Adventure News
 


February 2017

26

Feb

The last few days of one's prison sentence must be an anxious but exciting time, with the monotony of captivity giving way to the freedom of an uncertain future, but all the more so when you're an inmate aboard an orbiting spaceship. Indie developer Sky Trail is certainly counting on that as the premise of Trajectory, a 3D sci-fi adventure due to release next month.

Trajectory casts players in the role of a convict aboard the "prison vessel that is owned by a clandestine, quasi­-governmental agency called Orbitek." In your last fews days before release, you are tasked with daily routines to follow via intercom by the Orbitek warden. Then again, you could choose not to follow them. (You certainly aren't above breaking the rules, after all – perhaps you can obtain freedom on your own?) What happens next is largely up to you, as there is a large pool of randomly selected missions to choose from each time you play, ranging from "general maintenance tasks to daring and valorous exploits." In between, you can freely explore the module in which you're incarcerated. The choice of paths you take affects not only the missions themselves, but which of the various endings you'll get.


A first-person adventure that promises to be both dystopian and whimsical with a humorous tone, Trajectory is set in an anachronistic future in which "floppy disks are still in use, flight trajectories are displayed in ascii graphics and text adventure mini games abound." Different missions require different approaches, but logical deduction will be required to progress. According to the developer, some levels involve the physical manipulation of objects, along with a variety of puzzle minigames such as operating a cargo drone, watering plants remotely, putting out a fire in space, solving electronics puzzles and more. A few missions will have some platforming elements, and one a light bit of stealth, but there is no combat involved at all. Along the way, you will discover collectibles like lost journal entries and computer logs to flesh out the background story.

As with the gameplay variations, the visual design of Trajectory also depends on the current objective. You may find yourself, for example, on "an experimental space desert, recreational holodeck or de-orbiting space station," which greatly alters the look of the game both in setting and style, as teased in the game's screenshots and trailer. Although designed for keyboard/mouse control and standard monitors, virtual reality will also be supported with a user-friendly "specially tailored VR mode."

While no specific date has been set just yet, the launch of Trajectory is not far off, as it's expected to release on Steam for Windows and Mac sometime in March.



25

Feb

Growing up isn't easy. There are sacrifices to make, challenges to overcome, and hard lessons to be learned. But it can also come with great hope and joy, and the journey isn't nearly as lonely or insurmountable when friends are involved. The Gardens Between will offer up an artistic look at the trials of two friends growing up when it's released later this year.

The Gardens Between tells the "bittersweet" story of childhood friends Arina, a "headstrong girl, and Frendt, a boy wise beyond his years," when they tumble into a land of lush but mysterious gardens. Although this surreal world is quite unlike the children's own, it is built out of "objects from their past to form curious combinations of time and imagination." With a newfound ability to travel backwards and forwards in time, their actions have tangible effects on the gardens, and "memories surface as the duo stargaze, illuminating the meaning and depth of their friendship."


Citing inspiration from titles like Myst and ICO, the game is described by indie Australian developer The Voxel Agents as a "dreamy tale of adventure and exploration" that features no spoken dialogue at all. As seen in its early screenshots and trailer, it's set in a visually stylish, 3D storybook world with a "meditative, ambient soundtrack" providing the appropriate mood. Time manipulation will be key to the "hand-crafted puzzle design" encountered along the way.

There is no firm release date yet for The Gardens Between, but the game is currently on pace to be completed for Windows and Mac sometime before the end of this year. To follow its progress in the coming months, be sure to check out the official website.



22

Feb

It may no longer be possible to travel to Yugoslavia personally, but now you can visit the former war-ravaged country in the recently-released "experimental interactive game" A Trip to Yugoslavia, though it will be anything but a vacation while you're there.

Although not based on any real Yugoslavian conflicts, the game takes place soon after the country has fallen apart, although "no one knows what caused it." Some people have fled the region, and some still don't even know that war has begun. Players control an amateur photographer named Dimitry, who has been "caught in the nearby Yugoslavian forest on the outskirts of town." Dimitri is a civilian, not a soldier, so "without any combat knowledge, you have to survive a few months of war in a desolate country."


A Trip to Yugoslavia is an FMV adventure featuring extensive live-action footage, but with a twist. The game is presented as if on a VCR, giving players a somewhat grainy view and the ability to rewind, pause, and fast forward. There's more to the experience than simply watching film, however, including first-person point-and-click scenes in which you must "explore the environment, collect items, [and] hide the bodies," life-and-death Quick Time Events, and decisions to make that will lead to one of ten different endings.

Created by Piotr Bunkowski and Hades Productions, the "Director's Cut" of A Trip to Yugoslavia (including twelve minutes of additional gameplay and three new endings) is available now on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux for under a dollar, further discounted for the first week.



21

Feb

The indie development team behind Mudlarks and A Date in the Park is going off the beaten path in their latest point-and-click offering, the upcoming jungle adventure Sumatra.

Players take on the role of Yandi, a native villager employed by the Pandang Logging Company to help clear parts of the Sumatran jungle on the Indonesian island. Caught in a devastating landslide, Yandi is separated from the other loggers and becomes lost in the jungle, kicking off his adventure. While making his way home, Yandi must survive the untamed wilds, including feral beasts, native Kubu tribespeople, scientists, and malicious loggers.


Indonesian myths and legends will play a role in Sumatra, adding cultural authenticity to the experience. Plenty of puzzles, multiple subplots, playable flashback scenes, and some decision-making elements promise to add even more variety to the gameplay. Inspired by vintage point-and-click adventures such as King’s Quest and Space Quest, and even the seminal platformer Pitfall, the whole thing is wrapped up in retro-styled pixel art and 8-bit soundtrack.

Sumatra is actually a much-expanded version of Cloak and Dagger’s earlier freeware game, Pendek (which is still available for download). Whereas the original game was a 30-minute affair, Sumatra promises at least three hours of gameplay, with many additional scenarios and characters. The game is currently up for voting on Steam Greenlight, and if successful could be launched within a few months’ time at a budget price.



20

Feb

Regardless of whether the problem is war, oppression, or societal exclusion, people look for anything to make the toughest times in life bearable, and one of the most potent of those things is friendship. Polish developer Juggler Games seeks to explore this theme in My Memory of Us, a story-driven adventure coming next year.

The game is set in a futuristic world where an “Evil King and his robot-soldiers” occupy the protagonists’ city and some of its citizens have been “marked and forced to move out of their homes and live in a place that was sealed off from the rest of the city by a huge wall.” Against that bleak backdrop, the story is a “reminiscence of a friendship between a boy and girl,” recounting the tale of how that friendship helped them to survive by carving their own paths in this gloomy world.


While the setting is futuristic, with its robots and fly train-like vessels, the premise is inspired by the developers’ own families and their experiences during the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II. As such, history buffs may encounter familiar names and characters as they progress. Still, the goal is to create a game that could just as easily have taken place “in another time and place.”

My Memory of Us will be played from a third-person, 2.5D side-scrolling perspective, with pictogram communication and an aesthetic inspired by “naïve art.” The striking black-and-white graphics are punctuated by splashes of brighter colors to accentuate certain features. Though details are sparse at the moment, gameplay will focus on logic puzzles, and some will require cooperative solutions by the two characters. They “complete each other,” and only when they are together will they be able to overcome the toughest of obstacles.

My Memory of Us is currently in development for PC, with other platforms being considered in time for its 2018 release. To keep up with its development, you can check out the game’s official website.



19

Feb

When your job is to force poor people out of their homes on behalf of greedy bosses, it's not going to do your soul any good. That's what a young man named Price discovered to his horror when Jesse Makkonen's Distraint released in 2015. Now the indie Finnish developer is returning to this surreal world, once again blending reality and nightmare in a "bigger and better" round of side-scrolling adventure due this fall.

The first game saw the protagonist sell out his humanity in the misguided hope of a partnership at his company, McDade, Bruton & Moore. Wrestling with guilt and remorse, Price learned too late that there's a price (pun no doubt fully intended) to be paid for such heartless deeds. Picking up the "sinister tale" where the original left off, the sequel follow a despairing Price, trapped in a prison of his own torment, in his efforts to restore peace and find new purpose in life. But the question remains: "How does one fight without hope?"


Like its precedessor, Distraint 2 is a hand-drawn pixel art adventure with a viewable area set horizontally in of the center of the screen. The people have skinny legs and oversized heads, and a muted colour palette helps establish a disturbing, oppressive backdrop in which reality and unreality are hard to distinguish one from the other. And yet, despite its grim subject matter, the game promises its share of "dark humor" to go with its item collecting, puzzle-solving, and "complex story full of intriguing twists and characters." The eerie atmosphere is created not through "cheap jump-scares or mindless gore but psychological horror with a deeper meaning."

Currently in development for PC, if all goes well we will see Distraint 2 released in time for Halloween this year. In the meantime, you can support the game on Steam through its Greenlight campaign.



18

Feb

Grief is a terrible thing to experience in real life, but it makes for a powerful motivator in interactive entertainment. We're being reminded of that once again with the PC release of Among the Innocent, the first of a series of related "Stricken Tales" that deal with working through painful personal loss.

Among the Innocent casts players in the role of a struggling writer named Peter York, who finds himself trapped on an abandoned farm in the eastern Free State, South Africa in the year 2001. In your attempt to escape, you will need to "keep your wits together as you explore the bleak landscape and uncover (and maybe even solve) the many mysteries that lie in dark corners."


Described by indie studio Zero Degrees Games as a "first-person thriller adventure game," Among the Innocent tasks players with freely exploring twelve acres of 3D farmland, but the gameplay is "heavily inspired by classic point-and-click adventure games of the 1990s," so you'll find yourself examining important hotspots, collecting inventory objects, and solving puzzles along the way. Although the visuals promise to feature dark themes and a "strong horror and thriller aesthetic," the horror here is mainly psychological, in keeping with the dark themes of heartbreak and despair.

Available now on Steam for Windows PC, Among the Innocent is a standalone game, but also represents the first of a five-part series, each of which is "inspired by a stage in the Kübler-Ross model for dealing with grief and loss." Together, the five installments will "form an expansive narrative across multiple decades, characters, and stories both individual and connected."

To learn more about the game and the larger Stricken Tales project, there's a playable PC demo of Among the Innocent on the official website.



17

Feb

Did you watch the Double Fine Adventure series, the 20-episode documentary by 2 Player Productions that was recorded throughout the entire path of creation for Broken Age

Would you like to watch it again, or haven't had that chance yet and would still love to see it? We can certainly recommend it!

Here's the word from Double Fine on this:

2 Player Productions and Double Fine would love for the “Double Fine Adventure” series to next appear on Netflix.  Netflix has over 90 million subscribers worldwide and has become one of the premier destinations for films and series.  It’s our hope that by introducing a new audience to the series we can continue to educate the public about the realities of game development and help pave the way for more content of this type.

Help us present the Double Fine Adventure to Netflix by suggesting

Double Fine Adventure” right here -

https://help.netflix.com/en/titlerequest

Tweet at Netflix here -

https://twitter.com/netflix

It's actually quite easy to submit a request to Netflix; it doesn't even require you to have a Netflix account. Just go to this link: https://help.netflix.com/en/titlerequest and type “Double Fine Adventure” into the text box, click the CAPTCHA box and submit. Done!



14

Feb

Ever wonder where all those lost socks and missing odds and ends go when they mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again? Well now we know: The Forgotten Lands! Unfortunately, this magical place is in jeopardy in the upcoming Forgotton Anne, and it'll be up to players to save it.

Forgotton Anne (not a typo) casts players in the titular role of a young woman who acts as an "enforcer keeping order in the Forgotten Lands." Populated by magical Forgotlings, creatures "composed of mislaid objects longing to be remembered again," this magical realm is now at risk, and Anne must set out to "squash a rebellion that might prevent her master, Bonku, and herself from returning to the human world." In the process, she will "uncover the mysteries of the world and [her own] past in this emotional fantasy adventure where things are not always as they appear to be."


Described as a "cinematic adventure game combining puzzle platforming with adventure game elements," Forgotton Anne's first trailer highlights the hand-painted environments and traditional 2D animations that bring the world to life, as well as a sampling of music from the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. The side-scrolling adventure requires players to "run, jump and climb your way through the Forgotten Lands," and along the way your actions will impact how the story unfolds. It remains to be seen how prevalent the action elements are, but your power comes not through physical prowess but from the "Arca stone on your hand, enabling you to see and manipulate Anima energy in your surroundings." The stone's ability is integral to your progress, as it allows you to "distill and instill Anima into creatures and control machinery that runs on Anima."

Created by indie Danish developer ThroughLine Games and published by the Square Enix Collective, Forgotton Anne is due to arrive on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One late this year. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.



12

Feb

The word "adventure" (in the conventional sense) may conjure up images of globetrotting, swashbuckling escades, but the real adventure for all of us is life itself. Such is the premise behind the upcoming Old Man's Journey, a stylish "soul-searching puzzle adventure game" coming later this year.

Old Man's Journey presents a lifetime of memories through vignettes that tell a story of "life, loss, reconciliation, and hope." Players must interact directly with the environment and solve puzzles in order to "shape the world around them, growing the hills to create the old man’s path forward." As you progress, you will experience the "heartache, regret and hope" he encounters along the way (because who doesn't in life?).


The first trailer shows off the stylish artwork and "beautifully sunkissed and handcrafted world" of Old Man's Journey that made the game an IGF Awards finalist for Excellence in Visual Arts. Now Austrian developer Broken Rules is teaming with IndieFund to finance the rest of the game for release on PC and mobile platforms.

The final release date for Old Man's Journey has yet to be announced, but the game is currently on track for completion sometime in 2017. To learn more about it in the meantime, visit the official website for additional details.



11

Feb

If you wish they still made adventure games like they used to, then you can look to the future for a blast from of the past in Reality Incognita, a first-person sci-fi adventure currently in development for PC from indie studio Dire Boar Games.

Reality Incognita has a familiar science fiction set-up: Its protagonist, Peri Res, awakes from hypersleep to find herself alone on what appears to be a spaceship – alone except for the dead body occupying the cyrotube besides hers, that is. Discovering where she is and how to escape becomes the primary focus for Peri, but she soon finds her efforts thwarted by an "unseen foe" who is sabotaging the ship and putting her in mortal danger. Time is not on Peri's side as she "races to find out why she has been brought to this strange and vast spacefaring vessel."


Despite its futuristic setting, the gameplay of Reality Incognita promises to be purely old-school, blending a first-person slideshow presentation and a SCUMM-lite-style interface with buttons for actions like Use\Take\Open. Even with multiple puzzle solutions, players will need to explore thoroughly and think seriously about how to use the items they acquire, as Peri confronts ongoing threats that will lead to death if obstacles are approached carelessly. Along the way, there will be an option to interact with the ship's A.I. and robots through extensive dialogue trees, and despite the ever-present danger, the story will "dabble in humor at times" as it goes through numerous twists and turns.

If you like what you hear so far, you can check out the game's alpha demo, which remains a work in progress in terms of graphics and interface elements.

There is currently no firm timeline for Reality Incognita's release, with a crowdfunding campaign due to be launched very soon, but indie developer Dire Boar Games is targeting completion for PC sometime in the second half of 2018. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game through the developer's website and help support its Steam Greenlight campaign.



11

Feb

As we've seen recently on GOG.com, you can readily purchase great adventure games from the Sierra golden-era. From the King's Quest series, to Space Quest and Police Quest. However, there are much more great games that Sierra released back in the day, that aren't so readily available. Imagine great titles like Willy Beamish, EcoQuest, The Legend of Robin Hood and many others

Here comes the TDOSCI movement, "The Digitization Of Sierra Classics Initiative", a campaign with the purpose of bringing all Sierra Classics to a platform like GOG. 

TDOSCI's creator had this to say: "TDOSCI is all about bringing Sierra Classics currently unavailable digitally, to GOG.com, instead of only being available on sites such as eBay for prices unrealistic for the average consumer. Activision Blizzard has only covered their biggest franchises with a GOG Release, such as collections of Gabriel Knight, King's Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Phantasmagoria, Police Quest, Police Quest: SWAT, Quest For Glory and Space Quest... And more recently Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist and SWAT 4: Gold. 

Sierra (along with Dynamix) released roughly fifteen games yearly throughout the 80s and 90s, and a lot of these aren't on GOG... One thing I want to make clear is that we're not trying to make sellers on eBay lose out on a sale. Most of these sales go to collectors who have the expendable income to afford the (reasonably priced) prices to bolster their physical collection. I'm mainly striving to make these titles available and affordable, in digital form, to Sierra Fans."



7

Feb

We've all heard the hypothetical "where were you when...?" question that surrounds important historical events, which makes for an interesting contrast in perspectives. The upcoming indie adventure Anthology plans to take that concept and run with it, telling five distinct stories set in one city at one particular important time.

As its title suggests, Anthology is not one cohesive story but five small vignettes set in a sprawling "faraway city" and taking place all in a single afternoon. The importance of this particular time has not yet been revealed, but as "a major world event is unfolding", each story features its own playable protagonist and most will have secondary characters to interact with. Although fictional, this backdrop promises to feel "strangely familiar" and the inhabitants you meet easily relatable. It's the place itself that "ties the stories together, and whose nature gradually reveals itself as you play through each game in turn."


Spearheaded by Lewis Denby, former games journalist and co-creator of Richard & Alice, Anthology once again features retro-styled pixel art, though with a much more traditional and refined third-person style than the developer's previous game. Credit for that goes to artists Khaled Makhshoush and Francisco Gonzalez, the latter no stranger to the adventure genre, having created the Ben Jordan freeware series and A Golden Wake for Wadjet Eye.

There is no firm release date for Anthology just yet, but the developers are targeting completion sometime this year, for Windows at minimum and hopefully Mac and Linux as well. While you wait, you can drop by the official website to learn more, and support the game by voting for its Greenlight campaign on Steam.



5

Feb

Thor is coming! No, I don't mean the Norse god of thunder, not even Marvel's superhero version of same. I'm talking about the very un-super hero in the upcoming indie point-and-click adventure Dark Grim Mariupolis.

This game is about a robot detective named Thor, who has lost his way in life, about his dinosaur neighbour who has lost his body, about a warlock who has lost his soul, and about the oppressive city of Mariupolis and the ancient evil that plagues it. If that sounds narratively vague, it's entirely intentional, as players will need to guide Thor in rediscovering his purpose without falling victim to the "sudden whims of Pentaculus, a grim god stretching its hands out over the whole city." The risk of death is real, and "the only things guarding you from its baneful influence are sarcasm and arrogance."


This very unusual backdrop promises to combine "noir, Greek mythology, magic, mysticism, hopeless entourage of Greco-Roman Age of Decadence and stifling everyday routine." Further reinforcing its surreal atmosphere are the minimalist, monocrhomatic graphics and "confusing, strange music of no visible source." As you conduct investigations and solve puzzles, you will occasionally be required to make moral choices, even as you deceive people and conceal your true intentions.

There is no firm timeframe for the release of Dark Grim Mariupolis, but the game is currently on track for completion sometime this summer. In the meantime, in order to get it on Steam the developers have launched a Greenlight campaign that is seeking public support.



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