal project by veteran animator Alek Wasilewski for his daughter, before OhNoo (the studio behind last year’s Tormentum: Dark Sorrow) was brought on board to help finish the title as a commercial production.

The game follows the story of Princess Tsioque, a rough-and-tumble damsel who is left by her mother at the castle one day while she goes off to fight a monstrous phoenix threatening their kingdom. While the Good Queen is away, however, the royal wizard, corrupted by dark magic, casts a spell over the castle and summons creatures called Imps to help him secure his hold on power. Soon Tsioque finds herself imprisoned in the castle dungeon, and it will be her job to escape and fight back against the evil wizard and his dark minions.

Though it might seem like another typical fantasy adventure, there is clearly more to Tsioque than initially meets the eye, as hinted at the end of the playable demo, which shows an airplane flying in the sky – an obviously anachronistic element in a seemingly medieval setting. In addition, comic elements will pepper the experience, differentiating this title from its more serious-minded fantasy contemporaries. The main genre subversion, of course, is the empowerment of Princess Tsioque herself. Though trapped in a castle, she is by no means in need of a knight to rescue her, as she has more than enough ability and determination to get herself out of her own predicament.

One obvious selling point of Tsioque is its graphical style, which is entirely hand-animated and inspired by the adventures Wasilewski grew up playing, such as Day of the Tentacle and the Indiana Jones games, inspirations that the developers promise will feed into other aspects as well, like the plot and characters. The cartoon-like visuals feature crisp lines and bright colors that would not be out of place in a Disney production, a comparison that extends to the motion animations, as well.

Controls will be mouse-driven, and players can expect a fairly traditional point-and-click adventure experience as they help Tsioque in her quest. The game will be played from a 2.5D perspective, but much like OhNoo’s previous game, moving the mouse around the screen will shift the camera’s position slightly, allowing for parts of the scene obscured by the edge of the viewport to become visible. Puzzles promise to be varied, ranging from inventory obstacles to logic challenges, though there will also be some timed sequences in which the player can die at certain points.

Players can expect to get their hands on Tsioque in October 2016 on PC and Mac platforms. In the meantime, to download the demo or even snag a last-minute digital copy as a "Slacker Backer" for a limited time, head over to the game’s official website. For those who wish even deeper insight into the the game, a spoiler-laden Kickstarter update features Wasilewski revealing the “secret” behind the world of Tsioque.



Rarely do video games tackle such sensitive real-world issues as slavery, but that's exactly the subject matter of indie developer Dysotek's upcoming episodic adventure, I'm Joshua.

In the early 19th century, the titular star of the game is born aboard a Portuguese galleon carrying African slaves to the United States. Eleven years later, having been "trafficked and bought when he was just an infant, Joshua works daily in the fields that belong to the Gallaway household, south-west of the city of New Orleans." A child "full of dreams" like any other, but forced to work the fields of the Gallaway plantation, Joshua will now "need to find the strength to fight against one of the greatest injustices of humanity."

Displayed in stylish pixel art, I'm Joshua promises to focus more on narrative than gameplay challenge, though there will be some light puzzling and traditional point-and-click adventure elements included. With dozens of characters to interact with, you'll need to figure out for yourself who means to help or hinder your efforts to "fight for your freedom and that of your people." Similar to the approach taken by Telltale (whom the developers cite as a key influence on the game), player choice will be crucial to the advancement of the story, sometimes under duress during interactive cutscenes that require quick thinking in action. Dysotek promise an adventure "filled with twists and turns", but "the plot... will depend entirely on you and your decisions."

I'm Joshua will be released in three parts, with the debut episode due out sometime late next year. The indie Italian studio has self-financed production of the game so far, but expects to turn to Kickstarter to secure the funding needed to finish the project. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.