Adventure News
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June 2016

30

Jun

"And the winner is... We don't know."

What kind of award announcement would THAT be on Oscar night? But that's exactly the crisis facing the Academy when its list of winners is stolen, and that's only the beginning of their problems. Luckily for Hollywood, Detective Hayseed is on the job in his own self-titled adventure coming later this year.

As part of a "nefarious plot to overturn the established Hollywood order", the list of Oscar winners has disappeared and it's up to the "legendary" Detective Hayseed (after he wakes up) to find and stop the culprit before he carries out his threat to blow up the ceremony. But this is Tinseltown and Hayseed's madcap investigation will be anything but normal, as along the way he'll need to perform all sorts of odd tasks like freeing a space captain and drugging piranha with Xanax to succeed.


Detective Hayseed: Hollywood is a traditional third-person comic adventure with "cartoon animations over painted backgrounds." The story promises to include plenty of jokes for all ages, including a wide variety of humorous pop culture references (and some familiar faces, as seen in the first screenshots and trailer released). Gameplay will involve classic genre staples like logic puzzles and "persuading a series of game characters to perform tasks so as to provide the vital information. Some require manual dexterity, others a MacGyveresque ability to assemble complex equipment from assorted parts."

Created by Czech studio Zima Software and published by mamor games, there is no firm release date yet for Detective Hayseed, but it's not too far off as the developers are targeting a third quarter PC release. In the meantime, you can help support the game by voting for its Steam Greenlight campaign.



25

Jun

Full motion video definitely isn't dead. Doctor Dekker is, though, and one of his patients killed him. In the upcoming FMV whodunit The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, it'll be your task to delve deeply into these troubled minds in order to deduce the culprit, hopefully without going mad yourself.

Assuming the role of a therapist, it will be your task to ask the right questions of Dekker's six patients to uncover the truth behind your colleague's death. Only by thinking like a psychiatrist rather than a detective will you get the results you seek. But beware the secrets that you unlock, as doing so exposes you to "the shadow reality that your patients inhabit – a world full of X-Files strangeness and horrors that go bump in your head."


Both the gameplay and presentation sound similar to last year's popular Her Story, albeit with a few key differences. There is no traditional exploration or inventory collection, though there will be "a few juicy bits of evidence you’ll need to have a look at. An autopsy report, a Cthulhu-esque Periscope video, Dr. Dekker’s diary and more." To really unravel the mystery, you must type in your own keyword-based queries to unlock varied FMV responses that either push the story forward or perhaps nudge you in the right direction if you're on the wrong track. But as each patient is "touched in some way by outer-worldly strangeness", the more you probe, the more tenuous your grasp of your own sanity becomes, a condition that impacts the ending you'll get.

Unlike Her Story, not only does Doctor Dekker have a definitive ending, it actually has many possible conclusions. The game will randomly select which of the patients is the murderer at the start, which impacts the entire line of questioning. Although some of the content is similar across all storylines, this should encourage at least a degree of replayability to see alternate outcomes. Indie developer D’Avekki Studios anticipates a single playthrough should take about 2-3 hours to complete, but 5-6 hours or more will be needed to experience the different endings and find all available 1000-plus video responses.

Filming has not yet begun, but production funding is already in place, so if all goes well we could be seeing The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker released for Windows, Mac, and Linux by the end of this year. In the meantime, you can throw the game your support on Steam Greenlight and learn more about it through the official website.



24

Jun

Alice & Smith has certainly been busy lately. First there was the paranormal alternate reality thriller The Black Watchmen. Then came the announcement of the first TBW spin-off, the story-based hacking sim NITE Team 4. Now the Montreal-based developer has unleashed on Steam Early Access the oddly-titled Ahnayro: The Dream World, yet another facet of the Black Watchmen shared universe, though the exact relationship to these other titles is apparently being kept a mystery for now.

Ahnayro takes a slightly more relaxed approach to Alice & Smith’s reality-bending game formula, although the studio’s familiar research-heavy mechanics appear to be firmly in place. Rather than the high-pressure world of espionage and cyber-warfare, in this story-based puzzler players assume the role of someone capable of exploring their own subconscious through lucid dreaming. You are haunted by “mysterious figures from the Victorian era,” tormenting you at night for reasons unknown. In order to end your suffering, you must piece together the meaning of these strange dreams.


Each dream is broken into multiple “fragments,” containing pictures and items that share a common idea or theme which must be discovered, then the connections between fragments pieced together as well. Each fragment can be explored in any order, meaning that if you get stuck on one puzzle you can work on others in the meantime. Audio narration provided with each fragment advances the story and provides further clues to the fragment’s answer. By solving all the fragments and piecing together their connection to each other, you can finally summon up the tormentors and confront them to end your suffering.

While mainly controlled using the mouse, players can expect to Alt-Tab in and out of the game’s client for online research into each puzzle’s clues to find all the information needed to solve them. Such information promises to span real-world topics like “art history, mythology, historical events and figures,” as well as the “hidden connections between them.” In a nod to the game’s alternate reality gaming roots, when its full release arrives, Ahnayro will only be playable at night, though during Early Access this feature can be disabled. The opportunity to solve ARG-related content is also being teased for those who make it to the end of the current Early Access release, though the exact nature of this content has yet to be determined.

Ahnayro: The Dream World is slated to release in its final form on Steam for Windows and Mac sometime this fall. Those interested in gaining Early Access in the meantime can snag a copy for $5.99, a 50% discount off the expected launch price. For more information, cruise on over to the title’s official website.



23

Jun

Waking up alone and disoriented in alien-looking desert territory is frightening enough, but what if you have limited time left to save yourself and discover what has happened to this world? This is the urgent mandate behind Breached, a short but replayable 3D sci-fi adventure by Drama Drifters that has just been released.

Players take on the role of Corus Valott, who has awoken from a long cryogenic sleep. In the opening moments of the game, it becomes clear that the desert settlement around you is in ruins and your shelter is in disrepair, with only eight days of oxygen left to survive. It will be your responsibility to help Corus survive by repairing the shelter, examining the surrounding territory, and slowly piecing together the mysterious events leading up to the apparent catastrophe.


The “genre-bending” title promises a variety of activities, including "data mining" entries in Corus’s journal throuh linking tags to piece together the past and piloting drones to explore the derelict buildings and inhospitable environment for clues and equipment which can be used to repair the shelter. There are several obstacles to deal with, including your own looming death from lack of oxygen, as well as “glitches,” mysterious anomalies found throughout the landscape that are hazardous to the drones you are piloting.

Played from a first-person perspective using point-and-click controls, a typical playthrough is expected to last about two hours. However, subsequent playthroughs are encouraged in order to experience everything the game has to offer, providing an element of replayability to the otherwise condensed experience.

Breached is available now via digital distributors for Windows and Mac platforms. For more information, head over to the game’s official website.



22

Jun

They say that death is life's next great adventure, and certainly in this genre that's repeatedly true. The latest death-is-only-the-beginning tale belongs to a skeleton named Skinny, who's set to star in an upcoming comic adventure from Italy called The Wardrobe.

Dying too young is cruel enough, but Skinny suffered the double indignity of being killed by a plum. Unaware of his deadly allergy to the fruit, Skinny blissfully bit into one on a picnic with his best friend Ronald, only to go into anaphylactic shock and die while Ronald ran off in terror. Adding insult to... well, death, Skinny awoke in his new skeleton form, sentenced to spend eternity watching over Ronald from his friend's wardrobe. But now things have changed. In order to "save his best friend’s soul from eternal damnation, Skinny will be forced to reveal himself and make Ronald admit his 'crime'."


As clearly displayed in the game's first screenshots and trailer, The Wardrobe is a hand-drawn point-and-click adventure strongly influenced by LucasArts and other Golden Era classics. Developed by C.I.N.I.C. Games and published by Adventure Productions, the game promises more than 70 bizarre characters across 40-plus unique locations. Along the way there is a host of player involvement, with four types of actions for each hotspot, loads of items to collect in a "thoracic inventory", and dozens of puzzles to solve, often in zany ways. This is a game that obviously doesn't take itself seriously, blending a sense of humour and "hundreds" of pop culture references with a willingness to deal with "mature and non-politically correct themes."

There is no firm release date scheduled yet, but The Wardrobe is currently set to be completed sometime this fall on Windows, Mac, and Linux. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game at its official website and vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



20

Jun

One of the wonderful things about the indie game development is the sheer diversity it brings with it; there's something for everyone. In the case of Farnham Fables, an episodic series from Ethrea Dreams, that something includes princes who take the bus, lizard people on farms, a retro aesthetic last seen in the late ‘80s, and reading. Lots and lots of reading.

The kingdom of Farnham itself is a diverse place, full of the aforementioned anthropomorphic lizards, rat folk and even, on occasion, humans. Unlike most fantasy kingdoms, though, it also features TV and public transport. In the series' first episode, Cally, the daughter of one of the King's guardsmen, is super-excited when her aunt Naigye agrees to take her to visit the castle. Naughty Cally sneaks off and runs into the King, but rather than being annoyed he takes her and Naigye back to the throne room, sits them down and tells them the story of the time he fell ill and his sons went to visit the lizard village in search of a cure, which is then played out in flashback. Each new episode will be a self-contained story, involving the people of Farnham and occasionally beyond, ranging from small, personal events to "grand adventures".


We cover quite a few retro-inspired games here, but few that are such a blast from the past as this one. More of an interactive storybook than a traditional point-and-click adventure, the tale is told primarily through a text pane at the bottom of the screen, with static illustrations above and a verb list on the left. Everything that happens is described in the gentle style of a children's story, and the game promises that every action you can take will get a unique response. The pictures are simple cartoons, all flat colours and limited shading reminiscent of a late-period text adventure, accompanied by a jaunty MIDI soundtrack.

The first (Windows-only) episode of Farnham Fables, entitled The King's Medicine, is available now through the developer's website and Steam. The second episode is due as early as next month..



16

Jun

Is Dexter up to his old tricks again? Well, no, wrong franchise, but there's another serial killer on the loose who only kills criminals, and you'll be tasked to catch him (or her) in Apeirogon's upcoming adventure Silhouette.

Silhouette puts players in the gumshoes of Detective Jim Grayson, a homicide detective on the hunt for a "serial killer whose motives are confusingly unclear." In the wealthy part of the town of Rutherford, a string of murders have occurred with one unusual detail, namely that "all of the victims were known criminals. Pedophiles, Rapists, Mafioso and Drug dealers." Even stranger is that the killer has "purposely left behind clues at every crime scene that led directly to the next." The police had been able to hide the murders from the press until now, but the front page story in today's newspaper just made your job a whole lot more difficult.


The early screenshots and trailer showcase the game's distinctive 3D graphics, but you can get a much closer look at Silhouette through the 1 GB downloadable demo already available, although the developer notes that it's a "proof of concept" prototype that isn't fully representative of the final version.

The creation of just one man, Peter Ryan, Silhouette is currently scheduled for a two-part PC release. The "Prologue" will debut this fall on Early Access, with purchase at a reduced price including the second installment for free upon completion. In the meantime, to ensure that the game is launched on Steam, you can vote for the game on Greenlight.



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