Adventure News
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March 2016

5

Mar

Many games revolve around investigating strange or unexplained murders, but only a few titles, such as Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, go a step further and make the player both investigator and unwilling perpetrator of the murder spree. Polish developer Pentacle seeks to weave the latter kind of tale in their upcoming first-person horror adventure The Works of Mercy, and has taken to Kickstarter in order to secure the necessary funding.

Inspired by films such as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, the plot begins with the protagonist’s wife and daughter kidnapped. In order to secure their release, the player is forced to commit horrifying murders of apparently random individuals. As the mystery deepens, you will be drawn into a “dark world” which gradually becomes a “surreal vision of the protagonist’s mind captured in a lethal trap.” In addition to investigating the usual questions, such as who the tormentor is and why he has targeted your family, the game promises to raise powerful philosophical questions as well, such as how far someone would go to save another’s life and how to cope with the guilt of killing seemingly innocent victims?


According to the developers, gameplay will contain "subtle elements of combat", with unexpected attacks from enemies, but the main focus will be on exploration to find items that unlock new areas and puzzle-solving to proceed in the game. A brief press demo allowed us to sample the game’s opening sequence, showcasing the photorealistic graphics inside the protagonist’s house, one of several environments in the full game. In freely exploring the 3D location, we were able to use the telephone; physically pick up, examine, and throw objects away; and rummage through the various rooms in the house. Dialogue trees during a phone conversation with the kidnapper, in which you’re instructed to call an escort service and lure a hooker to the house to be killed, allow for varied options in how to respond. The game will be presented in first-person perspective and may be played with keyboard and mouse. However, Pentacle is also planning support for “all major VR headsets,” promising enhanced immersion for players with access to such peripherals.

For gamers looking to support Pentacle’s endeavor to bring their psychological thriller to life, the Kickstarter goals are surprisingly modest at a mere $15,000 CAD, as the majority of funds needed for the game are coming from Pentacle’s own finances. Prospective backers can snag an early-bird copy of the game for $14 CAD, and $20 after that until the final deadline of March 19th. The proceeds from a successful campaign will go toward paying for more artists and “community-focused” development time, though the developers promise that the game will eventually be released no matter the outcome.

Production on The Works of Mercy is currently focused on PC, but releases on other platforms are planned for Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, though some of these releases are contingent on the success of the Kickstarter campaign.



3

Mar

Ron Gilbert's "The Cave" was a living, breathing entity, but imagine if an entire city were alive – what stories it could tell! What kind of stories? To find that answer, you might want to consider backing A Place for the Unwilling, which is currently seeking crowdfunding through Kickstarter.

A Place for the Unwilling is not about one big story, but many little mysteries to uncover. There is a larger story arc involving the possible destruction of the city if you don't intervene, but you are not a mighty hero and much of your time will be spent simply exploring the city, talking with your fellow inhabitants, and making the best use of your time. Described as a "sandbox game set in an open world", the clock is always running in this city, and as "each day will last a fixed amount of time, managing your schedule will be key, as you can’t be everywhere." As a trader fortunate enough to escape the factories, you must earn money by visiting clients and closing deals, and as you do, the threat to the city will become more apparent.


Other than being inspired by Lovecraft, little more has been revealed about the story so far by Spanish developer AlPixel Games, but that's because their main focus is on establishing the setting itself. Free exploration is central to the experience, but rather than creating a huge world filled with empty travel and irrelevant characters, A Place for the Unwilling will provide a more contained environment packed full of details to discover and "around 18" people that have been carefully crafted with with own personalities and backgrounds, all presented in a gorgeous painterly style.

Another change from traditional adventures is that the game will not feature puzzles so much as organic tasks that suit your role in this city, whether haggling over products, reading newspapers for profitable tips or additional story clues, eavesdropping on important conversations from a distance, or finding directions and tracking down certain characters on a given day – that is, if you manage to accomplish your objectives in time.

Sandbox-style adventures are few and far between, so if you're interested in A Place for the Unwilling, there's still time to support its Kickstarter campaign, which has just a couple weeks left to reach its goal of €20,000 by March 16th. A €15 minimum pledge will provide backers with a downloadable copy of the game for PC and Mac upon completion, which is currently on target for April 2017.




February 2016

28

Feb

How long has it been since you stumbled upon your last global conspiracy? Are you itching to find that apparently-innocuous thread that will unravel it all? Indie developer Henry Watson feels your pain, and is aiming to satisfy that thirst for arcane knowledge with Angels of Deception. The first part of a planned trilogy has just been uncovered in iOS devices to tickle your inner George Stobbart.

In Angels of Deception, Blake Turner is a British journalist investigating a break-in at a lesser-known London museum. Naturally, things aren't as simple as they seem and he soon becomes entangled in the sinister machinations of the Phantom Brotherhood and their attempt to seize control over all of humanity. And we all know what that means: it's up to you to save the world. Again.


The game features a static Myst-style slideshow presentation, but with an aesthetic inspired by graphic novels, as displayed in the game's screenshots and trailer. Inspired by the genre greats from the 1990s but designed from the ground up for handheld devices, it also promises to include intuitive touch controls.  

Angels of Deception: Part I is available now for both iPhone and iPad on the App Store, with the next installment expected to take about a year, adding even more puzzles to expand on the debut episode's gameplay.



25

Feb

What would you do if you had only five days left before Doomsday? Why, you’d celebrate, of course! At least, you would if you’re an adventure gamer and the apocalypse in question is Deponia Doomsday, a surprise revelation from Daedalic due for imminent arrival.

Daedalic has been quiet on the adventure game front for quite a while, but now we know they’ve been busy working on the fourth adventure in their Deponia series. The new game begins on an ominous note as “the flying city of Elysium has fallen, hideous Fewlocks inhabit the junk planet Deponia and Rufus is apparently the sole (human) survivor. He sees only one way out: Deponia must be blown up.” But then he wakes up, left to wonder if it was just a dream or a portent of destruction to come. Luckily, with the help of a time machine and the “oddball Professor McChronicle”, Rufus is able to “immediately [set] out to duly muddle up the past, present and future.”


As seen in the game’s trailer and screenshots, Doomsday features the same iconic cartoon-style graphics of its predecessors, and promises an “alternate ending” to the previous saga in the form of a whole new adventure. Described as “Dystopia vs. Utopia mixed with Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar”, the latest adventure will feature both new and familiar faces alike, including the likes of Goal, Lonzo, Lotti, and Wenzel among the cast of over 70. And lest you think the game’s stealth development means an abbreviated offering, nothing can be further from the truth, as Daedalic promises “around 20 hours of gameplay and over 100 game backgrounds” to explore.

For series fans giddy with excitement, here comes the best part: Deponia Doomsday is coming March 1st! Arriving on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux, the game will also be coming to PS4 and Xbox One later this year.



20

Feb

If you've never heard of Red Comrades Save the Galaxy, that probably means you're not Russian. But the rest of the world is getting a second chance to discover Buka's 1998 point-and-click adventure with the recent re-release of the "Reloaded" edition on Steam.

Even as "legions of alien invaders prepare to conquer Earth" from somewhere on the moon, closer to home there are more immediate problems to worry about. Russia is in the midst of civil war, and the village of Backwoods is split in two by the two competing sides. On one side is the "brave" Red Army led by Vasily Ivanovich Chapaev, and on the other are the "cowardly" Whites. One morning, a hungover Chapaev and his aide Petka wake up to discover that someone has stolen the Red banner from division headquarters. This "unbearable offense leaves them no choice but to sneak into the enemy territory and to retrieve the precious banner." Only then will they be able to turn their attention to the threat of alien invasion.


The re-release retains the cartoony, hand-painted graphics and voice-overs from the original version, but the game now includes widescreen support and has been completely rewritten in Unity to support modern hardware. Any lingering bugs and animation issues have been polished up as well, and Steam achievements have been added to complement the "enormous" number of puzzles to solve along the way.

Described as the "first part" of an ongoing game series, Red Comrades Save the Galaxy: Reloaded is available now for PC download on Steam, its bargain price currently discounted even further.



18

Feb

Have you ever been out in the wilds, somewhere you felt totally cut off from civilisation? You’ll fit right in, then, as the hero of The Solus Project, the latest title from Sweden's Teotl Studios, whose last game was the puzzle-platformer Unmechanical. Stranded on an empty world, light years from home and with the fate of humanity resting on your shoulders, you must survive and uncover the secrets of the lost race that once called this place home. 

"Solus" is Latin for "alone", and this game plays the loneliness card for all it's worth. Loosely continuing the story begun in Teotl’s 3D physics puzzler The Ball, it's the 22nd century and Earth is gone, ripped apart by a rogue star; mankind only survives huddled on a small fleet of ships in orbit around Pluto. As resources dwindle, you're sent by the titular Solus Project to the snappily-named Gliese-1643-C, in hopes it will be suitable for colonisation. But when your ship doesn't so much land as crash, you're left as the only survivor on a supposedly barren world. Huge abandoned buildings hint at a mystery here, one you must unravel if you want to stay alive and save the human race. So no pressure!


Although it may look like an open-world sandbox-style adventure, The Solus Project is actually more of a “linear single-player experience”. Exploration and survival are your two goals, but whichever you prefer the developers have aimed to provide a satisfying experience. For the survivalists, there are dozens of different kinds of items to find, manage and craft along the way but without (we're promised) repetitive resource gathering. For the explorers, there are ten large levels, covering the surface of the planet, the caves beneath, and mysterious megalithic tombs and underground structures left behind by oddly humanoid aliens. If you're not into survival-style gaming, there will be a range of difficulty levels and settings to enable you to tailor gameplay to your preferences. 

The Solus Project uses the Unreal Engine to deliver a world that, as evidenced in its early trailers, looks stunning and varied, from lush grassy fields to cold grey caves and intricately realised alien architecture, all accompanied by an atmospheric score. For those with the necessary equipment, there will also be support for virtual reality headsets.  

The first part of The Solus Project touches down today on Steam Early Access and GOG’s Games In Development, with an Xbox Game Preview due on the 26th. New content will be released regularly until the scheduled final release in May. To find out more about the game, visit the official website for additional details.



16

Feb

There's a fine line between genius and madness, they say. In Layers of Fear, the newly-released "psychedelic horror" from Polish developers Bloober Team, that line has well and truly been crossed. Inspired by masterpiece paintings, this looks set to be a game best played late at night with the volume up, the lights off, and as much courage as you can muster.

You play a once-renowned artist, driven to madness by the loss of his family and prestige. Now all that remains for him is to complete one last commission, his magnum opus, a "true portrait" that captures the darkness of his subject's soul on canvas. Layers of Fear certainly lays the atmosphere on thick as you explore the painter's Victorian mansion: your escalating psychosis means that your surroundings constantly shift around you, revealing visions, fears and hidden horrors in your quest to unravel the mystery of your dark and tragic history. And possibly even finish the portrait.


Rendered in Unity, Layers of Fear presents a full 3D environment to explore from a first-person viewpoint, replete with flickering lights, fluttering curtains, a bevy of trippy effects and a creepy, menacing soundtrack. We're promised a "meticulously crafted" 19th century environment inspired by the works of Goya, Bruegel and Rubens, and filled with personal items to find that will unlock the secrets of your past.

Layers of Fear has been available on Steam Early Access for some time, and the completed version is now ready for final release on Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can find out more (if you dare) at the official website.



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