Adventure News
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October 2017

22

Oct


In space, no one can hear you scream... especially if you're the only person around, as so often seems to be the case. This is true once again in No Wand Studios' The Fall of Lazarus, newly-released on Steam with a free standalone prologue.

The Fall of Lazarus follows the exploits of a "veteran of the Venusian wars looking to carve out a new future for herself." Having volunteered for a nine-year mission to work in a distant mining colony, you are put into cryo aboard your transport vessel the USSC Lazarus for the long voyage. However, while not exactly raised from the dead, you are abruptly awakened from sleep en route with no memory of your past, or even who you are. Worse still, you are now alone except for the ship's A.I. named Hybris, who is in command of the ship. Only by investigating will you be able to piece together the mystery of what has happened in the hope of escaping this predicament alive, but along the way you will "experience a series of traumatic events related to [your] personal life: visions, dreamlike recollections, strange noises and apparitions that mess with [your] head and make [you] question what is real and what is not."


Described by the developers as "Firewatch meets the film Moon," The Fall of Lazarus tasks players with thoroughly exploring the ship's five different levels in free-roaming 3D, examining items and documents left behind by the Lazarus's former occupants, collecting clues and solving a variety of challenges including "logical and mechanical puzzles and social hacking" along the way.

The game is already available on Steam for Windows PC, but if you'd like to try before you buy, a standalone prologue called "The First Passenger" can be downloaded first. Set aboard the same spaceship but telling its own story, the demo casts players in the role of Caleb Rogers of Gen-Ethics, an "audit firm focused on controlling the normative and quality of criogenic, clonation and genetic alteration processes." This demo is also available through Steam, but alternative download links can be found at the game's official website.



21

Oct


And now for something completely different... Yorkshire Gubbins!

The nod to Monty Python in introducing Yorkshire Gubbins is entirely intentional, as this game is described as a "stupendously original and incomprehensibly daft anthology of hour-long point and click comedy adventures set in the most magical of English Shires: Yorkshire." Other than their shared county setting, the episodes contained in this first "season" of adventures are entirely standalone, and can be played in any order.

The game has launched with three episodes, a tutorial called "Verb School" which introduces the nine-verb interface; "Holy Molluscamony," a "revoiced and reworked version" of the freeware release that won Best Dialog and Best Characters at Adventure Jam 2017; and a longer episode called "Humble Pie," about "the terrible consequences of ruining your best friend's wedding." There is plenty more where those came from, however, as indie studio The Stairfall Institute plan to add "at least 4 more episodes of Humble Pie's length over the next 8-9 months which will be available to players at no extra cost."


As can be seen in its screenshots and trailer, Yorkshire Gubbins features an old-school presentation with several modern twists. The Stairwell Institute's Charlotte Gore describes their minimalist approach as "cinematic pixel art" with a "diverse range of lip synced characters, combined with baroque lighting effects and post-processing filters to create a unique visual style that's warm, friendly and accessible." All characters are completely voiced, boasting "a cast of regional voices with the same accent they have on Game of Thrones." The music, meanwhile, has been implemented with "hexMuse," a system inspired by LucasArts's iMuse that "dynamically transitions between different tunes as you move between rooms." Even the interface, although clearly inspired by the SCUMM-based classics, has been recreated in the developer's own custom-built engine.

With only three episodes available so far on Windows and Mac in the current version of Yorkshire Gubbins, the game is budget-priced accordingly on Steam. Each new episode released will be available free to those who own the game, but the base purchase price will rise as new content is added. (In other words, the early adopters get the most bang for their... uhh, quid?)



15

Oct


Portugal may be the third best country on the Global Peace Index, but for the second time in four years, it's got a serious crime problem! Fortunately, Detective Case and Clown Bot are on the job again, or will be when their second adventure, The Express Killer, is released early next year.

Having solved the suspicious "suicide" in the Hotel Lisbon back in 2013, now Detective Case, the world's "worst detective, a man so rough and rude that his witnesses would rather be run over by a slow-moving freight train than to be questioned by him," and his mechanical sidekick Clown Bot, stand-up comic, "joke machine" and wannabe circus performer, must figure out who has been murdering the passengers aboard the train from Lisbon to Porto each day. To do so, they must "bother everyone by asking annoying questions, pick up everyone’s belongings and call them clues, drink and eat for free at the bar (because they are working after all!) and if all goes well, find and stop the express killer." And in between, they'll also need to babysit a colleague's kid who's been dragged along for the right. After all, "what could go wrong, right?"


Although a sequel to Murder in the Hotel Lisbon, indie developers Nerd Monkeys claim that no prior knowledge is necessary to enjoy The Express Killer. Promising "trains, humor, mystery, horror, drama, and cod fish," the new game features the same retro-styled, low-resolution pixel art presentation as its predecessor, intended to take players "back to the good old classic point-and-click adventure formula from the '80s and '90s." And once again, due to popular demand, the action will be accompanied by a soundtrack mixing classical orchestra and modern rock. 

It'll still take a few more months before this train reaches the rest of us, but Detective Case and Clown Bot: The Express Killer is currently on track for release on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux in early 2018.



14

Oct


Kids lose their stuffed animals all the time, and it's always traumatic for them. But what about for the toys themselves? In White Lie, an upcoming adventure from indie Brazilian developer Ambize Studio, we'll get to experience one plush bunny's emotional journey back to its owner for ourselves.

White Lie stars a stuffed rabbit named Greg, who becomes separated from his ten-year-old owner Emma and must now make his way back to her. Throughout this journey across a "surreal and desolate world" will be "both happy and sad moments, surrounded by reality and imagination." In exploring the memories of their shared adventures, players must confront the "challenges from [Greg's] past with Emma, and uncover the truth behind everything that is happening..." with all the consequences that entails.


Inspired by "fairy tales and some experimental Japanese artists," White Lie is presented in a unique hand-painted art style in sepia tones, intended to "create a more solitary setting." The gameplay explores both present and past, as you must look for clues to Emma's wherabouts while reliving memories inspired by certain mementos along the way. These memories are key to understanding the relationship between Greg and Emma, and each presents its own unique physics-based environmental puzzling interactions.

The release of White Lie is still a fair way off, with Ambize currently aiming to complete the game sometime in 2019 for Windows, Mac and Linux. In the meantime, you can follow its progress through the developer's website.



12

Oct


Most murder mysteries include fresh crime scenes to scour and multiple witnesses and suspects to question. But what if the murder case you're investigating is four years old and occurred in a town that has since been mysteriously abandoned? That challenge is yours if you wish, in EQ Studios' recently-released The Painscreek Killings.

Players control a promising young American journalist named Janet, who's been assigned by her editor to investigate the eerily deserted town of Painscreek. Four years earlier, this was a thriving town until the wife of its mayor was murdered and the culprit never found. Who killed Vivian Roberts? And where did everybody go? Janet arrives with the anticipation of simply finding "an interesting story to publish, only to uncover secrets that were meant to stay hidden forever."


A first-person 3D mystery set in the 1990s, The Painscreek Killings allows players to freely roam the fictional town's "semi-open world" in a non-linear fashion. With a primary focus on exploration over puzzles, the gameplay has been described by its indie developer as "similar to Gone Home but bigger in scope." You will need to pay close attention to clues in the environment, collecting important items and making use of both the in-game camera and your own "powers of observation and deduction to piece together the secrets of Painscreek." If you are to ever publish your story, you must first identity the killer.

If you're ready to don your detective's hat, there's no need to wait, as The Painscreek Killings is available now as a download on Steam for Windows PC. You can also learn more about the game through its official website.



5

Oct


Warning: Giddiness alert! Read no further if your medical condition cannot withstand uncontrolled giggling, intense befuddlement, and bouts of sheer, unadulterated joy. That's because Amanita Design, the creators of such whimsical classics as Samorost, Machinarium and Botanicula, have just revealed their latest "comedy adventure" named CHUCHEL, which looks like it could be their zaniest game yet.

CHUCHEL is the name of the game's main character, a cherry-loving, orange hat-wearing "cute hairy creature (an angry hair-ball basically) who is as pleasant as screaming kids and as intelligent as a potato." Chuchel has a problem: someone has stolen his next delectable meal, so players must help him "chase down the mysterious villain and retrieve his cherished cherry! Outsmart the Pool Monster, escape frenzied Pac-Men and master the bird race. Join forces with Chuchel's buddy Kekel and show the mischievous Chrchel that stealing cherries is wrong."


That's about it for plot, and the early screenshots and trailer (don't say we didn't warn you about its charm overload!) from Amanita and artist/designer Jaromír Plachý suggest a game that skews a little closer to Botanicula than the Czech studio's other games. As always, the journey of its protagonist will be wordless (at least, devoid of intelligible words), and players can expect plenty of "hearty situational humor, wild music and sounds by the band DVA and hundreds of hilarious animations that warm up even the coldest of souls. Plus cherries."

We don't have long to wait for this delightful looking new game either, as CHUCHEL is charging hard towards an early 2018 release on Windows, Mac, and Linux, along with iOS and Android devices. To keep tabs on it while you wait, you can follow its progress through the official website.



2

Oct


You might equate ritzy hotels with comfortable beds, room service, and helpful bellhops, but gamers can expect a whole lot of weirdness from Cosmo D's newly-released The Norwood Suite.

Though no specific story details have been revealed, players will visit the secluded Hotel Norwood on a "simple friendly errand that quickly unfolds into something much more involved." As you begin to investigate, you soon realize that "this mysterious resort is a dense, open-ended world teeming with hidden passages and secrets to discover." So feel free to "peer into the lives of the hotel’s guests and staff, explore and interact with surprises behind every door, and piece together a non-linear narrative that rewards your curiosity."


Described as "both [a] spiritual and direct sequel" to the developer's previous freeware release Off-Peak, The Norwood Suite is a free-roaming 3D experience "filled with bizarre characters and objects" to interact with firsthand. As clearly demonstrated in the screenshots and trailer, the game features a "surreal art design" accompanied by a "head-nodding" original soundtrack that "integrates itself directly into the game world."

The Norwood Suite is available now on Steam for Windows PC. If you'd like to check out its predecessor first, you can find Off-Peak there as well.



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