Adventure News
 


August 2016

30

Aug

Alice VR, as the title rather bluntly suggests, is inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland and designed for virtual reality. So far, so straightforward. However, Polish developers Carbon Studio have also got a pretty major twist up their sleeves: sci-fi. Anxious white rabbits and grinning cats are replaced by interstellar spaceships and robots, and the rabbit hole's more metaphorical than literal, but hopefully the scent of fantastical adventure will remain when the game is released later this year.

Playing (naturally) as Alice, you're peacefully cryosleeping your way to the next stop on your latest mission for the Interstellar Corporation when you're rudely awakened by your ship's AI. Low on graphene (a vital fuel component), there's no choice but to head down to the isolated desert planet Speculo to find more. There's even a settlement there, Mirabilis, but – stop me if you've heard this one before – it turns out to be mysteriously abandoned, filled with nothing but sun-bleached skeletons and some still-functioning droids. What happened, what can you do about it, and can you stay alive long enough to find that graphene?


Based on the screenshots and trailers released so far, the Unreal-powered 3D graphics look fabulous: the city of Mirabilis towers above the desert, equal parts technological wonder and shantytown. The game is intended to be a peaceful explorative-style experience, free of scares or time pressure. Over three hours or so of playtime, we're promised Wonderland-inspired puzzles (for example, requiring Alice to grow and shrink), variable gravity that lets her walk on walls, and multiple paths that impact Speculo's future. The developers also suggest that it'll take at least two runs through to tease out the whole story of what happened to Mirabilis.

Alice VR is scheduled to land this October, for Rift, Vive, OSVR and plain old Windows if you haven't made the leap to VR yet, as it can also be played on a regular monitor. If you want to know more, you can hop on over to the official website for complete details.



29

Aug

When it comes to videogames, the only thing scarier than being all alone in the dark is the possibility that you might not be. In a new psychological horror adventure from Deceptive Games, that very question is at the heart of ALONE?

ALONE? thrusts players in the first-person role of a man named Sam, who returns to the hostel where he was raised after receiving a troubling letter from his sister, asking for his help. While that's it for concrete story details so far, we know that Sam gets more than he bargained for in his homecoming as he soon finds himself an unwitting captive. Simply surviving the ordeal will become a challenge as you attempt to help Sam "track down [his] missing sister, and discover the strange occurrences happening at the home where he grew up."


Adding to the nightmarish circumstances is the fact the the world will dynamically change around you in deliberately unnerving ways. As you freely explore the high resolution 3D environments, it will be easy to "get lost amongst the darkness", and in order to succeed you must collect items that will aid in your survival along the way. According to the developers, there are four different endings available depending on how events play out.

Although there is no firm timeline for the game's final version, the budget-priced ALONE? is available now for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam Early Access. A VR version is also being planned for release on HTC Vive sometime down the line. To follow the game's progress in the coming months, you can learn more at the official website.



28

Aug

Whoever said slackers never achieve anything might just change their mind after playing Elroy and the Aliens, a point-and-click adventure currently in production by the decidedly hard-working Slovenian developer Motiviti.

Inspired by games like Day of the Tentacle and Saturday morning cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Elroy and the Aliens follows the story of the eponymous protagonist, a consummate slacker and aspiring scientist who stumbles upon a plan by aliens to destroy the Earth. It will be up to players to help Elroy and his sidekick Peggie, who first told him of this diabolical plan, get to the bottom of the conspiracy and hopefully prevent catastrophe.


As the screenshots and trailer vividly illustrate, the developers have confirmed that the art and “most of” the animation will be hand-drawn in a colorful cartoon style. Likewise, the music will be produced in-house as well. Played from a third-person, 2.5D perspective, the game is being optimized for a touch-screen interface while also supporting mouse controls. Players are promised a story full of slapstick humor and a variety of puzzles to solve along the way, ranging from “touch-friendly full screen” challenges to more traditional adventure game fare such as logic and inventory puzzles. In addition, there will be some mild action-based “running” sequences in which Elroy must dodge obstacles in his path while moving along a pre-determined course.

The release plans for Elroy and the Aliens are extensive, with Motiviti planning initial launch sometime in 2017 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with a concurrent PlayStation Vita version also possible. This will be followed by an as-yet-unspecified arrival on iOS and Android platforms. For more information about the game in the meantime, check out its official webpage.



27

Aug

Ever since its stunning debut announcement as a PlayStation exclusive back in 2013, RiME has been one of the more highly anticipated titles for fans of open world adventures. And yet with so few updates in the last couple years, is there cause for concern that the project has been shelved? Not so! In fact, the game is gearing up for a 2017 release, this time across multiple platforms with a couple of new publishers in tow.

RiME is a "puzzle adventure game" starring a young boy who finds himself stranded on a mysterious island after being shipwrecked in a terrible storm. That's about it for story specifics so far, but exploration will be key as "players must use their wits to decipher the challenges and secrets of an expansive world strewn with rugged terrain, wild creatures and the crumbling ruins of a long-forgotten civilization."


Created by Tequila Works, RiME has a presentation similar to the highly-acclaimed Journey, featuring a "subtle narrative, colorful cel-shaded artwork and a sweeping score". Players can freely explore the 3D island, and its "dynamic" puzzle-soving means that "you are integral to how puzzles are solved and with the help of a mysterious artifact you can manipulate the environment and even time itself."

The bad news about RiME is that we won't be seeing the finished game until sometime in 2017. The good news is that Grey Box and Six Foot will now be joining forces to publish it when the time comes. And with Sony no longer the driving force behind the game, we can now expect to see it on more than one platform, though specific details won't be revealed until early next year.



26

Aug

With all due respect to Johnny Cash, the boy named Sue ain't got nuthin' on indie developer Steve Gabry's boy named Sally Face, the star of a new episodic series that just debuted on Windows and Mac.

Having what is traditionally a girl's name is just one of the titular character's unusual traits, as he also happens to have "blue pigtails, a prosthetic face and a mysterious past." As you can imagine, these might present certain hurdles for a teenager, and indeed the series will be about Sally "dealing with the many oddities and hardships in his life." The first episode, called Strange Neighbors, sees Sally and his father "move into a new apartment filled with odd tenants and an unfortunate crime scene."

Described as a "casual, story-driven" adventure, the side-scrolling Sally Face is controlled either by keyboard or gamepad. In all other respects, however, the gameplay sounds quite traditional, as you must "interact with different objects in the environment, collect inventory items, talk to NPCs and solve puzzles." Gabry has five episodes planned for the first "season" of Sally Face adventures. Each installment will be quite short, offering less than an hour of gameplay to parallel a television cartoon, and will have its own central narrative focus, though with a larger story arc connecting the episodes together.

Episode One - Strange Neighbors is available now for Windows and Mac exclusively on itch.io.



25

Aug

Imagine for a moment that an evil witch has kidnapped a group of innocent children. Who would you send to the rescue? The police? A passing action hero? A time-travelling scientific pop group? The answer's obvious, at least according to British developer James Lightfoot and his "otherworldly" adventure The Mystery of Woolley Mountain, which has successfully met its Kickstarter campaign target. 

The plot reads a lot like what would happen if you mixed Buckaroo Banzai, the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, and a raft of classic point-and-click adventures, then simmered them over a low heat to really bring out their full quirkiness. Vandamme Laudenkleer, adventurer, multi-instrumentalist with The Helmholtz Resonators, and the first to uncover the witch's despicable actions, sets off alone for the her lair atop Woolley Mountain. Problem is, also being a bit of a duffer, he promptly gets himself captured and it's up to the rest of the band to hop in their time-travelling Crystal Submarine, overcome their many and varied personality flaws, and save both Laudenkleer and the missing children.


Namechecking everything from Day of the Tentacle and Discworld to The Phantom Tollbooth and Adventure Time, Lightfoot aims to combine "the halcyon adventure game days" with thoroughly modern HD cartoon graphics and a ten-track concept album from The Helmholtz Resonators. You play as several different characters over "three huge acts", in which you’ll encounter various beasts, automatons, ropemen and other strange creatures. We're also promised interaction with almost anything in the world to elicit a wide variety of unique reactions. It's a family-friendly game, too, the characters' stiff upper lips precluding more than the odd "darn" at times of high emotion. Unfortunately, a stretch goal to provide full voice acting was not met.

Having raised almost £10,000 through crowdfunding, The Mystery of Woolley Mountain is due to rock out on Windows and Mac in October 2017. If you'd like to explore further, why not saunter over to the official website or help the game get voted in on Stream Greenlight. Better yet, a playable demo is available through the game’s Kickstarter page to check it out for yourself.



22

Aug

We've all heard the sci-fi stories about mankind creating sentient machines that eventually overrun their makers. What seems far more realistic, however, is that mankind wipes itself out and any artificial lifeforms remain to pick up the pieces. This is the premise behind The Uncertain, a three-part episodic adventure set to debut next month.

The series' first episode, The Last Quiet Day, stars an engineering robot named RT-217NP. In this post-apocalytpic world, the human race has long since exterminated itself through military conflict, and since then the artificial lifeforms have created a utopian society ruled by logic and free of emotional chaos and unpredictability. The only reminder of our existence are the objects we've left behind for the machines to find and utilize for their own purposes. But RT-217NP is very curious about our bygone civilization, and the more he learns the more he begins to realize that the whole truth is being concealed. Now he finds himself confronted by "moral" choices in a world where morality is an outdated concept.


The Uncertain is a third-person adventure with realistic 3D graphics, as seen in the first episode's screenshots and trailer. Although described as a "story-driven" experience, players will be required to test their skills and solve diverse puzzles in order to succeed. But you'll also need to make "fateful decisions" that will impact the "presence and behavior of the non-player characters" later in the game and lead to one of several different endings.

Although there are three episodes planned in total, indie Russian developer ComonGames says that each installment will tell a largely self-contained story. The series debut is set to launch on September 22 for PC, with iOS, Android, PS4 and Xbox One ports to follow later on. To learn more about The Uncertain, visit the series' official website for additional details.



21

Aug

The line between traditional adventures and interactive narrative experiences continues to get ever more blurred. The newest game to walk that hazy space between the two is The Thin Silence, an indie game from two-man Australian team Two PM that is due out later this year.

The Thin Silence is a "cinematic narrative adventure game with both puzzle and exploration elements, told through the introspection and recollection" of its protagonist, Ezra Westmark. Very little has been revealed about the story, as experiencing Ezra's "journey back to confront his past" is the entire point of the game. What we do know is that Ezra finds himself trapped in "the darkness", a place where "every task feels like scaling a mountain, every day feels impossible." Only by following Ezra's tale will players uncover "the journey that lead him there and the hope that leads him home."


Created by Ben Follington and Ricky James, The Thin Silence is not a traditional genre game, though it is "inspired" by classic point-and-click adventures and "allows you to collect and combine important items along your journey." In this way you can creatively "manipulate the environment in many varied and unexpected ways." But puzzle-solving is not the primary focus here, and obstacles are "not intended as a test of your intelligence." Instead, the game is more an interactive form of storytelling as you relive Ezra's experiences along with him on a journey that could take anywhere from 2-10(!) hours to complete.

There is currently no firm release date for The Thin Silence, but the developers are aiming for launch on Windows and Mac before the end of this year. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game through its official website.



20

Aug

If it's true that you get what you deserve, then horror fans might want to think about getting the newly-released You Deserve, a 3D first-person survival horror from indie developer TGA Company.

You Deserve stars Amy Cooper, the leader of a group of teenagers who mercilessly "harassed a colleague in Raiven's High School." Overwhelmed by the bullying, the victim committed suicide, vowing to get revenge from beyond the grave. Too late in discovering the deadly repercussions of her actions, Amy now finds herself all alone in a dark and ominously unknown location, and must figure out where she is and how to escape alive.


A free-roaming, 3D first-person adventure that's projected to take 4-5 hours to complete, You Deserve requires careful exploration of your surroundings in search of clues – often with only the limited lighting you carry yourself – while solving what the developer describes as "lots of difficult puzzles" along the way. But you are not alone in these creepy environs, and at times you'll need to be stealthy to remain hidden from the danger lurking in the shadows.

Released exclusively on Steam, You Deserve is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.



19

Aug

If these are the dog days of summer (for many of us), then what better time to announce the forthcoming arrival of Don't Disturb, an Asian-flavoured 2D puzzle-adventure starring a canine experiencing life after death.

Don't Disturb is an exploration of the afterlife and its underworld as recounted in Asian folklore, which decrees that one isn't to sing, play or cause a disturbance of any kind during a funeral. The game casts players in the third-person... uhhh, third-dog role of a loyal pet whose owner has passed away. As you make your way to the "Bridge of Helplessness" in search of your former master, you will need to "solve many puzzles and make it through unexpected encounters" along the way. In doing so, you will be forced to make decisions that will determine the final outcome.


Like its story, the game's hand-painted artwork and music are heavily influenced by Eastern culture, as evidenced by the first screenshots and trailer released. Players will control the protagonist via keyboard as you "converse with the underworld's denizens to complete tasks and learn tales."

There is no firm release date scheduled for Don't Disturb just yet, but the game has been Greenlit on Steam and is nearly ready for launch, so you can look to get your paws on this one "soon" on Windows, Mac and Linux.



18

Aug


If there's just one person's house you could get permission to freely rummage through for a little puzzling adventure, you couldn't go wrong choosing Leonardo Da Vinci's in 1506 Florence. And thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, that's exactly what we'll have a chance to do this fall when The House of Da Vinci is released.

Of course, this being an adventure game, you don't actually have permission, but as one of Leonardo's most promising students, you take it upon yourself to snoop around anyway when the famed artist and inventor mysteriously disappears. Perhaps he's the victim of "one of his amazing inventions [going] haywire" or maybe the "shadowy assassins from the Church" are responsible. Only by thoroughly exploring the Master's workshop and solving the many puzzles you discover will you find out where he has disappeared to and why.


Indie developer Blue Brain Games is promising a detailed, historically authentic recreation of Leonardo's quarters to explore. With a game design similar to The Room series of popular puzzlers, in order to succeed here players will need to "navigate through his workshop, examine his anatomical and architectural models, escape from rooms you find yourself trapped in, and solve riddles, mechanisms and puzzles inspired by Da Vinci’s actual inventions and concepts." And playing in the background, even the soundtrack will provide a realistic recreation of the era's music.

With 2,391 backers providing £43,600 of crowdfunding through Kickstarter, Blue Brain can now complete the project they've been working on and self-financing for some time already. In fact, the finished game isn't too far off, with a projected release date for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices this October. To learn more about the game while you wait, be sure to drop by the official website.



16

Aug

While various ports have been announced for The Inner World since its original release in 2013, nothing has been said about a sequel. Turns out, however, that work on a new game has been happening right under our noses, as revealed in today's announcement of Studio Fizbin's upcoming The Last Wind Monk.

In the previous game, a little long-nosed Asposian named Robert was unexpectedly thrust in the role of saviour when his underground world was threatened with the loss of its life force, the wind. Robert is back as the hero once again, but this time around the danger is a little more personal. You see, Robert is a descendant of the "flute nose dynasty" that has secretly provided their world with light and life for years. Now, however, a trader named Emil has "led all the Asposians astray, making them believe that the dynasty is in cahoots with dark forces." And so with a "huge dose of enthusiasm, but little to no idea what he’s actually doing," now Robert must seek out the legendary last wind monk in order to stop Emil's treacherous plan.


Although the developers claim that no knowledge of the previous game is necessary to enjoy the new one, there will be plenty familiar to fans of the original. The sequel features the same "hilarious" dialogue and stylish hand-drawn artwork as its predecessor, along with some returning characters and the ability to play Robert's nose like a flute. But there are some notable differences as well, such as Robert's love interest Laura and the "nutty" pigeon Peck being playable characters in the game. There will also be new songs for Robert's musical schnoz, and new locations like the "topsy-turvy" airport Asposia Central and the mysterious Shovel Mountains. And of course there are are "hours of fun brainteasers" promised as you seek to "cause trouble in a tumble mouse factory, play with Uncle Oboe for some toilet paper in prison, help a desperate Bingo-Pony become happy once again, bring the adorable baby gorf back home and save Asposia! Again!"

There is currently no firm timeframe for The Inner World 2's release, but the game is currently on track for completion sometime next year for "at least" PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS and Android devices." To follow The Last Wind Monk's progress in the coming months, you can visit the official website for additional details.



14

Aug

One positive side-effect of video gaming’s ever-increasing popularity is the resulting boost in diversity. While the industry still has work to do, it’s much easier to find varied representations of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation among titles available today than it was just a few years ago. Case in point: Escape from Pleasure Planet, an unabashedly pro-gay sci-fi adventure. The brainchild of Australian indie developer Luke Miller, the game recently achieved its funding goals on Kickstarter and is now headed toward release early next year.

Escape from Pleasure Planet acts as a standalone follow-up to 2014’s similarly gay-themed My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant. However, its inclusivity isn't its only selling point, with Miller promising a “solid sci-fi story” inspired by the “big, bold, colorful retro sci-fi” titles of decades past, such as Flash Gordon and the works of Isaac Asimov. Players take on the role of Captain Tycho Minogue, who is tasked with tracking down a dangerous (and “dangerously handsome”) criminal named Brutus.


In his search Minogue travels to Arcadia, a world dubbed the Pleasure Planet, where tourists of all kinds – “gay and straight, human and alien” – are able to fulfill their “wildest fantasies.” While plot specifics are sparse for now, Miller teases that more may be going on than meets the eye. Is Brutus really “hiding out” on Arcadia, or does he have ulterior motives for seeking refuge there? Is it really all pleasure and no pain for Arcadia’s tourists, or does the Pleasure Planet hide sinister secrets beneath its Utopian exterior?

Played from a third-person, 2.5D perspective, the game will use point-and-click controls with various puzzles and tasks for players to confront throughout the game. The hand-drawn graphics feature a cartoonish, colorful style depicting 30 locations across 5 different planets, populated by 35 different characters designed by illustrator Joe Phillips.

Escape from Pleasure Planet is scheduled to land on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms in both DRM-free and Steam versions in January 2017. Interested gamers can head over to the official Kickstarter page for more information.



13

Aug

With the possible exception of James Bond in Moonraker, spies and space haven't traditionally been the best of bedfellows. Which is strange, when you think about it, for two genres so focused on thrills and tension. British indie studio Pixel Spill apparently agrees, aiming to take the Cold War spy thriller and fire it into orbit with their upcoming adventure Outreach.

Set in the 1980s and, unusually, told from a Soviet perspective, you play a cosmonaut sent to investigate a covert military space station (part of the titular Operation Outreach) that has gone dark. On arrival, you find it in total disarray, the crew gone. What catastrophe could have befallen these poor souls, and what kind of sinister plot is unfolding here?


The developers are clearly big fans of both sci-fi and the 1980s, and have been researching the technology, clothing and working environment of a Soviet era space station, as well as historical events and conspiracy theories. They promise an authentic atmosphere and a plot that merges real-life happenings with plausible speculation in a narrative-driven adventure that focuses on the human angle rather than statistics and soundbites. There will also be an emphasis on the realities of getting around in zero-gravity, highlighting both the danger and isolation of space as well as the practicalities of pushing yourself around in a bulky suit and grappling for handrails.  

Outreach is due to launch for Windows and Mac sometime in 2017. To follow the game’s progress in the coming months, you can head over to the official website.



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