Adventure News
 


May 2012

30

May

Al Lowe's games have been in the news a lot lately.  After a successful crowd-funding campaign for the upcoming Leisure Suit Larry HD remake, now another Lowe concept is back in the forefront with a Kickstarter appeal for Sam Suede in Undercover Exposure.

This isn't the first time we've heard about this project, though you'd need to go waaaay back to 2006 for the initial announcement of the game, never to be heard from again.  Until now.  While Lowe is no longer personally involved with the project, industry veterans Steve Ince and Ken Wegrzyn at Wisecrack Games have taken the reins, turning to Kickstarter when regular publishing channels failed. 

Sam Suede is a wannabe detective attending the Mystery Week Fantasy Camp, but things turn very real when the supposedly "fun vacation in the sun turns into a week of real mystery, murder, and romance. It's up to you to explore the island resort, interview beautiful women (and odd men), and follow a unique path to a hilarious ending that will have you lusting for more."

While calling the game a "comedy-adventure", Sam Suede will include various stealth and action elements as well, mixing the "game play of Beyond Good & Evil, with a Broken Sword style immersive plot, (and) the exploration of a Tomb Raider-esque island environment."  As you explore the "secluded island surrounded by beautiful greenery, white sand beaches, and clear blue waters", you will "obtain evidence and complete missions, navigating the environment using James Bond-type gadgetry, capture pictures of unusual items and titillating situations, and scan objects to reveal critical information."

The funding appeal offers several different pledge tiers.  The basic $15 tier includes a Steam or DRM-free digital download for PC or Mac and exclusive access to the "Sam Suede 'TOP SECRET' Forum Headquarters".  Higher pledges come with rewards such as a digital game design bible, a Collector's Box Edition of the game, your name in-game as spray-painted graffiti or even as one of three "nude beach characters" for the exhibitionists among you. 

Running for 46 days, the campaign for Sam Suede in Undercover Exposure is seeking a total of $500,000 to produce the game for PC, Mac, and iOS platforms.  For more information about the game, funding tiers, and a ten-minute background video, check out the game's Kickstarter page for complete details.


Note: This story originally stated (as the Kickstarter campaign implies) that Lowe himself is still involved in Sam Suede, but he is no longer actively participating in the game's development. 



30

May

After a lengthy twilight, the latest Last Half of Darkness has finally descended on the UK, as Society of the Serpent Moon arrives in retail stores.

Originally self-published last year by indie developer WRF Studios, Serpent Moon casts players in the role of Billy Black, whose fiancée was investigating a series of vampire-like murders in the European town of Antibes.  But when a mysterious package arrives from Antibes with his fiancée's bloodstained engagement ring, it's clear that something has gone terribly wrong.


In a surprise switch from all previous Last Half of Darkness installments, this game uses a third-person perspective to control Billy as he tries to "solve an ancient mystery and the source of evil causing the local townsfolk to turn into a rare breed of savage night-thirsty murderers."

For more information about Society of the Serpent Moon, be sure to check out our review of the game.



28

May

There's been no shortage of Golden Era nostalgia to revel in lately, and now indie developer Gear Worx Productions has got Police Quest fans covered as well with the announcement of Case Files: Death from Above.

Case Files stars detective Sam Mason, who's just been transferred to Homicide from Traffic after completing his courses in forensics and psychology.  On his very first day in the new job, Sam is assigned to a brutal double homicide, and as he "digs further and further into the case he discovers that there is a sick and twisted serial killer out on a murderous rampage. Sam’s first case proves to be one of twists and turns, that hits home a little closer than he thought!"

As the first screenshot of the game shows, Death from Above is a retro-styled point-and-click adventure fashioned after Sierra's beloved Police Quest series, promising an in-depth storyline, plus a wide range of characters to interact with and environments to explore.  Unlike its inspiration (and many indie adventures), however, this game will be a "talkie" with fully voiced dialogues.

Case Files: Death from Above is currently in production for PC and Mac, though as a solo project by designer Steve Adamson, final release isn't expected until sometime next year.  For more details in the coming months, be sure to check out the game's official website.



26

May

As we reported last month, the Two Guys from Andromeda (known down here on Planet Earth as Space Quest game designers Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe) are time-warping their trademark sci-fi humor into the 21st century with a new project, SpaceVenture. Currently seeking $500k in crowd-funding to get the game’s development off the ground, the duo has just beamed down a prototype that hints at the universe waiting to be explored.

The unassuming tech demo, available from the Two Guys’ website, features just two rooms, a handful of hotspots, and one simple puzzle, but even this brief glimpse shows that the snout-nosed team hasn’t lost their sense of humor in the two decades since they last collaborated on Space Quest IV. The designers caution that this prototype may not represent SpaceVenture’s final look and feel; regardless, it serves as a tangible example of the type of game the project’s backers are helping to fund, while giving fans a peek into the iterative design process Crowe and Murphy developed while working together at Sierra. (SpaceVenture’s first, much rougher prototype is also available to download.)

Though they’ve promised a game that will “play, look, sound and feel every bit like it was cut from the same cloth as our previous creations, ONLY MUCH BETTER in [every] way,” the duo is also brainstorming some intriguing new options for this new universe, including a hybrid text parser / point-and-click interface and a female protagonist. Although the SpaceVenture prototype can only be played through Google’s Chrome browser, Murphy and Crowe have stated that the game itself will not be browser-based, but a download available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, and Android.

For their SpaceVenture to become a reality, the Two Guys have 16 days left to raise about $275k. They plan to release a new prototype each time the project passes a $100k milestone. Learn more about the campaign on Kickstarter, and keep your communicator tuned to Adventure Gamers for a forthcoming interview with the sentient beings at the helm.



24

May

Look, over there! A talking cave! 

If that sounds as odd as a three-headed monkey, that's because Ron Gilbert has just announced his latest adventure, The Cave, a project that has been "bouncing around in (his) head for many, many years".

Produced in cooperation with Double Fine Productions (not to be confused with Tim Schafer's Kickstarter-backed Double Fine Adventure) and published by Sega, The Cave sends players into a living cave filled with dangers and obstacles.  Similar to Gilbert's own Maniac Mansion, players will control three protagonists chosen from a diverse range of possibilities, including a knight, a hillbilly, a monk, and a scientist.  Each character has unique abilities, and you'll need to strategically switch between them in order to overcome the various trials that await.


As the first trailer suggests, there will be some light side-scrolling platforming action involved (what self-respecting spelunker would expect anything less?), but the focus will largely be on puzzle-solving and exploration through a bizarre subterranean realm complete with an "amusement park and a medieval castle, not to mention a fully armed and ready-to-launch nuclear-tipped ICBM. 

The Cave is currently in production for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, and is scheduled for downloadable release on each platform early in 2013.



24

May

Jonas Kyratzes asserts that The Sea Will Claim Everything in his latest adventure.  That may not technically be true, but it sure claimed a bunch of its fellow indie adventures in the latest pay-what-you-want "Bundle in a Box".

Along with Kyratzes's first commercial adventure about a conflict between a biotechnically advanced subterranean family and the mainland authorities, the new bundle also includes the acclaimed sci-fi adventure Gemini Rue, Size Five Games' comedy pairing of Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please!, and Illuminated Lantern's graphical-text adventure 1893: A World's Fair Mystery.

As with other bundles, those who contribute more than the average donation ($5.77 at time of writing) will receive additional content, including the recent comic zombie title Metal Dead and Wadjet Eye's The Shivah. Further extras will be unlocked for all if bundle sales reach its target number.  There is currently a minimum purchase price of $2.89, but additional sales will drop the base requirement further. All games come with DRM-free PC downloads, and several come with optional Steam and Desura codes.

Proceeds from the Bundle in a Box not only go to the indie developers of the games themselves, but to help support the Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family, and a one-time donation will be granted to a single indie designer as voted upon at the close of the bundle sale.

The Bundle in a Box will run until June 6th.



18

May

SkyGoblin's The Journey Down has certainly taken a roundabout route to get where it is, but today the journey finally reached its destination with the release of Chapter One.

In this first of four parts of The Journey Down, players control a laid-back owner of a waterfront Gas 'n' Charter.  Far behind in their electric bills, Bwana and his brother Kito jump at the chance to help a woman who arrives seeking a lost book that may hold the secret to reaching the mysterious "Underland". Unfortunately, their airplane is in serious need of repairs if it's ever to get off the ground, and time is running out before mobsters arrive to stop them.

Originally released as a freeware adventure in 2010, the commercial version now available includes impressive new HD graphics and full voiceovers, plus some additional locations and puzzles. The changes make a marked difference in establishing the unique atmosphere of the game, with its Jamaican-style accents and character models heavily inspired by ancient African masks and carvings.

The Journey Down: Chapter One is available for download now from The Adventure Shop and a variety of other portals.  For more details about the game, check out our hands-on preview, which includes an interview with the game's creator.

Note: Adventure Gamers is an Adventure Shop affiliate.


18

May

That rumbling sound you hear getting louder and louder is xii games' Resonance building momentum with a new trailer, launch date announcement, and preorder details.

Five years in the making, this sci-fi thriller casts players in four leading roles when a series of global disasters follow soon after the destruction of a particle accelerator lab.  But when the physicist behind the technology suddenly dies, the four protagonists' lives "become entangled as they fight against the clock to find the dead scientist's secret vault. The suspicions they harbor, the memories they guard, the connections they share -- all will converge as these four ordinary people work together to prevent a potentially cataclysmic disaster."

As the first trailer displays, Resonance features a retro pixel art graphic style, but it "puts a new twist on classic adventure gameplay with its unique long-term and short-term memory systems", allowing players to "collect" memories just as they would other inventory items and use them where needed.

With a release date of June 19th now firmly established, preorders are now available at both GOG.com and Wadjet Eye Games.  Each offers a variety of preorder bonuses, and Wadjet Eye (the game's publisher) also offers a limited edition CD version of the game. 

For more details about Resonance, be sure to check out our recent hands-on preview.



15

May

Gamers may have been taken To the Moon last year, but it will take a little longer until the retail version of the acclaimed indie adventure finally lands in the UK.

This heavily story-driven title casts players in the roles of Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts, two scientists who are able to enter a person's mind and alter their memories to the point that the patient can experience a whole different life for themselves entirely in their mind. Since the new memories are incompatible with the originals, however, this technology can only be used on "people on their deathbeds, to fulfil what they wish they had done with their lives… but didn’t."

In the year 2060, Rosalene and Watts perform this procedure on a man named John, whose last wish is the memory of having become an astronaut that traveled to the moon.  To do this, players must step back through his interactive memories in fragmented reverse chronology until finally reaching his childhood, discovering a host of surprising and deeply emotional experiences along the way.

To the Moon was originally released as a download-only title, but Lace Mamba Global will be distributing the retail version of the game in UK stores on July 7th.

For more information about To the Moon, be sure to check out our review of the game.



9

May

Latest video heralds Daedalic's upcoming fantasy adventure

We've been keeping a close eye on Daedalic's The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, and a new trailer has just arrived for the upcoming fantasy adventure.

Based on the popular German roleplaying series, The Dark Eye casts players as a young bird catcher named Geron, who was named in a prophesy as the one who would bring doom to the kingdom of Andergast.  Eager to dispel this notion but just a child at the time, Geron finally sees his chance when the kingdom is overrun by aggressive crows, but the task soon proves far greater than he ever imagined in an adventure that ranges far beyond the borders of the charted lands of Aventuria.

 

The latest trailer offers a teasing glimpse of the perilous journey to come, full of eye-popping hand-drawn environments both idyllic and ominous.  It also introduces Geron and the fairy companion who joins him in his dangerous attempt to break the curse of the wicked seer, who has seemingly returned from the dead after being burned at the stake thirteen years ago. 

The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is scheduled for release in Europe on June 22nd.



8

May

Tomb of the Lost Queen now available in boxed and downloadable versions

Summer has come early for Nancy Drew fans this year.  Jumping the gun on its usual June/July annual release date, Her Interactive has now launched Tomb of the Lost Queen in both retail and downloadable versions.

In her staggering 26th adventure, the teen sleuth sets off for Egypt, where exciting new discoveries have just been made by a university archeology team.  However, "suspicious accidents left the group isolated and leaderless", so it's up to Nancy to determine whether their dig has triggered an ancient curse, or if someone is deliberately sabotaging the project.

 

As you'd expect from a Nancy Drew adventure, Tomb of the Lost Queen will feature plenty of research, tasking players with translating hieroglyphs and studying Egyptology. But there are dangers to be confronted as well: whether supernatural or man-made, Nancy will need to beware traps, sandstorms, and deadly snakes in order to discover the secrets of the tomb. If you're up for the challenge, the game is now available at all major North American retail stores and online at the developer's website.

And if that's not enough to keep you occupied, the first trailer for the fall adventure has been unveiled as well, as The Deadly Device sees Nancy investigating a murder of a renowned scientist, who was researching the work of Nikola Tesla but killed before announcing what may have been a major breakthrough.