Adventure News
 


April 2017

30

Apr


Capitalizing on the ever-increasing "us vs. them" mentality pervading the world today, indie developer PORT 5 has announced their upcoming game KAPIA, an offbeat comedic 3D adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world driven apart by politics and war.

Following the collapse of the World Union, the planet is divided into coalitions represesting "The West" and "The East." The former consists of economically developed countries who have declared that no assistance will be provided to developing nations, while the latter comprises the "underdog" coalition opposing them. Within this fractured world in which many people live under protective domes, "governments [impose] segregation and propaganda. The West enforce their own independent development without the economically unstable east. Meanwhile, the eastern government impose 'moral improvement programs' to eliminate signs of western influence." Caught in the middle of this ongoing conflict is Stefan, leader of the underdogs, who must deliver an encrypted message to the only person who can decipher it and hopefully end the ongoing war.


That's a heavy-sounding backdrop, but KAPIA promises that the "confusing politics" are set aside to to focus on the "witty characters [that] contrast the gloomy post-apocalyptic setting." As you converse with the "eccentric and often hilarious dome citizens" in your attempt to "discover clues and testimonies to uncover a violent tragedy," there will be a variety of gameplay involved. You'll need to solve puzzles along the way, but you'll also encounter distinct levels that involve some shooting, survival elements, and a "search for useful objects to fix, break, or hack your way through the game. Think outside the box and your creativity will be rewarded."

With just two people working on the game, designed to be the debut title in a planned trilogy (or "thrillogy" as the developers euphemistically describe it), it'll be next year before we see KAPIA completed for Windows, Mac, and Linux. In the meantime, however, you can follow its progress on the official website and support it on Steam Greenlight.



29

Apr

In 1983, a young knight named Graham set out on a quest to recover three magical treasures that were stolen. With Graham now getting a bit long in the tooth (as we discovered in the recent King's Quest reboot), it'll be up to other intrepid explorers to pick up the explorer's mantle. Like the titular hero of Eselmir and the five magical gifts, a 2D point-and-click adventure coming later this year.

The story is set in a "legendary world dominated by powerful divinities and ancient spells" and "inhabited by fairies and other mysterious creatures." Eselmir is a Pirin priest for the Goddess of Time who "receives a mission from his goddess that could change the fate of many." His task: to find the five gifts of the late King Theoson, a descendant of demigods who was buried with his treasures in a secret place that has never been found since.


Described as an "atypical and elegant fantasy made up of stories within the story," Eselmir and the five magical gifts is "inspired by ancient mythology and medieval folklore" but is based on an original saga by Swiss writer Sebastiano B. Brocchi. Presented in distinctive hand-drawn art, the adventure will take place across an entire continent comprising more than 170 backgrounds, 140 characters, and "dozens and dozens of puzzles" to solve along the way. All this is projected to add up to 15-plus hours of gameplay filled with flourishing civilizations, enchanted items to collect, and a rich narrative tying it all together.

With a scope this ambitious, you might think we're a long way off from seeing Eselmir and the five magical gifts, but indie Italian studio Stelex Software has been working on it for some time now, and is currently on track to release the game for Windows and Mac before the end of this year. To support the game while you wait, you can vote for it on Steam Greenlight.



23

Apr


While many Lovecraft-inspired tales take us to gloomy northeastern US locales, Naughty Shinobi's upcoming Shadow Over Isolation will take us to sunny Georgia – though no less without its dark hidden secrets behind the bright facade.

The year is 1984, and players assume the role of Ryan Kappel, a man asked by his aunt to farmsit the family homestead in Kapra County. It's been 17 years since Ryan last visited the Road End Estate, but upon his return, it doesn't take long to "sense unease in the air." His "nostalgic trip down memory lane ends abruptly as he discovers a mysterious chamber that laid dormant in the now abandoned stable in addition to a defunct corporation that had hands in every wrong doing around town and a sinister history that drove the ancient natives to the brink of insanity."


The game's trailers and screenshots show off some of the detailed first-person environments available to explore throughout Kapra County. This is not merely empty scenery either, as the game promises to be "lush with interactive elements both functional and optional." Aiding in your investigation is the "Gray Matter" mode, which lets you "visually analyze observations and connect the dots to produce suitable outcomes." There are even alternate paths to take, allowing you to approach problems in a non-linear way.

While Shadow Over Isolation has been influenced by Lovecraft’s "sanity shattering mythos and storytelling style," the acclaimed writer isn't the game's only inspiration, which helps explain why it doesn't share the same pervading gloomy atmosphere of so many Lovecraftian offerings. Other influences include Stanley Kubrick and the "traditional adventure gameplay designs of the '90s." The main storyline should provide more than four hours of gameplay, along with side stories that "build upon the world’s mythos, urban legends, and characters arcs, including the Fairy Tree Murders case file, Disappearance of Senator Rosenberg, the Blackout of 1979 and much more."

While no firm release date has been set just yet, Shadow Over Isolation isn't far off now, with a target completion on Windows and Mac scheduled for sometime this spring.



22

Apr


Blend a little Sherlock Holmes (Consulting Detective-style), Phoenix Wright, and Dashiell Hammett together, capped off by a Saul Bass poster art influence, and you've got The Wandering Ben's upcoming A Case of Distrust.

In this story-driven adventure, players control a female private detective named PC Malone who must "uncover the truth in a mystery full of deception" in 1924 San Francisco. As you "explore underground speakeasies, smoke-filled billiard halls, classic barber shops, and more," you must pay close attention to clues and character statements so that you can catch suspects in lies. Along the way, "intrinsic challenges face our heroine, as she struggles against a pushback on emancipation, leading to many doubts, both internal and external."


A Case of Distrust is a much smaller, more personal project for AAA industry veterans Ben Wander (BioWare and Visceral) and Mark "Marowi" Wilson (Team Bondi, BioWare, and Riot), who joined forces to create "dramatic stories in settings less-explored by large game studios, focussing on individuals rather than world-saving." Combining an "emotional narrative, a hardboiled mystery adventure, and a historical setting," the game was originally inspired by the Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective board game before being given an interactive treatment falling somewhere between Phoenix Wright and inkle's 80 Days. Although accompanied by some "finger-snapping music that gives style to the roaring '20s," the game doesn't shy away from serious social concerns such as "themes of poverty, racism, and emancipation that tie into contemporary issues."

There is currently no firm launch date for A Case of Distrust, but the game is on pace for release on Windows and Mac sometime before the end of the year. To learn more about it in the meantime, you can check out the official website and support it on Steam Greenlight.



13

Apr

You'd be forgiven for thinking Cloak and Dagger Games' upcoming Football Game is actually a sports title, but really it's a retro-styled point-and-click adventure due to arrive later this year.

The game is set in 1987, and players take control of Tommy, the star high school quarterback (this is American football, not soccer). Life couldn't be better for the young man, for whom the town of East Bend is your "playground." Or at least, it was until now. There's a big game tonight for the Purchase County Turbines, and "your sweetheart is waiting in the bleachers." But on this night, "something is amiss", and players will "join Tommy for a night that you won't forget."


While that's it for story details so far, we're promised a "twisted experimental narrative" with an odd cast of characters to interact with, including "friends, foes, teachers, and an unbalanced mother." It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the developers cite David Lynch as one of their inspirations, along with 1980s American culture. For all its surreal story elements, however, Football Game features a traditional point-and-click adventure game aesthetic, complete with "puzzles and dialog interactions familiar to the genre."

Intended to be a short experience of with up to an hour of gameplay, Football Game will be budget-priced accordingly and released on Steam later this year if its Greenlight campaign is successful.



10

Apr

Ever since Portal blew the door (so to speak) off the physics puzzler sub-genre, there have been no shortage of games seeking to emulate its successful formula. The latest such contender is Time, Space and Matter, a gravity-based sci-fi title coming this summer.

Time, Space and Matter is set in a facility in which a group of engineers were tasked with creating a new technology called the "gravitational-unity modifier". Instead, these "playful" engineers created an obstacle course made up of various gravity zones, and they raced each other to see who could complete it the fastest. Your name is Pete Spencer, and by the time you arrive, the tech remains in place but the facility has been abandoned, so you decide to utilize it for your own purposes while attempting to uncover the "mysterious story behind the technology."


While there is a thin story tying events together, the real focus of Time, Space and Matter is its physics-based puzzle-solving. The three types of gravity zones (directional, levitation, and hyper jump) have a direct impact on the environment, so you must "restrict, move, or turn on/off the gravity zones" to proceed, strategically combining different zone types and manipulating objects along the way. The game promises a blend of both "slow-paced and fast-paced action" in this 3D space, so a degree of hand-eye coordination will be necessary to succeed.

While waiting for Time, Space and Matter to release sometime this summer on Windows and Mac, you can check out indie developer Václav Hudec's previous game, a more conventional (and completely free!) mystery adventure called Blameless.



9

Apr


Janitors in spaceships have proven to be a winning combination in the adventure genre before, and indie developer Slow Bros. are hoping it will be again in their upcoming title, Harold Halibut.

The titular character is a janitor working aboard a massive spaceship when it crash lands on an "unknown planet made up of water." Submerged deep in the ocean and unable to escape, one of the scientists conceives a plan to relaunch the vessel, and this is where Harold Halibut comes in. Players will "join Harold in his clumsy undertakings to stir up the ark-like ship’s stale day-to-day life and find the secrets that lie behind its doors."


While so many games these days focus on the latest 3D bells and whistles, Slow Bros. have gone the hand-crafted route, with "dollhouse sized sets and puppets" made up of "welded metal, carefully sewn textiles against tiny wooden floorboards, and clay faces the size of walnuts." As seen in the game's first trailer, the end result "works like a game but it looks like a stop motion film."

There is currently no target release date for this game, but you can follow the progress of Harold Halibut in the coming months through the game's official website.



8

Apr

Magical books have long been transporting adventure gamers directly into fantastical worlds, and they're poised to do so once again in indie Swedish developer Nellie Johansson's upcoming Bookworms.

Bookworms stars an unlikely hero, a poor librarian named Laura who tends to her comatose grandmother in the outskirts of London with her cat Scruffy above their book restoration shop. The world around them is in trouble as well, society "slowly falling apart, with people disappearing, no new ideas and memories fading away, for reasons nobody knows." Fortunately, Laura is "optimistic and has a lively imagination," with "hundreds of dusty books" to fuel it with. Then one day, fantasy becomes reality when a book left by a mysterious old man teleports her to his library, where she learns that "there are far more worlds than ours, suffering from similar problems, each represented by a book." Something is "destroying the worlds from within," and it'll be up to Laura and Scruffy to "travel through the worlds searching for the cause of their decay."

The early screenshots for Bookworms show off the stylish hand-painted artwork that we can expect in the various book worlds we visit, though with different settings to explore in each. Along with the company and assistance of Scruffy the cat, there will be plenty of other characters to meet along the way, running the gamut from cute and cuddly to rough and tough (or as Johnansson teases it: "Want cute animals? There are bunnies! Want some muscles? There are bikers too!)

The only downside to discovering the game in such an early stage of production is that we'll have to wait so long for the finished product. With the developer working on the game herself, we're at least a few years' off from final launch. The good news is that she's working on a demo to whet our appetites while we wait, which should be released sometime this summer.



2

Apr

It's bad enough starting a new adventure game in a hospital with no memory. It's even worse when you're the lone survivor of a brutal attack on the institution, making you the prime suspect of a tragedy you can't remember. Delving your lost memories and uncovering the truth is at the heart of The Butterfly Sign, trilogy which recently released its second installment.

In this first-person psychological mystery set on the border of Romania and the Ukraine, players control Jack, a patient at Memority hospital under the care of a pharmacologist named Dr. Romanov. Found unconscious near the clinic but with no recollection of the attack that only he emerged from alive, Jack is willing to take drastic measures to regain his memories and prove his innocence through the use of an experimental drug that "immerses him in the depths of his mind and precisely restores all the events" that have occurred. Within these playable flashback memories, you must collect clues and piece together the evidence to determine who is responsible. But beware, as evidence can be interpreted multiple ways, and the drug can have unexpected side effects.


Created by indie developer Quantum Phoenix, The Butterfly Sign is a 3D "detective story" with realistic graphics rendered with the Unreal Engine 4. Although present-day Jack is confined to his bed the entire time, within his memories your are free to explore the hospital and its grounds, scouring multiple murder scenes in search of evidence that will help you "gradually reconstruct the events." Along the way there will be a variety of puzzles to solve (some of them timed), the degree of challenge depending on which of the four difficulty levels you choose. You will also have to make dialogue decisions and draw conclusions from your investigations, which will impact the outcome of the game.

While the debut installment is a fairly straightforward trip down (a very disturbing) memory lane, the second chapter, subtitled Human Error, introduces the effects of an unavoidable medication overdose. In this episode, you will traverse the same areas, but this time experience multiple levels of memory simultaneously. Some of these memories will cause errors that result in "looped space" from which you'll need to escape in order to proceed.

The first two chapters of The Butterfly Sign are available now on Steam (and currently on sale), with the final episode expected to be released in May. To learn more about the game, check out the ten-minute gameplay trailer with developer commentary, or drop by the official website for additional information.



1

Apr

The Black Cube universe is expanding at an exponential rate that even Einstein couldn't have predicted! That's because there are not one, not two, but THREE new PC games coming from the group known as The Icehouse collective over the course of this year and next, building on the worlds first introduced by French developer Simon Mesnard with ASA: A Space Adventure, and Catyph: The Kunci Experiment.

 

Blue Moon: The Lucium Project


In the year 2057, an astronaut returns from his mission in an alien spaceship, bringing back with him a "fragment from a Black Cube never seen before, and emitting strange radiations." The discovery was classified as top secret, and a governmental research project was established on the blue moon of Terra's neighbouring planet, Mapk. Led by your "brilliant scientist" sister, the Lucium labratory operated for a year with a great deal of money invested. However, now you have lost contact with her, and your inquiries are dismissed. According to official reports, it would seem that "she and the others never existed, so you decide to conduct your own investigation."


A "short adventure/exploration game" by Juanjo Barcelo Molina – no stranger to the genre as part of Luminy Studios (Bloodwood Reload, Green Mirror) – under the supervision of Mesnard, Blue Moon is being created entirely in high resolution 3D using the Unity engine. Focusing more on "exploration and a dark immersion than complex puzzles," as you explore the moon where your sister disappeared, you will unravel the truth of what happened to her by collecting pages of her diary, and in the process will "discover the secrets of creation of the Blue Matter, a major evolution in the Terran technology."

While there is currently no firm timeline for the release of Blue Moon: The Lucium Project, hopefully we don't have to wait for the next real blue moon here on Earth to play it, as the developers are hoping to be done by the end of this year. The plan, however, is to release a playable demo first, in order to gain input from players before the final version is complete. To learn more about it while you wait, the official website has additional details.

 

Boïnihi: The K'i Codex


The adventure most closely aligned with the previous games, and developed by Simon Mesnard himself, is Boïnihi: The K'i Codex. Set in the year 2062, the people of Terra have discovered the "Blue Matter System," an advanced technology that has allowed them to "explore the galaxy in search for signs of intelligent life." Players control an astronaut who has been traveling through space for four years when he lands on "a moon with no name, where a mysterious man used to live alone." The name of the man, long since deceased, is Boïnihi, a "solitary Talifan who had luckily survived the terrible events of Day Zero, long, long ago."


Like ASA and Caytph before it, Boïnihi is a point-and-click first-person adventure with 360-degree panning, packed full of puzzles to solve. Unlike those games, however, Boïnihi is meant to be shorter, easier, and more accessible than its large-scale predecessors, though as anyone who has played those games can attest, "easier" is a relative term. Puzzle fans can still rest assured that the game will be "challenging enough" as you journey through another "exotic" faraway land. With four different regions "inspired by Asian countries and mythologies" to explore plus the "K'i codex to translate, inspired by the famous Voynich manuscript" along the way, the experience should provide more than three hours of gameplay.

Boïnihi: The K'i Codex is the nearest of the three games to completion, with a target launch sometime in either April or May as a budget release on itch.io. To learn more while you wait, check out the game's official website.

 

RealMYHA


In RealMYHA, players control a Tongolian cosmonaut from the planet Terra, who is sent to the moon to investigate when an unknown distress beacon is received. Upon your arrival, however, the only thing you find is a mysterious Black Cube that suddenly teleports you to "an island in a faraway world: a moon named Myha."


If the name Myha sounds familiar, that's because it was originally developed in just ten days by Mesnard for the Myst Game Jam and publicly released for free last year. Like Myst gave way to realMyst, Myha is now being converted to a full 3D adventure from its original node-based incarnation. RealMYHA promises "more realistic graphics, new textures, dynamic lighting, [and] day/night cycles." But this is not simply a mechanical upgrade to the Unreal4 engine. The remake, spearheaded by RoonSehv's Denis Martin, will also include an original new soundrack, plus "new puzzles and ideas [to] make the game longer and more impressive, and you'll have once again to rely on your precious notes and ingeniousness to discover the secrets of this world."

The goal is to release RealMYHA sometime in 2018, but a Kickstarter is planned in order to bring the game to fruition. To learn more about the project, visit the official website for additional details.