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November 2017



Who says Central Europe has the market cornered on Samorost-style adventures? While Amanita Design and other regional developers may have helped popularized the style of animated adventures among photorealistic natural environments, the land Down Under can do it too, as we can see in the first details for indie Australian developer Matthew Petrak's upcoming Tala.

Tala is named after its "boisterous" protagonist, a young woman whose mentor, the Town Guardian, "gets stranded out in the deep woods." Taking control of Tala in an effort to free him, players must seek the assistance of the other local townsfolk and explore the surrounding environs to "help collect parts for the old dingy town airplane and repair it." But beware that you "don't venture too far into the deep woods..."

The game follows the now-familiar technique of using hand-drawn (and often miniaturized) character animations set against unusual organic environments, as seen in the first screenshots and trailer released. Tala will communicate with others using a non-verbal dialog system, and players are encouraged to experiment in their travels, as "lots of the background features have superfluous animations that help the world feel alive." Along the way, you'll also need to solve puzzles to proceed, though the developer claims that they'll be accessible enough to figure out without resorting to "moon logic." 

Created entirely by Petrak, along with music by Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Cody Rueger, Tala still has a fair way to go in its development, with a projected release date sometime in 2019 for Windows and Mac. In the meantime, you can follow its progress thought the official website, and look forward to a playable demo that's in its "final stage of polish."



Nightmares are inherently unpleasant things, but they're not so bad when they play out like a point-and-click adventure, right? Such is the case in Desert Fox's recently-released Bad Dream: Coma.

Players find themselves stuck in a surreal world full of creepy images and obstacles you are unable to awake from. With a city on the horizon, you begin the game on a broken down bridge, which you will need to traverse on your way to a hospital filled with eerie patients and eerier staff. Along the way, you must collect inventory and solve puzzles to progress, and as you encounter various creatures in your path, you must "find the way to erase them from your memory and turn this dream to a peaceful nap."

Presented in a minimalist, hand-sketched art style with an amusingly deranged and sometimes gory sensibility that is definitely not for children, Bad Dream promises non-linear gameplay and hidden content for those curious enough to explore this "disturbing dreamland" to its fullest. But beware how you behave, as your actions have consequences. Consistently follow a peaceful path and you will attain the "good" ending, but indulge your wicked tendencies just a little and consign yourself to the "neutral" ending  – or worse. Take comfort in knowing that you can't die, but make no mistake, you can and probably will "suffer greatly."

Released for Windows PC on Big Fish, don't be fooled into thinking that Bad Dream: Coma is just another cookie cutter hidden object game. With no hint system or hand-holding of any kind, this is one adventure that will test your wits as well as your nerve. And if you like what you see in this first commercial release, you can always go back and check out the series' previous freeware offerings done in a similar style. 



What would you do if you found yourself standing before the creepy gates of a famous magician’s abandoned manor, an otherworldly power beckoning you forward? Would you resist the urge to risk life-and-limb, or would you enter and face the darkness within? Early next year, fans of spooky point-and-click puzzlers will get the chance to make that exact not-too-difficult choice in The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana.

Inspired by titles such as The 7th Guest and Shivers, The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana centers on the eponymous Arcana Manor, the “castle home of Doctor Arcana, the world famous magician who vanished several years ago.” You are compelled to find a way in, but as soon as you do, “the door slams shut behind you, sealing you inside.” Once trapped, “a ghostly vision appears before you, presenting you with a challenge: Resolve a maze of riddles and perplexing puzzles, or be doomed to spend eternity locked inside the inescapable mansion.”

Indie developer Monolith Graphics promises players “more than 50 logic puzzles, word puzzles, mazes, riddles and codes” to solve. Graphics are hand-drawn, and the mansion will display some of studio co-founder Joseph Vargo’s own artwork, featuring such creatures as “witches, warlocks, vampires, gargoyles, ghosts and other denizens of the dark.” In addition, Vargo’s band Nox Arcana will be performing the soundtrack. The action is controlled using the mouse, utilizing an “old-school, slideshow point-and-click” interface. Hints will be given by Doctor Arcana himself, but his anti-social attitude will show through when his help is sought, “scolding and ridiculing the player for doing so.”

The Cabinet of Doctor Arcana is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2018 for Windows and Mac. In the meantime, interested gamers can browse over to the official website for more information.



Slavic legends and the horrific aftermath of World War II may not seem the most likely of companions, but it's precisely this intriguing blend of distinct cultural elements that will be on display in Too Husky's upcoming Mira.

The titular character is a young woman who works in an orphanage, but when the bulding is destroyed in WWII, Mira finds herself magically transported to an old city based on Slavic legends. While story details are sparse thus far, her task now is clear: to discover the mystery behind this world of "forgotten Gods... and eerie places hidden from the eyes." In bringing this realm to life, the indie Polish developers are attempting to give  eastern European myths a "modern reinterpretation" in imagining how the legendary creatures of old would fit into a devastated post-war environment. 

As seen in the gorgeous first trailer released, Mira is a hand-painted, third-person adventure presenting "a unique graphical design of Slavic creatures and their home." Some of these figures promise to be "well known," while others will "re-emerge within the game from the forgotten past." In conveying a "mix of fable and mystery," Mira will be "heavily focused on narration," with player choices impacting the direction of the story, leading to a number of different endings. There will be puzzles to solve along the way, though the two-man development team claim that they are meant to be "an addition to the story, not a main goal."

Unforunately, we have a while to wait before Mira is complete, as the game is currently on track for a 2019 release for Windows PC, and possibly mobile platforms to follow. In the meantime, however, you can follow its progress through the official website.



When you picture hackers in darkened rooms, illuminated only by the sickly green glow of their monitors as they break through firewalls and defeat corporate security, a love story isn't what usually comes to mind. And yet, a "hack love story" is just what Ukrainian developer Konstructors is aiming to deliver in their latest title, Sorry, James. Described as “a child of Sudoku and Minesweeper, raised by Tarantino” in a creepy conspiracy thriller with AI overtones, this newly-released “text-based puzzle game” is definitely shaping up to be something a little different.   

Players control James Garner, a security engineer at leading weapons tech company, Mantis Corp. A contact reaches out, asking you to decrypt company files, but these files turn out to be chats between AI genius Thomas Beker and his girlfriend Elisa, who's just a regular girl. What could such different people have in common, and why is any of this important to your employers? What mystery is hiding beneath the surface, and what will you risk to delve deeper?

In a manner reminiscent of Her Story, Sorry, James drops you into a distinctly retro-looking desktop with just a chat app, some file folders and a decryption program to play with. There's a powerfully atmospheric grungy hacker vibe, with gameplay that consists of solving puzzles to decrypt a series of documents and chatting with your contacts. It's clear from the start that this is very definitely an adult experience, featuring explicit discussions of sex and BDSM. In total, we're promised 50 puzzles, 3-6 hours of gameplay, and conversations that are based on psychology research and real-life conversations.

Sorry, James is available now for Windows PC on Steam, where you can also download a brief demo. 



Russians getting mixed up in American affairs is no laughing matter in the real world, but that doesn't mean it can't be in the quirky cartoon world of Red Comrades. With release of Red Comrades 3: Return of Alaska – Reloaded, the world "stands upon the brink of destruction" and only cooperation between the two countries (and a pair of hapless heroes) will be able to save it.

The third and final game in the original 1990s Russian adventure trilogy, newly remastered and released to English audiences for the first time, picks up where the previous title left off, with Commander Vasily Chapaev and his sidekick Private Pete having inadvertently transported the entire Russian town of Backwoods directly into the U.S. thanks to their "irresponsible use" of a time machine. In order to set things right again, Chapaev and Pete will need to go through "fire, water and through… some other stuff [...] again and again" if they're to succeed.

Featuring the same third-person, hand-drawn presentation as its predecessors, Return of Alaska promises to bring back important characters like Anka (now, strangely, an FBI agent) as well as introduce a host of new ones. This time around, the two protagonists must get up close and personal with "the worst criminals on Las Vegas streets," as well as undertake a number of missions for the American government, including disposing of a "drug dealer's band in [the] jungles of Central America, [fighting] against Saddam Hussein and even [making] a trip to Alaska."

Red Comrades 3: Return of Alaska – Reloaded is available now at a budget price for Windows, Mac and Linux exclusively on Steam. To help celebrate the launch, both the first and second games are on sale for a limited time.

October 2017



It's no secret by now that Syberia 3 didn't get off to the smoothest of starts, with a number of technical and design issues that hindered the experience. But it's not how you begin, it's how you finish that counts, and not only have the developers been hard at work on a number of important enhancements since launch, today they've announced a Halloween treat of a whole new playable chapter coming as DLC next month.

Surely the most significant upgrade since the game's initial release is the inclusion of a point-and-click control option, but other changes include audio fixes, text corrections, visual interface tweaks, and improved framerates for a much more user-friendly experience. But the icing on the cake is today's announcement of additional gameplay content in the form of an all-new scenario called "An Automaton with a Plan".

Taking place "after Kate Walker and the Youkol tribe come across the ruins of Olympia Stadium," these "previously-undocumented events" see our heroine "kidnapped by the tenacious private detective, Nic Cantin, who has been tasked with bringing her back to New York by hook or by crook." Playing as Kate's automaton pal, freeing her would seem to be a "simple mission for Oscar, who develops an infallible plan to accomplish it. But matters turn out to be more complicated than foreseen…"

This downloadable expansion is due to arrive on November 9th, as a free update for all owners of the PC version, and available to all PS4 and Xbox One gamers (though it's recommended to finish playing the full Syberia 3 first). 

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