Adventure News
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June 2014

17

Jun

It may not sound like there's a whole lot of adventuring possible in a game called The Little Acre, but there is when it leads to a whole new dimension for a father-daughter team in the upcoming indie offering from Irish developer Pewter Game Studios.

From inside his garden shed, Aidan is transported into another dimension through one of his father's eccentric inventions. There he meets a variety of characters who "eat by taking 'life essence' from the living things around them and in doing so take on the characteristics of the things they feed from." One such local, an age-old villager named Twiggy, offers Aidan help in getting home in exchange for rescuing some friends from a town prison. Meanwhile, his daughter Lily is also transported into this mysterious world and begins to "figure out the mystery of this strange world and her missing father and grandfather."

As seen in the early screenshots and trailer, The Little Acre is a fully voiced, hand-drawn, point-and-click 2D adventure, but the alternate dimension gives the game several distinct qualities that makes it stand out from its contemporaries. While the family farm in the regular world is shown in the usual side-view format with traditional-style puzzles, the other dimension provides for a rather dramatic change, both visually and in terms of gameplay. Here the view shifts to an isometric perspective, and puzzle solving for Aidan centers around a "gauntlet device he wears and certain types of plants that you encounter throughout the game. Each of these plants has an 'essence' such as being sleepy, explosive, attractive, etc. and the player can use the gauntlet to suck in this essence and shoot it at other items to essentially transfer this essence into another item." Lily, too, has a unique way of overcoming obstacles in this world.

While the gameplay in this other dimension is described as "a little more action-based", the developers have confirmed that the obstacles don't require significant dexterity. Instead, the puzzles are designed to offer a change of pace from the traditional adventure approach while still "very much solved by thinking about them in your own time."

The Little Acre is currently in development for PC, Mac, and Linux, and if all goes well we could be seeing the game as early as the end of this year. In the meantime, you can vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



12

Jun

You might not look for a "philosophical first-person puzzle game" from Croteam, ceators of the Serious Sam series, but that's exactly what we're going to get when The Talos Principle is released this fall.

While story details are still scarce at the moment, The Talos Principle promises to immerse players in an "increasingly difficult series of complex puzzles woven into a metaphysical parable about intelligence and meaning in an inevitably doomed world." There will be more than 120 puzzles all told, which you will experience "through the eyes of an advanced artificial intelligence construct" as you attempt to "unveil your significance at the behest of your creators." In order to succeed, players must "deploy sophisticated technology furnished by the creators to unravel each predicament entombed within digital recreations of humanity’s ruins. Divert drones, disable turrets, and even replicate time to prove your worth beneath an ancient sky."

We know the developers will have the free-roaming, first-person adventuring down pat, as the game is built on Croteam's own Serious Engine 4 technology, but there's plenty of thought-provoking, adventure-related experience behind the game's story as well, as The Talos Principle is written by Jonas Kyratzes (Infinite Ocean, The Sea Will Claim Everything) and Tom Jubert (The Swapper, FTL).

Currently in development for PC, Mac, Linux, and the PlayStation 4, The Talos Principle is not far off, as the targeted release will be some time in the third quarter of this year.



11

Jun

Daedalic and author Kevin Mentz are leaving behind Memoria's fantasy settings of Aventuria for Victorian-era steampunk in their latest adventure, The Devil's Men, announced today at E3.

The Devil's Men stars 20-year-old Adelaide Spektor, the daughter of famous detective Karol Spektor, who abandoned her as a child. Adelaide lives in a small seaside town beset by a series of murders that trace back to "the old exhibition grounds, where ruins of steel and glass are the new shelter to a gang of waifs and strays, misfits and tramps." With these outsiders asserting more and more influence in town through any means necessary, the principled Adelaide hides in fear of being discovered by the colony and forced into their ranks. When she "witnesses the murder of her father’s old friend, she sees her chance to find Karol Spektor and reclaim her former place in society. But only the notorious colonist and double murderer Emily can help take up Adelaide’s father’s trail."

The game's title is named after a "coterie of scientists who exceeded the limits of the spiritual and material world decades ago, yet are bizarrily perishing one after another." Players will need to guide the two protagonists in their efforts to find the connection between these "Devil's Men" and Karol Spector. Naturally, since this is Daedalic, this will all take place in gorgeous hand-painted environments in "a world made of steampunk elements amidst a fictitious Victorian England." Along the way, there will not not only be "challenging puzzles" to overcome but many opportunities to influence the storyline, as gamers "will have to consider all the possible ways to solve a puzzle, because every decision might change the story."

The Devil's Men is currently on pace for release sometime in spring 2015.



3

Jun

Usually "dark adult fantasy settings" and player-controlled character customization are reserved for RPGs, but indie developer Guru Meditation plans to bring this combination to the adventure genre in The Weavers, albeit with a little action element sprinkled in for good measure.

While plot details are still sketchy at this point, The Weavers spins the yarn of Albrecht, a reckless, ruthless young thief who finds himself blackmailed and disgraced. Without the protection of his former organization, Albrecht must first simply try to escape a stalking enemy, but his adventure soon becomes far more complex, taking him "beyond the veil of normality, encroaching into new planes of existence and completely disrupting his perspective on reality."

Inspired by the point-and-click classics, The Weavers is a hand-drawn, high-resolution adventure, but it is far from a traditional experience. Players will be able to customize Albrecht using three different talent trees in order to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. According to the developers, one branch allows for a more aggressive approach, while another emphasizes social interactions, and the third is all about cunning and adaptability. You can choose to specialize in one area or try to balance two or three, and your decisions will impact the paths available to you. There will also be some action scenes and Quick Time Events in order to provide "a bit of thrill" throughout the game.

Currently in production for Windows, Mac, and Linux, there is no firm release deadline yet for The Weavers, as the developers are planning to launch a Kickstarter for the game in September. In the meantime, you can learn more about it at the official website. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.

 



2

Jun

A promise of torment and sorrow may not sound like a good time, but context is everything, as evidenced by OhNoo Studio's upcoming point-and-click-adventure, Tormentum: Dark Sorrow, currently raising funds through Indiegogo.

Tormentum casts players as the unnamed hero who awakens to find himself trapped in a cage being dragged by a zeppelin-like flying machine. His lone memory is a "faint vision of a hill with a sculpture... depicting a forest of human hands, raised towards the sky. If only he was able to find that place, then maybe his memory would return as well." In order to reach his destination, however, he'll first need to escape a castle imprisonment and traverse a dangerous world on the border of dreams and nightmares.

The amnesiac hero premise may be what the developers admit is a "seemingly hackneyed plot", but what sets Tormentum apart is its surreal setting. As seen in the early teaser and screenshots, the game's hand-painted 2D backgrounds are inspired by artists like Polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski and the Swiss painter, H.R.Giger, with the goal of creating a "world full of darkness and depression." There will be three distinct lands to explore, each with its own architecture, weather, and creatures inhabiting it. Along with a variety of characters to interact with, who may either help or hinder your progress, and puzzles to solve to bypass different locks, traps, gates, and the like, Tormentum will also pose moral choices for players to make that will impact the outcome of the story.

In order to make this disturbing vision a reality for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS and Android devices by the end of this year, OhNoo has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, seeking $9,000 by August 1st. As a fixed funding campaign, the developers will receive the money only if the goal is fully met by the target date. A minimum $9 pledge will earn backers a DRM-free download of the game, which is projected to provide between 4-6 hours of gameplay.

To learn more about the game and contribute to the campaign, visit the Tormentum Indiegogo page for complete details.You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



1

Jun

Calling Clown's Secret a throwback might conjure up visions of low-res pixel art and a chiptune soundtrack, but the upcoming debut point-and-click adventure from indie developer Expression Studios goes much farther back than that. We're not talking 1990s retro here, or even 1980s; think 1920s, the heyday of black-and-white cinema and silent films, and of Charlie Chaplin in particular.

Expression Studios are big fans of The Tramp: the plot of Clown's Secret is inspired by Monsieur Verdoux, and the developers are packing the game full of references to other silent film classics. The leads in their little farce are Hal and Halbert, a detective duo who have been tasked with investigating the disappearance of a wealthy and recently married woman in the city of Tomainia. Hal is young, impulsive and naive, while Halbert is older and calmer, a thinker rather than a talker. Together they'll have to (among other things) turn a lamp into a megaphone, cross a lake by car, put on a dress to flirt with pirates and use the smallest parachute in the world. Not to mention somehow manage to catch a murderer along the way.

The graphics will be in black-and-white (of course), but crisply hand-drawn in a naive style. Like the silent films that serve as its inspiration, it won't be entirely silent, with a score that mixes silent film music with a dash of jazz. And instead of the dialogue cards you might be expecting, the characters will converse via animated pictograms, Machinarium-style. More surprisingly, though, the characters won't be completely quiet either: you'll hear them chatting to each other in gibberish as the animations play out.

Clown's Secret is set to be unveiled for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android devices by the end of 2014. If you want to find out more, you can visit the official website or the developer's blog.




May 2014

25

May

If you were stranded on alien planet with just one adventure game to play, which would you choose? You might want to pick Curve Studios’ Stranded, as the newly-released retro indie adventure might just help you survive.

Stranded casts players in the role of an astronaut who awakens to find himself alone on the “sun-blasted wasteland of an alien planet,” his ship apparently wrecked while he was in cryostasis. Around him, as “shards of platinum-iridium alloy puncture the shimmering alien sand, the wind passes quietly over dead hydrocolliders.” With no immediate way home and time running out, it’s up to players to guide the astronaut in his exploration of this strange landscape.

Presented in an early ‘90s pixel art style, the game is a deliberate throwback to all things retro adventure gaming. Stranded is a point-and-click adventure, and its design stresses a slow, exploratory approach over quick reflexes or large action set-pieces. Rather than following a trail of storypoint breadcrumbs, players are allowed to uncover the mysteries of this planet on their own terms.

Stranded is now available for PC on Steam and the developer’s website.



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