Adventure News
 


June 2012

30

Jun

The recent flood of impressive sci-fi indie adventures continues with the unveiling of AYA Studio's Xing

Xing is a first-person adventure that strands you on an unknown island after crash landing your spacecraft. Though you're all alone, you soon discover "ruins and statues around the island that suggest a foreign civilization may have inhabited the island." That is only the start of the adventure, however, as through portals found in nearby caves, you'll be "transported to the land of Xing, comprised of fanciful structures and floating islands." The transportation systems still function, and by exploring the ruins of each island, you'll learn more about the ancient society, such as the culture's "emphasis on time control and puzzles within the advanced technology used to traverse the harsh landscape."

The lonely journey through beautiful, serene, puzzle-filled environments immediately brings to mind Myst and its ilk, but Xing's co-designer Koriel Kruer promises that the game will feature a "highly interactive environment" with an emphasis on exploration rather than "simply a string of puzzles".  The free-roaming, full 3D environments are also a change from the usual first-person puzzlers, being controlled with the standard keyboard/mouse combination.

While there is no firm timeline set for Xing just yet, the developers are hoping to complete the game by summer 2013, and are currently setting their sights on finishing a playable demo before year end. In the meantime, for more information about Xing, be sure to drop by the game's official website.



29

Jun

There's a stench of trash, corruption, and decomposing flesh wafting through the genre today, with a trio of new releases in the form of Deponia, Hoodwink, and The Walking Dead: Episode Two.

Deponia

 

Daedalic's Deponia is set on the eponymous trash-filled world, where a young man named Rufus is desperately seeking to escape to the floating cities in the sky.  A rather unscrupulous type, Rufus seens his chance when a lovely young woman falls from above.  But if he's to escort her home and claim his freedom, he'll need to overcome a host of obstacles and outright opposition first. 


Deponia is available today as a boxed version in the UK and Ireland, and will soon be online for download from The Adventure Shop.  For more information about the game, check out our hands-on preview or play the demo for yourself.

Hoodwink

 

The cel-shaded Hoodwink thrusts players into the dystopian, post-epidemic world of Global-01.  A small-time thief named Michael Bezzle is just trying to "make good and impress the girl of his dreams", but "the all-powerful corporation Unicorp has other ideas, and set against a retro-futuristic backdrop, you’ll have to deal with bureaucracy, ruthless lawmen, chocolate-loving cyborgs and a vicious killer plant before you settle with the girl."


Hoodwink is available for download today exclusively from EA's Origin webstore.

The Walking Dead: Episode Two

 

It's been two months since we left The Walking Dead's convicted killer Lee Everett and his ragtag band of survivors outside of Atlanta with a horde of zombies closing in around them.  In Episode Two: Starved for Help, the group has holed up at a motel, where they're safe from attacks, but not so safe from hunger when the food begins to run out.

The second episode can be downloaded for PC and Mac only as part of a full season's purchase directly from Telltale or other participating digital distributors.  For console gamers, the new installment can be downloaded as DLC from Episode One through the Xbox Live Marketplace for 400 MS Points, or from the PlayStation Network for $4.99.



28

Jun

The recent sci-fi bonanza continues with news of Jack Houston and the Necronauts, an upcoming indie game that promises "a pulp sci-fi world of bubble helmets, rockets and ray guns with a point ‘n click interface!"

The titular hero of Jack Houston is a "rugged cowboy, and rocket test pilot", a role that indie developer Warbird Games tantalizingly compares to "placing Ben from Full Throttle into The Dig." In an alternate-universe version of 1999, Jack has retired in solitude, where he now wrestles the demons of his past, but:

When the Venture Aeronautics and Space Transportation corporation recruits the destitute, alcoholic rancher for a final mission, he can’t refuse. Manning the first rocket bound for the mysterious planet Venus, Jack is launched into the void, and into a strange new destiny. After a horrific crash landing, Jack awakens from suspended animation 1,000 years later to find himself captive of a savage race of Venusian beastmen who worship gods capable of animating the dead. Together with a tough, female space jockey and her wolf-like co-pilot, Jack must work to solve the mystery of these “Necronauts,” discovering a connection between the god-like creatures and himself that could be their undoing... and his.

In an effort to recreate the feel of 1950s pulp sci-fi, Warbird Games has chosen to "build each scene in miniature, and animate every character using stop motion."  As the announcement trailer shows, the Venus of Jack Houston is far from "the lifeless planet we know today, this Venus is a sweltering vine jungle teaming with strange beasts of horn, tooth and claw."

So when can we get our hands on this promising sci-fi adventure?  Well... Houston, we have a problem.  To no one's surprise, Warbird Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development.  Lead developer Stacy Davidson has confirmed that the team does have contingency plans should they fall short of their goal of raising $56,000 by August 9th, but that it would seriously infringe on the project's projected PC release of late 2013. Pledge rewards include the usual DRM-free downloadable copy of the game at the lowest tier, with boxed edition, soundtrack, art book, and even collectible figurines at the higher levels. 

If you're curious to check out the developer's sci-fi and adventure game credentials, a free demo of the SCUMM-styled Han Solo Adventures is available (saving is not enabled, and use Ctrl-Q to quit).  If you like what you see there and want to know more about the new project, check out the Kickstarter page and the official website for complete details about Jack Houston and the Necronauts.



27

Jun

Anyone looking to wrap their head around a new first-person puzzler will soon be able to do just that in a new indie project underway called Coma: A Mind Adventure.

The creation of  Carlos Coronado and Dani Navarro, previously known for their popular "Warcelona" campaign for Left 4 Dead 2, Coma appropriately casts players in the role of a comatose patient following a serious accident.  Everything you see and experience happens within the man's own mind, but all you know is that "he did something terrible in the past (many years ago) and to get out of the coma he will have to forgive himself by finally accepting who he is and what he did."

In this "mature adult story about life: sadness, violence, remorse, guilt, hope, and what is more important:  self-accomplishment", Coma allows players to control the weather to solve puzzles. It is you who "decides if it’s nightime, daytime, if it rains, if the skies are clear, if there is a terrible fog, and in any one of these states the environment changes radically."  Only by strategically manipulating the "macro climatic state" in each zone will players be able to advance. Environments promise to range from forest to volcano, badlands, and a beach, each of which has its own distinctive style.

As you play, you'll hear the voices of various narrators made up of "relatives, doctors, friends, and others that are in the room where the main character lays in the deep coma, and we will listen to what they say. That will be very important because the mind of the main character will pick up these words and will transform them into environments and puzzles full of metaphors." Control through these free-roaming 3D enviornments will be handled by the standard keyboard/mouse combination, and there are some "action" elements such as jumps and hiding from enemies who can't see well in the fog, but the developers have confirmed that there is no combat required.

As with so many games these days, the developers have launched a fundraising campaign for Coma.  This time it isn't Kickstarter, but Indiegogo, which doesn't require the full target amount to be reached.  Still, the $7,400 goal seems modest enough, with an end date of July 16th.  Pledge rewards range from a free copy of the game to artwork to varying degrees of access to a "viral ARG" during development that will "determine the destiny of the main character in Coma."

The ARG will certainly give people something to do while they wait, as there is currently no firm timeline for Coma.  The developers have stated that it will take at least a year to complete the game, though certainly less than two.  To view a pair of gameplay videos, and learn more about the game and its fundraising options, the Indiegogo page has complete details.



26

Jun

Like a comet with a tail, where science fiction goes these days, it seems that Kickstarter isn't too far behind. The latest adventure to join the outer space parade is a new episodic series named HeXit.

The creation of Hungarian developer CyberphobX, HeXit stars police officer Jane Davis, who discovers classified information she was never intended to see after being thrust into a hostage rescue operation involving a top secret government agency. Jane launches her own investigation to probe deeper, but the agency will stop at nothing to oppose her, because "if this sensitive material leaks to the general public it will shake the very foundations of society". Meanwhile, both a global conglomerate and a Resistance group also want the information for their own purposes, and Jane must "decide which of the three sides to join; the government, the conglomerate or the Resistance. How will she use the secrets she is about to reveal? Will she make the right choice? Will she join the right side? Or will she keep everything to herself?" 

As the game's dramatic trailer indicates, [ii]HeXit is set in a futuristic world that the developers claim is reminiscent of Blade Runner or the new Total Recall movie.  According to CyberphobX, the team is attempting to combine science fiction and police procedurals into a compelling tale with several side-stories and "countless usable items" to combine. The graphics will be pre-rendered, the control point-and-click, and full English voice acting will be recorded.

If that sounds too good to be true, there are some strings attached.  Like other new sci-fi announcements before it (and still more to come), HeXit has its own Kickstarter campaign, with a goal of reaching $75,000 by July 10th.  The developers have confirmed to Adventure Gamers that they're intent on finishing the game with or without Kickstarter, but a successful campaign will allow them to target release in March 2013.  Without funding, the schedule would be pushed back at least 7 or 8 months and fewer resources might result in a less polished adventure.

HeXit is intended as a multi-part episodic series, and though Kickstarter donations only go towards the opening installment, the debut promises 6-10 hours of gameplay in its own right.  For additional videos, information about the game, and full pledge details, check out the Kickstarter page and the official website



 

 



26

Jun

That faint odour you smell getting stronger is Deponia drawing closer to its June 29th UK release date, but you can now catch an early deeper whiff with a playable demo of Daedalic's junkyard-based comic adventure.

On the trash-filled planet of Deponia, a rather unpleasant young man named Rufus is determined to escape to the idyllic floating cities in the sky. After yet another of Rufus's failed attempts to flee the planet's surface, a young woman falls from above and crash lands in a nearby trash heap.  Instantly smitten and seeing her as his ticket to freedom, Rufus is determined to nurse her back to health and escort her home. But the path is fraught with obstacles from the "improvised village built inside a giant trash heap, to the swimming black market and the dark corners of the elevated planetary railways."


The demo takes place at the start of the game and promises over half an hour of play time as you guide Rufus through his latest misguided attempt to escape.  The roughly 700 MB sampler can be downloaded from Strategy Informer.

For more information about Deponia, be sure to check out our hands-on preview

 

 



22

Jun

If you've been keeping your own dark eye on Daedalic's latest fantasy adventure, the wait is now over, as The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is now available for purchase and download.

Based on the popular German tabletop RPG series, The Dark Eye puts players in the lowly shoes of a young bird catcher named Geron.  As a child, Geron was named by a prophet about to be executed as the one who would bring doom to the kingdom of Andergast, and has been ostracized ever since.  Many years later, when his hometown is overrun by a flock of hostile crows, Geron sees a chance to prove himself and restore his reputation.  But when the town's celebrated heroes are "found dead and with eyes picked out rumors spread throughout the city. Many believe that the ghost of the Seer has finally returned to take revenge. And of course many believe Geron to be the reason for these dark signs... And so Geron gets entangled into a story that will prove to be of greater importance than he could ever have expected."

The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is currently available only as a download in English, and can be found at such portals as The Adventure Shop and GamersGate, with a Steam release to follow shortly.

For more details about the game, be sure to check out the official website.


Note: Adventure Gamers is an Adventure Shop affiliate.


16

Jun

If you haven't yet played Botanicula, why not?... I mean, you now have the chance to try it out first, as a browser-based demo of Amanita's latest masterpiece is now available. 

Botanicula casts players in the roles of five little critters who must set out on a journey to save the last remaining seed when their tree is invaded by nasty parasites. But they soon find their natural habitat is home to all sorts of dangers and obstacles, and it will require each character working together to overcome them all.

As with other Amanita games, Botanicula relies more on careful exploration of each vivid, creative environment to discover how the world works than on more overt puzzles.  The demo begins right at the start of the game, and can be played directly in your browser at the official website.

For more information about this delightfully quirky game, be sure to check out our Botanicula review.



13

Jun

Usually being hoodwinked isn't a good thing, but a new indie developer out of Malaysia is ready to change that notion, announcing its debut point-and-click adventure game, Hoodwink.

Hoodwink is set in a dystopian, post-epidemic future ruled by the world's last remaining corporate giant.  Players assume the role of Michael Bezzle, a "smart-mouthed bumbling scoundrel seeking to turn over a new leaf and settle down with his girlfriend. However, his luck takes a turn for the worse when his final caper lands him in trouble with the government and he must rely on his wits as he gets further enmeshed in the machinationsof the state."


As evidenced in the initial screenshots, the "decaying metropolis of Global-01" is depicted in distinctive graphic novel-styled artwork.  Despite the grim-sounding setting, developer E-One Studio promises the game will feature plenty of colourful characters and "twisted dark humour" as it "takes a sideways look at the classic genre of film noir".

The best news of all is that the game is nearly ready for downloadable release, as E-One plans to launch the game at the end of June. For more information about Hoodwink in the coming weeks, check out the developer's Facebook page.



13

Jun

If you like the sound of what you've heard of Resonance so far, but aren't sure you want to commit a week before release, maybe today's release of the playable demo will help you decide. 

Created by acclaimed indie developer Vince Twelve, with support from publisher Wadjet Eye Games, Resonance stars four playable characters all drawn into a desperate race against time when a series of worldwide catastrophes seem to link back to a dead particle physicist.  Before his death, the scientist hid his research in a secret vault, and now the protagonists seek to find it, but "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.

The demo weighs in at 270 MB, and can be downloaded from the official website.  According to the publisher, it's a lengthy sampler providing 2-3 hours of gameplay.  Play begins right at the start of the game, as a mathematician named Ed receives an urgent call from his boss, who’s determined to destroy his Resonance Project data lest it fall into the wrong hands.

With just a week to go before its June 19th launch, those interested in a boxed copy of the game are running out of time to get in on the exclusive pre-order offer from the Wadjet Eye website

For more information about the game, be sure to check out our recent hands-on preview.



8

Jun

Afer delivering two highly regarded freeware Sierra remakes, indie developer Infamous Adventures has formed a commercial offshoot called Infamous Quests to produce its first original game, Quest for Infamy.

Following IA's successful remakes of King's Quest III and Space Quest II, the new point-and-click adventure casts players in the shoes of Mister Roehm, a "man trying to start over after running away from a shady past. He’s come to the little town of Volksville only to discover there’s so much more going on in the valley than meets the eye!"

The most notable difference between Quest for Infamy and other games is that Mister Roehm is anything but a virtuous hero.  In fact, the developers invite players to "discover just how bad you might be" as one of three different character classes, whether you "take on the sly and cunning path of the Rogue, or behold the wonder and limitless power of the Sorcerer. Or maybe you'd prefer the brute strength and brawn of the Brigand."  Each character class promises its own unique course through the game.

In order to deliver all this delicious badness, however, "Team Infamy" has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production.  With a reasonable goal of $25,000, pledge tiers range from a basic $10 option for a downloadable, DRM-free copy of the game for PC or Mac (iOS, Android, and Linux versions are also possible if enough funds are raised) to higher amounts with such rewards as a sprite-based cameo with a portrait of your likeness and input into playable alpha versions of the game.

Though the developers claim they do have contingency plans should they fail to reach their goal, successful fundraising will put the game on track for release in the first quarter of 2013.  In the meantime, they have released a playable demo as a proof-of-concept introduction to the game.  Exclusively for PC at present, the 120 MB sampler offers a sneak peek of just some of the "fully orchestrated soundtrack, voice acting and stunning hand painted backgrounds and animations" promised for the finished game.

The Quest for Infamy fundraising campaign will run until July 6th, so check the Kickstarter page for full details.



6

Jun

Daedalic Entertainment must have a thing for incarceration.  First Edna & Harvey needed to break out of an insane asylum, and now players will need to help a thief named Joe escape "The Rock" in the German developer's upcoming thriller, 1954: Alcatraz.

In 1950s San Francisco, a man named Joe is sentenced to 40 years in Alcatraz for armed robbery.  He's determined to escape, but no one has ever broken out of the infamous prison before. He'll need his wife's help, but she's got problems of her own, as a fellow gangster is threatening her life if she doesn't hand over the stolen swag.  But only Joe knows where it's stashed, and the "entire North Beach is searching for the jackpot. Will our hero be successful in the race for the loot?"

Co-produced by Daedalic and Irresponsible Games, whose founder Gene Mocsy was the co-writer of A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, Alcatraz promises 90 hand-painted, fully researched period locations in San Francisco, North Beach and Alcatraz, over 20 characters to interact with, and a non-linear plot with alternate endings based on crucial decisions made by players that determine the fates of the characters.

There is currently no firm release date for 1954: Alcatraz, but the game is scheduled for release some time this year.



6

Jun

With all the new PC adventures announced of late, iOS and Android gamers may be wondering "what about us?"  Well, rest assured that you're not being neglected, as indie developer Hidden Treasure Games has recently announced production on The Curse of Shadow House.

A first-person puzzler in the vein of The 7th Guest and Myst, The Curse of Shadow House casts players in the role of a young woman who's been bitten by a vampire.  Waking up alone in a strange house, you begin finding letters that recount a tragic love story of a distraught young man who lost his bride to a random act of violence. Inconsolable in his grief, the man plans to kill himself to be reunited with her in death, but "on the eve of his suicide, he is bitten by a Vampire and cursed to immortality, doomed to never see his wife again in the afterlife. Can you put an end to the curse and free yourself from the vampirism that has befallen you? Can you reunite lost souls?"


A one-man production from Eric Shofe so far (though he intends to add a programmer to the team as development moves along), The Curse of Shadow House represents an homage to classic old-school puzzle-adventures that promises to let players "explore a beautifully illustrated haunted estate! Solve challenging puzzles. Collect the journal pages. Create your own  haunting melody on a broken old piano. Use items from your inventory to interact with the environment."

The developer's hope is to complete the game in time for Halloween and release it at a low price point for both iOS and Android platforms, with a longer term plan to port the game to Windows, Mac and Linux.  But not so fast...  Like so many other games these days, there's a Kickstarter campaign involved to help reach that initial target.  Seeking a modest $8,000 (still quite a bit short with only four days left to pledge at time of writing), a successful campaign will allow Shofe to work on the game full time. He's still committed to completing the game without it if necessary, but the setback would delay production significantly. 

For more information about pledge tiers and the The Curse of Shadow House itself, check out the Kickstarter page for full details.



5

Jun

Following their impressive tech demo first unveiled in March, many were wondering what Quantic Dream would do as an encore to the acclaimed Heavy Rain, and at Sony's press conference at E3 the experimental French studio unveiled its plans - not for what's next, but for what lies Beyond: Two Souls

The new "interactive drama" casts players primarily in the role of Jodie Holmes, a "young woman who possesses supernatural powers through her psychic link to an invisible entity."  In a globetrotting adventure taking place over the course of fifteen years, players will "experience the most striking moments of Jodie’s life as your actions and decisions determine her fate."

E3 2102 teaser

First scene from Beyond: Two Souls


As the game's first trailers reveal, the lead character in Beyond is none other than actress Ellen Page (Juno, Inception).  While few details have yet been revealed about Beyond's gameplay, Quantic promises that players will "take full control of Jodie as well as the mysterious entity in spectacular action and adventure sequences."  Writer David Cage emphasizes that the focus will always be on the narrative, however, delivering a "unique, interactive psychological thriller".

As with Heavy Rain, you'll need to have a PlayStation 3 to experience Beyond: Two Worlds, as the game is scheduled to be released exclusively on Sony's console in the spring of 2013.



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