Adventure News
 


July 2016

31

Jul

With Professor Layton off moonlighting with Phoenix Wright recently, it's been left to the younger generation of Laytons to pick up the slack. After giving son Alfendi the lead role in 2013's mobile spin-off Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, now developer LEVEL-5 is thrusting the Professor's daughter Katrielle into the starring role in her own puzzling adventure, Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy.

While very vew details have been revealed about the new game so far, LEVEL-5 revealed the first images and Japanese trailer for Lady Layton in Tokyo this week. While some things clearly won't be changing, like the beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic of its predecessors, many other things will be, both in front of and behind the scenes. The team creating the puzzles is new to the series, and not only will the protagonist be Katrielle (or "Kat") this time around, but "many of its characters will be brand new" as well. Clearly this includes Kat's canine companion, who's featured prominently in the introductory video.


Unlike the Professor Layton games, the story in Lady Layton will reportedly "focus less on dynamic problem-solving and more on solving multiple mystery cases observed in the everyday lives of Londoners." This, in turn, promises to "bring a faster tempo and more comical tone to the series."

That's about all we know about Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy for now. There is no firm timeframe for the game's release just yet, but LEVEL-5 is targeting a Western launch sometime in 2017 for Nintendo 3DS, iOS and Android platforms.



30

Jul

Most people might not think of the Renaissance period as ideal fodder for a comedic adventure game, but British indie developer Joe Richardson isn’t most people. His first commercial outing, The Preposterous Awesomeness of Everything, showcased his eccentric sensibilities with a game full of collage-style artwork and animation and satirical humor. Now he’s using those same creative capabilities in the upcoming Four Last Things, which has successfully completed its modest Kickstarter campaign. 

Billed as “Monkey Island meets Monty Python meets Hieronymus Bosch,” the game is described as being “about sin, and the Four Last Things – Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.” It follows the misadventures of a man who travels far away from home to seek forgiveness for his sins at a church. Of course, this being satire, he is informed that all of those sins were committed outside the church’s jurisdiction, and thus he can’t be forgiven for them there. However, the local rector says that if he were to commit some new sins within this church’s “catchment area,” he would be able to seek forgiveness.


A free prototype released by Richardson for the 2016 Game Jolt Adventure Jam gives a brief glimpse of what players can expect from Four Last Things. Gameplay is entirely mouse-driven and focuses on the protagonist’s attempts to commit enough of the Seven Deadly Sins with the appropriate (or is that inappropriate?) behavior in order to qualify for absolution. Interactions are carried out using a “Monkey Island 3-style verb-coin” system, in which you can look, grab, and speak to various characters by selecting the proper icon.

The graphics feature Richardson’s signature collage style and will consist of elements taken and remixed from various Renaissance-era paintings, while animation will be achieved through “some snazzy cutting and pasting.” Similarly, music will primarily be composed of “public domain recordings of classical music.” The developer states that the final game will be 2-3 hours long and feature a “richly detailed world – full of locations to explore, characters to interact with and puzzles to solve.”

Richardson plans to release Four Last Things sometime “towards the end of 2016,” with the Kickstarter project page indicating an estimated delivery date of December. It will be available as both DRM-free and Steam downloads for Windows and Mac platforms, with a Linux release also a possibility.



29

Jul

Poor orphans. As if their familial losses weren't bad enough, nothing ever seems to go right for them in the orphanages, at least in popular entertainment media. This tragic reality is true once again in the newly-released Mystery of Ravenhallows, and it's your job to figure out what happened to the children who have vanished without a trace.

Rivenhallows is the name of the particular orphanage in question, which was "a once peaceful and happy place until disturbing events shook its foundation." When children began mysteriously disappearing, the authorities investigated but were unable to solve the case. As a former orphan yourself, you must take it upon yourself to return to the mansion you once called home to uncover the orphanage's darkest secrets and determine once and for all what became of the missing children.


Described by indie Mexican developer EnsenaSoft as a game "full of surprises, challenging puzzles, cryptic clues, secret passages and ghosts", Mystery of Rivenhallows is a classic-styled first-person adventure that requires thorough exploration and observation of the mansion's many rooms. It's not a long adventure, but "only by reaching the very end will you unveil the terrible truth to the shocking events that eventually shut down the orphanage."

If you're up for a little puzzle-solving and detective work, you can venture into Rivenhallows Orphanage right now on Windows, as the game is already available on Steam.



16

Jul

Ahhh, 1980s cop drama: Think Dirty Harry, Sonny Bonds, and even Sonny Crockett. Those days may seem long gone, but they're about to make a triumphant return in 11 bit studios' upcoming adventure-sim Beat Cop.

As Jack Kelly, players control the titular beat cop, once a detective but now dropped down to lowly patrol duty in Brooklyn. Things are looking bleak for you, as "your new boss treats you like dirt, your wife is a money-sucking spawn from hell, and the local mafia wants your head on a plate." But that's not the bad part. The worse news is that someone has framed you for murder, and you're the only one who cares. It's up to you to explore the darkest corners of a place that's "more like a beast than a city", all the while attending to your job of maintaining order on the streets.


Sharing more than a few similarities with the beloved Police Quest series, Beat Cop looks to be as much a police procedural as it is a story-driven mystery. In between seeking out clues to the crime you didn't commit, players will need to busy themselves "issuing tickets, towing cars, or arresting shoplifters", as well as reprimanding pedestrians. The '80s influence is evident in every aspect of the game, from the retro pixel art graphics to the chance to play Kelly the way you see fit. You can choose to "be sarcastic. Be gloom. Be whatever you want. There are thousands of things in this world you can laugh at, and even more you shouldn’t, but who cares. It’s jungle out there baby, and sometimes you just need something to release the stress." How you play this non-linear game will impact which of the multiple endings you'll get.

There is no firm release date for Beat Cop just yet, but it should hit the proverbial streets for PC sometime before the end of the year. While you wait, you can learn more about the game through its official website. Just don't break any laws while you're at it.



14

Jul

There aren't many adventure games for kids, and those that do exist tend to be cartoony edutainment games. Into that void steps Sofus and the Moonmachine, a charming-looking "interactive storybook" from indie Danish developer The Outer Zone that's just been released on iOS, with an Android version soon to follow.

Sofus is the name a little gnorf whose forest world is threatened when a malfunctioning Moonmachine deprives the planet of light. It'll be up to players to "build a spaceship and help Sofus on his dangerous journey to the Moonmachine. Escape the prison of the robot king and survive the Rusty Sea. Find your way through the pipe labyrinth together with the one-wheeled robot Zum-Zum. Repair the heart of the Moonmachine so daylight will shine once more."


Inspired by Nordic fairy tales and games like Machinarium (as clearly demonstrated in the stylish artwork and surreal contraptions) and the LucasArts classics, Sofus and the Moonmachine presents a world "filled with fully animated creatures, robots and gnorfs". Designed for children aged 4-8, the game features 19 different scenes with unique music for each, and a script that includes more than a hundred verses of "whimsical rhymes".

Sofus and the Moonmachine is available now for iOS on the App Store, and is coming soon to Android, though no firm release date has yet been announced.



12

Jul

Normally the thought of getting lupus would be a terrible thing, but not when it's Lupus in Fabula, a surreal new indie adventure that has just launched for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Lupus in Fabula is a historical game, but certainly not the kind you'll read in history books. As the result of a "failed magical transport", two characters now find themselves trapped in "Flemish Renaissance mixed with glitched medieval times." What's worse, the "unfortunate duo must escape a series of dungeons while being threatened by ungainly bestiary populating the world around them." All the while, they are being watched not only by a raven that appears to very interested in their plight, but also by an "alien duo, one dressed up as French Philosopher Voltaire and the other as Venetian Renaissance painter Tiziano."


Created by indie developer Spitoufs, Lupus in Fabula will take place across 21 "levels", the first 20 of which take place in self-contained dungeons before the story concludes in a nearby village. Described as an "adventure game with puzzle/action elements" (the latter consisting of a little light fist-work in places) and controlled via either keyboard or gamepad, the "story, characters and places are heavily influenced [by] everything from images of Lost in Space, Black Adder or Monty Python to words from the likes of Gargantua & Pentagruel & Decameron and strokes from painters like Pieter Brueghel, Van Eyck coupled with medieval superstitions, scriptural references and bestiary catalogs." All that wonderful weirdness is supported by the collage-style graphics that add even more surreal atmosphere to the game.

If you like what you see and hear, the best news of all is that Lupus in Fabula is already available for purchase through itch.io. The developer is currently seeking Greenlight support to launch the game on Steam as well.



11

Jul

Life after death continues to be fertile soil for adventure games. Now London developer Arrogant Pixel is preparing to venture into Purgatory, putting the finishing touches on the debut installment of its new episodic trilogy, The Tale of Doris and the Dragon.

The Tale of Doris and the Dragon revolves around Doris, an elderly lady who has recently passed on and is now in Purgatory. Here she meets many various oddball characters, including one with whom she forms an unlikely bond. The game’s teaser trailer tells us that something – or someone – is up to no good, an ominous being who has hatched some as-yet undisclosed dastardly scheme. The only thing standing in his way is Doris, a senior citizen who pushes a red handcart around with her to store her belongings.


Starting as a solo pet project by Ben Simpson in 2015, the series debut was initially released for free and was so well received that it has since been revamped for full commercial release by its now-five-person development team. The new version will still feature the same unique graphic style using retro pixel art images developed by Simpson in Photoshop. The game promises a classic point-and-click adventure experience focusing on puzzle-solving within a “quirky” narrative, the team citing inspiration from such LucasArts classics as the Monkey Island games and Grim Fandango.

Being released in three parts, The Tale of Doris and the Dragon will debut sometime this fall for iOS and Android platforms, with Windows, Mac, and Linux versions to follow.



9

Jul

The legacy of Myst is still going strong, not only with the upcoming release of Cyan's own Obduction, but with a slew of new indie adventures coming fast and furious. The latest to join the growing stable of 3D exploratory puzzle-adventures is ZED, which recently achieved (and exceeded) its Kickstarter goal.

If the thought of a "beautiful and meditative game [that] encourages curiosity and imagination" sounds familiar, it comes by its influence honestly, as ZED is the creation of former Myst artist Chuck Carter. The game drops players into the subconscious dream worlds of a dying man. You're there to help him "fulfill his final task", but your presence in his dreams confuses the man, who can "help or hinder your progress by putting challenging obstacles in your path." Only by exploring the surreal landscapes of his mind can you uncover the truth of his past and the mystery of his masterpiece called ZED.


The game's early screenshots and trailer show off just a tiny glimpse of ZED's realms, which "flicker between the edge of reality and that of fiction" as you explore the likes of "eccentric coastlines, mechanized landscapes, and secretive forests." As you press deeper through the "Dali-esque dreamscapes and a kaleidescope of memories", you'll find them filled with puzzles to solve and mysteries to unlock along the way. For an even closer look at these "exotic places of imagination", you can download the game's work-in-progress playable art preview.

Thanks to the 1826 backers who helped fund ZED to the tune of $57,180 on Kickstarter, the finished game may not be imminent but isn't too far off, with a projected launch date of March 2017 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.



8

Jul

A new moon phase starts today for Myst-style adventure fans, as indie French developer François Roussel's Haven Moon has quietly arisen on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Haven Moon is inspired both by Cyan's popular series and by the works of Jules Verne. The game teleports players to the moon of Seleos, orbiting the planet Menra. There you receive a note from someone named Ektor Turren, the "only survivor of a cataclysmic event that destroyed his world." For reasons as-yet-unknown, Ektor's note explains that he wants to leave his life's riches to you. As you begin exploring the moon's islands, you hope not only to discover the treasure and get back home with it, but also determine who Ektor Turren was and what happened to his world.


The trailer and screenshots of Haven Moon show off some of its fantastical landscapes and machinery in crisp detail. What they don't show is that although rendered in real-time 3D, Roussel has designed the game to be played entirely with the mouse. Your journey across Seleos reveals a "calm and lonely place where you hear the sounds of the sea, the wind and the beautiful music." You'll also encounter a variety of puzzles that are fully integrated with the story and promise to be "not too hard nor too easy, just like the length of the adventure is made to be not too long nor too short. Everything is balanced to provide a light relaxing and peaceful experience, to spend a pleasant time in an imaginary world."

If you're eager to begin some moon-based treasure hunting, there's no need to wait, as Haven Moon is now available on Steam. To learn more about the game, you can visit the official website for additional details.



5

Jul

Summer is the big season for movies, so what better time for the release of Projector Face, a point-and-click adventure from indie developer Fluik Entertainment.

As you'd imagine, the star of Projector Face is a "misunderstood creature" who has a movie projector in place of his head. His greatest skill is the ability to play movies on any suitable surface, but in order to befriend the local kids in town, players will first need to help him "gather items needed to solve a variety of puzzles, as well as create and repair old film reels and the surfaces they can be projected onto."


With no mouth to speak with, Projector Face is a voiceless protagonist who must try to "communicate in the only way he knows how." The game uses a silent film-style narration to help convey the story in between the traditional adventuring sequences, which are presented with "100% hand drawn characters and environments".

Projector Face quietly released in June (the blockbusters always overshadow the indies!), so if you like what you see, there's no need to wait as the game is available for PC download on Steam.