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April 2015

18

Apr

Outside of prison, few human beings know what it's like to be truly caged up. But we could soon, courtesy of indie developer Big Loop Studios, as the surreal adventure DreamCage 28 is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

The titular cage is literal, not figurative, as its inhabitants are locked away in an actual birdcage. Once a "thriving little realm of explorers and scientists, busy with their fishing and marine biology", the residents have fallen on hard times ever since the disappearance of the Cage Master. Left to their own devices, decay and corruption took root, and the cage is now "ruled by fear and social inequality." But hope is not lost: if they can learn to live together cooperatively in the Cage Master's absence, they can finally become self-sufficient.


While there have been few story details revealed so far, some of the characters encountered in the game will include the surprisingly knowledgeable fisherman's children, the "most sarcastic robot ever built", and an old gentleman who lives in the basement of the realm's crumbling central tower, drinking and waiting for a hero to appear. As seen in the early screenshots and teaser, DreamCage 28 uses the unusual (for adventures) isometric perspective to view the action, giving it a distinctive look that matches its unique setting. Best of all for puzzle lovers, as you explore you'll uncover "endless puzzles and minigames, some hard, others even harder."

If the premise sounds vaguely familiar, it's because the developers previously released a similar freeware game back in 2013 called Escape from 26. In order to help promote the new spiritual sequel, the developers have revamped and re-released the original game as a free browser-based version and a download for Android devices.

If you like what you see of the first game, you can help support DreamCage 28 through Kickstarter, as the game needs $10,000 by May 12th in order to be completed by next January for PC, Mac, Linux, and Android platforms. A minimum $5 pledge is all that's required to secure a free download of the game, and if enough money is raised, the developers have promised entire new cages as stretch goals. To learn more and/or back the game, visit the crowdfunding page for complete details.



16

Apr

Mystery fans waiting for their next spy thriller fix don't have to wait any longer, as The Paris Dossier, a new film noir-inspired adventure game, is now available on mobile devices.

Set in Occupied France at the height of World War II, The Paris Dossier puts players in the shoes of Artemis, a British spy tasked with tracking down one of his own countrymen, a traitor now working for the Nazi regime. The first order of business was to meet with a member of the famed French Resistance, but the mysterious contact was forced to flee before the rendezvous, leaving you to follow the clues he left scattered throughout the war-torn city streets. This new mission proves to be a dangerous affair, however, plunging you headfirst into a cat-and-mouse game with the very traitor you were sent to find.


The first effort by British father-and-son development team Lexica Games, The Paris Dossier promises players an atmospheric first-person adventure presented entirely in black-and-white and featuring music that will "transport players back to 1940s Paris." Along the way, you will encounter a number of challenging puzzles, one of which is teased in the game’s launch trailer. A hint system will be available, however, should any puzzle prove to be too daunting to overcome.

Designed for tablets and phones, The Paris Dossier is available now exclusively on iOS and Android devices. The first level is free to download from both the App Store and Google Play, with an in-app purchase option to unlock the full game.



14

Apr

It should come as no surprise that a game called CAIN would be about one brother charged with killing another, but the upcoming adventure by indie Spanish developer Gazpacho Games is no biblical morality tale, but a first-person noir-tinged thriller.

Taking place entirely within a single sprawling house, CAIN stars math specialist Jeff Joyce, a man from Louisiana accused of killing his brother Julius. Jeff awakes in a room with no apparent means of escape and no idea why he has been taken captive. As you help him seek a way out of his imprisonment, the plot thickens as he comes across evidence of many "weird things" happening there.


The first gameplay trailer shows off CAIN's basic mechanics, tasking players with roaming the house in realtime 3D, investigating clues, interacting with the environment, and solving a variety of puzzles in order to progress. As a game about exploration and discovery, very little has been revealed about the story so far, but the developers describe the narrative as a combination of "thriller elements mixed with features from traditional graphic novels."

There is no firm timeline set for CAIN, but the developers are currently targeting a PC release sometime in 2016.



8

Apr

Saving the world is old hat for adventure gamers. Now, destroying the world? That's something else entirely. But that just happens to be the central premise behind MechaNika, a new mobile adventure making its debut on Android devices.

As unusual as the game's concept is, its choice of (anti-)hero is even more so. Nika is a seven-year-old girl with very peculiar tastes. Not surprisingly for a girl whose "favourite things are the transfer of energy, magnetic fields and electrical engineering", Nika is an outcast. But rather than try to fit into the world around her, Nika "doesn’t care that her parents don’t understand her, that her teachers ignore her or that her friends are completely nuts. She has a plan to solve everything. A really… odd plan." That plan is to "destroy the world in order to have a clean slate for a new one, to be built according her own interests."


Created by the two-person Spanish team Mango Protocol, MechaNika's destructive subject matter is anything but traditional, but the rest of its design will feel far more familiar to point-and-click adventure fans. The screenshots and trailer show off its hand-drawn cartoon aesthetic, and the game promises to be filled with "puzzles that can be solved in different ways through classical object interactions and some crazy dialogs."

MechaNika is available now for Android devices on Google Play, and an iOS version is also in the works, expected to be released some time next month.



7

Apr

The Cold War may be over, but the Russians could still have a few tricks up their sleeves – or at least hidden away in underground bunkers. We'll soon get to find out for themselves, as indie developer Nightly Studios has just announced its upcoming comic adventure, Bunker: The Underground Game.

Bunker stars Otto Thompson, a young hipster seeking a date through an online ad. Unfortunately for Otto, the "beautiful girl he chatted with turns out to be a hairy Russian dude." Before long, Otto finds himself kidnapped and waking up in "what just might be the oddest Soviet era bunker he has ever been unwillingly dragged to." In order to escape his predicament, preferably without starting a nuclear World War 3, Otto must "struggle with old Russian technology and ponder cultural differences" in solving puzzles as "things take [one] ridiculous turn after another, until the inevitable epic confrontation with the final boss."


Given its political sensibilities, it should come as no surprise that Bunker is itself a retro point-and-click adventure, inspired by the great LucasArts classics and promising a mix of "old school puzzles with new school twists". Jokingly referred to as "episodic" yet really just a single standalone adventure, Bunker will nevertheless be fairly short, providing an expected 2-4 hours of play time.

There is currently no firm release date scheduled, but look for Bunker: The Underground Game to be completed sometime this year for PC, with Mac and Linux versions to follow.




March 2015

21

Mar

The American south is becoming an increasingly popular adventure game destination following the success of Kentucky Route Zero. The next stop is Cypress Knee, Florida, home to an upcoming new adventure series called Knee Deep.

A murder mystery set in the swampy backwoods of Florida, the game will let players control three unique characters, the “cheeky blogger Romana Teague, beleaguered local newspaper reporter Jack Bellet, and cynical private investigator K.C. Gaddis” as they investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide-by-hanging of a washed-up Hollywood actor. Taking a cue from such like-minded games as Telltale’s episodic adventures, indie developer Prologue Games is placing emphasis on dialog choices rather than traditional puzzles, though some of the latter will be present. How players respond and interact with other characters has an effect on how the game unfolds, and some decisions could lead to drastic differences down the line.


Inspired by the spectacle of live theater performance, Knee Deep is presented as a melodramatic stageplay unfolding on-screen in front of the player. The story will be told in three distinct acts, all interconnected but each also telling its own tale with a beginning and end. Locations are designed with the trappings of stage and audience in mind – set pieces change as backgrounds are appropriately lit and put in shadow, players are privy to the director’s stage notes along with the on-stage dialog, and information is presented in a manner that makes it accessible to all in the audience, i.e. a large screen backdrop serving as a cell phone display, so spectators can follow exchanges via text messages.

The first episode of Knee Deep, entitled Wonderland, will release concurrently on PC, Mac, and Linux this summer. In the meantime, you can follow the game’s progress at the official website, where you can pre-order the discounted season pass for all three episodes.



17

Mar


The creators of Quest for Infamy clearly haven't been resting on their infamous laurels of late, as not one but two new adventures have just been announced, including a prequel called Roehm to Ruin and a new anthology called Order of the Thorne.

 

Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin


Last year's Quest for Infamy picked up the tale of the rogueish Mister Roehm after he escaped the castle of an enraged Baron. But what did he do to inspire such wrath? That's a story for the prequel, in which Roehm, "after hearing of an illustrious gathering of many wealthy and rich individuals at the Baron’s castle... decides to crash the party and try to swindle a few valuables and goodies for himself." Naturally Roehm's plans go awry, and as the new game reveals, he "ends up getting more than he bargained for."

While Roehm to Ruin shares its predecessor's hand-painted, low-res pixel art style, there are a number of key differences this time around. Gone is the combat that made up the RPG part of the hybrid gameplay originally. The much shorter prequel promises to be a classic-styled, puzzle-oriented adventure with "witty dialogue, fun puzzles and alternative solutions." There will also be hidden objects to find, though not in the sense of the seek-and-find casual games, but rather that "each screen will feature secrets and objects and the more you uncover, the better your high score will at the end of the game, resulting in different rewards and achievements."

Currently in development for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin is expected out sometime late this year.

 

Order of the Thorne: The King’s Challenge


Not content with one new game, or even one series, Infamous Quests also plans to start a new "anthology" of adventures entitled Order of the Thorne. In the first episode, The King’s Challenge, the King of the fantasy realm of Uir issues a challenge for all those brave enough to accept it. The quest: to find and return his missing Queen. The reward: one wish granted. The proclamation inspired many champions to take up the cause, but the news also reached "even the dusty old corners of an Inn in the neighboring kingdom of Rosette. Finn the Bard, young and headstrong, packed his lute, his songbook and dressed in his travel clothes for the journey to the Fairy Realm."

As a "brave and cunning songsmith" rather than a noble knight or powerful mage, you will need to use your wit and musical ability to succeed. Your most important possession is your lute, which allows you to "perform musical songs to solve puzzles and complete tasks." Like the developer's other games, the new series will feature the same retro design aesthetic, but promises to include an original soundtrack and fully voiced characters.

Currently in production for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as Android devices, there is no firm timeline for the release of The King’s Challenge just yet, but the new series is set to debut sometime before the end of 2015.



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