Games like Penumbra and Amnesia have blown the doors off the divider between adventure games and survival horror, and now independent productions like Miasmata and Routine are walking right through the opening.
In IonFX's Miasmata, players control Robert Hughes, a scientist seeking a cure for a plague with which he himself has been stricken. His journey takes him to a remote island called Eden, which proves to be nothing like its name. Within its research outpost, your goal is to "reunite with your colleagues working there. Unfortunately, you'll soon discover that something has gone terribly wrong."
In this game of "survival, exploration and discovery", players can freely roam the lush forest island in search of plants and fungi for lab experiments to determine their medicinal properties. But stalking you along the way is a "mysterious and deadly creature... lurking behind grasses and vegetative cover." It uses sight, hearing and smell to track movements, so players will need to tread carefully in order to elude the creature and avoid direct confrontation.
According to indie developer brothers Joe and Bob Johnson, the frequency of enemy encounters is still in the process of being finalized. At present, the plan is for the creature to emerge roughly once for every day/night cycle that passes. Its presence is intended to add tension and tactical thinking, but the designers claim that they also "want the player to have plenty of time to explore the world without being pestered."
There is currently no firm release date scheduled for Miasmata, but IonFX is hoping to complete the game by the end of the year. In the meantime, the game is eligible for user votes through the Greenlight program for possible release on Steam.
There's nothing at all routine about Lunar Software's Routine. Alone on an abandoned moon base, it's your job to "uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance of everyone stationed on the Lunar Research Station." That doesn't sound so hard, until you find out that you're not really alone. To accomplish your goal, you must "run, hide and survive the best you can against what lurks in the base."
Rather than a classic adventure game, the developers refer to Routine as "more of a survival horror but with mystery and exploration." Yet this is no Resident Evil in space. According to indie designer Aaron Foster, while you can arm yourself with a weapon, it's more of a tool that may "potentially get you out of a sticky situation or even put you in a worse one!" The base is open-ended, providing a very non-linear experience with randomized elements each time you play, leading to one of several different endings.
Like Miasmata, Routine is available for public support at Steam Greenlight. There is no firm release date planned for the game, but the developers are currently planning to launch in the first quarter of 2013.