Adventure News
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January 2018

16

Jan

There's always more than meets the eye going on in those small, seemingly idyllic towns – something that only ever comes to light with a tragedy and the arrival of a stranger. Such is the case with the town of Pineview in Frostwood Interactive's upcoming Rainswept.

Rainswept stars Detective Michael Anderson, who "enters the small town of Pineview to assist the local police force with a seemingly simple case." The death of a couple found dead in their kitchen is an apparent case of murder-suicide, a theory "fueled by rumors of the turbulent nature of the couple's relationship." In order to separate fact from mere gossip and speculation, however, Anderson and the "driven and empathetic Officer Blunt" must attempt to "discover the truth behind Chris and Diane's story. But be warned: the further he pursues the case, the more his own past shall come back to haunt him. And the closer his own sanity will be pushed to the edge.


Described by its indie developers as "a murder mystery dealing with themes of love, relationships and unresolved trauma," Rainswept is a stylish side-scrolling adventure with a soundtrack composed by The Cat Lady's Micamic, as teased in the debut trailer. Featuring a classic verb coin interface but designed to be controlled via keyboard or gamepad, the game promises an "emotional story set in an immersive and atmospheric game world" populated by fully-fleshed-out characters with their own distinct personalites. Oh, and "pine trees, coffee and rain. Lots of rain."

While we'll have to wait for the middle of this year for the final release of Rainswept on Windows, Mac and Linux, a Windows demo is available now on itch.io, offering an estimated hour of play time. If you like what you see, you can continue to follow along with the game's progress through its official website.



14

Jan


Being a cop is a dangerous job, so a chicken is probably not the first trait that comes to mind when considering those serving on the force. Yet that's exactly what we're going to get – quite literally – when indie Hungarian studio The Wild Gentemen (formely King Fox Games) finishes work on its upcoming "buddy cop noir adventure" called Chicken Police.

The buddies in question are "Santino 'Sonny' Featherland, an old, sour detective, and Marty McChicken, his young, hotspur sidekick." Together they are "The Infamous Chicken Police" of Clawville, a city of "easy chicks, rock-hard knuckles, savage gangs, merciless crime lords, [and a] never ending night of jazz‘n’booze." Throughout the course of the game, the two will be called upon to solve five distinct cases with a coherent storyline tying them together. There are also side missions available as you freely explore various locations throughout the city, meet over 70 characters (some of whom you'll interrogate for clues), collect evidence and solve puzzles on your way to one of the game's four different endings.


Described by developer Bálint Bánk Varga as a "mixture of classic point-and-click games and story-heavy visual novels," characterized by its "mature themes [and] animal humor," Chicken Police looks every bit as unusual as you'd expect of a game with anthropomorphic fowl as its law enforcers. The noir-inspired black and white artwork features "questionable photoshop work" and is comprised of "80-90% original content" with the remaining 10-20% filled by licensed work from the internet. Much of the game will be spent controlling Sonny, but certain sections will put you in Marty's (webbed?) shoes. 

Before running off all half-cocked with excitement, the release of Chicken Police is not due until 2019 at the earliest, and even that is dependent on a Kickstarter campaign planned for March. The game will be launched on Windows PC, with Mac and console versions possible depending on the success of its crowdfunding. To follow along in the meantime, you can check out the official website while you wait.



7

Jan


If there are two environments almost certain to court disaster in games, they're spaceships and scientific research facilities. With its feet set squarely on the ground, the latter is the setting for indie Czech developer Jakub Pilar's upcoming thriller Subsequented.

In Subsequented – not a typo, but a title that promises to have a special meaning to the story – players control Lensen Vicky, a geneticist working in her company's research facility. Although plot details are scarce, we know that spells trouble, and sure enough, soon her brother (the "last surviving member of [her] family") is one of many who find themselves in need of rescue, so for Lensen, "what began as a normal day ends up as a fight for survival."

Subsequented is a 3D adventure, but unlike many other games that go the 3D route, this one is being designed with a point-and-click interface. In the best tradition of classic adventures, the game will focus on exploration, talking to other characters, collecting useful objects and solving puzzles in order to succeed, while making important decisions along the way. Despite the serious subject matter that is sure to instill feelings of sadness and hopelessness at times, Pilar claims that there will be moments of humour to lighten the mood occasionally as well.

As a solo project, there is no firm release target for Subsequented just yet, but the developer is currently aiming to finish the game sometime before the end of the year for Windows PC, with Mac and Linux versions possible later on. To learn more about the project in the meantime, be sure to check out the official website.



6

Jan


We're continually reminded of the truly international nature of the adventure game community, and you can now add Israel to the list of global developers with the announcement of Adventure4Life Studios' Plot of the Druid, an episodic point-and-click fantasy series currently in production. 

Plot of the Druid follows the exploits of a young druid apprentice named Jase, who is cast out of the training academy after being caught cheating on his certification test. Undeterred, Jase seeks out adventure in order to prove himself worthy to take the exam again, and along the way rescues a female thief and former mercenary who becomes his traveling partner. For now, that's all the plot we actually know, but indie developer Yakir Israel promises a world full of fantasy favourites like "goblins, trolls, dragons, dwarves, elves and of course druids."


As seen in the early screenshots and video footage, Plot of the Druid is a stylish hand-painted adventure. What really makes it stand out from other traditional third-person point-and-clicks, however, is its unusual interaction mechanics. While many will be familiar with the verb coin interface, this game goes far beyond the usual two or three possible actions, offering no fewer than eight different options, including Talk, Look, Use, Pick up, Push, Pull, Open and Close, though any options that would be nonsensical will be temporarily disabled in context. In creating such a complex scheme, the developer's goal is to give players greater control over their intended actions. 

So that's the good news. The less-than-good news is that we're still a fair way off from seeing the game complete. Adventure4Life is tentatively targeting an early 2019 release for the series debut on Windows, Mac and Linux, with four more episodes to follow. This plan may yet change, however, particular with a crowdfunding campaign looking likely in order to bring Plot of the Druid to fruition. In the meantime, you can follow its progress through the developer's blog.



2

Jan


It's not often we see live-action characters melded with prerendered environments anymore, so indie Serbian studio Munzesky Games will be offering both a glimpse of the future and a blast from the past with its debut adventure, Sol Invictus.

Inspired by "the classics of science fiction in film and literature," Sol Invictus is set in a utopian future of our solar system – or so it would seem on the surface (as utopias never really are). Behind the veil, the ruling authoritarian interests have been locked in battle with a rogue A.I. for more than a decade. Now, through "a chain of unfortunate events," a technician from the spaceship freighter Ortana "falls into a web of government conspiracies and corporate intrigue that takes him across the solar system."


While that's all we know of the story so far, the game's first trailer shows off an ambitious presentation that promises a "large number of unique locations and vivid characters, stylized in a soft retro look with a constant side view perspective, giving homage to the golden age of video games." Unlike the hand-painted backgrounds, the characters have all been filmed live and incorporated into an environment that includes "real miniature spaceship models and props." This old-school FMV design is further complemented by "classical verb coin-based point-and-click adventure game mechanics," as displayed in the first gameplay trailer revealed.

Quietly under development for Windows, Mac and Linux since 2015, Sol Invictus is still at least a year away from completion, with a possible Kickstarter to help finance the production coming later this year. In the meantime, you can follow along with the game's progress on the developer's website.



1

Jan


Most sci-fi stories involving long space travel begin with astronauts waking up from cryosleep, but what's actually happening with them while they sleep? Are they suspended in unconscious oblivion? Can they dream? In indie developer Epsilon's successfully-Kickstarted episodic sci-fi adventure Destination: Primus Vita, we'll discover there's much more going on than meets the eye. 

The game is set in the 3040s, nearly seven centuries after aliens invaded Earth and "within five days, stole almost all of our water, and left us for dead." But mankind survived, rebuilt, and at long last is ready to venture back out into space. Leading the way is the six-person Crew 121, with a course plotted for Primus Vita to finally reclaim the planet's stolen water. Inside their cryo chambers, however, their training is still ongoing through a simulation constructed by the ship's A.I., NIM, designed to "keep the mind fully stimulated during the space trip." To complete the challenges laid out in these mental constructs, players will need to "explore the environment and find clues, collect items that tell stories, and talk with the other characters to deepen and strengthen their relationships."

Described by the developers as "first-person narrative puzzle game" (aka an adventure game as we know it), Destination: Primus Vita takes place in various 3D settings based on each protagonist’s experiences, thoughts and feelings. The series will feature one main crew member per each of the six planned episodes, the first involving Austin Blair, the "quantum physics scientist working hard to find a way to confront the Primevitans." The respective main characters are far from alone in these simulations, though. As you attempt to solve a sequence of challenging puzzles, each of which has a set of 1-5 clue cards to reduce the difficulty if needed, you must also develop relationships with your colleagues. A stronger connection with others not only unlocks character lore, but is integral to the experience itself, as "the goal of the simulation is to enhance both the cognitive and emotive side of our protagonists."

If all that sounds a little much to wrap your head around, you can check it out firsthand through the playable prologue available through Steam (or alternately, watch as it's played out in the walkthrough video). Fortunately, that won't need to tide you over for too long thanks to the game's successful Kickstarter, which puts the first episode on track for release in March, with new episodes to follow quarterly if all goes well. 




December 2017

27

Dec


First there was Silent Streets, the episodic mobile-exclusive mystery series with augmented reality elements that debuted with a free first installment. Then there was only silence. Soon, however, the series will be revived, bigger and better than ever with an all-new commercial episode called The Mockingbird’s Last Dive.

Silent Streets casts players in the role of a detective trying to settle in the city of Snowport, circa 1867. In this, the "oldest, darkest corner of the Empire," you will be called upon to "investigate crime scenes and interrogate numerous characters" as new cases come your way, all the while "balancing the attentions of powerful factions who all demand your loyalty… or your silence." Meanwhile, a deeper mystery lingers, as "a dead man’s footsteps lead the way through gas-lit streets of murder, conspiracy, science, spirituality, and a secret that could change the path of history." 


Presented largely in striking black-and-white hand-drawn graphics, the iOS version of Silent Streets also includes an ARG component, allowing players to use their devices to search for evidence in their real-world environments, as well as monitor actual distances required to travel between locations (though there are ways around the latter for gamers who would prefer to get on with investigating). The Android version of this game will not include these features, though the game has been designed to work just as well in a pure 2D in-game environment.

The history of Silent Streets has become a bit complicated. The original episode, The Boy with the Flowered Skin, was released for free in July, but unfortunately that free trial installment is no longer available. After the release of The Mockingbird’s Last Dive sometime in mid-January as a premium paid app (with a free trial demo), indie developer Funbakers Studio plans to return to the first episode, update it using the ARKit Framework, and re-release it as an in-app purchase. There will then be another two episodes to follow, The short, cold life of Jenny and The Devil Zoetrope at an as-yet-unspecificed time down the road. 



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