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September 2017

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.



16

Sep


It took seven years for The Sleeping Machine (formerly Cockroach, Inc.) to finish The Dream Machine. It'll only take a matter of months for them release their next multi-part game, The Gateway Trilogy.

Okay, that's not entirely true. In some ways, it's taken even longer to complete than their claymation opus. The first two installments of Gateway were originally launched as freeware almost a decade ago. Now, however, the team has completely remastered those initial versions for commercial re-release, offering "enhancements to sound, gameplay and visuals" as well as "tweaked" puzzles, though the core game promises to remain the same. Best of all, accompanying those games is a never-before-seen third part to round out the newly-formed trilogy.


So what is The Gateway Trilogy all about? Who knows! All players really have to go on is the simple stated premise: to "guide a character through a series of rooms. Solve puzzles to advance." Quite the opposite of the elaborate hand-crafted sets of The Dream Machine, the presentation here is deliberately minimalist, with a streamlined, single-click interface to match, though the puzzles won't be nearly as simple to solve. As you progress through the "abstract minimalist void," there is only an "unsettling, barely coherent story" to provide any context for your exploits. Answers won't come easily, though an optional developer's commentary will "outline various choices behind the design."

There is no firm release date for The Gateway Trilogy just yet, but it is "coming soon" to Windows and Mac on Steam. If you'd like to get a head start and see how it all began, both Part 1 and Part 2 are still available to play for free on Kongregate.



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.



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