Adventure News
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May 2017

2

May


Pixel art adventure games and Lovecraft go back at least as long as Shadow of the Comet, and The Last Door has proven that there's still plenty of life left in this winning combination. Indie Italian developers PsychoDev sure hope so, as this week they'll be releasing their own retro-styled Lovecraftian adventure named Chronicle of Innsmouth.

Years ago, private investigator Lone Carter was sent by the curator of the Library of Miskatonic University in Arkham to Innsmouth to look into a missing persons case in the "despised" coastal city beset by disturbing tales of "journeys to exotic lands and of weird religious rites." Once there he stumbled upon the town's "cosmic insanity" and was left to face the consequences of his discovery. Meanwhile, on a trip through New England in present day, a "young and naive man" hears of Innsmouth for the first time and is compelled to travel there himself. These two stories will end up intertwined by "events occuring in the shunned fishing town under the ever-watchful eye of the mysterious and reclusive inhabitants."


Loosely based on Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth, this game promises that "horrific occurrences and an atmosphere of creeping terror lead the player deeper and deeper into a web of grotesque and mind-bending intrigue." This is accomplished through an old-school verb interface and pixel art as an "homage to the adventure games of the early '90s." Players will control both protagonists as times – Carter's smaller role depicted in black and white – and in order to succeed you will need to "investigate, gather information, and solve enigmas" along the way. But beware the answers you seek, as you may not like what you learn.

If you can't wait for your next Lovecraft fix, you won't need to be patient much longer, as Chronicle of Innsmouth is due to be launched on Steam for Windows PC on May 5th. To learn more about the game in the meantime, visit the official website for additional details.




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.



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