Adventure News
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September 2017

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.



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