Adventure News
 


September 2012

30

Sep

All good fairy tales have a dark side, and that is certainly true of Anna's Quest, a new three-part fantasy adventure that has just debuted with the launch of Winfriede's Tower.

Created by Krams Design, Anna's Quest follows the titular young heroine as she seeks a cure for her ailing grandfather. Warned not to venture out alone, Anna does so anyway, and soon finds herself "captured and kept under lock and key in a tower deep in the dark wood by an evil old witch. The witch has plans – plans that involve large, mysterious machines and cruel experiments with Anna. What the witch doesn’t count on, however, are the powerful telekinetic forces brought up within Anna, and Anna’s own plans of escape…"

As seen in the game's introductory trailer, Anna's Quest is a fully voiced, 2D hand-drawn adventure, but don't let its charming cartoon aesthetic fool you into expecting a Disney-style children's tale  The game promises to be a black comedy "inspired by The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen… with a sci-fi twist!" You can check the game out for yourself in a playable demo from the official website, where you can also purchase the game for just $5.

Winfriede's Tower is the first part of a trilogy that indie designer Dane Krams hopes to complete before the end of 2013.



28

Sep

Hot on the comet trail of ASA and Lifeless Planet, there are two more sci-fi adventures approaching the horizon in the form of STASIS and Rick Future.

Stasis

Chris Bischoff's STASIS stars John Maracheck, captain of a small spacecraft called The Hawking, who thinks he's hit the salvage motherlode when he discovers a giant, heavily damaged ship drifting seemingly dead in space. But soon Maracheck finds himself opening his eyes, "disoriented, drowsy and in pain.... (with) "nothing to greet him but the static of a nearby monitor and a cold steel floor. Thick, green liquid covers the floor and then his body, leading a trail to a nearby, steaming stasis-pod. He slowly gets to his feet, trying to take in his surroundings. Where is his wife? His daughter? What the hell is going on...?"

An impressive-looking one-man creation, as seen in the game's introductory trailers, STASIS features high resolution graphics with an unusual (for adventure games) isometric, third-person perspective.  Though looking more like an RPG on the surface, and with "danger lurking in every shadow", Bischoff claims that STASIS is based on classic adventure mechanics.  Players must "solve puzzles and use objects... to progress and to find Maracheck’s family."  Helping in this matter is the Emergency Medical Kit, which lets you break items down into their base elements to store for later use.

Bischoff has been working hard on STASIS for quite a while now, and he estimates the fully self-financed game is now 70% complete. He's targeting a completion date late this year, but with full voiceover recordings also planned, the indie developer expects that the first quarter of 2013 is a more realistic target.  The game will be self-published, as well as distributed through participating portals such as GOG.com.

For more details about STASIS, check out the official website.

Rick Future - The Adventure Game

Rick Future is the star of a free German audio play series, and will soon be branching out into his own self-titled adventure game. He'll get a rude introduction to the new medium, however, as a group of pirates attack Rick's ship when he and his crew attempt to deliver a seemingly harmless cargo of freight containers in the outer territories. Rick is forced to hide his craft in a nearby nebula, where it "collides with an old alien emergency probe which holds an ancient distress call from a long forgotten alien ship." What follows is "a new adventure which leads them through the dangerous Gon’Dual sector, where they do not know who is friend or foe..."

An adventure game powered by Crytek's CryENGINE 3 (words very rarely uttered in the same sentence), Rick Future is a 3D point-and-click adventure with three playable roles.  Along with Rick, players will control his crewmates Hubert and Evi, each of which has individual skills necessary to overcome obstacles ranging from navigating space to cracking computer codes to hotwiring robots.

This game has also been in development for some time, though it's much farther off than Stasis.  Two-man indie developers MetalPop Games are currently hoping to have the game finished by the end of 2013. If you'd like to see the game released on Steam upon completion, you can vote for Rick Future through Valve's Greenlight program.

For more details about Rick Future - The Adventure Game, check out the official website.



26

Sep

Most testament openings are solemn, unfortunate affairs, but there's plenty of reason to rejoice over the worldwide launch of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.

The latest adventure from Frogwares sees the Great Detective acting completely out of character. Holmes has become the prime suspect of jewel forgery, with all the evidence pointing to his guilt, and his increasingly erratic behaviour is causing even his trusty companion Watson to question his motivations. His actions soon become even more reckless and dangerous, and "as the questions and suspicions mount, will salvation be found or will there be nothing to stop the famous detective's seeming descent into darkness..."

Featuring an all-new engine and different control methods that allow for both first- and third-person adventuring, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is the first title in the series to receive a cross-platform release on launch, appearing on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The game released late last week throughout Europe, and is now shipping in North America as well.

For more details about The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, be sure to visit the official website.



23

Sep

There's a host of sci-fi adventures on a collision course with Earth these days. The latest to appear on the telescope are Simon Mesnard's ASA: A Space Adventure and Stage 2 Studios' Lifeless Planet.  (With more trailing just behind, so stay tuned!)

ASA: A Space Adventure

If the thought of a "Myst game in space" gets you drooling, then look no further than ASA: A Space Adventure. After completing repairs on an old satellite in the year 2057, an astronaut becomes mesmerized by a mysterious black cube that suddenly lurches in space, severing his security cable. Intent on catching the cube in spite of the dangers, his oxygen is almost gone when he finally snares it.  There's no chance to return to his own craft, but the cube abruptly teleports him to an unknown spaceship, and now he'll need to find a way to escape and make his way home.

A one-man production from indie developer Simon Mesnard, ASA is based on the author's self-published novel The Tower in the Space (available only in French) and began life as a short film in 2011. Citing Riven as his favourite adventure, now Mesnard is adapting his creation to a slideshow-style game that promises 9 different environments to explore (6 on the main spaceship, 2 planets, 1 satellite) with 360° panoramic views.

Production on ASA is quite far along, and Mesnard hopes to launch the game this November.  The game is currently part of Steam's Greenlight program, so players have the opportunity to vote for it if you'd like to see it released there.

Lifeless Planet

Forsaking the black, cold silence of outer space for dry, dusty (if alien) land is Lifeless Planet, a sprawling 3D adventure with some light action elements. 

Lifeless Planet squeezes players into the spacesuit of a volunteer astronaut on a one-way journey in search of a life-sustaining planet. As the title suggests, what he finds instead is a "barren and inhospitable" wasteland, and with his fellow astronauts now missing and his oxygen tank leaking, his situation is quickly becoming desperate.

As players begin to explore, they'll discover what appears to be an abandoned Soviet colony. The small town has its own streets, houses and farms, even a science laboratory and an "extensive network of electric power lines with an uncertain purpose." But it's all deserted now, and the scattered documents and audio logs detail a colonization effort that went very wrong. Could this all be just an elaborate hoax, or have you uncovered a "Cold War secret...twenty light-years from Earth?" And who is the mysterious woman that appears when a "strange and deadly phenomenon" threatens your survival?

Inspired by such diverse sci-fi games as ICO, The Dig, and Out of This World, Lifeless Planet promises to be "a mix of exploration, platforming, and puzzle solving." Assisting with item collection is a mobile robotic arm that lets you reach otherwise inaccessible objects, while a jetpack will help you navigate some of the planet's natural obstacles.

Successfully funded by Kickstarter nearly a year ago, Lifeless Planet will be published by Lace Mamba Global, and is currently on track for release at the end of this year or early in 2013.



20

Sep

The long-awaited Secret Files 3 released earlier this week, but if you're still on the fence about the new thriller from Animation Arts, now you can sample it in a playable demo.

The third adventure of Nina Kalenkov and Max Gruber should be happy times, with their wedding fast approaching and a wonderful honeymoon planned after that.  But Nina has been having nightmares of devastating fires and a hooded figure, and Max is soon arrested during a raid as a suspected terrorist.  The resulting adventure takes players not only across the globe, from Switzerland to Alcatraz, from Italy to Turkey, but across time as well within Nina's subconscious dreams. 

The Secret Files 3 demo is a hefty download at more than 800 MB, and can be found at the official website.



17

Sep

Production on The Cat Lady has been purring like a kitten at Harvester Games – a gory, blood-soaked kitten, mind you – as seen in the newly released playable demo.

The Cat Lady is Susan Ashworth, but when the 40-year old is given a second chance at life following her revival from a suicide attempt, it's not cats she needs to worry about, but five "Parasites" who represent "the most ruthless, deranged and cold-blooded bunch of psychopaths the city has ever known. They will stop at nothing to hurt Susan. Unless, she hurts them first..."

While the demo eases players in with an on-screen tutorial of its keyboard mechanics, it throws you straight into the middle of the story with Susan and her friend Mitzi arriving at the apartment of a deranged former acquaintance, completely unprepared for the horrors that await. The sampler is over 300 MB in size, and can be downloaded from the official website. As with developer Remigiusz Michalski's previous game, Downfall, The Cat Lady is full of mature content and is not intended for children. 

The Cat Lady is currently scheduled for release this Halloween, October 31st.



14

Sep

There's two new adventures available today, one that sees you gallivanting across the world in order to save it in Secret Files 3, and the other that takes the "back to school" season literally in the Xbox 360 downloadable title, Life in the Dorms.

Secret Files 3

With her wedding to Max Gruber fast approaching, Nina Kalenkov should have had happy things on her mind. But lately she's been plagued by horrific nightmares of destructive fires and a hooded figure that seems to be trying to tell her something.  And when Max is arrested by a SWAT-like team under suspicion of terrorism, it's clear that a whole new world-saving adventure is about to begin, set partly in the real world and partly within her own conflicted dreams.

Secret Files 3 is available for download today at Steam or GamersGate at a special launch price of $26.99.  For more details about the game, check out our recent gamescom preview and developer/publisher interview.

Life in the Dorms

Students are heading back to school these days, and Dack Peeples is one of them.  But for the homesick Dack, there's very little time for hitting the books as he "puzzle-solves his way through college orientation; learns about love, friendship, and ramen noodles; and tries very hard not to get killed by his axe-wielding psychopath of a roommate." He'll also need to post "Flitter" updates, as in-game social networking is a key component in overcoming some of the many obstacles.

Life in the Dorms is available exclusively on Xbox Live Indie Games for a mere $1 (try finding tuition that cheap anywhere else).  You can learn more about this comedic look at school life at the official website.



12

Sep

There's a little something for every kind of adventure gamer today.  Oft-neglected Myst lovers can begin exploring the deserted PC worlds of The Five Cores, while console gamers (exclusively, for now) can experience a punchier mystery puzzler in Red Johnson's Chronicles: One Against All.

The Five Cores

Clearly inspired by Myst, Neebla Games' The Five Cores will take players on a lonely journey of five different islands in real-time, free-roaming 3D.  The former inhabitants of these islands have become trapped in exile on another world, and only by waking the "miracle child" with magical stones can you cause the collapse of their prison world.

The Five Cores is available for download on PC at the developer's website for €6.99 (approximately $9 US).

Red Johnson's Chronicles: One Against All

Lexis Numérique's Red Johnson's Chronicles debuted last year on the PS3, and the titular detective is branching to new platforms in an all new case called One Against All.  This time around, Red's brother has been kidnapped in Metropolis City, and players must "use their brain as well as many tools in-game to analyze crime scenes and question witnesses" in order to save him.

Red Johnson's Chronicles: One Against All is available today on the PlayStation Network for $9.99 and Xbox LIVE Arcade for 800 MS points.  The game is scheduled to be released on PC soon, along with a port of its predecessor.



10

Sep

While the future may look bleak for dtp's financially struggling Cranberry Production, a few former Cranberry designers have struck out on their own with an original new adventure called Reperfection

Reperfection tells the tale of Ben Freeman, whose happy suburban life with his wife Sarah and son Danny comes to a tragic end when Sarah dies in a car accident. But perhaps it isn't the end after all, as Ben discovers he has the ability to alter the past by "jumping to the time Sarah wanted to leave the house and drive into that terrible accident. But the price for saving his beloved is higher than he could imagine..."


As seen in the game's introductory trailers, Reperfection is designed "in the style of an interactive graphic novel" using hand-drawn black-and-white comic panels, with sparse use of colour to denote key objects.  Gameplay is classic point-and-click, and players must solve puzzles to "influence the events in the past and change the future reality."

Created at Tinnitus Games by Oliver Specht, Michael Holzapfel, and Anne von Vaszary, who collaborated previously on Black Mirror II and III and The Lost Chronicles of Zerzura, Reperfection is a planned five-episode series. Ben Freeman will be the protagonist throughout, and each installment will be self-contained with a small cliffhanger ending. The developers anticipate launching a new episode every 5-6 months.

Production on Volume 1 is well underway, with a targeted release for PC, iOS, and Android later this year.  The PC version should appear on various portals, including Steam if enough people vote on the game as part of the Greenlight program.



7

Sep

You may have thought that commercial text adventures were a thing of the past, but the Cabrera Brothers' CYPHER shows they now belong to a gritty, dangerous cyberpunk future as well.

In CYPHER: A Cyberpunk Text Adventure, players control a formerly successful smuggler, now trying to get back into the game after a visit to the moon colonies.  With business slow, you accept a job from a French cook named Lime, but the deal goes dreadfully wrong.  Now you're a "moving target with an incomplete upload inside your Synapse everybody seems to be after. The chase through the streets of NeoSushi has just begun. How far will you go to stay alive tonight?"

Described by its indie developers as a "fast paced action" game that's like "popcorn on a Saturday night with friends", for the most part CYPHER is an unapologetically old-school text adventure complete with parser, as seen in the game's introductory trailer. However, the game does include music and some stylish animations to illustrate key actions performed by the player, like connecting to the Taiko-QRS, a portable hacking system. 

CYPHER is available now for both PC and Mac, in three different DRM-free downloadable editions directly from the developers.  Every version includes the soundtrack, manual, and a host of digital "feelies", and a hint book is included in the more expensive versions, among other extras.



2

Sep

Steam rolled out its long-awaited Greenlight program recently, allowing fans the chance to vote for games they'd like to see released on Valve's popular distribution platform, and several adventure games were among the early candidates. 

A number of titles have already been released elsewhere (Ballads of Reemus: When the Bed Bites, Metal Dead, Shadows on the Vatican: Act 1 - Greed, Doctor Who: The Gunpowder Plot, 1953: KGB Unleashed, Hoodwink, The Sea Will Claim Everything, Hotel, Red Crow Mysteries: Legion, Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Strix), while others have been announced in recent months as they near completion, including Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, The Five Cores, Richard & Alice, Shades of Violet: Song of the Clockwork Princess, Enola, and Kairo

Also tucked in among the list of familiar names are two previously unannounced games, Dream and Ir/rational Investigator.

Dream

Dream is a "first person atmospheric exploration game" that casts players in the role of Howard Phillips, a "young graduate with no direction in life who develops an obsession with his dreams."  You must guide him through "dreams and nightmares filled with puzzles and secrets to help Howard find the meaning to his life."

Created using the UDK engine, Dream will offer a variety of 3D environments that have "no worldly restrictions".  The game will be split into three non-linear acts, and have multiple endings based on how thoroughly you've explored each. According to indie developer HyperSloth, the gameplay will include "many puzzles to solve, horror sections and some more narrative focused areas."

Dream is currently on track for release sometime in summer 2013.

Ir/rational Investigator

Tom Jubert is expanding on his popular online flash puzzler Ir/rational Redux with a detective-themed commercial follow-up called Ir/rational Investigator.  Players will control Rick Lombardo, a "private dick in a town short on cops and overflowing with scum."  A former insurance investigator, Rick is tired of small-time cases. What he really wants is a murder case, but he should be careful what he wishes for, because he just might get it. 

Described by Jubert as "Professor Layton with propositional logic and more detectives", Ir/rational Investigator presents players with a variety of characters who "might provide some information, offer Rick a new case, or present an argument (puzzle) for the player to complete."  Unlike so many detective games that solve the case for you, however, this noir-flavoured game requires that players "solve crimes by constructing and deploying logical arguments, and picking holes in those of their opponents."

Currently in production for PC and iPhone, the first of the Ir/rational Investigator's 1-3 hour cases is due for release next year.