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October 2017



It's no secret by now that Syberia 3 didn't get off to the smoothest of starts, with a number of technical and design issues that hindered the experience. But it's not how you begin, it's how you finish that counts, and not only have the developers been hard at work on a number of important enhancements since launch, today they've announced a Halloween treat of a whole new playable chapter coming as DLC next month.

Surely the most significant upgrade since the game's initial release is the inclusion of a point-and-click control option, but other changes include audio fixes, text corrections, visual interface tweaks, and improved framerates for a much more user-friendly experience. But the icing on the cake is today's announcement of additional gameplay content in the form of an all-new scenario called "An Automaton with a Plan".

Taking place "after Kate Walker and the Youkol tribe come across the ruins of Olympia Stadium," these "previously-undocumented events" see our heroine "kidnapped by the tenacious private detective, Nic Cantin, who has been tasked with bringing her back to New York by hook or by crook." Playing as Kate's automaton pal, freeing her would seem to be a "simple mission for Oscar, who develops an infallible plan to accomplish it. But matters turn out to be more complicated than foreseen…"

This downloadable expansion is due to arrive on November 9th, as a free update for all owners of the PC version, and available to all PS4 and Xbox One gamers (though it's recommended to finish playing the full Syberia 3 first). 



Ever wondered whether a Ricky Gervais-style mockumentary format would make for great adventure game fodder? Well, muse no longer as you can find out for yourself in Point Bleep Studios' recently-released The Mind of Marlo.

Poor Marlo Davenport has a rare disease. In fact, the disorder is so rare that he's the only known living case of "Spontaneous Silly Head Syndrome," which causes its victims to suffer from "temporary transformations." In helping the young man/cat/shark/slug, etc. cope with his curious ailment and search for a possible cure, players will "learn about Marlo's life through compelling monologues, solve fun puzzles to help him overcome his odd condition and figure out just what the heck is happening to him!" But the digger you deep, the more questions are raised, as "not everything is as it seems as you'll discover unravelling Marlo's strange story."

If that setup weren't strange enough, here's where the game really gets weird. Described as "an absurd combination of TV show The Office and classic point and click adventure games of old," The Mind of Marlo is presented as a faux-documentary with a minimalist pixel art presentation and fully-voiced "talking heads" with over 20 minutes of recorded dialogue delivered in suitably droll British accents. 

Created by a two-man team based out of Argentina and the UK, The Mind of Marlo is intended to be just the first of many such "odd, narrative driven adventure games in the guise of cinematic 8-bit TV shows" from Point Bleep. The game is available now for download through Steam on Windows and Linux.



When your spaceship is in distress on a crash course with the nearest planet, who would you call on to save the vessel and rescue the crew? Why, the cook, of course! What, no? Well, that's all the help players are going to get in TARTARUS, a "retro-futuristic" sci-fi adventure coming next month.

TARTARUS is named after the Mining and Research vessel on which it's set in the year 2230. When the ship unexpectedly enables its security protocols, the doors are all sealed, "turning TARTARUS into a flying prison. As the sirens wail and the emergency lights flash, the powerless ship drifts closer to falling out of orbit and crashing to the surface of Neptune." The only hope for survival is to "reach the bridge and restart all systems one by one." Just one problem: the only crew member available is Cooper, the galley cook who has no education or "training in the old ship’s rudimentary terminal systems." Fortunately, Cooper isn't totally on his own, as he'll have remote assistance from the ship's engineer Andrews via intercom. 

Created by indie Turkish developer Abyss Gameworks, TARTARUS is a free-roaming (well, as free as a ship in lockdown will allow) first-person adventure whose "retro-futuristic style and atmosphere have roots in iconic sci-fi movies such as Alien and Robocop." While the game's crisp 3D presentation may be modern, the ship's technology is not, so players will need to contend not only with failing mechanical systems as "pipes burst and the ship’s engines are pushed beyond their breaking points," but also the vessel's "antiquated" computer terminals. Hacking these will represent a major part of the puzzle challenge, using a realistic "command-line system like in the Amiga or Commodore days," though even those with no prior coding skills can succeed with "a little logic" and careful observation.  

If you're eager to board the ailing TARTARUS, there isn't much longer to wait, as the game is due out on November 21st for Windows PC. In the meantime, you can learn more about it from the official website.



You receive a mysterious message from an unknown sender. Are they really in trouble, or just messing with you? That's the question Daily Magic asks in their mobile-exclusive, real-time narrative adventure Sender Unknown: The Woods. Better known to date for their casual hidden object games, this time the developer has teamed up with writer Lisa Brunette, author of the indieBRAG medallion-winning Dreamslippers novels, to bring us horror, puzzles, and life-changing choices.  

Four friends find themselves lost in the Ozarks, one of whom is Morgan, all alone and trapped in an RV. With everyone else in the party missing, the vehicle broken down and surrounded by wolves, and a madman's taunts playing on the radio, all Morgan's got is a half-broken mobile phone – and you, a stranger who happens to be using a new chat app and have received a desperate message from "Sender Unknown". Morgan is just the first of the group in need of your help, so will you assist these poor lost souls, foil the madman's plan and find out what's really going on in these spooky woods, or just ignore the messages and get on with your life?

The basic setup is very similar to the Lifeline games, in that you respond to each person's messages by making multiple-choice decisions in real time. Every so often, the character in trouble will go away for a bit, to put a plan you've agreed upon into action, react to what's happening, or just get some sleep. These breaks vary from a minute or two to several hours, but the story won't carry on without you so there's no pressure to keep checking back. Your decisions drive the branching narrative, and we're promised an intriguing mystery with "exciting twists and reveals", life-or-death decisions and even possible romance. 

Sender Unknown then builds on this basic formula by introducing stats such as intelligence, empathy and trust, which are both influenced by your choices and affect whether your later actions work out as planned. For example, propose a risky plan and Morgan might baulk unless your trust score is high enough. There are also "intricate" puzzles to solve, varying from riddles to visual brainteasers (based on photos sent to you). And if these get too tricky, there's also the option to reach out for help on Twitter. 

Available now for iOS and Android, if you want to explore Sender Unknown: The Woods further, you can head over to the App Store or Google Play. The first chapter featuring Morgan is free, with the remaining chapters unlocked through an in-app purchase. Buying the game also unlocks the ability to undo bad decisions by rewinding and a "fast mode" that removes the staged waits.



The lost phone epidemic continues. First it was Sam and Sara, then Laura misplaced hers, and now it's Anna's turn in Kaigan Games' newly-released SIMULACRA.

In this case, however, it's a GOOD thing her phone went missing, because apparently Anna is in trouble and in serious need of outside help. Upon discovering this wayward cell phone, you see a "desperate cry for help in the form of a video message." Although you don't know Anna personally, you resolve to help her if you can. Calling her friends reveals no initial clues, but "her chats, emails and photo gallery provide fragments of information, and you have to piece it together." Complicating matters are unexplained events that cause you to question whether there is "something supernatural going on, or is she just another victim of a crime?" The task is simple but the solution is not: "Recover lost files, piece back corrupted data, and talk to the people that last saw her. Find her before it's too late." 

The "spiritual successor" to last year's Sara Is Missing, SIMULACRA plays much like its predecessor but promises to expand upon it with "major improvements" as well as new features like "a dating app, a web browser, a social media app and a video vlog." As before, the game is presented in the form of a faux cell phone whose features are accessed exactly as they would be in real life, though players must solve "recurring image and text decryption puzzles to learn more about Anna’s story." Media files have been "filmed with a larger cast of live actors and voice actors" this time around, and the developers expect the game to deliver five hours of gameplay with five possible endings. 

SIMULACRA is available now on Windows PC through Steam, though Kaigan recommends playing either the iOS or Android versions for a more authentic mobile experience that the game was designed to emulate.



Imagine that one of your fellow students, a shy, quiet girl who often finds herself the target of bullies, goes missing one day. As the months pass with no explanation for her disappearance, rumors of strange occurrences around the school begin to spread. In the newly-released horror-adventure Misao – Definitive Edition, players will follow the events surrounding the disappearance of the titular character and her classmates’ attempt to find her in hopes of stopping the “unnatural phenomena” that have become known as “Misao’s Curse.”

Players will have a choice of either a male or female protagonist, but according to Japanese developer Sen, this will “not have a major impact on the story itself, but some of the dialogue and scenes differ slightly for the different genders and personalities.” Whichever you choose, there will be a variety of characters to interact with throughout the game, including Misao, whose “grudge is at the root of this story,” and the bookish Library, who can provide hints when needed.

The “Definitive Edition” is an enhanced commercial release of the earlier freeware title of the same name. Those who have played the original game can expect to find “improved graphics, improved puzzles, and extra event scenes” in this updated edition. The newer version of Misao still features low-res pixel art graphics, however, which are highly reminiscent of such games as To the Moon and Corpse Party, and the game will be presented in a keyboard-controlled, third-person perspective.

The budget-priced Misao – Definitive Edition is available now for Windows PC on Steam and Playism (which comes with a free Steam key, as well).



Fans of fantasy adventures with a little retro flair need wait no longer for their next fix, as Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant has just been launched for PC.

Rogue Quest tells the story of Cassandra Nech, member of the “renowned Rogue's Guild, which gathers adventurers and treasure hunters – the most skilled, the bravest, the most resourceful ever.” Cassandra, “armed with her trusty crossbow, Antoinette,” is on the hunt for treasure belonging to a long-forgotten warlord known as the Sea Tyrant. Normally this would be an “easy task to one like her,” but perhaps not so easy this time around, as it turns out that someone else is also searching for the Sea Tyrant’s loot, and “something dangerous could be hiding in those ancient caves. Something dark and... terrible!”

Rogue Quest began as a freeware series from Expera Game Studio, but The Vault of the Lost Tyrant represents the indie Italian developer’s first commercial installment. The game promises a “funny, adventurous and original story,” retro-style pixel art graphics, and an in-game hint system (but no pixel hunting). The initial gameplay trailer also hints at a variety of puzzles, including logic and inventory types.

Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant has been released today on Steam for Windows PC download. And if you’d like to see where it all began, you can still check out its two freeware predecessors at the developer’s website.

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