Adventure News
 


December 2012

28

Dec

'Tis the season for giving, and while it may be better to give than to receive, when it comes to the crowdfunding appeals for The Red Queen of Oz: The Two Fates and Tainted Fate, you'll be able to do both at the same time.


The Red Queen of Oz: The Two Fates


After successfully raising funds for a graphic novel called The Red Queen of Oz, now indie developer Bryan Wiegele (Inherent Evil, Delaware St. John) and Perpetual Games have set their sights on an adventure game by the same name, subtitled The Two Fates. Combining elements from both Lewis Carroll's Wonderland series and L. Frank Baum's Oz collection, The Red Queen of Oz casts players in the dual roles of Alice and Dorothy as they "revisit curious locations in Oz and Wonderland and quest to find a way to stop the Red Queen of Hearts from destroying both lands!"

The Red Queen of Oz promises two different game modes: There's a point-and-click traditional adventure based on the graphic novel but featuring many more characters, locations and stories to supplement its story-driven quests and puzzles. Or if you'd like a chance to whup some butt of the Red Queen's minions and other "wicked creatures that stand in your way", an alternate version of the game includes some turn-based combat. (EDIT: Since time of writing, the combat option has been removed, leaving only the more conventional adventure version available.)

With a targeted launch date of August 2013, the "two fates" of Wonderland and Oz are in jeopardy in more ways than one. According to Wiegele, the game will only be produced if it reaches its crowdfunding goal of $95,000 by January 25th. The game will be developed for PC, Mac, and Linux (with additional platforms available through stretch goals), and pledge tiers involving a DRM-free download of the game begin at $15, with higher amounts including rewards such digital and hard copy versions of the graphic novel, T-Shirts, Cheshire Cat plushies, and more.

A work-in-progress preview version of the first ten pages of the graphic novel has recently been released, outlining the origins of this curiouser and curiouser blend of popular fables.  For more information about The Red Queen of Oz: The Two Fates, and to contribute to the fundraising campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for full details.


Tainted Fate


Disaster looms in another two-protagonist adventure as well, though Misfit Village's Tainted Fate is certainly no fairy tale. Instead, the first-person horror adventure casts players in two different roles in two entirely different timelines on the same island, each of which will challenge you to "escape horrifying monsters, solve puzzles and make decisions that will alter yourself and the shape of the world."

In the 1940s, a man convicted of murder is abandoned on the island for life as punishment, but "strange things start to happen as you explore the island, later developing into a story full of mystery, arcane magic twisted with technology and terrifying hostile beings." In 2012, an amateur filmmaker arrives on the island to investigate rumoured paranormal phenomena, and what she discovers guarantees her the "most terrifying film of her life."

Croatian developer Mladen Bošnjak compares Tainted Fate to Amnesia in a more open-world environment, promising "lots of puzzles" with some RPG elements as well. The action quotient will be minimal, as you can't hurt the island's monsters, but the developer claims there will be "big scale boss fights" late in the game. The horror here promises to be fairly overt, and the choices you make will lead to various branching paths and endings.

With a modest goal of $3,000 by January 23rd, Bošnjak has a surprisingly candid reason for fundraising that many of us can surely relate to: a new computer! He's committed to releasing Tainted Fate for PC and Mac even without the funds if necessary, though improved equipment will ensure better quality as he attempts to release the game before the end of 2013. To get a feel for how the game is coming along so far, a pre-alpha tech demo is available.

A $10 pledge will get backers a download of the game and your name in the credits, while higher pledges include the likes of personalized graffiti, early beta access, and any number of unlockable extras based on your own design. You can learn more about Tainted Fate and contribute to the project at the Indiegogo crowdfunding page. You can also vote for the game on Greenlight if you'd like to see it released on Steam upon completion.



22

Dec

If you're in the mood for a little festive holiday gaming this year, you don't need to wait for Santa to deliver it, as there are several new (and old) Christmas adventures to choose from right now.
 

Quiet Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all though the house... pretty much everything was still stirring and keeping you awake. All you really want is to go to bed and dream of sugar plums, but in Quiet Christmas, the "tree is broken, the house is too cold, Mr. Peabody's tacky Xmas display is annoying and as always your brother won't go to bed."

In this holiday sequel to the equally retro-styled Quiet, Please!, indie developer Nostatic Software has delivered another lighthearted quest for a silent night. Selling for less than a dollar, Quiet Christmas is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
 

Christmas Stories: Nutcracker

If you don't mind a little hidden object hunting mixed in with your classic seasonal adaptations, look no further than Elephant Games' Christmas Stories: Nutcracker. After arriving at a Christmas ball, you discover that a wicked Rat King has turned a pair of lovers into toys in his jealous rage. You must help the Nutcracker rescue his beloved Mary, but you'll have only one night to break the curse, and you must deal with an army of rats and a variety of secrets hidden throughout the castle in order to succeed. 

Loosely based on E.T.A. Hoffman's 19th century short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Christmas Stories: Nutcracker is available exclusively at Big Fish Games in both Collector's Edition and standard version downloads.
 

Christmas Quest

Last but far from least (though certainly the cheapest), it's time once again to remind you of Adventure Gamers' own holiday trilogy, Christmas Quest. In this series, a lovable young dork is eager to unwrap the "best adventure game ever!" from Santa. But it seems everything is out to prevent that from happening. The tree bulbs are out, the kitchen pipes are ready to burst, and the ancient computer is on the fritz. As if that wasn't enough, a wayward elf accidentally left behind by jolly ol' Saint Nick seems to be more hindrance than help.

Released one game per year from 2005-2007, the ever-evolving Christmas Quest games have lost none of their charm, humour, great looks, or rough edges we never got around to fixing in the five years since. Best of all, they're still available at the low, low price of absolutely free! And really, who's NOT out of money at this point in the year? Simply click to download the following links, unzip, and enjoy.

Christmas Quest: The Best Adventure Game Ever!

Christmas Quest 2: The Yuletide Flows In

Christmas Quest 3: Santa's Little Help Desk



20

Dec

With multiple serial killers still stalking innocent victims, there's no time to waste for Erica Reed, so Phoenix Online is sending her right back into harm's way next month with the second episode of Cognition.

The new installment is named after The Wise Monkey, a murderer who gruesomely mutilates his (or her) victims. The Wise Monkey has kidnapped a friend of Erica's, leaving the Boston FBI agent "in a race against time to save his life. With the Wise Monkey case in her hands and the FBI's resources already stretched thin, she's on her own to find the killer before it’s too late - again."

The Wise Monkey is scheduled for release on PC and Mac on January 30th, and like its predecessor will be available for purchase either as a single episode or full season (discounted) pass from download portals such as GamersGate, GameStop, and Rain Digital Games.  If you'd like to see the game released on Steam, you can vote for it through the Greenlight program. There's good news for mobile gamers as well, as Episode 1: Hangman is also due to launch in January on iOS platforms.

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



14

Dec

We may be approaching a sacred holiday season, but there are more Shadows on the Vatican looming, as the first game details and trailer have just been released for the upcoming second act, Wrath.

In the debut episode of this four-part series, American doctor James Murphy returned to Rome for the first time since he quite the priesthood, responding to a plea for help from an old friend. But when his friend was seriously injured for the secret knowledge he possessed, Murphy himself became embroiled in an investigation that has deeper political and religious consequences than he ever could have imagined.

In the second installment, an assassin named Silvia has now become the hunted for failing to carry out her latest assignment. As an "expendable pawn", her only chance for survival is "to face the deadly conspirator openly". But doing so requires a "forced alliance with her ex-target", in which James and Silvia must come to terms with their own limitations.

Although the game's trailer refers to a 2012 release, the downloadable English version of the game isn't quite ready yet, as Italian publisher Adventure Productions hopes to launch the localized version late next month. In the meantime, to learn more about Shadows on the Vatican, check out the game's official website.



12

Dec

It seems that parting will be such sweet sorrow for fans of Deponia next fall, as Daedalic Entertainment today revealed the name and release timeline of the series finale.

No firm details about the plot have yet been revealed, but of course Goodbye Deponia will pick up from the events of the previous game to conclude the oddball comedy adventure of Rufus in his attempt to save (while personally escaping) the trash-strewn planet of Deponia and win the girl (the brain-implanted Goal from the foating utopia of Elysium).

The final episode is due to release in German in early autumn 2013, and with any luck, the English version will be available simultaneously or shortly thereafter.



11

Dec

If you like your blood-splatted, zombie-infested adventure drama served up on bright shiny discs, you now have your chance as the full season of Telltale's The Walking Dead has been released in North American stores.

Based on Robert Kirkman's comic series but not following the same characters, The Walking Dead thrusts players into the midst of a zombie apocalypse outside Atlanta. Convicted killer Lee Everett and a small band of survivors, including an eight year old girl named Clementine who's been separated from her parents, must overcome all odds to not only fend off the undead "walkers", but survive attacks by other hostile survivors and even deadly in-fighting amongst themselves. 

While there is plenty of zombie-killing (on both sides) in The Walking Dead, involving a light amount of reflex-driven Quick Time Events, the five-episode season is really about the travails of a small group of strangers who must set aside their differences to work together for the common good, even as all hope seems to continually crumble around them. Player choice is essential in determining how events play out, how others respond to you, and in some cases, even who lives or dies.

If you've missed out on all our Walking Dead coverage so far, the season recently concluded with one of the most emotionally-charged adventure games ever made, earning a rare 5-star Adventure Gamers rating. As each episode must be played in order, however, you'll want to start at the beginning with a look at our review of the first episode.

The full-season retail release is now available in North America for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The console versions are available at most major retailers, but the PC version is available exclusively at Best Buy. Details on disc releases outside of North America are expected to be announced soon.



10

Dec

Perfection may not be attainable, but the first volume of Reperfection most certainly is on select download portals.

In the first of five planned episodes by former Cranberry Production designers now operating as Tinnitus Games, Reperfection follows the tragic tale of Ben Freeman, whose happy life in the suburbs is abruptly ripped apart one day when his wife is killed in a car accident. But can the tragedy be averted?  In his grief, Ben discovers a unique ability to travel back in time and space to the point of the accident and change the course of events. The problem is, "the price for saving his beloved is higher than he could imagine..."

Displayed almost exclusively in black and white, with colour denoting only key objects, Reperfection is navigated through a series of comic panels that increase and adapt as you progress, as what you do in the past impacts your present day reality. To learn more about the game, check out our interview with writer Anne von Vaszary.

Reperfection: Volume 1 is currently available exclusively for download at Desura and Zodiac.



9

Dec

In an intriguing mash-up of genre conventions and themes, Phobia Interactive's A Short Tale of Solitude looks ready to challenge all sorts of preconceptions when it's released early next year.

Described by indie developer Łukasz Wysk as a blend of adventure, survival horror, and "slasher" game, A Short Tale of Solitude tells the story of a young boy named Sebastien, who is sent to an orphanage when his parents suddenly died. The first thing you'll notice about the game is its black-and-white colour palette and unusual “non template” character models. This helps create a very distinctive look meant to "deliberately emphasize the surreal journey through the world of the imagination of a 'sick' child." In his travels, Sebastien will encounter a variety of chests that act as portals to the other dimensions, including different timelines and nightmare realms.

A full 3D adventure controlled by keyboard and mouse, A Short Tale of Solitude involves adventure elements like exploring and a lot of puzzle-solving, while also including some Quick Time Events, both to affect the storyline and to ensure Sebastien's safety (as a small, weak child, he must avoid confrontation whenever possible, such as hiding under a bed). But the game includes some light RPG elements as well, including visual customization of Sebastien and a choice of physical or mental "power" that will influence how you interact and respond to the world around you. Player choice is also important, as the game will adapt to the key decisions you make.

Currently eligible for voting on Steam Greenlight, A Short Tale of Solitude is currently on track for release some time in the first quarter of 2013.  For more details about the game in the meantime, drop by the official website.



5

Dec

If you're looking for some last-minute Christmas gift ideas, there's something new for the fantasy, supernatural comedy, and sci-fi adventure game lovers on your list with the release of The Critter Chronicles, Haunted, and Primordia, all in one glorious day.
 

The Critter Chronicles

The long awaited prequel to KING Art's acclaimed The Book of Unwritten Tales tells the story of how human treasure hunter Nate managed to find himself teamed up with the purple-haired Critter. In Critter's home village, an evil warlock is threatening the entire tribe, while Critter himself is hopelessly smitten by the chieftain's daughter. Seeing a way to help each other out, the two join forces for their first mutual adventure.

Currently available exclusively for download (a disc version is expected in the UK early next year), The Critter Chronicles can be found at popular download portals like The Adventure Shop, GOG.com, and Steam, currently at a discounted launch price at all three places.
 

Haunted

The even longer-awaited supernatural adventure from Deck13 has been through a lot to reach this point, but at last the English localization has arrived. In this 19th century comic romp, a girl named Mary seeks her younger sister she previously presumed dead, and her special ability to see and talk to ghosts results in an oddball assortment of spectral companions joining her to "help" along the way. But they'll need to be quick, as the ruthless Professor Ashford is tracking their every move all the way from London to Transylvania, with several stops in between, and the fate of the entire spirit world may depend on their success.

Haunted is available now in both disc and downloadable versions from Viva Media, or download-only from GamersGate (and coming soon to The Adventure Shop).
 

Primordia

In a desolate, post-apocalyptic future beyond mankind, only the robots survive in Wormwood Studios' Primordia. The story follows two particular bots, Horatio Nullbuilt (version 5) and his wisecracking, floating sidekick Crispin. When their precious power core is ruthlessly stolen, the two set out of a journey to retrieve it, but their search also yields "unexpected discoveries about Horatio's origins, his purpose, and the world he thought he understood."

For a short time longer, Primordia is available in disc form directly from the publisher, Wadjet Eye Games, after which only the download version will remain. The download version is also available now at GOG.com and Steam (one of the first entries voted in through the Greenlight program).



2

Dec

If you've got a little money left over in the kitty, you just might want to break it out for The Cat Lady, a new horror adventure released today by Screen 7.

Created by Rem Michalski, the indie developer behind the cult hit Downfall, The Cat Lady follows the surreal tale of Susan Ashworth. After attempting to kill herself, Susan finds herself in a dreamlike world between life and death, where she is reluctantly given a second chance. Determined to make the best of it, Susan is now under suicide watch and she'll need to deal with several human "parasites" who will attempt to do her harm even as she struggles to find new meaning for her life.

The Cat Lady is currently available either as a DRM-free digital download for £9.99, or in two different disc versions starting at £16.99 (free worldwide shipping) from the publisher's website, where you can also find a demo of the game.