Adventure News
 


September 2017

25

Sep


Despite their inviting touch-screen capabilities, there are disappointingly few point-and-click adventures made for mobile phones and tablets these days other than ports and room-escape titles. One game willing to buck the trend is a comic sci-fi adventure from indie German developer Damian Thater called Argh! Earthlings!

The central argh-worthy earthling in question is the game's protagonist David, a "young, slightly left-handed hobby astronomer, who one day accidentally shoots down an alien spacecraft using his self-made model rocket." He also manages to conk himself out with the rocket, just as the UFO crashes to the surface. When he awakens, he finds himself in a strange bed on a small farm, with special government agents "lurking everywhere" on the trail of the downed alien. As he's the one responsible for the accident, it's up to David to make amends by secretly helping the "really upset alien named 'Fred' to escape from earth" without either of them getting caught.


Using a simple single-tap control scheme that's been optimized for mobile devices, Argh! Earthlings! is presented in a whimsical third-person cartoon style, promising more than 50 locations to explore, up to 40 items to interact with, and 20 characters to meet along the way. With multiple puzzle solutions available in some cases, this won't be a long game but should provide at least an hour of "humorous, old-school" adventuring goodness.

Available for now exclusively on iOS, Thater is planning an Android port for release this winter.



24

Sep


It's been a whole century since the first World War, but its horrors have still (rightly) not been forgotten. Helping to keep those memories alive is a new episodic adventure called Within Whispers, set to debut next spring on PC.

Within Whispers casts players in the role of a young medic named Aska, whose brother was sent to the front and has since disappeared. Now Aska is determined to find out what happened to him, which means bravely venturing into the "trenches and battlefields of the Great War" herself, where so many have fallen on both sides. This would be horrific for anyone to witness, but Aska has a unique gift that lets her "see and communicate with ghosts of dead soldiers." In hearing their untold stories and "struggling with this unusual 'gift', there is one ghost she is hoping not to meet."

Described by indie Serbian developer Thorium Studios as a "narrative-driven point-and-click adventure game," it's clear that Within Whispers has been inspired by the choice-and-consequence form of storytelling popularized by Telltale. The 3D graphics are done in a "comic book art style" that depicts the wartime paradox melding "beautiful sceneries of peaceful European countryside, and terrifying devastations." Along the way there will be many supernatural interactions, presenting multiple choice dialogue options that can make your life either harder or easier. Players will also need to solve puzzles and overcome a number of Quick Time Events in order to complete various objectives.

A total of four episodes are planned in total, each with its own distinct setting and storyline, although unified by a larger narrative arc. The series debut, subtitled The Fall, is currently on track for Steam release on PC next April.



23

Sep


It may still be September, but with fall just around the corner, it's right around that time we start to hear more of black cats, ghosts, and other haunting themes. One of the first off the mark is COCOSOLA's indie puzzle-adventure, The Witch's Isle, newly ported to PC after an earlier launch on mobile devices.

As you might expect, The Witch's Isle is indeed set on a "solitary island somewhat removed from the continent" in "a town ruled by a witch." One night, the witch appears to a young woman and curses her to die if she doesn't find the witch's stolen urn by 4:00 a.m. Controlling the cursed protagonist and working against the clock, players must begin exploring the island in search of the missing urn, and "along the way she starts hearing more and more about the secret of the witch." Will she live or die; succeed or fail? The outcome is undecided, as there are seven different endings available.


The Witch's Isle features a pixel art style with "dream-like scenery" and a muted palette befitting a night search on a remote island. As seen in the screenshots and teaser trailer, the island itself is uniquely layered, presenting players with a series of side-scrolling environments to investigate. Even more intriguingly, while the young woman is the playable protagonist, you can also "have the camera follow other characters," which may enable you to "solve some puzzles by paying close attention to what the other islanders are doing."

If you're ready to embrace the supernatural season early, there's no need to wait, as The Witch's Isle is available now on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux. A free mobile version released earlier this year for iOS and Android devices is also available with a small fee to remove ads.



22

Sep


What do you get when a wisecracking demon finds himself in the crosshairs of demon hunters hired by his arch nemesis? If you said, a comedic “tribute to late ‘90s point-and-click adventure games,” then congratulations, you’re absolutely right! If not…read on to learn more about the newly-released Darkestville Castle anyway!

Created by Argentina-based EPIC LLama, Darkestville Castle tells the story of Cid the Demon, a “laid-back being of pure darkness” who “spends his nights performing all kind of evil deeds to the peaceful people of Darkestville.” Yet, “little does he know that his old arch enemy is about to change his life forever.” Dan Teapot, Darkestville’s diminutive would-be savior, hires a group of demon hunters, the Romero Brothers, to put an end to Cid’s reign of terror once and for all.


Heavily inspired by games such as the Monkey Island series and Day of the Tentacle, Darkestville Castle promises a comedic storyline “full of danger, intrigue, and ridiculous premises,” along with “Tim Burton-esque gallows humor” and dozens of characters to interact with. A Steam-exclusive demo provides a short taste of the seven-plus hours projected for the full title, including fully-voiced dialogue, a few inventory puzzles, and a glimpse of the hand-painted 2D graphics and colorful scenes.

If you like what you see in the sampler, there's no need to wait for the rest, as the full version of Darkestville Castle is available now for download on Windows and Mac.



17

Sep


What if you were destined is to become a hero, but were held back by a crippling fear of heights, of danger, or even of being noticed? Indie developer Librarium Studios aims to answer these questions and more in the recently-released puzzle-adventure, The Müll Littoral.

The Müll Littoral is a one-man passion project, developed over a period of three years. Born out of the designer's life-long personal background of helping others deal with clinical anxiety and depression, it is inspired by the strength and determination shown by those who suffer from these conditions. The game is set in the same fictional fantasy world as the studio’s previous game, The Eigengrau Menagerie – a world where thoughts and emotions affect your surroundings, populated by fantastical creatures such as the Thoughtforms, great beings made of thought who guide the world and give aid to the player.


In the context of the game, anxiety and depression are represented as a curse mortals can be stricken with, and the only way to rid oneself of the curse is via a series of great trials. This is to signify the immense struggle people suffering from these afflictions go through simply to live their lives in a normal manner. Players take on the role of Juul, a young girl whose mind has been impaired by just such a terrible curse. Juul is joined on her journey to find a cure by the Elder Pilgrim Glasswalker.

Gameplay in The Müll Littoral is more akin to a series of puzzle scenes, each one depicting a specific situation in which anxiety becomes a debilitating ailment. Players must survey the situation carefully during a frozen moment in time, then restart the flow of time and manipulate objects in their environment in a specific sequence to achieve a desired effect. Scenarios include situations where Juul must attempt to flee from a monster, try to leave a tavern unnoticed, or avoid harm while falling from a cliff. Nearly all of the distinctive art assets used in the game are drawn on paper by hand before being scanned and animated in-game.

Available now for Windows and Mac on itch.io, players can expect The Müll Littoral to take an estimated 1-2 hours to complete. For more information about the game, or to freely download its predecessor, visit the developer’s website.



16

Sep


It took seven years for The Sleeping Machine (formerly Cockroach, Inc.) to finish The Dream Machine. It'll only take a matter of months for them release their next multi-part game, The Gateway Trilogy.

Okay, that's not entirely true. In some ways, it's taken even longer to complete than their claymation opus. The first two installments of Gateway were originally launched as freeware almost a decade ago. Now, however, the team has completely remastered those initial versions for commercial re-release, offering "enhancements to sound, gameplay and visuals" as well as "tweaked" puzzles, though the core game promises to remain the same. Best of all, accompanying those games is a never-before-seen third part to round out the newly-formed trilogy.


So what is The Gateway Trilogy all about? Who knows! All players really have to go on is the simple stated premise: to "guide a character through a series of rooms. Solve puzzles to advance." Quite the opposite of the elaborate hand-crafted sets of The Dream Machine, the presentation here is deliberately minimalist, with a streamlined, single-click interface to match, though the puzzles won't be nearly as simple to solve. As you progress through the "abstract minimalist void," there is only an "unsettling, barely coherent story" to provide any context for your exploits. Answers won't come easily, though an optional developer's commentary will "outline various choices behind the design."

There is no firm release date for The Gateway Trilogy just yet, but it is "coming soon" to Windows and Mac on Steam. If you'd like to get a head start and see how it all began, both Part 1 and Part 2 are still available to play for free on Kongregate.



14

Sep


More and more lately, developers have begun realizing the medium's potential for exploring serious themes that are anything but fun and games. The latest such endeavour is Anate Studio's Little Kite, a point-and-click adventure "about one tragic evening [for] an unsuccessful family, when emotions and tensions are simply too high to manage."

Little Kite follows the travails of a woman named Mary and her son Andrew. Following the death of her first husband, Mary wed again "in an attempt to create a full-fledged family for her son. But everyday, problems consume the new husband and he finds his solace in alcohol." Mary attempts to keep the peace through "patience and inaction, so habitual and convenient for everyone but little Andrew," but when "domestic violence becomes commonplace," this highly dysfunctional family finally reaches a crisis point, a "point where [Mary] needs to make a bold decision."


If the concept, and perhaps even the game title sound vaguely familiar, that's because Little Kite is based on a 2012 freeware adventure called The Kite. The new commercial game, however, has been "completely redone" with "new engine, art, characters and storyline." This version will explore two different settings with their own unique atmospheres, including the real world and a fantasy world of Andrew's imagination, each presented in a crisp hand-painted art style. Players will guide both Mary and Andrew with traditional third-person point-and-click controls, and there will be "a lot of puzzles with different difficulties" to solve along the way.

If you're up for an emotionally-charged adventure that tackles uncomfortable themes rarely explored in interactive format, Little Kite is available now on Steam for Windows and Mac.



13

Sep


Things must have been getting a little too dark for KING Art Games, given their work on the new Black Mirror reboot, so the German developer has set its sights on much lighter fantasy fare once again, this time in the form of Shakes & Fidgets: The Adventure.

While no specific details have yet been revealed, the point-and-click game is based on the popular free browser-based MMORPG, which itself was based on the German comic series by Oskar Pannier and Marvin Clifford. The original comics are also cited by Creative Director Jan Theysen as an inspiration for KING Art's own highly acclaimed The Book of Unwritten Tales adventures. Shakes & Fidgets will similarly provide a "parody of fantasy clichés," but Theysen claims that the new game is to "become our Day of the Tentacle: Crazier, faster and even funnier."

As seen in the first screenshots unveiled, Shakes & Fidgets: The Adventure will feature Clifford's distinctive comic art, and publisher Playa Games claims that the game will also deliver the "first-class voice acting and a superb orchestral soundtrack" that we've come to expect from KING Art productions. This won't be a small or casual game, either, with boasts of "crisp puzzles and over 20 hours of top-notch gaming fun" rounding out today's initial announcement.

There is still no word on a launch date or available platforms, but interested gamers can follow the game's progress through its Facebook page.



13

Sep


We're used to horror adventures trapping us in claustrophic old mansions, pitch-black basements and tunnels, or fog-enshrouded streets. And for good reason – what's so scary about being out in large, beautiful natural environments? Well, we're about to find out with today's release of Alessandro Guzzo's The Land of Pain, a Lovecraftian 3D horror adventure with an unusually picturesque setting.

The Land of Pain casts players in the role of someone whose life to this point is "about to change forever." A pleasant excursion through the scenic woods becomes a nightmare when you get lost and find yourself in an unknown place full of "dead bodies, blood, and people who died horribly." What's worse, as the "rain pours, and darkness hangs in the air," you soon discover that "something strange" has appeared in the woods with you. With no means of defending yourself from this "dark and disturbing evil," your "only chance of survival is to run as fast as you can, and exploit the environment to hide yourself."


While there are some confined areas in The Land of Pain, much of the experience will be spent exploring the "huge and terrifying world" comprised of "buildings, caves, swamps, graveyards and more." Players will need to contend with poor visibility at times too, carrying only a lantern that must be used sparingly as the light also makes you more vulnerable in the dark. All this Lovecraftian-styled atmosphere is established through "CryEngine-powered graphics with photogrammetric technology and ambient sound" for a fully immersive first-person experience. You will need to collect and use objects to solve various puzzles along the way, but this is anything but a purely leisurely walk in the woods, as at times your only means of escape is to run and hide from the "unrelenting enemy" stalking your every move.  

Available exclusively for Windows PC, The Land of Pain is available now on Steam. To learn more about the game, visit the official website for additional details.



10

Sep


A remote spa in the West German countryside may sound like the ideal getaway cure for stubborn writer's block, but we'll soon discover that there's more to the titular town of Trüberbrook when the largely hand-crafted adventure is released next year.

Trüberbrook casts players in the role of an American physicist named Tannhauser, who is having trouble with his PhD thesis and seeks relief in the "ageing but beautiful health resort somewhere in the densely forested countryside of West Germany." But something about the town seems "strangely spaced out", and before long the deceptively serene setting "evolves into a puzzling sci-fi mystery." Aiding Tannhauser in his investigation is Gretchen, a "paleoanthropologist seeking to unravel the folkloristic mysteries surrounding the village," and the "enigmatic inventor Lazarus Taft, a stranded traveler yearning for home."


Created by btf, a collective of former German art students, Trüberbrook promises a distinctive aesthetic combining hand-crafted scale model sets with digitally created characters and effects, as teased in the initial promo video. Inspired by the surreal atmospheres of television series like Twin Peaks, The X-Files and True Detective, the game aims to meld elements of "German folklore with a gripping sci-fi storyline, covering universal themes like love, friendship, loyalty, rootlessness, self-discovery and dinosaurs."

With a target release date for PC and consoles tentatively set for sometime in 2018, a crowdfunding campaign is planned at some point to help get Trüberbrook to the finish line. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.



9

Sep


We tend to think of spirits and fairies – if we think of them at all – only insofar as they affect the human world. But what kind of lives do they lead unseen by prying eyes? Answering this question is at the heart of Might and Delight's newly-released Tiny Echo.

While specific story details are left to players to discover for themselves, Tiny Echo puts players in the cycloptic shoes of Emi, who is "tasked with delivering messages" throughout a "tranquil and mysterious world teeming with shades trying to make it through another daily cycle." You're not simply hauling the mail, however, as during the course of making your rounds, you will "uncover the unique traits of each character in order to complete your delivery."


In a story told completely without words, Tiny Echo is intended to be a serene and "meditative" experience, presenting puzzles to solve at your leisure as you explore the charmingly quirky hand-painted environments, accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack composed by Mount West.

Neither snow nor rain nor delayed launch dates will prevent your from playing Tiny Echo at this point, as the game is available now through Humble or Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux.



8

Sep


While the genre in general is having a tough time getting projects crowdfunded these days, there's one formula that seems to be working very well: base an adventure game on a popular webcomic! With the first episode of Hiveswap about to bring the world of Homestuck to life (having raked in a phenomenal $2.5M through Kickstarter), now it's Cyanide & Happiness's turn. The longrunning online cartoon series is now setting its sights on a full-fledged interactive adventure, and has turned to Kickstarter for financing. So far so good, as the game has already met its ambitious target of $300,000, with plenty of time left to meet stretch goals.

Created in 2004 by Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Dave McElfatrick and Matt Melvin, Cyanide & Happiness has been posting daily comics every since, and has expanded with a number of shorts and even an animated show of its own. Now the franchise is ready to broaden its horizons again in The Cyanide & Happiness Adventure Game (working title). The game will follow "Cooper 'Coop' McCarthy in his quest to keep his head down and make it to graduation without having to deal with an apocalypse." (Spoiler: not gonna happen!) Coop will be "joined by Sawyer Allen, an aspiring investigative journalist with a know-it-all streak that just might save the day, and Hugo 'Chowder' Malone, a consummate 'gentleman' with a love for novelty swords and leaving comments on YouTube videos."


Described as a "throwback" to the creators' favourite point-and-click adventures like The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango ("with a C&H twist of course"), the game will span the comic's full universe, which means that "for the first time you'll get to interact with everyone from Ted Bear and Shark Dad, to the Star Spangled Bastard and mayyyyybe the Purple Shirted Eye Stabber." The franchise has earned a reputation over the years for exploring controversial topics with a satirical bite through cartoon stick-figure art and surreal stories, and the intial trailer suggests we can expect plenty of the same black humour in the upcoming adventure.

Though the Kickstarter campaign has already blown past its initial goal in just a few days, there are still plenty of stretch goals yet to reach, including additional platforms, more localization, side quests, and even a longer story. The campaign will run until October 5th, with a target completion date for the "first chapter" on PC currently set for December 2018, with additional chapters to follow.



3

Sep


We can do things the easy way, or we can do them the hard way. We all know that expression, and that option will be front and center in Roman Koksharov's upcoming comic point-and-click adventure, One Helluva Day.

The game puts players in the troubled shoes of a "self-centered CEO trying to save his company from bankruptcy." As if keeping your own firm afloat wasn't challenge enough, you'll also need to rescue the entire town from "impending disaster" brought upon it by an evil curse. This plot filled with "mysticism, conspiracies, cults and the end of the world" may sound like pure doom and gloom, but One Helluva Day promises a "funny and crazy and twisted storyline" reminiscent of the LucasArts classics.


Much like its inspirations, One Helluva Day is a traditional hand-painted, third-person adventure in which you meet a variety of quirky characters and solve a number of puzzles along the way. Borrowing an extra page from The Curse of Monkey Island, this game offers two ways to approach its puzzles. The first is simply to find and steal the objects you need to proceed, but the more adventurous path is to help each character out with their individual problems, the solutions to which are purported to be much more difficult. Your decisions will impact which of several different outcomes you experience at the end.

One Helluva Day is still a few months away from its Steam release, with a target completion date for Windows PC currently set for February 2018.