Adventure News
 


February 2016

28

Feb

How long has it been since you stumbled upon your last global conspiracy? Are you itching to find that apparently-innocuous thread that will unravel it all? Indie developer Henry Watson feels your pain, and is aiming to satisfy that thirst for arcane knowledge with Angels of Deception. The first part of a planned trilogy has just been uncovered in iOS devices to tickle your inner George Stobbart.

In Angels of Deception, Blake Turner is a British journalist investigating a break-in at a lesser-known London museum. Naturally, things aren't as simple as they seem and he soon becomes entangled in the sinister machinations of the Phantom Brotherhood and their attempt to seize control over all of humanity. And we all know what that means: it's up to you to save the world. Again.


The game features a static Myst-style slideshow presentation, but with an aesthetic inspired by graphic novels, as displayed in the game's screenshots and trailer. Inspired by the genre greats from the 1990s but designed from the ground up for handheld devices, it also promises to include intuitive touch controls.  

Angels of Deception: Part I is available now for both iPhone and iPad on the App Store, with the next installment expected to take about a year, adding even more puzzles to expand on the debut episode's gameplay.



25

Feb

What would you do if you had only five days left before Doomsday? Why, you’d celebrate, of course! At least, you would if you’re an adventure gamer and the apocalypse in question is Deponia Doomsday, a surprise revelation from Daedalic due for imminent arrival.

Daedalic has been quiet on the adventure game front for quite a while, but now we know they’ve been busy working on the fourth adventure in their Deponia series. The new game begins on an ominous note as “the flying city of Elysium has fallen, hideous Fewlocks inhabit the junk planet Deponia and Rufus is apparently the sole (human) survivor. He sees only one way out: Deponia must be blown up.” But then he wakes up, left to wonder if it was just a dream or a portent of destruction to come. Luckily, with the help of a time machine and the “oddball Professor McChronicle”, Rufus is able to “immediately [set] out to duly muddle up the past, present and future.”


As seen in the game’s trailer and screenshots, Doomsday features the same iconic cartoon-style graphics of its predecessors, and promises an “alternate ending” to the previous saga in the form of a whole new adventure. Described as “Dystopia vs. Utopia mixed with Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar”, the latest adventure will feature both new and familiar faces alike, including the likes of Goal, Lonzo, Lotti, and Wenzel among the cast of over 70. And lest you think the game’s stealth development means an abbreviated offering, nothing can be further from the truth, as Daedalic promises “around 20 hours of gameplay and over 100 game backgrounds” to explore.

For series fans giddy with excitement, here comes the best part: Deponia Doomsday is coming March 1st! Arriving on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux, the game will also be coming to PS4 and Xbox One later this year.



20

Feb

If you've never heard of Red Comrades Save the Galaxy, that probably means you're not Russian. But the rest of the world is getting a second chance to discover Buka's 1998 point-and-click adventure with the recent re-release of the "Reloaded" edition on Steam.

Even as "legions of alien invaders prepare to conquer Earth" from somewhere on the moon, closer to home there are more immediate problems to worry about. Russia is in the midst of civil war, and the village of Backwoods is split in two by the two competing sides. On one side is the "brave" Red Army led by Vasily Ivanovich Chapaev, and on the other are the "cowardly" Whites. One morning, a hungover Chapaev and his aide Petka wake up to discover that someone has stolen the Red banner from division headquarters. This "unbearable offense leaves them no choice but to sneak into the enemy territory and to retrieve the precious banner." Only then will they be able to turn their attention to the threat of alien invasion.


The re-release retains the cartoony, hand-painted graphics and voice-overs from the original version, but the game now includes widescreen support and has been completely rewritten in Unity to support modern hardware. Any lingering bugs and animation issues have been polished up as well, and Steam achievements have been added to complement the "enormous" number of puzzles to solve along the way.

Described as the "first part" of an ongoing game series, Red Comrades Save the Galaxy: Reloaded is available now for PC download on Steam, its bargain price currently discounted even further.



18

Feb

Have you ever been out in the wilds, somewhere you felt totally cut off from civilisation? You’ll fit right in, then, as the hero of The Solus Project, the latest title from Sweden's Teotl Studios, whose last game was the puzzle-platformer Unmechanical. Stranded on an empty world, light years from home and with the fate of humanity resting on your shoulders, you must survive and uncover the secrets of the lost race that once called this place home. 

"Solus" is Latin for "alone", and this game plays the loneliness card for all it's worth. Loosely continuing the story begun in Teotl’s 3D physics puzzler The Ball, it's the 22nd century and Earth is gone, ripped apart by a rogue star; mankind only survives huddled on a small fleet of ships in orbit around Pluto. As resources dwindle, you're sent by the titular Solus Project to the snappily-named Gliese-1643-C, in hopes it will be suitable for colonisation. But when your ship doesn't so much land as crash, you're left as the only survivor on a supposedly barren world. Huge abandoned buildings hint at a mystery here, one you must unravel if you want to stay alive and save the human race. So no pressure!


Although it may look like an open-world sandbox-style adventure, The Solus Project is actually more of a “linear single-player experience”. Exploration and survival are your two goals, but whichever you prefer the developers have aimed to provide a satisfying experience. For the survivalists, there are dozens of different kinds of items to find, manage and craft along the way but without (we're promised) repetitive resource gathering. For the explorers, there are ten large levels, covering the surface of the planet, the caves beneath, and mysterious megalithic tombs and underground structures left behind by oddly humanoid aliens. If you're not into survival-style gaming, there will be a range of difficulty levels and settings to enable you to tailor gameplay to your preferences. 

The Solus Project uses the Unreal Engine to deliver a world that, as evidenced in its early trailers, looks stunning and varied, from lush grassy fields to cold grey caves and intricately realised alien architecture, all accompanied by an atmospheric score. For those with the necessary equipment, there will also be support for virtual reality headsets.  

The first part of The Solus Project touches down today on Steam Early Access and GOG’s Games In Development, with an Xbox Game Preview due on the 26th. New content will be released regularly until the scheduled final release in May. To find out more about the game, visit the official website for additional details.



16

Feb

There's a fine line between genius and madness, they say. In Layers of Fear, the newly-released "psychedelic horror" from Polish developers Bloober Team, that line has well and truly been crossed. Inspired by masterpiece paintings, this looks set to be a game best played late at night with the volume up, the lights off, and as much courage as you can muster.

You play a once-renowned artist, driven to madness by the loss of his family and prestige. Now all that remains for him is to complete one last commission, his magnum opus, a "true portrait" that captures the darkness of his subject's soul on canvas. Layers of Fear certainly lays the atmosphere on thick as you explore the painter's Victorian mansion: your escalating psychosis means that your surroundings constantly shift around you, revealing visions, fears and hidden horrors in your quest to unravel the mystery of your dark and tragic history. And possibly even finish the portrait.


Rendered in Unity, Layers of Fear presents a full 3D environment to explore from a first-person viewpoint, replete with flickering lights, fluttering curtains, a bevy of trippy effects and a creepy, menacing soundtrack. We're promised a "meticulously crafted" 19th century environment inspired by the works of Goya, Bruegel and Rubens, and filled with personal items to find that will unlock the secrets of your past.

Layers of Fear has been available on Steam Early Access for some time, and the completed version is now ready for final release on Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can find out more (if you dare) at the official website.



13

Feb

Adventure games have long lagged behind RPGs in creating big, beautiful, non-linear 3D worlds to explore, but the genre is starting to catch up, with another promising new one on the horizon in Eastshade.

Eastshade casts players as a traveling painter exploring the titular island. Rather than any grand world-saving goals, your task is simply to "capture the world on canvas using your artist’s easel." In order to fully "discover mysteries and uncover secrets about the land", you must acquire the items and schematics needed to overcome the island's environmental obstacles. But what you observe you also change, as along the way will get to know the island's inhabitants, befriending some and assisting those who require your help. This is an island "filled with many little stories", and your choice of both actions and dialogue will impact the dynamics within this remote community.


As seen in the first screenshots and trailers unveiled (including one that shows the painting mechanic at work), Eastshade features some jaw-dropping 3D landscapes. This isn't merely window dressing, however, because as an artist you can "compose paintings anywhere in the world and offer them to characters to gain items, knowledge, and unlock secrets." While this is the first game from fledgling indie developer Eastshade Studios, the team is no stranger to such open-world environments, having been founded by artist Danny Weinbaum after this work on the acclaimed action-adventure Infamous: Second Son.

There is no firm target release date yet for Eastshade, but we could be exploring this beautiful island adventure on PC as early as next year. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game at the official website and through the developer's blog.



11

Feb

Be careful what you wish for. Like Tom Hanks in the movie Big, the hero of Glitch Games' latest puzzler A Short Tale gets more than he expected when he asks to be small again. It may be a room-escape game at heart, but it's a Toy Story-esque tale of talking toys, oversized furniture and viewing the everyday from a new perspective, and it's available now across a variety of platforms.

You play as Jason, returning to his lost brother Ben's bedroom after years away. Portentously, Jason muses: "I never thought I'd return here, to where everything started. Where everything ended. Something's calling me back to this room..." Wanting to feel closer to Ben, to be little once more, Jason's wish is unexpectedly granted. Except whoever did it didn't know when to stop and Jason shrinks to toy-size, far too small to reach the door handle! Now what was once normal becomes "a strange new world filled with larger than life furniture, troublesome obstacles, and less-than-helpful occupants." Jason needs to find a way out, and hopefully find out a bit more about his brother along the way.


The graphics are pre-rendered in a Myst-style slideshow, depicting a straightforward and realistic look at a child's cluttered bedroom, accompanied by a suitably atmospheric soundtrack. To help with the game's many environmental and object-manipulation puzzles, there will also be an in-game camera for easy reference.   

A Short Tale doesn't even require a short wait to play, as it launches today on PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices. To learn more about the game, including purchase links, check out the official webpage for additional details.



7

Feb

Lucid dreaming sounds great: all the flexibility and imagination of a dream but with enough awareness to decide what happens and live out your fantasies. But what happens when the dream turns into a nightmare and you can't wake up? That's the premise of DARQ, an upcoming psychological horror game from indie developer Unfold Games.

You play DARQ as Lloyd, a boy who comes to realise that he's dreaming only to have monsters from the depths of his subconscious creep up on him. Exploring the zero-gravity netherworld of his darkest desires, you learn to apply dream physics in your search for a way out, walking up walls, creating objects from nothing and otherwise bending and breaking the rules of reality. The monsters you encounter are much too powerful to combat physically, so you’ll need to rely on stealth and cunning in order to survive. You'll also meet many less scary characters on your journey, helping you find answers and meaning in your quest. 


The game certainly looks distinctive, featuring a mixture of 2D and 3D graphics with a hand-drawn look and heavy contrast between light and shadow. Nearly black-and-white and heavy on the bloom, the visuals resemble nothing so much as a dark Tim Burton movie. The soundtrack promises much too, coming from ASCAP award-winning film composer and Unfold Games founder Wlad Marhulets. Sadly, plans for voice work have had to be put on hold.

Taking its inspiration from films such as The Shining, the aim is to slowly build a creepy atmosphere without relying on blood and gore. As well as the physics-based puzzling, sound will also play a significant role, with certain areas asking you to navigate in complete darkness by sound alone. Some elements will be randomly generated, making every playthrough a bit different, and dream logic means the world can change unexpectedly around you. There will also be multiple endings, reflecting the choices you make.

Having received only partial funding through its recent Indiegogo campaign, there is no firm release target yet for DARQ, but the game has already been Greenlit on Steam and we could see it jump out at us on PC, Mac and Linux before the end of this year. In the meantime, you can find out more on the official site.



6

Feb

If a town inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks and populated by anthropomorphic animals sounds like just your twisted kind of place to visit, you'll be happy to know you can book your room now at the eerie Rusty Lake Hotel.

The game takes place in the titular hotel, and players assume the role of a kind of butler who must collect the ingredients needed for five exotic dinners, while in between attending to the wishes of the current guests staying there. But these particular guests are here for a reason, because the hotel is "a special place, a place where strange forces prevail." And you are a servant with a secret agenda, having been given a special task by the hotel's owner, Mr. Owl. Fulfilling your goals will require a lot of puzzle-solving to accomplish, and in the end the guests' requests may not turn out at all like they intended.


While Rusty Lake Hotel is the first commercial game from the aptly-named Dutch indie Rusty Lake, it is thematically connected with the ongoing Cube Escape games that are freely available to download from the developer's website, featuring recurring characters and further allusions to the mystery of a "lake containing memories, wandering spirits and the passage of time." The new game largely features the same kind of escape-the-room-style puzzling gameplay as its freeware predecessors, though with a total of six rooms to solve this time around as well as a hotel to roam. And don't be deceived by the hand-drawn artwork, as the slightly cartoony aesthetic belies the underlying malevolence and eerie atmosphere enveloping this mysterious hotel.

Originally released for iOS and Android devices late last year, Rusty Lake Hotel is now available for download on PC and Mac. For purchase links and additional information about the game and the unique world in which it's set, visit the official website.



2

Feb

The sudden surge in Myst-style adventures of late shows no signs of slowing down, as yet another new puzzle-adventure game has recently been released called Monumental.

In Monumental, a five-person team of researchers were "studying an ancient monument from a long-extinct alien civilization" when they mysteriously disappeared. As the player, it is now your task to follow in their foosteps, entering the monument in order to locate the missing team and in the process, "uncover the astonishing final secret of a long-dead alien race."


Rather than a slideshow-style adventure, Monumental is a free-roaming, realtime 3D journey through a variety of unusual environments. Along the way, you will use a number of different tools to solve the "numerous" puzzles you encounter.

Perhaps the best news of all is that the game is already available, having just launched on Steam, excusively for PC.