Adventure News
 


March 2017

31

Mar

If there are two words in futuristic sci-fi destined to end badly, it's "neural implants". Indie developer Neurosaur plans to put that axiom to the text in the upcoming point-and-click adventure, Exit: A Biodelic Adventure.

Exit is set in a world far removed from our own. It all started innocently enough, with "brain-implant neuronets designed to help people: the sorting of information, the filtering of smells and tastes, the organization and purity of thought." Noble goals, all, though the process had its detractors, who believed the implants to be reprogamming the hosts' minds rather than adapting to them. Turns out they were right, as any progress came at the cost of the neuronets evolving and growing stronger to capitalize on the weaknesses of their human carriers. Eventually it all came crashing down in an artificial epidemic that ravaged the human race and turned people into "slaves of the mysterious Worm." Having surrendered to the neuronets, there are now "whole wormy cities whose inhabitants perform sinister rites and look for new victims." In the midst of this horrific setting, you must decide "who are you in this story: hunter or prey, fugitive or rescuer? Which do you choose: to fit or to quit?"


If that sounds like a lot to wrap your head around, you can expect a lot more of the same in a "surreal biotech world where computers can be fed and cured, spores of mutant insects revive memory, gene-locks are opened with DNA-passwords, household objects are born in animal bio-factories, [and] gene-modified molds generate a virtual reality." This third-person world is presented in hand-drawn 2D graphics, promising a classic point-and-click adventure experience filled with puzzles to go with its decidedly untraditional "humor neuroinjection" and "built-in chloroplast displays, somatotropin claws and implanted slimeapp 'Jolly Helpmate'."

What does that all mean? You can begin to discover that for yourself, as there's an early playable demo available for download (though at this point there is neither a visible protagonist nor a save/load feature implemented). The full game is still a year or more away, with a target release scheduled for sometime in 2018.



29

Mar

What's better than a comic fantasy adventure where the hero gets to save the world from unspeakable evils? How about TWO heroes saving the same world, a thousand years apart – or, well, "more like one and a half men" in Sick Chicken Studios' upcoming Guard Duty.

Guard Duty casts players in the dual roles of Tondbert, a night watchman in the medieval town of Wrinklewood who is a "part time drunk and three-quarter dwarf," and Agent Starborn, a "time travelling Lieutenant General of the Guardians of New Haven" in the year 2177. Tondbert must leave behind the safe confines of his village in order to rescue the princess who was "snatched from right under their noses [by] a mysterious, cloaked stranger." A millennium later, the world is oppressed under tyrannical rule by an immortal man. Agent Starborn is one of the last freedom fighters who leads "humanity's last hope" in opening a rift in time to "stop the immortal overlord from ever establishing his reign."


While the two characters are controlled separately in their respective times, each with his own "unique mechanic for interacting with the world," they are connected as "past events drastically influence those of the distant future." The settings vary as drastically as the eras, with locations "ranging from enchanted forests to dystopian cities of the future." Regardless of the period, the game has a distinctly retro aesthetic, with low-res, hand-crafted pixel art reminiscent of the LucasArts and Sierra classics that influenced the developers. Yet it also promises a number of modern conveniences, such as an integrated "to do" list and a streamlined inventory system and puzzle design for a more user-friendly experience. For such a small indie team, Guard Duty is remarkably ambitious, combining "the humour of Discworld, the charm of Monkey Island and [...] the scope of a Hollywood blockbuster," including full voice-overs, 15 unique music tracks, a multitude of bespoke animations and sound effects, and most importantly, "a healthy dose of fun."

Having more than doubled their very modest goal of £2,000 on Kickstarter, the two-man Sick Chicken team can now return their attention to game production itself, with a target release date of June 2018 on Windows and Linux PC.



28

Mar

When you think “cyberpunk,” the name “Blade Runner” usually isn’t far behind. Citing the cult favorite from Westwood Studios as an inspiration, indie developers Mercy Ground Creations are hoping to add their own successfully Kickstarted project Ama’s Lullaby to the list of popular cyberpunk adventures, though not for another two more years.

Ama’s Lullaby is set in a post-apocalyptic future where Earth is threatened by an asteroid impact. The eponymous Ama, “a young computer-science prodigy,” and her father create an AI that leads a space mission to construct a colony on another planet and relocate humanity there. Ama is now an “ambassador for the human race,” and is “being protected by her artificial creature.” However, when she discovers the “actual reason for her presence in this colony, and notices the strange behavior of its inhabitants, her world suddenly falls apart.”

Played from a third-person perspective in real-time 3D with point-and-click controls, gamers will “explore the colony, meet its human and non-human inhabitants, negotiate with the AI and make decisions that will impact directly the course of events.” The colony is “ruled by numerous networks, either independent or connected to each other,” and thus command line-based hacking will be a central gameplay mechanic, enabling you to gain access to various resources, “launch programs, connect to protected networks by forcing their firewalls, [and] copy or delete files” along the way.


A dialogue system will allow for player choice: the developers indicate that “asking as many questions as possible won’t lead you any further, you’ll have to pick them carefully and anticipate the consequences.” An intriguing tease hints that the characters will also change their behavior from one “game session” to another, making them “less predictable” and promising some level of replayability. For less-dexterous gamers, it should be noted that fighting sequences will be possible, though “not very frequent.” For instance, if a dialogue sequence goes south, you might have to resort to violence in a “real-time” fighting event, “relying on your reflexes and ability to aim” in order to resolve the dispute.

Ama’s Lullaby is being billed as a “prologue” to more stories set in the same universe, and as such the success of this project sets up the possibility of additional games being produced. However, Mercy Ground Creations stresses that the current title is a full game, “with a beginning and an ending,” and around 20 hours of gameplay. The game is slated for release in spring 2019, and will be available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms through Steam, as well as DRM-free digital download services. For more information about the game, check out the game’s recently completed Kickstarter page.



26

Mar

Artificial intelligences in sci-fi tend to be either perfect paragons of rationality and benevolence, or just want to cleanse the planet of us inferior humans. Have you ever wondered what would happen if, instead, they were just as flawed as their creators? Christian Miller (aka Silver Spook Games) has, and the result is Neofeud, a newly-released hardboiled cyberpunk adventure inspired by films such as Elysium, Blade Runner and The Matrix.

The year is 2033 and sentient robots are among us, but things haven't quite worked out as planned for "humanity's unwanted bastard children". Most of them defective deadbeats, they've fallen through the social safety net to land in a massive landfill known as "The Pile", along with mankind’s own failed genetic experiments. Meanwhile, the successfully bio-engineered "Neofeudal Lords" live dream lives of neon, glass, nanotech and cybernetic implants, as flawless and cold as the robots were intended to be. Players control Karl Carbon, ex-cop turned social worker, exiled to the Pile for refusing to shoot an unarmed humanoid. In between dealing with robot gang culture and chimera children, he's drawn into a conspiracy with potentially civilisation-shattering consequences.


Neofeud is a defiantly indie game, with lo-fi graphics in a naive, hand-painted style that could almost be called impressionistic, accompanied by a soundtrack that varies from ambient to metal. Drawing on the developer’s personal experience teaching the inner-city poor of Honolulu, the game promises a fleshed-out world and a plot that may make you question your beliefs. There will also be "tricky yet satisfying" detective work, endless one-liners and occasional action shootouts along the way.

Neofeud has just been released for Windows, with the possibility of Mac and Linux versions to follow. To buy the game or just delve deeper, you can check it out on itch.io.



25

Mar

Stage 2 Studios sure has a habit of sucking all the life out of everything it touches. Normally that's an insult, but not when you're the creators of 2014's Lifeless Planet and its newly-unveiled spiritual successor Lifeless Moon.

Like its predecessor, Lifeless Moon strands players on a space orb, but this time it's a pair of astronauts on a mission to the moon in the 1970s. Rather than finding just an American flag and Neil Armstrong's footprints, however, the astronauts discover an actual town that's uncannily reminiscent of another back on Earth. But the surprises don't end there, as it soon becomes apparent that the town is only the "beginning of a strange and mysterious journey."


That's it for story details so far, but the developers have teased that the story of Lifeless Moon and that of Lifeless Planet (set in the distant future) are "loosely connected," making the new game a kind of spiritual prequel with entirely different characters and setting. Players will encounter some "light platforming" and puzzles on the moon, but for those concerned about the degree of dexterity involved in the first game, rest assured that there will be "a deeper focus on puzzles" this time around, reinforcing the core experience of "exploration and discovery."

Platforms have not yet been confirmed, but with Lifeless Planet available on both PC and consoles, Stage 2 is hoping for another cross-platform release for Lifeless Moon, including VR hardware. While waiting for its target launch sometime in 2018, you can check out the official website for additional details.



24

Mar

Domino Digital's upcoming Peregrin isn't a spin-off Middle-earth adventure about Pippin, but it is a promising fantasy adventure featuring arcane magic, deadly creatures, and a beautiful but treacherous land to explore, as we'll find out when the game is released later this year.

Set "countless years after the Gods sought revenge on Earth," Peregrin stars a young woman named Abi, an adventurer determined to save her scavenger tribe. In order to fulfill a prophecy and "beg the vengeful Gods for forgiveness and to restore life to the ravaged lands of her home," Abi must leave safety behind and venture out across The Divide, a quest that will "see her face many challenges, and reveal the story of the world before it was turned into a wasteland."


Described as a "moving take on the struggle to overcome both personal and collective loss," Peregrin's early screenshots and trailer show off its minimalist stylized art, frequently presented from an isometric viewpoint. The key to overcoming the many obstacles in Abi's path is the use of "arcane powers to solve puzzles and survive battles." By activating area totems, players can then temporarily possess the local creatures, ranging from "simple animals to the divide's hostile guardians," in order to capitalize on the unique abilities of each.

There is currently no firm target release date for Peregrin, but the developers and publisher Green Man Gaming are seeking to complete the game for Windows, Mac, and as-yet-undisclosed consoles sometime in 2017.



23

Mar

The balancing act between public safety and civil liberties is becoming an increasing concern worldwide, and indie developers White Paper Games are exploring this controversial dynamic in their upcoming, ominously-titled The Occupation.

In The Occupation, players control a "whistleblowing journalist" in Northwest England. It's October 24, 1987, and a terrorist attack killing 23 people has "become a catalyst for the creation of The Union Act." This act is highly controversial for its invasion of privacy, and the next four hours will be crucial in determining both "the outcome of the act and the future of the country." As a reporter, you must "decide the narrative" and determine whether "the cost of an extreme action [is] outweighed by the cause of the greater good."


Like the studio's previous game, Ether One, The Occupation is a first-person 3D experience. Unlike its predecessor, however, The Occupation promises to be a politically-driven narrative game that occurs in real time, requiring you to make crucial decisions quickly based on the evidence at hand. The first teaser offers a brief but intriguing glimpse of what can be expected, but for now the developers haven't yet revealed any more about the type of gameplay involved.

This lack of information extends both to the platforms on which the game will be released, and the target release date. Although the project is in "full swing of development" now, White Paper is only saying that they hope to bring The Occupation to "as many platforms as possible" and have a launch goal ready to announce soon. You can monitor its progress in the meantime by visiting the game's official website.



19

Mar

More and more horror adventures are going the way of Amnesia-styled 3D stealth-survival games these days, so it's refreshing to find one like the upcoming Green Mirror, which adheres to the traditional point-and-click formula while still adding in some perilous elements to contend with.

In a story with "clear Lovecraftian influences," Green Mirror casts players in the role of Dylan Riley, a "veteran member of the search and rescue unit" at Steelrock Canyon National Park. When a family goes missing while hiking the forests, Dylan is sent it after them but soon "suffers an accident that leaves him alone in the middle of the night and lost in an unexplored zone of the woods that has been closed to the public because of the dangers it may harbor." And indeed, danger seems to be all around, as "shadows glide through the trees, watching him, strange whispers accompany his steps like a creepy leitmotiv, and something that has inhabited those woods for eons wants to make it clear that he is not welcome there."


The game features crisp, hand-drawn graphics primarily in black-and-white, with just a few touches of colour. Players guide Dylan around in third-person perspective, exploring the "forgotten paths that wind through the undergrowth." Along the way, you'll discover "many hidden mysteries in the dark corners of Steelrock Canyon’s forest waiting to be unveiled, old knowledge yearning to be pronounced again, and more complex motivations than it may seem at first." Unraveling the mystery will require a combination of puzzle-solving and survival elements in the form of Quick Time Events as you "seek help and escape the threats that wait for you in every corner."

There is no firm timeframe yet for Green Mirror's release, but indie developers Bad2theBone Studio and Luminy Studios are currently targeting completion on Windows, Mac, and Linux by the end of this year. You can learn more about the game while you wait by visiting its official website.



18

Mar

Here's a tip for wannabe space explorers: NEVER be part of the initial research team, because you'll inevitably disappear without a trace. Now, being the investigator sent to find out what happened is a whole lot more fun, and players will have the chance to do just that this summer when The Station is released.

Yes, The Station embraces the tried-and-true science fiction premise of a missing space crew, in this case a small three-person team sent to study an alien race whose civilization challenged "everything we know about biology, chemistry, physics, religion" and addressed many of the questions that have always plagued mankind. Unfortunately, this newfound species was embroiled in the middle of a civil war, so the crew was deployed to "research the alien culture in search of a means towards a peaceful relationship." But then they disappeared. With all communications cut off, as a recon specialist you are sent to the "undetectable" facility to determine what became of them. But this is no standard mission, as "what players discover will challenge their view of surveillance, imperialism and moral law," and more importantly, the mystery you unravel will "decide the fate of two civilizations."


Gameplay in The Station will be largely exploratory in nature, as you venture through the station in free-roaming, first-person 3D in search of clues to what transpired. The game has been "creatively shaped by real space industry experts, in partnership with the Canadian Space Society," and players will interact directly with the environment and solve puzzles in order to progress, learning more about the three missing crew members along the way through audio logs and other materials left behind. The gameplay trailer offers a closer look at the sort of experience players can expect.

Created by an indie team of developers whose previous credits include the likes of AAA titles Destiny, BioShock Infinite, and Prototype, The Station is already well along in production, with a target completion date for Windows, Mac, and Linux sometime this summer. In the meantime, you can not only learn more about the game from the official website, but also receive regular updates from the fictional Axiom corporation, the company spearheading the space mission you've been sent to investigate.



17

Mar

Danger, Will Robinson! Wait, no. Wrong robot, wrong Lost in Space. This isn't the campy old 1960s sci-fi television show, but Lemuria: Lost in Space, a newly-released sci-fi adventure blending adventure, RPG, and survival elements. There is danger, though.

The game is named after the Lemuria 7, a spaceship that went missing for over 70 years. Recently it reappeared in the solar system, but badly damaged and completely abandoned. What happened to the ship and its crew, and why did it return? As Abrix, an AI-assisted robot that can hack computers, wield weapons, and operate in extreme temperatures and high levels of radiation, it will be your job to explore the ship's hundred-plus rooms as you "solve dozens of puzzles, find valuable resources and fight with security turrets and other enemies."


Venturing through the ship in free-roaming 3D and completing puzzles will reveal new story details about the ship's crew, as well as reward players with the necessary resources to proceed – running out of battery power or anti-radiation protection will prove fatal. Far from a traditional adventure, Lemuria will also include roleplaying elements such as "special software that allows [Abrix] to upgrade himself during the mission." A hacking minigame will "challenge your math, geographic and logical thinking skills" and result in the ability to overrun security systems, while another allows you to access the ship's network in order to "avoid certain fights with hostile robots."

If you're a little uneasy about the mix of action and adventure, rest assured that you can check it out for yourself through the playable PC demo, recently upgraded with full voice-overs. If you like what you see, the full game is just a click away on Steam.



14

Mar

It's a bit early for most of us to be looking for the first leaves of the season, but spring has come early this year in the form of not one but TWO games from German studio ZAR 21 and Daedalic Entertainment.

In LEAVES: The Journey, players arrive on the "high plateau of the Stony Mountains" inhabited by a race of tiny creatures known as the Treefruities. Unfortunately, your appearance causes such a commotion that they let go of their protective leaves, only for a gust of wind to scatter them "all across the lands of Mononino." After exploring this fantastical land to help the Treefruities retrieve their missing leaves, it might seem that all is well. But many years later in LEAVES: The Return, after the Treefruities have moved to a less windy location, their new home tree is "rocked by a giant fit of sneezing" that sends the leaves flying in all directions once again. And so you head out once more, traversing the strange world of Mononino on your second leaf hunt.


Inspired by the likes of Samorost and Machinarium, each LEAVES game sends players through four distinct worlds depicting "real sculptures in a surreal dreamscape." Both are first-person point-and-click adventures, and you can can expect plenty of "challenging puzzles and unique mini games" along the way, as the developer also cites RHEM as a key influence. If for some reason you're interested more in the sequel than the original, The Return can be played as a standalone game with no knowledge of its predecessor.

Both LEAVES: The Journey and LEAVES: The Return are available now on Steam for Windows and Mac.



13

Mar

While most adventure games feature protagonists who are upstanding citizens acting for the greater good, they also involve a fair bit of underhanded manipulation and even rampant kleptomania – the end justifies the means, right? But what if your goals weren't so noble, your intentions not nearly as pure? This is the moral dilemma at the heart of The Low Road, an upcoming indie point-and-click adventure from XGen Studios set in the 1970s world of corporate espionage.

In 1976, Noomi Kovacs (recently graduate of the ominously-acroynmed LeCarre Institute for Exceptional Spies – or L.I.E.S. for short) is hired by the Penderbrook Motors’ Division of Outside Intelligence. It's not a great job, being "confined to an office and underestimated by her gruff supervisor—a disgraced former government agent named Turn," but Noomi has much higher ambitions. To fulfill them, she will need to "exploit her colleagues and surroundings to help further her dream of becoming a globetrotting secret agent." Once operating in the field, however, both "Noomi and Turn begin to realize that their company’s dogged pursuit of their rivals extends to something far more sinister than 'healthy competition' and the two will be forced to reconsider the paths they’ve chosen." In a world where nice guys finish last, "lying, blackmail, and emotional manipulation will become Noomi and Turn’s greatest assets."


The Low Road features a distinctive visual style inspired by gouache paintings and 1970s television, accompanied by an "original score of swirling psychedelia and dusty Americana." Players will control both agents in carrying out top-secret missions, a "fully-voiced cast of spies and civilians joining you and thwarting you in the dark comedy of corporate espionage." The game's more traditional genre elements include numerous puzzles to solve and branching conversations meant to "challenge the player’s deductive and intuitive abilities."

Would-be auto spies don't have much longer to wait, as The Low Road is due out for Windows and Mac on April 20th. While you wait, you can snoop around the game's official website to see if you can dig up any additional details.



9

Mar

If you're up for an intriguing new 3D murder mystery, then look to the north later this year (and probably a little east or west). No no, farther north, WAY north! We're talking Alaska north.

Alaska casts players in the first-person boots of a man living in a remote Alaskan mountain village. It's a small, tight-knit town consisting of "five families, living in their own way, providing for themselves and for their neighbors." They enjoy each other's company and do many things together, whether skating, fishing, or sharing in feasts following a hunt. But all that changes one fateful day when "a body is discovered, murdered, on the town's airstrip... Who do you trust now?"


A free-roaming mystery creating by Wreck Tangle Games' solo UK developer Adam Reed, Alaska introduces players to a day-in-the-life of this rugged but seemingly quaint and hospitable setting, with important tasks to perform such as wood chopping and turning on generators when necessary. After the murder, however, the stakes are raised and the game becomes more of a thriller in nature, as anyone could be the killer, and surely it's possible they might strike again if you're not careful. Along the way there will be some basic puzzles to solve and "minimal" action elements incorporated into the otherwise adventure-oriented gameplay.

There is currently no firm timeframe for the release of Alaska, but Reed is hoping to complete the game for PC sometime in 2017. To follow the game's progress in the coming months, pop over to the official website for additional details.



7

Mar

If you're planning for March break on a budget, you might want to consider the Wild Unknown as your target destination, as the first-person 3D indie adventure has just released on PC.

Wild Unknown sees players awaken in a "beautiful yet foreboding forest" with no memory of how you came to be there. Cue the adventure gaming spirit, as "frightened and confused, you venture off into the strange wilderness to search for help and quickly come to the uneasy realization that nothing is as it seems." The deeper you explore, the more you realize that "the forest hides many secrets and a past that is both morally suspect and deeply intertwined with your own." In order to flesh out the mystery, you must "use what others have left behind to solve problems, access new areas, and discover how deep the rabbit hole goes." And in the end, it will be your choices that determine how the story concludes.


The creation of indie developer Joe Sansone, Wild Unknown is a free-roaming adventure that allows players to "collect important items, solve environmental puzzles, and piece together the narrative in a variety of ways." But it also promises to ask important questions along the way, tackling issues such as "human nature and consciousness, the significance of intent, and the possibility of redemption." How you interpret the story will impact your decisions, which in turn will lead to one of "numerous endings, some of which are very difficult to discover."

Willing and able explorers need not wait to tame this Wild Unknown, as the game is available now for Windows PC download on Steam.



Page 1 of 2  1 2 >