Adventure News
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May 2016

7

May

While the days of $3 million-plus Kickstarter campaigns may be over for adventure games, the popular crowdfunding platform continues to be a boon for smaller indie developers. Just days after the successful close of Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure, now Lantern Studio's LUNA: The Shadow Dust has followed suit.

Although very few story details have been released so far, LUNA casts players in the dual roles of a young boy and his spherical cat-like critter companion as they attempt to restore balance to their world. At the edge of that world is an ancient tower filled with puzzles and challenges to be overcome in order to ascend its heights and ultimately discover "the darkest secret beyond the tower itself."


The game features stylish hand-drawn backgrounds, but even more impressive is the traditional frame-by-frame character animation. And with two playable characters, there's double the animation normally required. Both characters will be necessary to proceed, as the developer also promises "double the difficulty" with puzzles that will test "not only your logic...but also your reaction speed, music sensibility and, most importantly, your imagination."

Thanks to the 1,110 backers who pledged £17,570 to the game's development, if all goes well we can hope to see LUNA: The Shadow Dust released for PCs, iOS and Android devices as early as next summer. To help ease the wait, a demo is already available, either playable in your browser or downloaded for either Windows and Mac from links available on the Kickstarter page.



5

May

There seems to be no slowing down Glitch Games. Hot on the heels of their recently-released A Short Tale comes news of the indie UK developer's next adventure, The Forgotten Room.

While very few details have been revealed so far, The Forgotten Room puts players in the gumshoes of a detective investigating a missing person's case. The trail leads to a mysterious house, and naturally this is where "things start going downhill."


Just like the developer's previous titles (including the mobile-exclusive Forever Lost series), The Forgotten Room is a first-person adventure with pre-rendered graphics and intuitive point-and-click (or tap) controls. As demonstrated in the early screenshots and teaser trailer, the game will be steeped in dark, haunting atmosphere.

There is no firm release date quite yet, but The Forgotten Room is charging hard towards Windows, Mac, iOS and Android release later this spring.



1

May

Usually the only dinosaurs involved in adventure games are the old PCs playing them, but there will soon be a not-so-terrible lizard starring in her own Cretaceous quest. Enter Zid & Zniw Chronicles: Zniw Adventure, an indie point-and-click title currently in development by Polish couple Lukasz “Crash” Mikolajczyk and Karolina “Twarda” Twardosz.

Zniw Adventure serves as a standalone prequel to Twarda’s planned comic book Zid, Zniw, and Others, telling the story of a young female dinosaur named Zniw who finds herself far away from her home city. In order to return, she must pass through the prehistoric land of Polisemia, a “savage” and dangerous place. It will be the player’s job to guide Zniw back home to her family, while avoiding threats and interacting with various characters encountered along the way, including other dinosaurs, birds, and snakes.


The game is played from a 2D third-person perspective and features a whimsical cartoon art style. The kinds of puzzles players can expect to see include inventory obstacles, combining items in order to create a backpack (which serves as the game’s inventory), and logic challenges in which you must collaborate with another character. There’s also a hunger-management system, where Zniw must find an occasional snack before a timer runs out, or risk passing out from lack of food. While the implications of falling unconscious in a dangerous land suggest some intriguing consequences, the developers indicate that the game will be family-friendly, avoiding such things as violence and blood.

Primarily mouse-driven, the game features a “verb coin” interaction system. While solving puzzles will be required to progress, picking up hidden pebbles scattered around the environment unlocks extra features, such as concept art and arcade-style minigames, which are playable with either keyboard or optional gamepad. An encyclopedia feature reveals information about game lore, characters, and locations, and includes “educational” information about various species encountered throughout the game.

Zid & Zniw Chronicles: Zniw Adventure is tentatively scheduled for PC release in mid-to-late 2016, though as production is being done in the developers’ spare time, this date is subject to change. To help tide gamers over, a playabe demo of the game is available for download now, starting right at the beginning of Zniw’s journey. If you like what you see of the early sampler, you can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.




April 2016

30

Apr

It seemed like we'd heard the last of indie developer Michael B. Clark following the 2004 release of The Arrangment, but as the master of his own destiny, Clark had other ideas. And now he's let us in on his plans with the demo release of his upcoming adventure, The Fate of It All.

Fate, of course, is at the core of the experience. The game explores the lives of six different individuals, whose lives have all "come together in some bizarre twist". As you explore each person's tale, collecting clues and solving puzzles along the way, important questions about the nature of free will and human destiny will be raised, with a reminder that "we all have choices in life – always with consequences!"

Like Clark's previous titles (including his first, Harvest in 2002), The Fate of It All is a first-person slideshow-style adventure. The demo lets you explore one of the six lives involved in the full game, dropping you onto the private island of American sculptor Vance Arnold to uncover its many secrets.

The 172 MB demo, available exclusively for Windows from the game's official website, will have to tide you over for a while, as The Fate of It All has no target release date just yet. (Update: And now it does, as Clark says if all goes well the game will be ready by the end of this year.)



9

Apr

Lots of adventure games have used full motion video over the years, sometimes even extensively. But exclusively? Not so much. But that's the principle behind a new psychological horror game in development called The Bunker, due for release later this year.

The Bunker stars a man named John, the "last survivor living in a government bunker after a nuclear attack wiped out England." It's been 30 years since the devastation, and since then John has had to watch everyone else he knew and loved die in the bunker as well. As if that weren't traumatic enough, it turns out the bunker conceals many secrets, and now John must "confront his suppressed memories to survive the horrors deep underground." Players can freely guide the protagonist through this subterranean environment in a non-linear fashion, "solving puzzles, uncovering secrets and triggering flashbacks to reveal the terrifying mysteries of the bunker" along the way. But you'll sometimes need to think and move fast, as wrong decisions could prove fatal.

 

Unlike most other games that have used FMV as a complementary element for cinematic purposes, The Bunker will be "a completely live action experience with zero computer generated effects", as teased in the first trailer released. Filmed on location in a real decommissioned British government bunker in Essex, the game promises  a "complex, twisting plot" by screenwriters whose notable credits include Broken Sword, The Witcher and SOMA. There's pedigree in front on the camera as well, as The Bunker's cast includes Adam Brown (looking quite a bit taller and less hairy than he did as Ori the dwarf in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies), Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful), Grahame Fox (Game of Thrones) and Jerome St. John Blake (Star Wars).

Currently in production across multiple platforms, The Bunker is set to release sometime this summer for PC, followed by console and mobile versions by the end of the year. To learn more about the game in the meantime, be sure to visit the official website.



3

Apr

With virtual reality now here to stay, the sky's the limit for new game potential... Check that, the solar system is the limit, as you'll need a Samsung Galaxy smartphone to explore the cosmos in the Gear VR exclusive Annie Amber.

Annie Amber is dead. But death is not the end of a person, and Annie's most intense memories have been preserved, from birth to her final days alive. As you float through the solar system you will gain access to these memories, and only by solving the puzzles you encounter will you be able to understand who Annie was through her various life experiences. Along the way, you will also find answers to important questions, like whether Annie ever found love or lived her life alone, and why her memories can now be found in space.


Created by the developer of 2014's MIND: Path to Thalamus and designed specifically for the Samsung Gear VR, Annie Amber does not require an external control device (though as with all Gear VR games, it does require a compatible Galaxy smartphone). Thanks to the game's "innovative locomotion system and game mechanics", head motion is all you'll need to look around and interact with the environment at your leisure.

Annie Amber retails for $7.99 on Gear VR, and is "coming soon" on other VR platforms.



2

Apr

The age of virtual reality is upon us, and one of the first such games to hit the market is Robot Invader's Dead Secret. That doesn't mean that non-VR gamers are left out in the cold, however, as the game is available for standard PCs as well.

Dead Secret thrusts players into the first-person role of an investigator looking into the murder of the reclusive Professor Harris Bullard in rural Kansas, circa 1965. Naturally you'll need to "investigate the crime scene, uncover secret documents, and piece together the puzzle to name his killer", but you'll soon discover that Bullard was no ordinary victim. As you scour his home for clues, you'll uncover "strange devices" that you'll use to "explore the deepest recesses of your subconscious." But beware, as others have a vested interest in keeping Bullard's secrets quiet, and a masked murderer is now on your tail to silence you as well.


Designed "specifically for play with the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and other virtual reality platforms", Dead Secret can also be played on standard PCs in the usual free-roaming 3D fashion. Along the way, you must search for key items, solve puzzles, and collect evidence, all while keeping your wits about you in order to stay alive.

For early adopters of the virtual reality technology, Dead Secret is available now for the Gear VR, with an Oculus Rift version to follow. For the many still gaming in regular reality, the PC version can be purchased on Steam, which will include a free Oculus unlock code when the system is available. To learn more about the game, visit the official website for additional details.



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