Adventure News
 


October 2012

31

Oct

If you've been wondering what awaits in Simon Mesnard's upcoming ASA: A Space Adventure, now you can probe the question in earnest in a playable demo of the game.

As an astronaut repairing an old satellite in the year 2057, you find yourself teleported by a mysterious black cube in space to an unknown spaceship. Cut off from your own craft, you must explore the ship and a pair of uncharted planets if you're to figure out a way back home. 

The demo drops you onto one of the planets with no explanation or instructions. Like the Myst series, which Mesnard cites as an inspiration, you must simply begin exploring in order to piece together both your objectives and the means to achieve them.

Weighing in at 274 MB, the playable sampler is a "pre-beta" demo that isn't fully indicative of the final version. There are currently no sound effects, for example, and the demo runs only in a window where the full game will run in full-screen mode. You can download the demo directly from the developer.

ASA: A Space Adventure is currently due for release sometime before the end of the year. In the meantime, check out the developer's blog for more details about the game.



30

Oct

We all knew it was coming (hey, we have cognitive powers too!), but the lengthy build-up to the first episode of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller comes to an end today with the release of Episode 1: Hangman.

With help from acclaimed designer Jane Jensen as story consultant, Cognition marks the first commercial adventure from Phoenix Online Studios, the team behind the King's Quest fan sequel The Silver Lining. In this planned four-part series, players control the titular FBI agent in Boston who's still plagued by the unsolved murder of her brother. Since his death, Erica has developed post-cognitive abilities such as "seeing an object’s past with a touch" which she must put to good use when it becomes clear that different killers on the loose are leaving clues that only her special powers can perceive.

Offered exclusively for download, the first episode of Cognition is available worldwide today as either a single episode or full-season pass from GamersGate.  Rain Digital Games also offers both single episode and full season options worldwide except in Europe, while GameStop is selling only the season pass, again worldwide except for Europe.

Adventure Gamers will have our Episode 1 review posted soon, but in the meantime, be sure to check out our preview of the game and our interview with the game's designer, César Bittar.



27

Oct

The first AdventureX game conference in the UK was so much fun, the organizers are doing it again! Only this time, it'll be be bigger, based in London, and need some fundraising help up front to get it off the ground.

Coordinated by Screen 7, Adventure X debuted modestly last December outside of Oxford, with such guests as Discworld Noir's Chris Bateman, AGS creator Chris Jones, and Nelly Cootalot developer Alastair Beckett-King. With the original meeting place unavailable this year, the venue will be moving to a more accessible London location, and new guests include the likes of Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games and writer Stephen Marley, whose adventure game credits include Dreamweb's "Diary of a Madman", among others.  Beckett-King will be returning as well to lead a "humorous interactive 'choose your own adventure' game".

Along with the guest speakers, the two-day conference promises to include "short game design masterclasses" and hands-on time with such upcoming titles as Primordia, Quest for Infamy, and Screen 7's own The Cat Lady, Kinky Island, and A Night At Camp Ravenwood, to name just a few.  A "pub quiz" competition will also be held, raffle draws with a variety of prizes will take place throughout the event, and visitors are invited to an afterparty at the Pipeline pub next door at the close of the event.

In order to successfully stage the 2012 event, however, the AdventureX hosts need to raise $2,200 by November 4th. They're more than 2/3 of the way to their goal on Indiegogo, but time is running out. Pledge rewards begin as low as $5, with each tier at $15 and above promising free "priority entry" plus increasing packages of contest coupons. 

If the conference is successfully funded, entry will be free even to those who don't pledge, but with a limit of 200-250 people at a time, walk-ins aren't guaranteed seating. 

AdventureX 2012 will be located in central London at the University of East Anglia, just outside of the Liverpool St. underground station.  The conference will run on December 15-16th, with doors opening at 11am each day. 

For complete details about the event, check out the Indiegogo fundraising campaign and the official AdventureX website.



26

Oct

After a slow start, the adventure genre picked up some major steam on the Nintendo 3DS this week.  Hot on the heels of the North American launch of Zero Escape, now the Europeans get their turn with today's launch of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City.
 

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

After four successful adventures on the plain ol' 2D DS, the top-hatted archaeologist and puzzle-solver extraordinaire is springing into his first 3D adventure in Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask.

Responding to a call for help from an old friend, Layton and his cohorts Luke and Emmy arrive in the city of Monte d’Or right before a carnival parade. But casting a pall over the festivities is the presence of a masked man performing "magically dark miracles, such as turning citizens to stone." Suspecting it's related to the powerful "Mask of Chaos", Layton reflects "back to a dark episode of his past, which may hold the solution to the problems of the present. These flashbacks introduce Layton’s parents and childhood friend Randall, and allow you to play as the 17 year-old Layton, who pays a high price for discovering his passion for archaeology…"

Promising 150 brand new puzzles and three new minigames, Miracle Mask still features the same charming hand-drawn artwork of its predecessors, but to make use of the new handheld's unique capabilities, it uses 3D animations and character models and includes "a brand new game mode that sees the young Professor Layton explore ancient ruins and requires you to help him reach the exits of a series of puzzling chambers while avoiding a variety of obstacles and mummy enemies."

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is available for purchase from UK retailers now, as well as via download from the Nintendo eShop. The North American launch is still a couple days away, with an expected release date of October 28th.


Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City

This has been a big month for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective. First it was the acclaimed release of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, and now the master sleuth is back in an all-new 3DS puzzle-adventure, Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City.

After an unparalleled two-day blizzard in London that has blanketed the city in snow and ice, Sherlock Holmes "receives a telegram coming from the Annual Exhibition of Inventions, taking place in the Great Hall of Scientific Discoveries at the very heart of the city: the storm might not be natural... Finally a case worthy of Sherlock Holmes’ great mind!"

Developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, the game promises to make good use of the handheld's unique features as it sends Holmes and Watson to "collect the clues, interrogate numerous and colorful characters, and crack dozens of fascinating puzzles and brain teasers."

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City is available today at major UK retailers. There is no word yet on a possible North American release of the game.


(Note that 3DS games are region-restricted.)



26

Oct

Normally adventures involve solving crimes, but in the newly-released Lucius, players will be committing them, often in the most diabolical ways. 

The wickedness comes naturally – or perhaps supernaturally – in this free-roaming 3D adventure, as players control the devil's own son in a pursuit to harvest souls. Born to wealthy (and entirely human) parents, Lucius seems like a normal boy until his sixth birthday, when Satan appears in his dreams, revealing his true legacy thanks to a pact signed by his ancestor. From this point on, it's Lucius's task to "accomplish the missions of Evil and gain control of the world."

The demon child's most immediate priority is disposing of "all his family members and service staff at the manor, one horrible, devious and painful death at a time in order to be able to make their wealth and powers his." He'll need to do it carefully, however, in order to avoid being discovered. Aiding him in his grisly assassinations are a variety of supernatural powers, including telekinesis and mind control.

Developed exclusively for PC, Lucius is available now in UK stores, and digitally through various portals like The Adventure Shop and Steam. As its subject matter suggests, the game features mature subject matter and is not recommended for children.



24

Oct

If you like your adventures a little deadly, there are dangers on multiple platforms today, as Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward has been launched on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, while Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device has shipped for PC and Mac.

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward

Zero Escape is the "spiritual sequel" to 999: 9 Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, in which players control a young man named Sigma. Kidnapped from the parking lot of his school, Sigma and a girl named Phi find themselves trapped in an elevator as a "green monitor flips on and a strange rabbit appears, introducing itself as 'Zero III.'  Zero III explains that they are about to play the 'Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition,' a deadly game of life and death.  What’s in store for Sigma, Phi, and the seven others they eventually meet? Why have these nine been chosen, and most importantly, who will they ally with and who will they betray?"

Like its predecessor, the game includes two different play modes: the "Novel” stages advance a suspenseful new storyline leading to multiple endings, while the “Escape” stages allow players to explore 3D environments that can rotated and zoomed in for clues and "solve complex puzzles in order to escape rooms."

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is now shipping to major retailers in North America for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. The UK version is a little farther behind, expected to launch sometime next month. 

 

Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device

The stakes aren't quite as high in Nancy Drew's 27th adventure from Her Interactive, but the teen sleuth finds herself investigating the mysterious death of a physicist in a "top-secret Tesla-inspired facility." Now it’s up to Nancy to bring the murderer to justice without becoming the latest victim of the deadly device herself.

Developed for both PC and Mac, the retail version of Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device is available now in North American stores and at the official website for worldwide ordering of both disc and digital verisons.



23

Oct

Indie developers Jake Elliott and Tamas Kemenczy of Cardboard Computer haven't been letting the bluegrass grow under their feet since successfully crowdfunding their five-part adventure series Kentucky Route Zero, as the first episode is set to launch this December.

Kentucky Route Zero is a "magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in Kentucky and the mysterious folks who travel it." The central protagonist is an antique furniture deliveryman named Conway as he "attempts to complete the final delivery for his financially troubled employer. Along the way he'll meet dozens of strange characters and make a few new friends to help him overcome the obstacles in his path."

Rather than an emphasis on puzzle-solving, Kentucky Route Zero is more of an exploratory, reflective experience that focuses on "storytelling, characterization and set-pieces". Such set-pieces includes one in which "Conway meets a robotic country singer named Junebug who is trapped in the abandoned restaurant that once employed her, and has to explore the cavernous depths below the restaurant in order to shut down a security system and free her. In another, Conway and his companions explore a Civil War era battleship that ran ashore in an underground river hundreds of years ago and is now populated entirely by cats."

Kentucky Route Zero is presented in 3D, though as the lastest trailer suggests, it's been stylized to play as a 2D point-and-click adventure. According to the developers, they have been "playing a lot with the metaphor of theatrical stage sets, albeit very complex ones. Different environments have different camera behavior."

The two-man team has been working hard on the game since its successful Kickstarter campaign back in January 2011, and that effort is about to pay off with the downloadable launch of the first episode in December at the official website. The remaining four episodes are due to release sometime during the course of the next year.



23

Oct

It won't come quite in time for Halloween, but before November's full moon rises you'll be able to get your paws on a new indie horror called Guise of the Wolf.

In Guise of the Wolf, a 17th century alchemist named Dominik "receives a mysterious invitation, requesting his help in stopping a ravenous creature. Dominik's carriage is attacked on his way to the castle of his summoner. Though he is cared for, Dominik suffers from a wound on his arm. Soon after, he begins to unearth the secret of the castle; a lupine curse which will haunt him in his search for a cure."

But the curse with which he's afflicted will also prove a help to Dominik. As he seeks out the necessary ingredients, the ability to transform into a werewolf becomes essential to progress. The lupine form allows you to "leap over obstacles and run faster, shatter chained gates to open new paths, while the human form enables you to unlock doors, use items, mix potions and talk to characters." Some puzzles will require alternating between forms in order to succeed. At other times, you'll find yourself running and hiding from other evil creatures stalking the castle.

As the recent trailer for the game shows, Guise of the Wolf is not a traditional adventure, instead blending puzzle-solving with survival horror and even platforming elements in its realtime 3D presentation. Jake Pawkloski, Producer for indie developer FUN Creators, claims that the "primary gameplay is similar to Amnesia, and is also visually nostalgic of the Thief series."

In advance of its November 15th launch date, preorders are available now directly from the developer's website for $14.99 USD.



19

Oct

There's really never been anything quite like Quest for Glory, so leave it to original series creators Lori and Corey Cole to step in and fill the void.  Continuing the flood of acclaimed Golden Age game designers returning to the fold, the Coles have launched a Kickstarter campaign for their ambitious new project, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

In Hero-U, a young would-be thief named Shawn O'Conner leaves his rough upbringing behind to attend the titular school, a place that "tries to teach young adventurers to be heroes. Shawn can continue his quest to join the Thieves' Guild, or he can strive to become a Rogue Hero. He has a lot to learn to succeed at either path."

If you were never quite sure whether Quest for Glory was more an adventure game or RPG, it seems you'll be just as unsure about Hero-U. As the "spiritual successor" to QFG, the new game promises to combine "classic RPG skills and combat with the rich character relationships of Persona, and the story and puzzles of Quest for Glory in a single challenging game experience."

Hero-U is played from a pseudo-top-down perspective filled with "traps, obstacles, and enemies for you to overcome as you explore the school and the ancient catacombs beneath it." Combat is tactical and turn-based, not a test of reflexes, while skill-building and decision-making affect how the story plays out, allowing gamers to tailor the experience the way they want to play.

Before anyone has the chance to fight some monsters, however, there's a fight to get the game made to contend with first. The Coles have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Hero-U, seeking $400,000 by November 20th. The tentative plan is to complete the game by fall 2013 if the target goal is met. As usual, pledge rewards vary by tier, including $20 for a DRM-free download of the game and higher levels that include the likes of soundtracks and artbooks, a boxed DVD version, early access to "Beta and Combat Balancing Tests", and a Hero-U Yearbook, among others.

To contribute a donation or simply learn more about the game, check out the developers' Kickstarter page and visit the official Hero-U website.



19

Oct

Normally the words "Iceberg, dead ahead!" represent a harbinger of doom, but in this case it's a promise of plenty of adventuring goodness, as Iceberg Interactive has just announced an agreement to publish not one but two Lost Crown sequels from Jonathan Boakes.

First up will be The Last Crown: Haunting of Hallowed Isle, a direct continuation of Darkling Room's popular 2008 supernatural thriller. Once again set on England's windswept coast and presented in black-and-white with accents of colour, The Last Crown sees Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans return for a new adventure with a "sea-faring queasy feel" as they "attempt to navigate a fishing boat out to Hallowed Isle."

A "moody, melancholy place; haunted by those who lived, worked and died there", Hallowed Isle "hides its secrets well, buried beneath centuries of bizarre history. Nigel and Lucy will need to use ALL of their new found ghost-hunting skills to unravel the mystery of who, or what, haunts the small, pine ridged island, four miles out at sea." Helping them in their quest is a new 'GhostGadget' prototype, for which players will need to find new parts in order to make the "most effective and powerful ghost-hunting device ever."

Although entitled The Last Crown, this will only be the middle installment of a trilogy, with The First Crown actually coming last.  There is no release target currently scheduled for the series finale, but Haunting of Hallowed Isle is on track for release sometime in 2013.

For more details about The Last Crown, be sure to drop by the official website.



16

Oct

Erica Reed may have the power to see into the past, but gamers who play the demo of Cognition will get an early glimpse of the upcoming first episode.

In this four-part episodic thriller from Phoenix Online Studios and story consultant Jane Jensen, Erica Reed is an FBI agent on the trail of four different serial killers in Boston. Years ago she lost her own brother to a murderer who was never caught, but during the search she developed the post-cognitive ability to see the past by touching affected objects. Now she's being left clues that specifically target this ability, but "who’s leaving the clues? How do they know her secret, and what do they want from her?"

The playable demo is over 700 MB in size and comes with different download links for North American and European gamers. There is still no firm release date for the full version of Episode 1 - Hangman, but it's approaching fast and full-season pre-orders are now available through GamersGate, GameStop, and Rain DG. The game is also available for voting on Steam's Greenlight program.

For more information about Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, check out our preview of the game and pop over to the official website.



15

Oct

With just one day to go before the launch of Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes, you can check out Deadalic's offbeat cartoon sequel for yourself in a playable browser-based demo.

Though Edna and the talking stuffed blue rabbit named Harvey still get top billing, Harvey's New Eyes actually stars a young student at a convent school named Lilli, the "best-behaved little girl in the world." No matter what injustices or indignities are imposed upon her, Lilli responds obediently and cheerfully, with any hint of rebelliousness "buried deep beneath a seemingly impenetrable shell of sweetness. But how long will these feelings stay hidden? And where do the friendly little censor-gnomes come from that paint over anything upsetting in Lilli’s vicinity with a pleasant pink color? Are they real or just a product of her subconscious?"

With the full game set to launch on the Adventure Shop and Steam on October 16th, you can try before you buy in the online demo available at Newgrounds, Kongregate, or Daedalic's Facebook page.  The demo takes place right at the beginning of the game, introducing young Lilli as she's forced to do menial chores by the school's child-loathing headmistress.



15

Oct

With Halloween fast approaching, it's about time for some new seasonal adventures, and the first supernatural mystery out of the chute is Cindy Pondillo's Haunting at Cliffhouse.

An indie adventure four years in the making, Haunting at Cliffhouse casts players in the role of a woman distraught over the tragic death of her husband. The Cliffhouse Bed and Breakfast seems like the perfect tonic, a "sanctuary of peace and serenity in your time of grief." But death clings closely to Cliffhouse as well, and "from the moment you ring the check-in bell, you are thrown into a world of mystery, family secrets and tragic history that will take you through time to unravel the buried scandals of the long-dead family dynasty who shaped the very coastline on which you stay.  Logging and love, mythology and magic, art and artifice; all conspire to turn your dream into a nightmare."

As the gameplay trailer suggests, Haunting at Cliffhouse is a blend of casual and traditional point-and-click adventuring, all fully voiced and presented in a first-person slideshow format. Unlike many indie adventures, Haunting at Cliffhouse is avaiable on CD (and only on CD). It's priced at $14.95 plus shipping directly from the developer's Mystery Manor website.



11

Oct

While many adventure games require puzzle-solving to unfold the storyline, a stylish new indie game called Gorogoa takes that concept one step further, as the storyline itself is folded into grid-based tiles that must be strategically manipulated.

If the thought of "sliding tiles" sends a shiver down your spine, rest assured that there's far more to Gorogoa than the traditional logic puzzle we've all encountered before. The game is split into four distinct panels, each of which can be slid into open spaces or overlaid on top of others. How the image in each panel connects (or doesn't) with those around or beneath will determine your progress. As indie developer Jason Roberts describes it, "each tile is also a window into a different part of the game world--or perhaps into a different world--and each window plays like its own little game."

If the concept sounds difficult to grasp in theory, you can already try it out first-hand. Though still a work in progress, Roberts has released a playable demo showcasing Gorogoa's unique mechanics and attractive hand-drawn presentation. The demo is under 200 MB in size and can be found at the official website.

Even with the demo, the story details are intentionally vague at this point, as the "sense of mystery" surrounding the events of the game is part ofthe experience, and Roberts claims he enjoys leaving things open to interpretation.

We'll have a bit of wait to discover the full story for ourselves, as the final version of Gorogoa is tentatively scheduled for completion late in 2013. The current plan is to launch for PC and Mac, with iOS and Android mobile versions to follow.



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