Adventure News
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September 2017

30

Sep


In life, we all want to avoid a collection of bad moments, but in gaming they can make for grand entertainment, as indie developer Sky Trail Studios hopes to show us later this year with their appropriately-named latest sci-fi adventure.

Rather than telling one coherent story, A Collection of Bad Moments is exactly like it sounds: an anthology of four completely different scenarios in which something has gone terribly wrong. With no overarching storyline tying them together, the settings and challenges promise to be highly diverse, ranging from a "deadly asteroid mission and mysterious virtual reality simulation to an airship duel." The only common denominator: players "must use their wits to figure a way out!"


A Collection of Bad Moments is presented in first-person 3D, though the actual locales differ greatly in style, from the lovely airborne vistas in "Sky Captain" to the minimalist line drawings of a virtual town in which you find yourself alone after awaking from years of hibernation in "Beyond Green Lane". You can move around freely in each, using either a keyboard/mouse combo or gamepad controls. Some scenarios pose an element of timing or danger, but the developers have confirmed that this is "virtually a pure adventure game" in which traditional problem-solving and object interaction, not twitch reflexes, are the keys to success.

Sky Trail is no stranger to multi-mission sci-fi adventures, having already released Trajectory earlier this year for PC. A Collection of Bad Moments will also feature VR support, though unlike its predecessor, this game has not been designed specifically for virtual reality. While you wait for the target completion date sometime before the end of the year, you can learn more about the game through its official website.



29

Sep


If you ever visit the Canadian north, expect to do a lot of shivering. But it's not just the cold that will have players quaking next month, when indie developer Kowai Sugoi Studios abandons us in an eerily deserted national park in the upcoming horror adventure Shiver.

Shiver is set in the 1990s, back before cell phones and the Internet were omnipresent. Players control a man who is trying to visit his father in a retirement home in northern British Columbia. On your way there, however, you will "find yourself stranded in the strangely abandoned Windy Oaks National Park: a new park founded on land donated by the Samstone Mining Company as an act of goodwill after a catastrophic sinkhole accident." Now, using only your "wits and tenacity" and the useful items you locate and acquire, "spanning the course of one captivating hour, you will attempt to unravel the mysteries of the park and escape with your body intact."


Designed to be finished in a single play session, the commercial "spiritual successor" to the popular 2016 freeware game Cozy takes the first game's "core ideas [...] and expands on them, with a fresh narrative, high-fidelity art, and an even-more-immersive atmosphere." Presented in the familiar slideshow-style first-person perspective, the artwork this time is "constructed through a combination of painting and photography," depicting an environment the two-man development team knows well, having grown up in the "Great White North" themselves.

There is no firm release date for Shiver just yet, but it's not far off as it should be available for Windows, Mac and Linux in time for Halloween. To learn more about the game in the meantime, drop by the official website for additional details.



25

Sep


Despite their inviting touch-screen capabilities, there are disappointingly few point-and-click adventures made for mobile phones and tablets these days other than ports and room-escape titles. One game willing to buck the trend is a comic sci-fi adventure from indie German developer Damian Thater called Argh! Earthlings!

The central argh-worthy earthling in question is the game's protagonist David, a "young, slightly left-handed hobby astronomer, who one day accidentally shoots down an alien spacecraft using his self-made model rocket." He also manages to conk himself out with the rocket, just as the UFO crashes to the surface. When he awakens, he finds himself in a strange bed on a small farm, with special government agents "lurking everywhere" on the trail of the downed alien. As he's the one responsible for the accident, it's up to David to make amends by secretly helping the "really upset alien named 'Fred' to escape from earth" without either of them getting caught.


Using a simple single-tap control scheme that's been optimized for mobile devices, Argh! Earthlings! is presented in a whimsical third-person cartoon style, promising more than 50 locations to explore, up to 40 items to interact with, and 20 characters to meet along the way. With multiple puzzle solutions available in some cases, this won't be a long game but should provide at least an hour of "humorous, old-school" adventuring goodness.

Available for now exclusively on iOS, Thater is planning an Android port for release this winter.



24

Sep


It's been a whole century since the first World War, but its horrors have still (rightly) not been forgotten. Helping to keep those memories alive is a new episodic adventure called Within Whispers, set to debut next spring on PC.

Within Whispers casts players in the role of a young medic named Aska, whose brother was sent to the front and has since disappeared. Now Aska is determined to find out what happened to him, which means bravely venturing into the "trenches and battlefields of the Great War" herself, where so many have fallen on both sides. This would be horrific for anyone to witness, but Aska has a unique gift that lets her "see and communicate with ghosts of dead soldiers." In hearing their untold stories and "struggling with this unusual 'gift', there is one ghost she is hoping not to meet."

Described by indie Serbian developer Thorium Studios as a "narrative-driven point-and-click adventure game," it's clear that Within Whispers has been inspired by the choice-and-consequence form of storytelling popularized by Telltale. The 3D graphics are done in a "comic book art style" that depicts the wartime paradox melding "beautiful sceneries of peaceful European countryside, and terrifying devastations." Along the way there will be many supernatural interactions, presenting multiple choice dialogue options that can make your life either harder or easier. Players will also need to solve puzzles and overcome a number of Quick Time Events in order to complete various objectives.

A total of four episodes are planned in total, each with its own distinct setting and storyline, although unified by a larger narrative arc. The series debut, subtitled The Fall, is currently on track for Steam release on PC next April.



23

Sep


It may still be September, but with fall just around the corner, it's right around that time we start to hear more of black cats, ghosts, and other haunting themes. One of the first off the mark is COCOSOLA's indie puzzle-adventure, The Witch's Isle, newly ported to PC after an earlier launch on mobile devices.

As you might expect, The Witch's Isle is indeed set on a "solitary island somewhat removed from the continent" in "a town ruled by a witch." One night, the witch appears to a young woman and curses her to die if she doesn't find the witch's stolen urn by 4:00 a.m. Controlling the cursed protagonist and working against the clock, players must begin exploring the island in search of the missing urn, and "along the way she starts hearing more and more about the secret of the witch." Will she live or die; succeed or fail? The outcome is undecided, as there are seven different endings available.


The Witch's Isle features a pixel art style with "dream-like scenery" and a muted palette befitting a night search on a remote island. As seen in the screenshots and teaser trailer, the island itself is uniquely layered, presenting players with a series of side-scrolling environments to investigate. Even more intriguingly, while the young woman is the playable protagonist, you can also "have the camera follow other characters," which may enable you to "solve some puzzles by paying close attention to what the other islanders are doing."

If you're ready to embrace the supernatural season early, there's no need to wait, as The Witch's Isle is available now on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux. A free mobile version released earlier this year for iOS and Android devices is also available with a small fee to remove ads.



22

Sep


What do you get when a wisecracking demon finds himself in the crosshairs of demon hunters hired by his arch nemesis? If you said, a comedic “tribute to late ‘90s point-and-click adventure games,” then congratulations, you’re absolutely right! If not…read on to learn more about the newly-released Darkestville Castle anyway!

Created by Argentina-based EPIC LLama, Darkestville Castle tells the story of Cid the Demon, a “laid-back being of pure darkness” who “spends his nights performing all kind of evil deeds to the peaceful people of Darkestville.” Yet, “little does he know that his old arch enemy is about to change his life forever.” Dan Teapot, Darkestville’s diminutive would-be savior, hires a group of demon hunters, the Romero Brothers, to put an end to Cid’s reign of terror once and for all.


Heavily inspired by games such as the Monkey Island series and Day of the Tentacle, Darkestville Castle promises a comedic storyline “full of danger, intrigue, and ridiculous premises,” along with “Tim Burton-esque gallows humor” and dozens of characters to interact with. A Steam-exclusive demo provides a short taste of the seven-plus hours projected for the full title, including fully-voiced dialogue, a few inventory puzzles, and a glimpse of the hand-painted 2D graphics and colorful scenes.

If you like what you see in the sampler, there's no need to wait for the rest, as the full version of Darkestville Castle is available now for download on Windows and Mac.



17

Sep


What if you were destined is to become a hero, but were held back by a crippling fear of heights, of danger, or even of being noticed? Indie developer Librarium Studios aims to answer these questions and more in the recently-released puzzle-adventure, The Müll Littoral.

The Müll Littoral is a one-man passion project, developed over a period of three years. Born out of the designer's life-long personal background of helping others deal with clinical anxiety and depression, it is inspired by the strength and determination shown by those who suffer from these conditions. The game is set in the same fictional fantasy world as the studio’s previous game, The Eigengrau Menagerie – a world where thoughts and emotions affect your surroundings, populated by fantastical creatures such as the Thoughtforms, great beings made of thought who guide the world and give aid to the player.


In the context of the game, anxiety and depression are represented as a curse mortals can be stricken with, and the only way to rid oneself of the curse is via a series of great trials. This is to signify the immense struggle people suffering from these afflictions go through simply to live their lives in a normal manner. Players take on the role of Juul, a young girl whose mind has been impaired by just such a terrible curse. Juul is joined on her journey to find a cure by the Elder Pilgrim Glasswalker.

Gameplay in The Müll Littoral is more akin to a series of puzzle scenes, each one depicting a specific situation in which anxiety becomes a debilitating ailment. Players must survey the situation carefully during a frozen moment in time, then restart the flow of time and manipulate objects in their environment in a specific sequence to achieve a desired effect. Scenarios include situations where Juul must attempt to flee from a monster, try to leave a tavern unnoticed, or avoid harm while falling from a cliff. Nearly all of the distinctive art assets used in the game are drawn on paper by hand before being scanned and animated in-game.

Available now for Windows and Mac on itch.io, players can expect The Müll Littoral to take an estimated 1-2 hours to complete. For more information about the game, or to freely download its predecessor, visit the developer’s website.



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