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August 2017

12

Aug


Everyone's losing their phones these days! But it's just as well for (adventure game) snoops and voyeurs, as that means there's a new "spiritual successor" to A Normal Lost Phone on its way, called Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story

This time around, a troubled young woman named Laura has "apparently vanished without a trace" and the only clues to her fate are to be found on her cell phone, which you've fortuitously stumbled upon. All interactions take place within the simulated presentation of Laura's phone, and as you begin to investigate, you'll uncover "crucial pieces of information and hidden passwords scattered among texts, apps, photo gallery and social networks." In the process of probing her most private personal details, you'll also encounter a number of "thought-provoking social themes" to contemplate.


If Another Lost Phone's premise and format sound very similar to the game's predecessor, that's entirely intentional, but indie developer Accidental Queens promises a "completely new story, including new puzzles and new mysteries to solve." Even the social themes explored are different than those affecting Sam, the central character in the original. The goal of this game is to be "both unique and instantly recognisable to anyone who has a phone."

While no firm release date has yet been announced, Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story is due to arrive on Windows, Mac and Linux, along with iOS and Android devices late this summer or early fall. 



11

Aug


Most Lovecraftian horror stories hit pretty close to home – that's one of the reasons they're so scary. But indie Norwegian developer Rock Pocket Games plans to take the famed horror author's influence to outer space next year in their first-person sci-fi adventure Moons of Madness

While specific story details have yet to be revealed, Moons of Madness follows the exploits – both external and internal – of astronaut Shane Newehart as he struggles to come to terms with the "supernatural events that occur on research station Trailblazer Alpha, the first scientific outpost on the planet Mars." Along with simply trying to overcome the ordeals of the red planet's harsh environs, players begin to experience "zone-out" hallucinations that comprise "events from Shane’s past, things that will happen in the future, and information about things that should be impossible for him to know." Only by exploring the protagonist's own fragile mental state will you be able to "learn the secrets behind the sinister moons of madness."


Not based on any particular Lovecraft story, the game nevertheless seeks to emulate the "sense that ordinary life is a thin shell over a reality that is so alien and abstract in comparison that merely contemplating it would damage the sanity of the ordinary person." Yet balancing that fear-based fiction is a commitment to "hard science" based on "meticulous analysis of NASA and Space X research" in depicting the travails on Mars. The free-roaming, 3D presentation is meant to provide a "realistic interpretation" of the planet, and the puzzles (promised to be an "integral part" of the game) are designed to "always fit into the environment and make sense in the context."

Currently in development for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, we won't see Moons of Madness until at least the first quarter of 2018, but in the meantime, you can drop by the official website to learn more.



8

Aug


It's hard to know what news to trust these days – except here, of course. (That much is given.) This uncertainty in an "alternative fact" world is at the heart of a new episodic Orwell adventure by Osmotic Studios, as teased in the first trailer for the upcoming Orwell: Ignorance Is Strength.

When a political cross-border crisis occurs, players are thrust back into the service of "The Nation" as a "government official in a top-secret department of the Orwell program." You will once again have the power to dictate the transfer of information, as "given the power to both uncover and fabricate 'the truth', the player must decide for themselves how far they will go in the service of their country and whether the truth is sacred or ignorance is strength."


While no specific gameplay details have yet been revealed for this follow-up to last year's privacy invasion thriller, the reveal teaser highlights the game's inspiration, namely the "fundamental change happening in the way we consume information today – the rise of fake news, the social media echo chamber and the death of 'truth'." 

We don't know yet how far off Orwell: Ignorance Is Strength is from release, but the game is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux and is "coming soon." To monitor its progress in the meantime, visit the official website for additional details. 



6

Aug


Where in the world can a “lazy, good-for-nothing, two-faced guy” be “rewarded with fame, women and power,” not to mention a powerful boost to his political career? According to indie developers Paolo and Andrea Fazzini, collectively known as the Fazz Brothers, it’s in their native Italy in their upcoming point-and-click episodic comedy, BELPAESE.

BELPAESE (meaning “beautiful country” in Italian) tells the story of Peppe Nappiotto, who returns home with no degree, no job, and no money after spending 10 years at Milan University. Forced to face his disappointed mother, the “biggest challenge of his young life,” what can he possibly do to redeem himself? Simple: jump into Italian politics and its “circus of grotesque characters full of colorful, unintentional humor!”


Played in third-person and presented with 2D cartoon-style graphics, the game promises a familiar adventuring experience, with inventory puzzles and a basic dialogue system heading up the gameplay. The developers admit that politics is an “unusual topic” for an adventure game. However, the three-part series plans to use Italy’s “well known” reputation for having a political system “full of crazy twists and turns,” ruled by “buffoons notable for being deficient in brains, a strong work ethic, not to mention being decent human beings.”

The debut episode of BELPAESE, called Homecoming, is scheduled to land September 28th for Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices, with the next installment planned for roughly eight months after that. More information about the game can be found at the official website.



5

Aug


If you're a psychological horror fan, there's a new Steam release to get you stoked: an indie side-scrolling adventure called Firewood

Following the death of his wife, Firewood's protagonist decides to "move to a cabin far away from town in order to escape from the haunting memories of the past and his country's opressive regime." But you can't ever really run away from the past, as the man learns in his old age, when one day many years later, "events take an unexpected turn and he finds himself [on] a dark journey. Will he be able to find the redemption he seeks?"


Created by two-person Turkish studio Frymore, Firewood is a 2D side-scrolling mystery that promises "psychological horror elements" along the way. A narrative-driven game, there will be some light puzzling to overcome, but no enemies to defeat or combat of any kind, as you're armed only with a lighter and the small inventory you acquire. 

Firewood is available now for download, exclusively on Steam for Windows PC. 




July 2017

30

Jul


Adventure gamers are used to having the entire fates of worlds resting on our shoulders, but in South African studio Robot Wizard’s upcoming Jengo, it’s a particular gamer named Jeff whose destiny it will be to ward off the pending apocalypse – with a little help from us along the way.

In Jengo, the appropriately-named Pixelverse is facing destruction, which has taken the form of a large crack in the sky that is slowly but surely consuming the land and all within it. With no hope of survival, the world’s inhabitants have slipped into a listless stupor, awaiting the inevitable. Meanwhile, in a galaxy perhaps not so far away, Jeff, a skilled but restless gamer with no purpose in his life, is about to be called on to become the Pixelverse’s savior when the two worlds collide. It is up to Jeff to stop the apocalypse from happening.

Jengo’s third-person presentation and classic point-and-click gameplay have been inspired by the genre’s golden era classics which the indie developers aim to emulate. The cartoon-like visual design is getting the HD treatment, however, as the first screenshots show off the game’s crisp hand-drawn graphics and heavily-stylized characters.

These images will have to last us for a while, as Jengo’s current projected launch date for Windows and Mac won’t be until sometime in 2018. 



29

Jul


Fans of point-and-click horror adventures have a new reason to come out of hiding with the announcement of the upcoming Cursed Roots, currently in development by indie Italian studio MastroBros for release later this year.

In Cursed Roots, you are unexpectedly called back to your childhood home in the UK after your uncle dies. You arrive to find it spookier than you remember, “welcomed by an eerie and dark atmosphere.” Things are very different in the now-decaying house, so much so that you “barely recognize the place.” Realizing that something is wrong, you are “determined to find out what really happened during your time away.” Naturally, your instincts are correct. You soon discover that "things are not as they seem,” and that “the main door behind you is locked and there is no way out,” leaving you to confront the “unspeakable horrors” of your former home alone as you attempt to find answers and escape.


Cursed Roots is presented in first-person perspective and features hand-drawn 2D visuals. But while the slideshow-style presentation is highly-reminiscent of Myst, the game is “inspired by point-and-click adventure classics and survival horror games,” promising a variety of gameplay elements. Players can expect to see a familiar selection of inventory and logic puzzles, as well as an intriguing “chase system,” in which the monsters roaming the house “can find you anytime and will hunt you.” The developers also indicate that there will be “many puzzles where timing is crucial to survive.” A sampling of gameplay is available for trial now in a downloadable demo.

Scheduled to appear on a variety of platforms in “late 2017,” Cursed Roots is expected to be released on Window, Mac, and Linux, as well as Android and iOS devices. More information about the game can be found at the official website.



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