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December 2015

12

Dec

We don' get many westerns anymore in these here parts, but y'all'll be happy to know that's go'n change next year when Slap Village comes to town.

Slap Village doesn't exactly represent the Wild West as we know it, mind you. Rather, the creation of Spanish developer Monkey Toons is a humorously anachronistic world full of traditional western elements mixed with more modern technology and practices, where classic saloons and outlying native teepee encampments exist alongside steam trains, zeppelins, and all-you-can-eat restaurants. All this is presented in cartoony hand-drawn animation, as seen in the game's early screenshots and trailer.


Any teenaged girl would face a difficult time growing up in the North American west, but for the brave Lurditas and her pet mouse Rasta the obstacles are more unusual than most, including the likes of "energetic conspiracies, alien contact [and] occult practices." In overcoming these challenges, players will need to guide Purditas through a variety of puzzles and minigames that range from pig racing to feet wrestling, along with the usual point-and-click staples of exploration, item collection, and character interaction.

While there's no firm release date scheduled yet for Slap Village, Monkey Toons are targeting completion for PC, Mac, and Linux sometime in the "first term" of 2016. In the meantime, the game is seeking support on Steam Greenlight.



8

Dec

The philosopher's stone is one of the most enduring artifact myths, but no one – at least in modern times – has come close to finding the alchemical rock able to turn metal to gold and bestow eternal life on its possessor. But now adventure gamers can take up the pursuit themselves with today's release of History in Letters: The Eternal Alchemist.

According to legend, Nicolas Flamel was an alchemist who found the fabled philosopher's stone more than 600 years ago. Modern scholars dismiss this posthumous account as fiction, as does the young philologist Remy Chaveau. But then Remy is hired to investigate an old enciphered diary which mentions Flamel by name and suggests that the author was close to cracking the mysteries of the alchemist's life. Now, with the help of his mentor Professor Dupont and an adventurer named Stella Morin, Remy begins following the trail recorded in the diary. What he seeks, however, will not come easily, as retracing the footsteps of the diary's deceased writer soon draws him into a world of dark secrets and intrigue.


A first-person slideshow-style adventure, History in Letters will take players through several locations in present-day France, both above ground at sites like Flamel's former home and the cemetery where he's purportedly buried, and below ground in Paris's famed catacombs. Promising a mix of classic point and click adventure elements with more than a dozen puzzles and just a few hidden object collections, the game will feature both real historical facts about Flamel and French history, and include "many interpersonal conflicts" along the way.

If you're eager to get cracking on Flamel's secrets, there's no reason to wait, as History in Letters is available today for PC and Mac on Steam.




November 2015

26

Nov

Fact is due to meet world-altering fiction in indie developer wittyplot’s upcoming point-and-click adventure set in historical Vienna, titled Sebastian Frank: The Beer Hall Putsch.

Set against the political upheavals of the early 20th century between World Wars I and II, the game appears to be a more light-hearted romp through this tense era. Viewed through the eyes of one budding artist, the ultimate goal is to step into the “hotbed of radical political movements” to change history as we know it and stop Germany’s (then-future) Nazi regime from ever rising to power.


While little more is known about the story so far, the developer is offering plenty of insight into this world and its titular protagonist through a playable demo set before the events of the main game. The 20-30 minute hand drawn prologue introduces players to Sebastian Frank as he attempts to gain admission into Vienna’s prestigious Academy of Fine Arts, along with his girlfriend Stephanie Kiss, who also wants to realize her dream of enrolling at the academy, but who must pass herself off as a man due to the social climate of the era.

Pending enough player interest, wittyplot is contemplating a crowdfunding campaign in order to bring the full game to fruition. If the necessary financing can be secured to fulfill their current timeline, we may see the project become fully realized near the end of 2016.



21

Nov

Adventure gamers may be familiar with fighting like a cow, but we're far less used to actual dairy farming. But that's exactly what players will become in machineboy's upcoming Milkmaid of the Milky Way – at least at first.

The titular milkmaid is a young woman named Ruth, who lives alone on a "remote farm in a faraway fjord at the end of 1920s Norway." With her parents deceased, Ruth is left to milk the cows and make dairy products that her friend Erlend sells in the village. It's an isolated life in the "beautiful but lonely countryside", and the more you explore, the greater the sense that Ruth wants more out of life. There's also something not right around the farm, as tools and even cows have begun disappearing. Ruth soon gets more than she bargained for when she looks up and sees a strange craft in the sky above her.


As displayed in the early screenshots and teaser, Milkmaid of the Milky Way is a traditional point-and-click adventure with retro-inspired pixel art, promising a "focus on story, exploration and light puzzles." No further plot details have yet been revealed, but the Milky Way a great big galaxy, and Ruth's journey will take her "far, far away" from the confines of her rural Norse farmstead before all is said and done.

There are no firm launch plans yet for Milkmaid of the Milky Way, but machineboy is aiming for release sometime in 2016 for PC, Mac, and iOS devices. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through the developer's blog.



17

Nov

As Snowpiercer reminded us last year, surreal sci-fi train journeys involving challenging natural elements can make for some pretty compelling drama. Paperash Studio thinks so too, as the indie Czech developer has just revealed its upcoming adventure, Dark Train.

Players are cast in the unusual role of a mechanical squid named ANN 2.35f who controls the titular locomotive, the final and most important invention of the famed D. W. Tagrezbung. This is no ordinary train, to be sure. In order to fulfill his last contract for a client, separated by inhospitable territory connected only by rail, Tagrezbung decided to build a self-sufficient train whose four wagons each contain "one familiar environment from his world", comprising forest, city, graveyard, and pool, all with their own appropriate weather effects. As ANN 2.35f, it is your job to solve the "secrets of Tagrezbung's invention and deliver DARK TRAIN successfully to the unimaginable finish."


Dark Train's unique presentation is created entirely from paper and handmade papercuts, promising a "strong narrative adventure" that's more about the journey and dark atmosphere than reaching the destination. As you explore the train structure and diverse internal environments, you will piece more of the story together. Maneuvering the mechanical squid directly by either gamepad or mouse, along the way you will also need to solve puzzles, micro-manage resources, and maintain the train's functionality for the duration of its trip, tasks that involve both movement and spatial control to complete. (Or, as the developers refer to it: “more than point-and-click.”)

There is no firm release date for Dark Train, but Paperash is currently targeting the summer of 2016 for completion on PC, Mac, and Linux, with crowdfunding a possibility before the end. To learn more about the game, visit the official website or developer's blog for additional details. You can also watch a pair of character and gameplay videos to see the game in early action.



14

Nov

The word "oxenfree" may conjure up images of carefree childhood days, but it will soon take on a more ominous tone in indie developer Night School Studio's upcoming adventure by that title.

Oxenfree stars a "bright, rebellious teenaged girl" named Alex, who brings along her new stepbrother Jonas to the anual overnight party for high school seniors on a nearby decommissioned military island. But a night of drinking and frivolity by the beachfire takes a "horrifying turn when you unwittingly open a ghostly rift spawned from the island’s cryptic past." Once that occurs, it'll be up to you to determine "how you deal with these events, your peers, and the ominous creatures you’ve unleashed."


Described as "equal parts coming-of-age tale and supernatural thriller", Oxenfree will focus more on story, character and player choice than traditional adventure gameplay, which isn't surprising given the developers' combined backgrounds with Disney and Telltale. There will be a host of dynamic dialogue choices to make in shaping the kind of hero you want Alex to be, as well as puzzles to solve and some non-reflex-demanding physical exploring to do, but Night School isn't saying just yet how players will deal with newly discovered enemies. We do know that the protagonist's radio proves to be both the "catalyst of the rift, and Alex’s only hope for survival."

Fortunately, we won't have long to wait to find out, as we could see Oxenfree released for PC and Xbox One as early as the end of this year. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game through its official website. You can also view an extensive gameplay video at Polygon, showing the game's early interactions on the beach.
 



Update: Since time of writing, the launch target has been pushed back slightly to January 2016. As an added bonus, you get an extra trailer while you wait!



11

Nov

Precisely one year ago today, independent developer Lostwood Games launched its fusion of point-and-click adventure, RPG, and visual novel entitled Leviathan: The Last Day of the Decade. Or rather, the first four episodes of this five-part game were released, localized for English-speaking audiences. Since then, the fifth and final episode has also seen release, but alas, only in the developer’s native Russia. In order to complete the series in English, Lostwood has just launched an Indiegogo campaign specifically with the goal to get a translator at work on episode five.

Leviathan is a murder mystery at heart, told via hand-painted visuals in an amalgamation of Eastern interactive fiction and a more traditional Western point-and-click adventure, with elements of steampunk and dark and disturbing daemonic images woven into its design. In a dark fantasy world caught in the grip of a pandemic, under the thrall of the undead Plague King, players take on the role of a young man on the years-long trail of his mother’s murderer.


The “Translation” campaign, as members of Lostwood call it, aims to raise $2,000 in only two weeks’ time on Indiegogo. The lowest pledge tier of $10 will net players a free Steam code for the fully translated title comprising all five episodes, the first four of which are already available to play.

If you like what you see of The Last Day of the Decade, there may be more where that came from, as members of the development team are already at work on a sequel called Leviathan: The Cargo. To learn more about the Leviathan series, visit the official website for additional details.



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