Adventure News
 


April 2014

17

Apr

If you're looking for a game with jaw-dropping visuals, you won't find it in Grail to the Thief. In fact, this audio adventure is designed for the visually impaired who couldn't otherwise play a game full of eye candy, though anyone can enjoy it as a throwback to the classic text adventures of old if the game receives sufficient funding on Kickstarter.

Grail to the Thief stars a thief from the future named Hank Krang, who "recently had a self-aware time machine called the Time Excursion Digital Interface, or TEDI, fall into his lap after a poker game. He has decided to use this technology to go throughout time, stealing priceless artifacts." His first destination? Arthurian times, in search of the Holy Grail.

While the game follows in the footsteps of interactive fiction like Zork and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Grail to the Thief adds full voiceovers to the on-screen text, and gameplay consists of making choices through conversation trees rather than typing answers. Easily navigated even by the blind, ambient sounds and music complement the story, making this a game that anyone can enjoy.

Created by indie studio For All To Play after researching game design for the visually impaired, Grail to the Thief is being developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with a target completion date sometime this August. In order to do that, however, they'll need to raise $8,000 by May 4th through Kickstarter. A pledge of only $5 will earn backers a DRM-free download of the game.

In order to check out the idea for yourself, the developers have released a proof-of-concept prototype demo that can be played directly in either Chrome or Opera browsers. As a work-in-progress, the developers note that "the interface and some of the audio in the prototype are placeholder assets and will be replaced in the complete game, which will be a standalone executable and will not require a web browser to play."

To learn more about the game and contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter campaign for full details. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



16

Apr

The first time Double Fine was involved in a Kickstarter-related project, we all know what happened. This time around, Tim Schafer and co. aren't directly responsible, but they are endorsing a stylish new sci-fi noir adventure called Last Life under their "Double Fine presents" indie banner.

Last Life takes place 11 years after all life on Earth has ended. The human survivors are "scattered throughout the remaining civilized colonies of the solar system – forever exiled." Private investigator Jack Parker escaped the planet's fate while working a case in the resort colony of MarsTopia... At least, he'd escaped it until now, but the fallout of the life he left behind on Earth finally caught up to him when he was gunned down and killed. Fortunately for Parker, he gets another chance by being "3D printed" into a new body for the annual Dead Man's Party holiday. But Parker is not interested in the festivities, as he has "just four hours to break out of the 3D lab, pick up the leads in his troubling case, and find his own killer. And, rushing against time he actually doesn’t legally have, perhaps uncover what triggered Earth’s demise."

This stylish mystery involving AI corruption and corporate espionage promises to focus on "atmosphere and storytelling, while also challenging the player's detective skills of interrogation and deduction." As you "race your way through the glittery mean streets of New Shanghai City," you will "wrangle deadly secrets out of an enormous cast of bizarre characters using whatever works: charm, bribes, or something less pleasant" and "uncover the inner workings of the squeaky-clean United Corps that runs the planet like clockwork."

Developed by Rocket Science Amusements' Sam Farmer, Last Life is envisioned as a three-part episodic series. In order to fully finance the first episode, the developer has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 by May 9th. If fully funded, the debut episode will be released for PC, Mac, and Linux in May 2015. A $15 pledge will provide a downloadable copy of all funded episodes (with episodes two and three possible through as-yet-unannounced stretch goals).

To learn more about Last Life and to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for full details.



11

Apr

Victor Wise, a restless soul whom you may recognise from such hit films as Frankenstein vs Moreau, Elementary, Dr Jekyll or The Bride of Abomination, has a new project to present to us today: The Weird Story of Waldemar the Warlock. Okay, maybe it owes more to new Spanish developer enComplot than the imaginary Mr Wise, but lovers of sinister deeds on dark and stormy nights may find much to cackle manically over in the playable demo of the upcoming adventure, currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

Once upon a time Waldemar Gorobec – warlock, necromancer, sinister castle-owner and possessor of an imposing-yet-fluffy beard – ruled Groldavia with an iron fist and a penchant for cruelty. Amazingly, this didn't make him popular or universally loved, and he was betrayed, burned at the stake by his serfs and slowly forgotten. At least until Lord Alistair Ainsworth – writer, historian, occultist and all-around Victorian dilettante – moves into Waldemar's old castle and notices a rather peculiar portrait. Peculiar in the sense that most portraits don't come with an errant soul bent on vengeance...

Steeped in the gothic horror tradition, it's clear that the developers of The Weird Story of Waldemar the Warlock are both fans of the genre (naming Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft and Roger Corman among their influences) and well aware of its camp ridiculousness, taking every opportunity for a send-up. The demo is full of suitably purple prose, delivered in Alistair's measured and serious baritone, and he's wonderfully oblivious to all the con artists who have taken advantage of his wealth and naivete to sell him magical artefacts of dubious provenance.

Based on the demo, the HD graphics are rich and painterly and the music swooping and orchestral, both contributing nicely to the B-movie feel. The character animation could use a little work, but then this is an early work-in-progress. Gameplay is standard point-and-click, but there will be two different paths through the game, depending on whether you choose to side with Waldemar or against him.

If all this sounds interesting, you have until April 29 to back the game on Kickstarter. Various rewards are available, including vintage B-movie posters, an oil painting and even a horror-themed cookbook, but a pledge of £9 or more (about $15, or €11) will get you a digital copy if the campaign meets its funding target of £40,000.

The Weird Story of Waldemar the Warlock is scheduled to haunt PCs and Macs in October 2014, with hints that it may be ported to Android, iOS and Linux down the line. The early demo is publicly available now, and you can find out more at the game's official website, or vote for it on Steam Greenlight.



9

Apr

Air Force Lieutenant Guy Kassel has been captured by the Nazis, and he needs your help to escape! Why, you ask? So he can return to the woman he loves, of course. This is the premise driving the recently-Kickstarted adventure The Breakout, currently in development by UK-based Pixel Trip Studios.

Set in World War Two, the game begins with Guy being shot down over German skies during a mission, where he is captured and sent to Verdammen Hof, the most fearsome prison camp in the Reich. Shortly after his arrival, however, bodies begin disappearing from the camp, indicating that there may be more to Verdammen Hof than meets the eye. The camp Commandant, Colonel Schvarzer, is rumored to be involved with occult rituals (and a possible upcoming human sacrifice), adding a supernatural wrinkle to Guy’s escape plans. Of course, Guy won’t be alone in his quest: there are plenty of other inmates willing and able to help him in any way they can, including Capt. “Cuppa” Burns, de facto leader of the prisoners, Veran “The Wrench” Linsky, and “Whisky” McGregor, who digs tunnels for the inmates’ escape attempts and is described as a “…joker and a bit of a loose cannon.”

Played from a classic 2D point-and-click perspective, players will be able to walk around Verdammen Hof in the daytime, interacting with fellow prisoners, memorizing the guards’ patrol patterns, and exploring the camp. Guy’s skills as an ex-thief will come into play during lights-out, however, with sneaking past spotlights, picking locks, and stealing various items being necessary if he is to flee the prison and reunite with his beloved fiancée, the woman responsible for turning Guy away from a life of crime.

Up to now, Pixel Trip has been funding development themselves, but in order to complete the game they have launched a Kickstarter with the goal of raising £49,500 by May 12. A digital copy of the game comes with a pledge of £12, but two early-bird options allow a limited number of gamers to get a copy for £8 or £10.

The Breakout is scheduled to escape in July 2015 onto PC, Mac, and Linux, but stretch goals could bring it to other platforms as well. Interested gamers can find out more information at the game’s Kickstarter page.



7

Apr

What happens when you combine a ball, a kid and a time machine? So asks the upcoming title Inspire Me from Argentinian indie developer Blyts, due to hit Kickstarter later this month. (The answer, as it turns out, is nothing good for the time continuum, but lots of good for gamers.)

Kelvin is a typical young boy. He's been told not to play in his father's lab, but did he listen? Of course not! He's a typical young boy, remember? Unfortunately for him, there's a time machine in there and balls and time machines very definitely do not mix. With one teensy little accident, history has been changed in small but pivotal ways: Newton didn't get hit by that apple, Mona Lisa didn't smile for Leonardo Da Vinci, and Beethoven never came up with the perfect note to complete his 5th Symphony. Now Kelvin's got until his father gets home to sort things out again, or he'll have an awful lot of explaining to do! As the little boy, you'll have to go back in time and inspire some of history's greatest minds, hopefully learning a little along the way.

With its bright cartoon graphics and bouncy soundtrack, Inspire Me aims to wrap its worthy educational aims in jaunty good humour. The developers are promising a mixture of traditional point-and-click gameplay and standalone puzzles and brainteasers. There will be no dialogue of any kind, spoken or written; instead, the game will use animated pictorial thought bubbles, Machinarium-style. As well as the three events already mentioned, Blyts also hope – depending on the crowdfunding campaign set to kick off soon – to add further scenarios featuring other famous figures.

Inspire Me is tentatively scheduled for release late this year for PC, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices. You can find out more on the official website. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight while you wait for the Kickstarter campaign to kick off on April 18th.



6

Apr

Would you like some horror with that caffeine? Caffeine may be known for keeping people on edge, but that fact is about to take on a whole new meaning in the upcoming science-fiction horror game Caffeine, currently seeking financing through Indiegogo.

Caffeine in the future of 2097 – much like it is today – is the most consumed drug, though mankind has now stretched out into the stars. The protagonist awakens aboard a seemingly deserted caffeine mining vessel, a young boy in a distant solar system. With no memory of what happened, you set out from your bunk with the single hope of finding out where everyone has gone. Completely defenceless, careful exploration is in order, rewarded by a wealth of readable notes and writings left behind on all sorts of objects, including loose papers, post-its, whiteboards, and computers. There are also audio logs to uncover. Combined they’ll piece together fragments and clues of a story, and an explanation as to just what has happened to everyone else aboard the vessel.

Developed by Incandescent Imaging, a single-person studio based in Australia, Caffeine is a first-person adventure that emphasises psychological horror, particularly through its visual and sound design. The game will make use of situational and locational sound, music and lighting to build suspense. There will also be puzzles to confuse and hinder progress. For the time-being, story details are being kept deliberately vague, though the developer has admitted that as you progress you will be threatened by death – by what we don’t know, except for the knowledge that “you are not alone.”

Caffeine is currently being developed for PC, although Mac, Linux, and Oculus Rift support are all very real possibilities. The developer is also investigating console releases. The game was originally begun using the Unreal Engine 3, from which there is a proof-of-concept demo, though it has since switched to Unreal Engine 4 as the developer promises even more amazing graphics.

Incandescent Imaging is asking for crowdfunding support in the sum of AUD$80,000 using a flexible Indiegogo campaign, and if the game is fully funded the developer aims for a 2015 release. A $15 early bird pledge offers a DRM-free downloadable copy of the game.  For more information and to contribute to the campaign, visit Caffeine’s Indiegogo page.




March 2014

31

Mar

With its grand tales and colorful characters, such as trickster god Loki and hammer-wielding Thor, Norse mythology has sparked imaginations for centuries. Countless books, movies and video games have been influenced by the myths, and upcoming first-person point-and-click adventure The Frostrune looks to make its own Norse-inspired mark on gamers, transporting them to the frozen, mysterious world of Nordic folklore.

Currently in development by Norway-based Grimnir Media, information about the game is being left intentionally vague for now, so as not to spoil the mysterious atmosphere that the developers hope to convey. We do know the game will be set in the 900s, during the height of the Viking Age. However, rather than the typical (and inaccurate) horn-helmet-wearing Norsemen of popular culture, the developers are striving to make the game as realistic as possible in its portrayal of Viking life, with all in-game items and scenery based on archaeological findings and artifacts. The goal is to let players experience an “authentic” Nordic culture, drawing players in with an environment ripe for exploration.

Grimnir seems to recognize the importance of story and atmosphere to the overall experience, and promise not to skimp in this regard when crafting the game. But rather than retell well-worn myths and legends, the developers want to create a unique story that “fills in the blanks” left in the various sagas and myths while staying true to the spirit of these works. Puzzles will be a part of the tasks involved, but the developers are reluctant to say specifically what varieties will be present, except to say that the pre-industrial, medieval setting means that “mechanical” puzzles, such as “sliders, buttons, and levers” will be absent, at least in their more familiar forms. As indicated by the title, The Frostrune will include some forms of magic to accomplish in-game tasks, and will center on runic magic and the influence the gods had over human affairs.

The Frostrune is expected to be unearthed in late summer 2014, on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms, with a later release on PC planned. In the meantime, interested gamers can find more information at the game’s official website.



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