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December 2017



Normally the only time you'd use the words "heartwrenching" and "mess" in the same sentences is some variation of "it's heartwrenching how often I need to clean this mess." But indie Australian developer Robot House is ready to flip that script in a big way with the release of Rumu, a game with a "heartwrenching narrative to make you fall in love with mess."

Rumu is named after its playable protagonist, a "robot designed to clean, and to love." Awaking in "a fully-automated Smart Home, your only companions are Sabrina, the house A.I. and watchful guide, and the home’s dysfunctional cast of semi-intelligent devices. (And Ada, the cat.)" As a vacuum cleaner, your maintenance task is simple: to "keep the home spotless, cleaning up after your eccentric creators David and Cecily." All that changes, however, when you find yourself venturing into the "hidden passageways and long forgotten rooms of the house, [where] you’ll be faced with challenging moral dilemmas forcing you beyond your programming to uncover the truth about the love and loss of your elusive family."

The game's presentation is just as unusual as its premise, depicting "a cozy isometric dollhouse environment that changes and evolves as you uncover the secrets of Rumu's family." Helping bring this world to life is voice acting from industry veterans like Allegra Clark (Dragon Age) and Larissa Gallagher (Firewatch), along with an original score by Orwell's Matt McLean. Along the way, players will encounter a variety of "semi-intelligent devices to hack into and get to know" and a number of point-and-click puzzles to solve.

If you have any housecleaning planned for today, you can swap in your mindless own vacuum cleaner for Rumu's sentient one right now, as the game has been launched on Steam for Windows PC. 



There's may be way too much hostility in the world, but we can always do with a little Hostil, a short new point-and-click adventure released on Steam.

Hostil stars a young astronaut who crash lands alone on an alien planet. What transpires after that is being kept closely under wraps, but what we do know is that exploring this unknown world will begin to "unveil a mysterious story", though you'll need to avoid "deadly dangers" along the way. Fortunately, the game will automatically restore after any fatal errors, with warning labels added to prevent them from happening again.

Though described by indie Spanish developer Eteru Studio as a "text-based point and click adventure," the text reference simply comes from the 350 paragraphs of unvoiced narrative elements appearing in your travels. The game itself plays like a fairly traditional adventure, covering 12 different hand-drawn environments filled with "narrative, visual and musical puzzles" to solve. Hostil is not meant to be a lengthy adventure, however, promising a shorter experience of 1-2 hours of gameplay.

If an hour-long sci-fi excursion sounds right up your alley, you can rocket right on over to Steam, where Hostil is available now for download on Windows and Mac.



Usually when we refer to "retro" graphics, we're talking about something from the late '80s or early '90s. Klabater and Polish developer Punch Punk Games are going far more retro than that, however, bringing medieval art alive early next year in the  stylish point-and-click adventure Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World.

Harry, of course, is the protagonist of Apocalipsis, thrust by tragedy into the starring role of this "timeless story of loss, hope, and sacrifice." The death of his beloved represents the end of his world as he's known it. But perhaps she is not gone for good? If he's to reverse this cruel fate, the young man must "venture out into the strange, unwelcoming lands to get her back. On his journey he will meet fantastical creatures, straight from the minds of artists from the 15th century Europe, and ultimately conquer his own, personal demons." 

What really sets Apocalipsis apart is its distinctive hand-drawn art style reminiscent of classical woodcut engravings, accompanied by a "foreboding soundtrack inspired by the esthetic of Danse Macabre." There are more than two dozen unique locations to explore, many of them "inspired by 'The Book of Revelation' and steeped in medieval philosophy and beliefs, with the story taking cues from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy." Along the way, players will encounter a variety of obstacles "in the vein of Samorost and Machinarium, where solving puzzles comes with a sense of discovery and accomplishment."

Though the game's inspirations may be centuries old, we don't have to look nearly as far forward for the release of Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World, as the game is due to launch on Steam for Windows and Mac "early" in 2018.



Carol Reed just never takes a break. Even an illness can't keep her down, as we'll learn next month when the private detective in Sweden becomes embroiled in her thirteenth adventure from MDNA Games, The Birdwatcher.

While it will be the middle of winter for many of us when The Birdwatcher releases, for Carol it's the middle of summer. Unfortunately for her, she's been "down with a flu for nearly three weeks" and is only just starting to recover when a woman named Immodia contacts her to track down the man she is "trying to persuade to marry her, the recent widower Henrik, [who] has suddenly disappeared." Carol isn't enthused about such a trivial case, but to ease back into her detective work, she agrees to investigate and soon discovers that "the disappearance of Henrik turns out to be anything but elementary, and far more complex than a widower getting cold feet."

Series veterans need no introduction of what to expect from the game beyond the central mystery. As always, the slideshow-style presentation features a wide variety of scenic (and some intentionally not-so-scenic) photographs taken around indie developer Mikael Nyqvist's native Sweden. Just a few of those are already on display in the image gallery of screenshots released.

There's not long to wait for The Birdwatcher, as the game is due to launch digitally for Windows and Mac sometime in January exclusively on the developer's website.



If you're one of those tone-deaf people who can't stand music puzzles in games, stop reading now. If, however, you think your discerning ear has what it takes for a game that requires a keen attention to audio, you'll be pleased to know of the release of Lisssn on Mac, with a Windows version still to follow.

In Lisssn, players assume the first-person role of an adventurer out to rescue a prisoner locked in a dungeon. But this is no fairytale princess who's been captured but "La Musica" (the music), whose kidnapping by "dark forces" threatens "a future without her bewitching sounds, which have made the world so much more colorful." It'll be up to players to "overcome obstacles, initiate mechanisms, collect objects, and find hidden ways to finally free 'La Musica' from her dungeon." 

Co-developed by Knut Müller and Robert Wolff, Lisssn is designed much like Müller's RHEM series, with a slideshow-style presentation and non-linear, puzzle-centric focus. Players will find themselves exploring such locations as "a dark park, a scary cemetery, a mysterious castle and a huge underground world with a lake and a strange underground railway." What really makes this game stand out, however, is that its challenges are "especially about hearing and listening closely," intended as an introduction to the "basic ideas of music." Fortunately, you will be accompanied by four renowned composers to help you in your quest, so you won't be completely left to your own devices.

Lisssn is available now exclusively on the Mac Store, but the game is coming "soon" to Steam with a Windows version as well. 



Nothing good ever comes from trying to mess with time... unless, of course, it happens in an adventure game. In indie developer Sergey Romanko's Midnight Quest, a time-based disaster once again is the catalyst for puzzling adventurey goodness, as we'll soon see when the game releases next month.

Midnight Quest puts players in the role of a young man assisting a "famous scientist to conduct experiments with time." Tragically, an accident causes an explosion that kills the scientist. Now, "all alone in the middle of the night inside of a country house," it's up to you to fix this mess and even save your mentor, but you'll need to travel through time to do it. 

With a charming third-person, hand-drawn art style and traditional point-and-click controls, Midnight Quest drops players into the early 20th century. As the protagonist continues to get himself into a series of "unexpected situations," the only way forward is to solve a variety of puzzles and interact with the "friendly and not so friendly characters" along the way.

There's not long to wait for Midnight Quest, even without the benefit of a time machine, as the game is due to launch on Steam for Windows PC on January 16th.



In real life, it's probably not a smart idea to volunteer for lab experiments shrouded in secrecy at a company known for its shady dealings. In an adventure game, though, it's almost an invitation, begging to be positively RSVPed. Fortunately, we'll have that chance soon enough when Glitch Games releases its latest adventure, Veritas.

Veritas Industries

Named after Veritas Industries, the (fake!) company founded in 1834 "with the goal of pushing the boundaries in every area of science imaginable," this game thrusts players into the role of a volunteer for the mysterious Insomnium Project. As one of the lucky few to make it to the final testing stage, you now "find yourself waking up in a small room with no memory of what happened the day before." You vaguely recall "signing on the bottom line and following some nice men wearing white coats, but they couldn’t have been lying to you could they? They were doctors for goodness sake."

Like the indie British developer's previous games, including A Short Tale, The Forgotten Room and the Forever Lost trilogy, Veritas is a first-person slideshow-style adventure with realistic looking graphics, as seen in the first few screenshots unveiled. In order to piece together the mystery of your current situation, and hopefully free yourself from this predicament, players must explore the custom-built facility, solving puzzles along the way in order to proceed. 

While no release date has been revealed yet, we do know that Veritas is being developed for Windows and Mac, as well as iOS and Android mobile platforms. While you wait, you can peruse through the corporate website of the ambitious but highly unscrupulous titular company for whom "there is no line they won’t cross in their relentless pursuit of knowledge."

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