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August 2017

23

Aug


Usually waking up from a nightmare brings a sense of relief, but not if you awaken to find yourself with memory loss and locked in a horrific prison, unsure if you're even really awake. Such is the disturbing premise of the new psychological horror adventure Inmates, coming later this year from Iceberg Interactive and developer Davit Andreasyan.

Stepping directly in the prison-issued footware of a man named Jonathan, you snap back to consciousness in a "run-down" jail cell with no recollection of how you arrived there. And yet, although "terrified and confused, [...] you also feel something else: a painful sense of familiarity." You try to convince yourself that "this is all just a nightmare. Unfortunately, according to the voice coming from the old radio, things are not as simple as you’d like them to be." You'll need to piece together the mystery behind your imprisonment here, and try to maintain a fragile hold on your sanity in the process.


A first-person, free-roaming 3D thriller, Inmates promises an intense psychological horror experience combined with a number of "mind-bending puzzles" to solve along the way. With limited sources of light, you'll need to make your way through the often dark and realistically rendered environments intended to create a "suffocating setting" full of disturbing imagery, as teased in the game's announcement trailer.

Designed to be a shorter (3-4 hour) experience and budget-priced accordingly, there is no firm launch date just yet for Inmates, but it's expected to be released for Windows PC "within the next few months."



20

Aug


The name "Paradise" may seem like an odd choice for a game about an island cursed by ten plagues. But then, we wouldn't expect anything other than odd from the creators of the Rusty Lake series that is on track to expand later this year. 

Rusty Lake Paradise thrusts players onto a "small, remote island in the 18th century." Following the death of your mother, the island seems to have become cursed with the ten plagues. But you have the opportunity to lift this curse, so it's "your job to go around the island, interact with your family and help them vanquish the plague." 

Like its predecessors, Rusty Lake Hotel and Rusty Lake: Roots, the third full-length adventure in the series features distinctive hand-drawn artwork, as seen in the first screenshots released. Promising "a nice mix of puzzles, story and Rusty Lake atmosphere," the game will once again confront players with "ominous situations and bizarre rituals," but this time around will offer more freedom to explore its island setting. 

We don't yet know when Rusty Lake Paradise will be released, but the game should be complete sometime before the end of this year for PC and mobile platforms. You can stay up to date on its progress through the official website, and while you wait can check out the developer's many freeware adventures set in the same universe.



19

Aug


Any good detective has an active sixth sense, or intuition. But all the better to have actual "parapsychic" abilities in order to root out crime and reveal even deeper mysteries, as we'll soon discover in the upcoming release of Earthworms

Earthworms casts players in the role of detective Daniel White, whose paranormal abilities include visions that enable him to solve particularly challenging crimes. The investigation into a missing teenaged girl from a small fishing village seems like just such a case, but the deeper he probes, the stranger the circumstances become, and it soon becomes clear that all the evidence leads to a massive consipiracy on a global scale. 


While the premise sounds suited to dark and gritty artwork, Earthworms is actually presented in a soft, hand-painted style inspired by the works of Edward Hopper. Unlike the realism displayed in Hopper's paintings, however, the mysterious world presented here blends "pulp theme, surrealism and high-end science" together, inspired by titles like Donnie Darko, The X-Files, Stranger Things, and Twin Peaks and designed to elicit "a thrill of horror [mixed] with [a] dose of humor, beauty, ugliness and most often weirdness." There will also be plenty of obstacles to overcome, as the game promises "a lot of challenging logical puzzles [in] addition to classic inventory interactions."

There is not yet a firm release date for Earthworms, but the game is currently on track for completion on PC in November. In the meantime, you can follow its progress through the official website.



18

Aug


Considering how influential Planet of the Apes continues to be in popular culture, it’s surprising that only one major video game title, made way back in 2001, bears the name of the franchise. However, that’s set to change with the announcement that Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is currently in development for release later this year.

A product of FoxNext Games and The Imaginarium Studios, a UK-based motion capture studio founded by Andy Serkis, Last Frontier will be “set between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes films,” and will tell the story of how the “fates of a tribe of apes and a band of human survivors intertwine.” As seen in first screenshots and teaser trailer, the Unreal Engine-powered graphics appear to be top-notch, and mocap performances for characters in the game are being done in-house at The Imaginarium Studios.


Although specific gameplay details have yet to be revealed, the game is being billed as a “narrative adventure game of conquest, betrayal, and survival…where every decision impacts the fragile balance between peace and war." Intriguingly, players will be able to “play both sides of the growing conflict, gaining a deep understanding of the motivations, hopes and fears of humans and apes alike.” Player choice will be a key part of the experience as “the game pushes towards a tense, fragile peace, or a final bloody battle.” Accordingly, multiple endings are planned.

While a firm release date is yet to be announced, Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is set to be available this fall on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Those interested in more details can visit the game’s official website.



17

Aug


How to improve on the Myst-style formula of exploring the alien worlds filled with unknown technologies? For indie developer Lucas Govatos, why not add in a touch of The Talos Principle to "unearth the fate of the race that called these lost worlds home." If that seems like an approach that's up your alley, you'll want to hurry to support Epitasis, which is near its goal on Kickstarter but needs one final push to succeed by August 20th. 

Epitasis puts players in the first-person role of an explorer who takes "a leap of faith" after discovering an ancient portal. Arriving in the midst of "the remnants of an ancient alien civilization," you'll need to thoroughly explore a wide range of open-world environments, from "beautiful wide open plains to the dark recesses of a ruined alien city." You can proceed at your leisure, day and night, but you must search for ancient relics and solve a variety of cryptic puzzles if you're ever to get back home. Fortunately, a still-functioning portal network will allow you to navigate easily between locations you've discovered along the way.


The similarities to Myst and The Talos Principle are no coincidence, as the developer cites those games as two of his greatest influences. This will be immediately apparent when you begin to "use alien machinery, provide power via lasers, disable security systems, and more." As you "learn about the long forgotten technology by utilizing various puzzle elements scattered about," assisting you in your quest is a drone you befriend that will help you overcome obstacles when needed. But beware, as it isn't the only one, and the "other ancient drones aren't so nice."

You can already check out Epitasis for yourself, as Govatos has released a playable alpha demo. The goal is to release the game in June 2018 for Windows, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One, but in order to help ensure that reality, it will need a little more support in its final days on Kickstarter to push it over the top. You can keep further tabs on the game's development through the official website.



16

Aug


Though its handlers may keep changing, the Black Mirror brand lives on, and this fall we will once again get a new installment of the popular Gothic horror adventure series, this time from KING Art Games and THQ Nordic.

In what is being described as a "modern re-imagining" of the series, the new game, simply titled Black Mirror, tells a "totally independent and new story." It stars David Gordon, a young man born and raised in India who, although plagued by troubling dreams since he was a child, has to this point been unaware of the "dark tragedies that lie hidden in his family’s past." Upon his father's death, however, David is called to his "family’s ancestral home, Black Mirror House, to discuss his heritage. Soon he starts suffering from the same nightmarish visions that drove his father to end his own life."


While the familiar series point-and-click gameplay serves as the foundation for Black Mirror, this time around a whole new gameplay element is being introduced, as the ability to interact with "vision-like apparitions" allows players to discover more about the tragic history of the Gordon family. As seen in the early screenshots, Black Mirror will feature the same kind of crisp graphics and third-person presentation of its predecessors, emphasizing once again the "unique atmosphere of madness and psychological distress" that fans have come to expect from the franchise. This may sound like a radical departure for the developer behind The Book of Unwritten Tales, but KING Art was highly instrumental in the creation of Black Mirror II back in 2010, so this really marks a return to the roots of their first major adventure game.

Perhaps the best part of today's news is that we don't have to wait the customary years for such a high-profile game to arrive, as Black Mirror is due to launch on PC (Windows, Mac and Linux) as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 28th. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game and its characters at the official website.



13

Aug


What if your relationship with a celebrity meant that you could not leave your one-room apartment home? What if the only way you could find out about the outside world was through what you could gather from television, radio, and the people in adjacent apartments? What if you were…a marshmallow?

This is the intriguingly bizarre state of affairs in the newly-released point-and-click adventure Maggie’s Apartment, developed by CalArts student Anatola Howard and Duncan Cross. The game takes place within a single room, the eponymous apartment of Maggie Mallowne. Centered on Maggie’s “mysterious involvement with superstar Randy Rosebud,” players are tasked with uncovering “the mysterious celebrity conspiracies of the outside world by talking to her neighbors through her apartment walls,” as well as answering the question of why she is “locked” in the apartment in the first place.


The pastel-heavy, comic-style graphics are as quirky as the premise, and are entirely hand-drawn by the developer. Throughout the game, players will meet and interact with a variety of “wild personalities” including Mrs. Marinara, Hector Cheese, and Beauty the radish. Maggie’s Apartment is “heavily built on dialogue,” but also promises to include “unique animations that match actions and item combinations” players can make during gameplay.

Those interested in investigating the strange world of Maggie’s Apartment may do so now on Windows through Steam. More information about the game can be found at the official website.



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