Adventure News
 


January 2017

28

Jan

You might expect a medieval adventure to come from jolly ol' England or somewhere else in Europe, but the latest one comes from Brazil in the form of Kaverna Mortal, from solo indie developer Cristiano Simão dos Santos.

Kaverna Mortal stars a young warrior named Vitorian, who has just inherited many lands only to find them already occupied by unwelcome visitors. In order to reclaim what is rightfully his, he must first conquer the Orcs dominating the region. To defeat them, he will have to survive a dungeon crawl full of dangers and deadly traps.


A first-person, slideshow-style adventure with simple hand-drawn graphics, Kaverna Mortal promises many puzzles to solve in your attempts to "exterminate the creatures of darkness". You will probably die numerous times along the way, but the game has a convenient checkpoint system that lets you restart near the point of your demise. You can check out a few of the tests and traps yourself in the brief 14 MB playable demo available for download.

If you like what you see of Kaverna Mortal, the game can already be purchased for Windows at a budget price of under three dollars.



26

Jan

While we typically think of the internet as a place where we can surf in anonymity, the truth is that users leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs in their wake that can be stored and tracked by both governments and private entities alike. Mainlining, a newly-released point-and-click hacking sim adventure, follows this paranoia-inducing reality to its logical conclusion, casting players as a government agent snooping internet users’ personal data to solve crimes and bring them to justice.

Mainlining is inspired by real-world events, specifically the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act in the UK Parliament, which requires ISPs to store information on websites their customers connect to up for up to a year, and make that information available to a variety of government agencies. Promising commentary on such events with “dark, dry humour” and “gameplay that echoes old school point-and-click adventures,” the came casts players in the role of an agent in the reinstated MI7, a government agency with broad hacking powers under the fictional BLU Pill Act. The agency has recently been hacked themselves, and it is up to you to use your investigative skills to hunt down the cybercrime ring and their members responsible for the intrusion.


Players will have access to various tools and support that enable them to hack computers, gather evidence, and track suspects through a series of cases. Sufficient evidence must be obtained in order to guarantee the “longest custodial sentences possible” for each criminal. This means that timing is critical: “Move in too quickly and you may miss leads linking your case to much higher profile cyber-criminals. Act too slowly and your suspect may detect you and escape.”

The game features a retro-styled pixel art aesthetic and takes place entirely on the simulated desktop of the protagonist’s computer, which in the playable demo sports clever callbacks to real operating systems, namely Windows XP. Similar to a real PC, the game will require both mouse and keyboard to play, and feature a combination of command-line and GUI applications.

Developed by Britain-based Rebelephant (headed up by Dream’s Sam Read) and published by Merge Games, Mainlining is available for download now on various digital portals for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. You can learn more about the game through its successful Kickstarter page and the developer’s blog.



23

Jan

Medieval times are a rich resource for fantasy adventure, particularly when spiced up with some supernatural elements. The lastest such endeavour is AO2Game's Greenwood: The Last Ritual, which is now available for download.

Set in an "alternate medieval Europe", Greenwood cast players in the role of an envoy of the Vatican. It has been over five centuries since the "Age of Darkness" and the war with the demons, with the Inquisition cleansing the land of evil and establishing itself as the head of the Church. But in the rural Greenwood Valley, a young countess becomes possessed by a demon and the exorcism ritual proves a failure, condemning the people to be "cursed with death and madness." Sent to Greenwood to attempt to break the curse, you must "explore the county, communicate with the spirit world, exorcise evil and discover the secrets of the Valley."  


Unlike most adventures, Greenwood is presented from an isometric, almost overhead perspective, though it still uses a traditional point-and-click interface. As you explore, you will need to collect artifacts and items and needed to solve puzzles, as well as learn magic and use it to your advantage. Your own welfare is in jeopardy, so in order to avoid becoming the next victim of the curse in both mind and body, you must rely on the power of pentagrams and light to protect you.

Without any prior fanfare, Greenwood: The Last Ritual quietly released on Steam late last week  for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.



22

Jan

Lots of us may be a little afraid of things that go bump in the night. But what if you're blind, and "night" is all you know... and the things going bump may just be trying to kill you? If that sounds scary enough, then the table is set for The Deep End Games' Perception, coming to PC and PS4 later this year.

Perception is a "first-person narrative horror adventure" starring a young blind woman named Cassie whose dreams are haunted by a mysterious abandoned estate. Through extensive research she finally manages to track down the mansion in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but upon arrival she discovers that "Echo Bluff is worse than her nightmares. A ghostly Presence has tormented its inhabitants over generations, and it now hunts Cassie. She must solve the estate's mysteries or become one of its victims."


So how does one "see" their way through the game as a blind person? By using a visualized form of echolocation, in which vibrations create a murky but functional image of the immediate surroundings. With no means to defend herself, Cassie will need her keen sense of hearing at its sharpest, relying on ambient noises and the tapping of her own cane to navigate her way while attempting to avoid detection. But players must beware creating too much noise, as "there is a cost…sound will attract your enemies and reveal your location."

While The Deep End Games may not be a familiar name, the developers have an impressive pedigree, with series credits including the likes of BioShock, Rock Band, and Dead Space, among others. Partnering with new Polish publisher Feardemic, the Boston-based studio received successful Kickstarter funding for the PC version of the game, but has now added the PlayStation 4 as a platform. There is no current timetable for release, but both versions are expected out sometime in 2017.



20

Jan

It's inevitable that every innovative game will inspire others to follow, attempting to improve and put their own unique spin on the fledgling new formula. Such is the case with Her Story, which has influenced a number of database-centered adventures since its release last year. The latest such game is How to shoot a criminal, an investigative mystery from indie French studio Pandorica that has just released on PC.

How to shoot a criminal puts players in the role Scarlett, a journalist working for a newspaper called The Revenge. The paper is run by an "out-of-control editor" who once believed in truth at all costs but whose ambition has become corrupted as "politics, economics and inner dissension within the newspaper staff [got] in the way." In order to expose the dirty secrets of a paper that is no longer able (or willing) to distinguish right from wrong, players must scour its archives of videos, records, radio programs and reporters' notebooks via the game's internal search engine to find inconsistencies. Only by discovering "definite proof of wrongdoing" will you be able to bring the paper down from within.


As you "search for key words, and the truth behind the different affairs covered by the newspaper" over the course of four days of investigation (and approximately five hours of gameplay), new discoveries are accompanied by one of Scarlett's memories. Through these you'll encounter more than ten different characters central to the mystery, each with their own stories and "intricate relationships". In reliving the newspaper's shady history through more than two hours of full-motion video, the cinematic film noir-styled black and white presentation is intended to evoke the "dark ambiance" of 1930s New York City.

The pursuit of journalistic integrity is already upon us, as How to shoot a criminal is now available on Steam. You can also dig up more about the game on its official website.



19

Jan

The island names may be different, but the familiar old-school adventuring goodness hasn't changed much from the classic days of Monkey Island to the upcoming Bayou Island from Andy Howard Games.

Bayou Island casts players in the role of a sea captain who finds himself trapped on the eponymous island and is unable to get back to his ship. With the island plagued by "mysterious circumstances", it'll be up to players to help the captain uncover the truth about what is really going on. You'll interact with the island's inhabitants, but questions abound about who to trust and what you can truly believe, so you'll need to rely on your logic and puzzle-solving skills in order to succeed.


The name similarity to Monkey Island is probably no coincidence, as the developer describes the game as being "made with the love and inspiration of the point and click adventure games of the '90s." This is clearly on display in the early screenshots and trailer, which show off the game's stylish graphics, original soundtrack and verb coin-style interface.

Even better than a new classic-styled third-person adventure is the fact that Bayou Island is not far off from release, with a PC launch date scheduled for sometime in March. If you'd like to see it available on Steam, you can support the game's Greenlight campaign in the meantime, and pop over to the official website for additional details.



15

Jan

There are tons of horror games available, but there's no mistaking a Rem Michalski horror game. With last year's release of the Downfall remake behind him, the indie developer of The Cat Lady is preparing to bring his distinctive brand of horror to adventure audiences once again with his latest title, Lorelai.

We don't yet know much about Lorelai just yet, but we do know that the titular protagonist lost what little she ever had one fateful day when "her whole world disintegrated." Rather than break her, however, the tragedy only strengthened her resolve. Refusing to give up, Lorelai is determined that "she will fight. And even death won't stop her from getting it all back."


While that's it for story details thus far, the early screenshots and gameplay footage confirm more of exactly what we've come to expect from Michalski: a side-scrolling, supernatural adventure with deliciously surreal imagery and unique lighting that is sure to send a shiver up your spine even if you don't really know what's going on. And all this creepiness will be wrapped up in a third-person presentation featuring HD graphics, full voice-overs, and an original haunting soundtrack.

Lorelai is still a good year away from release, with a late 2017/early 2018 target projection, but it's getting the jump on a Steam release early with a Greenlight campaign in need of support.



14

Jan

Other than the Cubs winning the World Series, Chicago has been in a world of hurt lately – quite literally, with its escalating violence and horrific murder rate. The city's infamous south side must make for a perilous place to live and raise a family, which is exactly the premise behind Culture Shock Games' upcoming We Are Chicago, due for release early next month.

We Are Chicago follows the story of a young man named Aaron a week before graduation. It hasn't been easy for him, and "having grown up in the tumultuous south side of Chicago, the only constants in Aaron’s life have been his family and the community around him." But lately things have gotten worse and now his best friend is missing, so "as Aaron’s world unravels, players will have to uncover who he can trust, and what’s really going on in the neighborhood. As tension grows and divisions become stronger, Aaron will find himself challenged to figure out the truth, and how to protect his family and the community that he loves."


In keeping with its realistic first-person presentation, the game's narrative goal is to be completely authentic to the Chicago experience. We Are Chicago lets players explore the local area and converse with the protagonist's family and friends, using "conversation-driven choices to uncover what’s truly happening in Aaron’s neighborhood." Instead of capitalizing on sensationalist headlines, the story has been created from first-hand interview accounts as well as the real-life experiences of the developers who grew up in the city's south side themselves. According to lead programmer Michael Block, "It was very important to us to accurately portray the character’s struggles, while allowing players to interact with and see Chicago through a different viewpoint than often depicted."

We Are Chicago is nearing completion on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and is currently scheduled for release on Steam on February 9th. Part of the proceeds will be donated to two charities empowering at-risk youth in impoverished or underprivileged communities, All Stars Project of Chicago and Reclaim Our Kids. To learn more about the game, visit the official website for additional details.



12

Jan

There's good news and bad news for fans looking forward to the expected launch of Eastshade, the upcoming painting-themed first-person adventure. The bad news is that Eastshade has been delayed about a year. The good news is that in the meantime you can play a smaller game set in the same world called Leaving Lyndow, which is due for release early next month.

Although intended to enrich the Eastshade experience with additional background detail, Leaving Lyndow takes place first chronologically and is meant to be its own self-contained experience. This game casts players in the role of a young woman named Clara on her "last day on the island where she grew up." Having graduated with honours and "fulfilled her childhood dream of joining the Guild of Maritime Exploration", Clara's day will be both a busy one and bittersweet emotionally as she must "complete preparations, visit her favorite places, and say her goodbyes before leaving on a journey she may not return from."


As clearly displayed in the screenshots and trailer, Leaving Lyndow features the same gorgeous 3D aesthetic as Eastshade. It is also controlled with the keyboard/mouse or gamepad, but that is where the similarities end. While Eastshade promises to be a much larger adventure set in an open world, Leaving Lyndow is a much shorter and more linear experience that can be completed in a single sitting. Focusing primarily on Clara's story, there will be no painting or crafting involved, though there will be other minigames to complete, as well as branching conversations with other islanders as you make your rounds before departing.

Leaving Lyndow is nearly finished for PC and is scheduled for launch on February 8th at various online retailers, including Steam if its Greenlight campaign is successful. For additional information you can visit the official website and learn more about the reasoning behind the interim game decision through a video from the developer.



10

Jan

There have been plenty of Japanese horror games and movies over the years, but far fewer from Taiwan. That discrepancy is about to get a little smaller in just a few days with the upcoming release of Detention, a new horror-themed sidescroller from indie developer RedCandleGames.

Detention, as you might expect, is set in a school. But this is no ordinary school and no ordinary detention spent cleaning chalk brushes and writing lines. It's the 1960s, with Taiwan under martial law, and players control two students who find themselves trapped in their school during a typhoon. Neither Ray nor Wei understand what has happened or why they are suddenly alone. And as the pair attempt to escape, they soon realize that evil spirits haunt the school and that their surroundings are becoming increasingly threatening, "as if they've entered another dimension."


A rare side-scrolling point-and-click adventure, reminiscent of cult favourite The Cat Lady in its presentation, Detention will be story-driven with a mix of puzzle solving and "terrifying scenarios" to overcome. Players will be confronted with occasional stealth sequences and the need to run away and hide at times, but you'll rely on your wits to survive rather than combat and fast reflexes. The setting is "heavily influenced" by East Asian culture and Taiwanese/Chinese films, literature and music from the '60s and '70s. The era is important, as the political backdrop is intended to help immerse players in an "oppressive and dystopian society." Fittingly, the original soundtrack will fuse "electronic, lo-fi, and rock with traditional Asian instruments."

There's not much longer to wait to get your Taiwanese scare on, as Detention is due to be released on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux on January 12th.