Adventure News
 


July 2017

30

Jul


Adventure gamers are used to having the entire fates of worlds resting on our shoulders, but in South African studio Robot Wizard’s upcoming Jengo, it’s a particular gamer named Jeff whose destiny it will be to ward off the pending apocalypse – with a little help from us along the way.

In Jengo, the appropriately-named Pixelverse is facing destruction, which has taken the form of a large crack in the sky that is slowly but surely consuming the land and all within it. With no hope of survival, the world’s inhabitants have slipped into a listless stupor, awaiting the inevitable. Meanwhile, in a galaxy perhaps not so far away, Jeff, a skilled but restless gamer with no purpose in his life, is about to be called on to become the Pixelverse’s savior when the two worlds collide. It is up to Jeff to stop the apocalypse from happening.

Jengo’s third-person presentation and classic point-and-click gameplay have been inspired by the genre’s golden era classics which the indie developers aim to emulate. The cartoon-like visual design is getting the HD treatment, however, as the first screenshots show off the game’s crisp hand-drawn graphics and heavily-stylized characters.

These images will have to last us for a while, as Jengo’s current projected launch date for Windows and Mac won’t be until sometime in 2018. 



29

Jul


Fans of point-and-click horror adventures have a new reason to come out of hiding with the announcement of the upcoming Cursed Roots, currently in development by indie Italian studio MastroBros for release later this year.

In Cursed Roots, you are unexpectedly called back to your childhood home in the UK after your uncle dies. You arrive to find it spookier than you remember, “welcomed by an eerie and dark atmosphere.” Things are very different in the now-decaying house, so much so that you “barely recognize the place.” Realizing that something is wrong, you are “determined to find out what really happened during your time away.” Naturally, your instincts are correct. You soon discover that "things are not as they seem,” and that “the main door behind you is locked and there is no way out,” leaving you to confront the “unspeakable horrors” of your former home alone as you attempt to find answers and escape.


Cursed Roots is presented in first-person perspective and features hand-drawn 2D visuals. But while the slideshow-style presentation is highly-reminiscent of Myst, the game is “inspired by point-and-click adventure classics and survival horror games,” promising a variety of gameplay elements. Players can expect to see a familiar selection of inventory and logic puzzles, as well as an intriguing “chase system,” in which the monsters roaming the house “can find you anytime and will hunt you.” The developers also indicate that there will be “many puzzles where timing is crucial to survive.” A sampling of gameplay is available for trial now in a downloadable demo.

Scheduled to appear on a variety of platforms in “late 2017,” Cursed Roots is expected to be released on Window, Mac, and Linux, as well as Android and iOS devices. More information about the game can be found at the official website.



27

Jul


Carol Reed made private investigation in photogenic Sweden fashionable. Now Rebecca Carlson is ready to follow in her footsteps in Frostlind Games' upcoming Silent Footsteps.

Rebecca is returning to her old home town in Sweden following the death of a childhood friend, having been named in the will. Though the death appears to be an accident, Rebecca is left the keys to her friend's apartment, along with a note that simply says: "Follow in my footsteps." With little more to go on than that, Rebecca takes it upon herself to "figure out what it’s all about, and why her friend had been so secretive."

The similarities to the popular Carol Reed series is not coincidental, as indie developer Kim Frostlind has provided voice-overs for those games and MDNA Games' Mikael Nyqvist has lent his support for Silent Footsteps. And the cooperation shows, as Silent Footsteps shares many of the same traits, primarily the first-person slideshow presentation, based on real photographs taken in Sweden and then treated with a slight painterly effect. 

With the game well along in production, final release for Windows PC isn't too far off, with a target launch date sometime next month. But in the meantime, you can take the first few Silent Footsteps now, as a downloadable demo is available from the official website.



23

Jul


Space may be the final frontier, but virtual reality is surely the next one, and both are front and center in the newly-released VR adventure Lone Echo.

Set in the year 2126, Lone Echo puts players aboard the Kronos II, a mining facility harvesting helium-3 from the icy Saturn rings. The only human on board is Captain Olivia Rhodes, a "brilliant scientist and a first-generation spacer," but she is far from alone. Joining her is Jack, a "fully self-aware android partner" imbued with an "advanced artificial intelligence with a state-of-the-art synthetic body" as well as a "rudimentary understanding" of human personality traits like "humor, irony, comedic timing, and innuendo." Jack also been designed with "a suite of AI protocols designed to service two extremely ambitious goals. First, to provide a durable, versatile assistant that could handle the challenges faced by long-range explorers. And second, to shepherd the physical and emotional well-being of a human partner on a long-term, space flight mission." Supporting both Liv and Jack is HERA, the primary operating system and "one of the most widely utilized Artificial Intelligence constructs in the solar system."


As a pioneer in the Echo program, Captain Rhodes is "about to make history by handing her operation over to her second-in-command." Of course, "space doesn’t always cooperate" with the best-laid plans, and while investigating a "mysterious spatial anomaly," players must guide Jack in solving an "increasingly threatening mystery as you use futuristic tools, clever problem solving, and interactive dialogue to engage with the world around you." Designed exclusively for VR to capitalize on the Oculus Touch controller and "full 360° gameplay," Lone Echo provides players with a "hands-on approach to exploring space," overcoming environmental obstacles along the way. 

Lone Echo is available now for download from the Oculus store. You can also learn more about the game through its official website.



22

Jul


Hunkering down alone in a bunker may not be everyone's idea of a good time, but it can be when your confinement is filled with puzzles to solve, as is the case in the episodic debut of Glitch Games' latest first-person puzzler, All That Remains.

All That Remains thrusts players into the role of Campbell Price, whose father is described by his critics as "paranoid" and "a local nut." Now he's locked you in "what appears to be [your] father’s old bunker" with no idea of how you got there. What's worse, your sister communicates with you over a two-way radio, claiming that the world outside has gone mad, and that you have been "put in the bunker for your own safety." But she too, has been locked up for her own good, and now, "fearing for your sister's life, [...] you must escape the bunker and find her before it’s too late. Before you’re all that remains."


Like most of Glitch's previous games, including The Forgotten Room and the Forever Lost series, All That Remains is a relatively short slideshow-style, point-and-click adventure with realistic pre-rendered graphics. The British developer promises "plenty of puzzles to get stuck on," but assisting you is an in-game camera, which allows you to take photos of clues along the way. 

Having released under the radar late last month, All That Remains: Part 1 is available across a variety of platforms, and can be downloaded from itch.io for Windows and Mac, the App Store for iOS, and Google Play for Android devices. 



19

Jul


Clear your calendars, Telltale fans, because there's a LOT of narrative-style adventuring coming your way this year and next. Thanks to today's summer video update, we now know not one, not two, but the next three series coming down the pike, including more Batman, The Walking Dead, and The Wolf Among Us.

First up will be a new adventure for Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman (or perhaps more accurately, the other way around). Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series will see both Bruce and Batman "forced into precarious new roles." The Riddler is back and ready to "terrorize Gotham City, but his gruesome puzzles merely foreshadow an even greater crisis. With the arrival of a ruthless federal agent and the return of a still nascent Joker, Batman must navigate uneasy alliances while Bruce Wayne undertakes a perilous series of deceptions. Which of Batman's new allies will you choose to trust? And how deep into the darkness will you let Bruce descend?" Reprising his dual roles as the title character is Troy Baker, along with other familiar voices like Anthony Ingruber as 'John Doe' (aka The Joker). Player choices from the first season will carry over into the new one, but Telltale claims it won't be necessary to have played the original to fully enjoy the new story.

That a new Batman is in the works comes as very little surprise. What is a surprise is that the new season is nearly upon us already, with a launch date for the first episode, The Enigma, scheduled for August 8th on Windows, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with iOS and Android releases to arrive later this year.


Also no surprise is more Walking Dead, as a fourth season was heavily teased at the end of A New Frontier. While few story details have yet been revealed, the fourth series based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel series will also be Telltale's last. Appropriately given the working title of The Final Season for now, the new five-part season will once again follow Clementine, now an independent and very resourceful young woman, in her pursuit of baby AJ. 

Back in the surprise column is a new season of The Wolf Among Us. Prompted by intense fan interest in a sequel ever since the original launched in 2014, the new season promises a "fresh story arc" but continues to follow the exploits of Bigby Wolf (voiced by Adam Harrington once again), Snow White (Erin Yvette), and the rest of the cast of Bill Willingham's Fables comic book series about a group of exiled fairy tale characters living in a hidden community in New York City. 

While no firm release dates for the new seasons of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us have been announced, both series will be launched sometime in 2018, The Wolf Among Us in the "latter half" of the year.



16

Jul


We tend to think of games as vehicles for "fun" but their interactive nature can make them powerful tools for exploring deeper subjects. One such game is the upcoming Indygo, a single-room adventure that tackles the reality of clinical depression.

Players control a famous painter who, "as a result of mood disorders began to isolate himself from the outside world." Then one day, he locked himself in his workshop for good. Attempting to help him work through his ordeals is his girlfriend Anna, but now, more than three months later, the situation is no longer tenable and "the time has come to look for solution." Controlling the painter, players will make important choices that dictate how the story plays out. 


Set entirely in a single room, Indygo features a hand-drawn, monochromatic slideshow presentation. Described as an "atmospheric narrative game with adventure and point’n’click elements," there will be puzzles to solve, conversations to engage in, and even trivial decisions will have consequences, as "the room changes according to the mental state of the character" with multiple endings possible. Developer Pigmentum Game Studio has consulted mental health specialists and those who suffer from depression in order to respectfully "give the players a deeper insight into the thoughts and actions of those who are suffering from this mood disorder."

In keeping with its subject matter, Indygo is due to arrive on PC on October 10th, the World Mental Health Day. 



14

Jul


The truth may set you free, but Telling Lies promises to be a rousing good time when indie developer Sam Barlow releases his upcoming "spiritual follow-up" to Her Story.

Barlow took the gaming world completely by surprise in 2015, blending keyword-based investigation with hours of compelling live-action video interviews. While plot details of the new game are still scarce at this time, Telling Lies will be an "all-new narrative game that will expand upon the unique format of Her Story by delving into multiple characters, exploring the extent to which we can ever truly know those we love." 

According to an article in Variety, the game will be in "the vein of a political thriller" that features the same general interactive movie approach as its predecessor, but with an original story, new characters and settings. Barlow compares it to Steve McQueen’s Shame combined with Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. With additional resources provided by publisher Annapurna Interactive this time around, Barlow can "raise production values" from the distinctly indie presentation of Her Story. Filming is set to begin late this year or early in 2018, with the publisher directly responsible for "all production tasks for the live-action video component."

There is currently no release target for Telling Lies, and as yet it's unknown what platforms it will be available on, but we'll be keeping a close eye on the game in the coming months. (Honest.)



14

Jul


When will scientists learn not to tamper with people's minds? Hopefully never, at least in game form, because it's fertile ground for experiments run amok. This will be true once again later this year in The Long Reach, a side-scrolling horror adventure from Ukrainian developer Painted Black Games.

The Long Reach is set in the fictional American town of Baervox, where a revolutionary method of accelerated knowledge transference has been developed in the local scientific institute. What could go wrong? Well, as is often the case, just about everything. A malfunction causes patients to manifest their nightmares while awake through horrific hallucinations. If untreated in time, they inevitably go insane. As Steward, junior researcher, it will be up to you to "untangle the story, save the world and survive."


Presented entirely in pixel art (and sometimes gory pixel art at that), The Long Reach is largely a traditional adventure, with more than fifty locations to explore and twenty-odd characters to interact with, plus many items to collect and combine along the way. However, the keyboard controls and side-scolling design promise to include a little "haunting element" to keep you on your toes. The craziest of victims may attack you, and your only recourse is to run and hide to stay alive. These adrenaline-fueled moments are intended simply as complementary elements, as the main focus is on the lives and stories of the people you encounter.

With a target release for PC and consoles later this summer, you can get a little taste of what's to expect in the downloadable demo while you wait, and drop by the official website to learn more. 



12

Jul


Stonewall Penitentiary has certainly done its time. Originally announced way back in 2005, then under the title Awaken, the game was locked away for a very long time before being revisited by indie developer Chris Brendel and Unimatrix Productions. Now the game is finally nearing completion, and a demo has been released for an early glimpse of the first-person prison thriller.

Players control William Thane, a down-on-his luck middle-aged man whose luck has just gotten a whole lot worse. The last thing you remember is being at home, but upon waking you find yourself in a dank cell, stripped naked with your hands tied, feeling drugged with no clue how you got there. You quickly discover that you, "along with several others, are trapped in an abandoned prison, held captive by a sociopath obsessed with justice." If you're to escape, you must expolore Stonewall and "uncover its dark secrets" while making important choices, interacting with a variety of fully-voiced characters and solving "a multitude of challenging puzzles" along the way to one of three different endings in a ten-plus hour story.

Although part of Unimatrix's Storycentric Worlds universe, unlike Brendel's recent text-based remakes Stonewall Penitentiary blends "all the standard adventure game mechanics – exploration, player inventory, puzzle solving, and character interaction – and presents it in a unique format reminiscent of visual novels." These elements are all on display in the playable PC demo that is available now for download.

While there is no firm release date for the finished version of Stonewall Penitentiary just yet, it is currently on track for launch sometime before the end of the year for PC, iOS and Android devices. 



12

Jul


We tend to think of initiation rituals as harmless pranking fun, but the stakes are much higher for the newest recruit of The Initiate, a new horror-tinged mystery puzzler coming next month from Deceptive Games.

Players control the eponymous character, a man named Nathan Rockford who has "lost his memory and has awakened in a house full of traps and puzzles." The room is modern, though part of it is "surrounded by strange shapes and other mysterious objects." While "vague memories flash in your mind as you stand [on] the cold wooden floor," the room is quiet until a mysterious voice announces over the intercom that your mission, along with 84 others trapped elsewhere, is to use your wits to escape. If you succeed, you'll have the opportunity to join a powerful secret organization, but first you'll need to survive your trial.


The Initiate's first screenshots and trailer display some of the challenge-filled 3D environments you'll explore, but if you want a first-hand taste of what to expect, a playable demo is available for download. According to game's indie Welsh developers, this is intended to "highlight the key aspects of the game mechanics, and will give everyone an understanding of how the story will progress of this mystery puzzle adventure, without giving away too much of the main game.”

If you like what you see, there's not much time to wait for the full and final version, as The Initiate is due to launch on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux on August 1st. 



11

Jul


The studio behind last year’s mystery thriller Dead Secret has been hard at work crafting a follow-up game, titled Dead Secret Circle, which is due to arrive before the end of the year.

The sequel once again sees players take on the role of investigator Patricia Gable. Five years after solving the Woodcutter case from the previous game, she is hot on the trail of a brutal killer in 1971 Chicago. In a connection to the plot of its predecessor, Circle sees Patricia diving into her own subconscious to solve the case, as the killer preys on the citizens of Chicago even as he stalks Patricia nightly in her dreams.


As before, players are tasked with exploring their surroundings, collecting clues, and solving puzzles. However, where the last game operated in a point-and-click style, this newest entry offers players free range of movement within the three-dimensional environments. The first teaser trailer shows off the type of gameplay and atmosphere players can expect.

While no definite details about the game’s release have been made public as of yet, Dead Secret Circle is being designed for both VR and traditional platforms with a 2017 launch target in mind. The official website will provide further information in the coming months.



10

Jul


When life is at its hardest, sometimes dreams are the only places where one can find solace. This is certainly true in indie developer Robodev's Obscure: Challenge Your Mind, which is close to being released on Early Access.

The game puts players in the troubled first-person role of an orphan boy who can barely remember his parents. Bullied for years in the miserable old orphanage where he lives, one night the deeply despairing child dreamed of "a green meadow, covered in flowers on a sunny day. The birds were singing, there was a sound of running water nearby and a gentle, female voice was calling him from a white, wooden house." Though he barely dared believe it, the woman was his mother, "standing on the doorstep, looking for him." From that point on, each night he returned to same dream house, longing for the chance to speak to his parents and perhaps even learn why they gave him up as a baby. Only in these dreams could the young orphan find refuge, as "there he was free."


Obscure is a free-roaming 3D adventure set entirely within the child's dreams. Everything you see is "somehow related to this boy's life and imagination," and in order to proceed players will engage in exploration of the picturesque rustic environments, with some puzzle-solving and a little light platforming along the way, as teased in the gameplay trailer released. Even with the presence of some action elements, however, the game has been designed to be a "beautiful, relaxing adventure" that draws inspiration from games like The Witness, ABZÛ and Journey, while incorporating a variety of "subjects that come from different books, ancient texts, interesting theories and more." 

Releasing for Windows and Mac exclusively on Steam, Obscure: Challenge Your Mind (not to be confused with the survival horror Obscure) currently offers the first three chapters of the game to explore and is expected to remain in Early Access for at least four months. 



9

Jul


Adventure gameplay is often criticized for following no rhyme or reason, but the exact opposite should be true in one-man indie Swedish developer Deep Taiga’s poetry-as-dialogue adventure, I fell from Grace, coming later this year.

Set in modern-day Maine “against a backdrop of never-ending autumn rain,” in a city with a history of suspicious “hobo disappearances,” I fell from Grace tells the story of Henry, a middle-aged man whose life is a world of problems. Following the death of their unborn child, his wife Grace has become terminally ill. The resultant medical bills have left Henry a mountain of debt, which he can only hope to repay with wages from his stagnating job as a medical researcher. His hopes are kindled when a seeming miracle cure for Grace’s illness shows up on his desk, but as one might expect, once Henry starts looking into the origins of the cure, things take a “sinister turn.”


As is becoming quite popular these days, the keyboard (or gamepad) controlled side-scrolling game will feature retro-inspired 2D pixel graphics and include a variety of puzzles to be solved throughout. To differentiate itself from the pack, though, I fell from Grace will showcase a dialogue choice system in which every line of speech rhymes, while also allowing players to choose their responses and affect the plot of the game as it progresses.

I fell from Grace is currently scheduled to land on Steam for PC in late 2017. Interested gamers can keep up with its development in the meantime at the official website.



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