Adventure News
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August 2016

16

Aug

While various ports have been announced for The Inner World since its original release in 2013, nothing has been said about a sequel. Turns out, however, that work on a new game has been happening right under our noses, as revealed in today's announcement of Studio Fizbin's upcoming The Last Wind Monk.

In the previous game, a little long-nosed Asposian named Robert was unexpectedly thrust in the role of saviour when his underground world was threatened with the loss of its life force, the wind. Robert is back as the hero once again, but this time around the danger is a little more personal. You see, Robert is a descendant of the "flute nose dynasty" that has secretly provided their world with light and life for years. Now, however, a trader named Emil has "led all the Asposians astray, making them believe that the dynasty is in cahoots with dark forces." And so with a "huge dose of enthusiasm, but little to no idea what he’s actually doing," now Robert must seek out the legendary last wind monk in order to stop Emil's treacherous plan.


Although the developers claim that no knowledge of the previous game is necessary to enjoy the new one, there will be plenty familiar to fans of the original. The sequel features the same "hilarious" dialogue and stylish hand-drawn artwork as its predecessor, along with some returning characters and the ability to play Robert's nose like a flute. But there are some notable differences as well, such as Robert's love interest Laura and the "nutty" pigeon Peck being playable characters in the game. There will also be new songs for Robert's musical schnoz, and new locations like the "topsy-turvy" airport Asposia Central and the mysterious Shovel Mountains. And of course there are are "hours of fun brainteasers" promised as you seek to "cause trouble in a tumble mouse factory, play with Uncle Oboe for some toilet paper in prison, help a desperate Bingo-Pony become happy once again, bring the adorable baby gorf back home and save Asposia! Again!"

There is currently no firm timeframe for The Inner World 2's release, but the game is currently on track for completion sometime next year for "at least" PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS and Android devices." To follow The Last Wind Monk's progress in the coming months, you can visit the official website for additional details.



14

Aug

One positive side-effect of video gaming’s ever-increasing popularity is the resulting boost in diversity. While the industry still has work to do, it’s much easier to find varied representations of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation among titles available today than it was just a few years ago. Case in point: Escape from Pleasure Planet, an unabashedly pro-gay sci-fi adventure. The brainchild of Australian indie developer Luke Miller, the game recently achieved its funding goals on Kickstarter and is now headed toward release early next year.

Escape from Pleasure Planet acts as a standalone follow-up to 2014’s similarly gay-themed My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant. However, its inclusivity isn't its only selling point, with Miller promising a “solid sci-fi story” inspired by the “big, bold, colorful retro sci-fi” titles of decades past, such as Flash Gordon and the works of Isaac Asimov. Players take on the role of Captain Tycho Minogue, who is tasked with tracking down a dangerous (and “dangerously handsome”) criminal named Brutus.


In his search Minogue travels to Arcadia, a world dubbed the Pleasure Planet, where tourists of all kinds – “gay and straight, human and alien” – are able to fulfill their “wildest fantasies.” While plot specifics are sparse for now, Miller teases that more may be going on than meets the eye. Is Brutus really “hiding out” on Arcadia, or does he have ulterior motives for seeking refuge there? Is it really all pleasure and no pain for Arcadia’s tourists, or does the Pleasure Planet hide sinister secrets beneath its Utopian exterior?

Played from a third-person, 2.5D perspective, the game will use point-and-click controls with various puzzles and tasks for players to confront throughout the game. The hand-drawn graphics feature a cartoonish, colorful style depicting 30 locations across 5 different planets, populated by 35 different characters designed by illustrator Joe Phillips.

Escape from Pleasure Planet is scheduled to land on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms in both DRM-free and Steam versions in January 2017. Interested gamers can head over to the official Kickstarter page for more information.



13

Aug

With the possible exception of James Bond in Moonraker, spies and space haven't traditionally been the best of bedfellows. Which is strange, when you think about it, for two genres so focused on thrills and tension. British indie studio Pixel Spill apparently agrees, aiming to take the Cold War spy thriller and fire it into orbit with their upcoming adventure Outreach.

Set in the 1980s and, unusually, told from a Soviet perspective, you play a cosmonaut sent to investigate a covert military space station (part of the titular Operation Outreach) that has gone dark. On arrival, you find it in total disarray, the crew gone. What catastrophe could have befallen these poor souls, and what kind of sinister plot is unfolding here?


The developers are clearly big fans of both sci-fi and the 1980s, and have been researching the technology, clothing and working environment of a Soviet era space station, as well as historical events and conspiracy theories. They promise an authentic atmosphere and a plot that merges real-life happenings with plausible speculation in a narrative-driven adventure that focuses on the human angle rather than statistics and soundbites. There will also be an emphasis on the realities of getting around in zero-gravity, highlighting both the danger and isolation of space as well as the practicalities of pushing yourself around in a bulky suit and grappling for handrails.  

Outreach is due to launch for Windows and Mac sometime in 2017. To follow the game’s progress in the coming months, you can head over to the official website.



12

Aug

So often "horror" relies on darkness and shadow to conceal hidden dangers that play on our fear of the unknown. But how scary can white be? (Racial discrimination aside.) Well, we're about to find out in The Shattering, an upcoming psychological horror adventure from Polish studio SuperSexySoftware and German publisher Deck13.

The Shattering is the story of a "fragile mind trying to piece itself together after tragic events" and yet is at risk of completely being torn apart. As the unseen protagonist directly inhabiting the "self-created hell" of one man's own thoughts, you must help him avoid going insane by making the correct choices and actions. Failure to do so means "his world falls apart figuratively but also literally: it shatters leaving the player in a white space unable to perform any actions." Successfully navigating the subject's psyche will lead to "objects, letters, documents, and messages scrawled on walls" that offer further clues, but you must determine which are true and which are false in order to make the right decisions.

One glace at the game's screenshots reveals that The Shattering is quite unlike other horror games, as the entire setting consists of the "white, austere rooms of the main character’s own dream." The goal, according to studio founder Marta Szymanska, is to "confront the player with the hidden fears that lie beneath an idyllic illusion of normalcy, only then one can truly understand the despair of the hero."

The nature of the gameplay is anything but traditional either, as interaction is limited in the beginning to "simply moving around the environment, and progresses to moving objects, changing points of view, changes the physics in the game and using other senses such as hearing to complete tasks." As a reflection of the man's current mental state, the rooms will change with your understanding and choices, which not only alters the progress of the game but even the final outcome. A single playthrough is expected to take about three hours, but replays are encouraged in order to try different approaches and learn more about the story of how the man "came to be trapped in his own thoughts" along the way.

The only downside to today's news is that The Shattering is still a long way off, with as-yet-unspecified 2018 release target.



11

Aug

Most horror-adventures challenge players to survive armed only with their wits, but Lethe makes the powers of the mind a little more literal, as you can now discover with the debut installment's PC release.

Lethe puts gamers in the first-person role of an ordinary journalist named Robert Dawn. Saddled by debts inherited from his recently deceased stepfather, Robert decides to trace his family origins. His research leads him to an isolated mining settlement, where he soon "comes into contact with an unknown substance and develops psychokinetic abilities that feed on his life energy." In order to survive, he must find and "consume the very same substance that is poisoning him in the first place." Making matters far worse, Robert finds himself "faced with another, even darker threat, quickly turning the trip into a terrifying battle for survival."


Described as a "first-person adventure with survival horror elements", Lethe requires players to thoroughly explore its gritty 1920s setting, overcoming environmental obstacles by means of "supernatural physics-based gameplay" – namely, your newfound psychokinetic abilities. These allow you to "move, smash, explode or even set things on fire and alter gravity in real time." But beware, as something is lurking in the dark, and when even your mental powers aren't enough, you'll need to run, sneak, and hide to stay alive.

Although subtitled "Part One", Lethe's debut installment has been designed as a standalone experience, with the possibility of at least one more episode to follow if the first is successful enough. To learn more about the game, visit the official website for purchase links and additional details.



10

Aug

While Goichi Suda (or "Suda51") may not be a household name in the West, he's a big deal in the Japanese videogame industry, with such acclaimed titles as killer7 and No More Heroes to his credit, as well as the adventure Flower, Sun and Rain. One game that never received release outside of Japan was 1999's The Silver Case, but that will change this fall when the game gets its long overdue localization in an HD remaster.

The Silver Case is set in the contemporary 24 Wards of Japan, where a series of unexplained murders leads detectives in the Heinous Crimes Unit to believe that the legendary serial killer Kamui Uehara has returned. Twenty years earlier, Kamui was responsible for the the assassination of many government officials in what became known as the titular "Silver Case" before being shot dead. Or was he? The current pattern suggests he's back after all this time, but is he really the one behind the new mysterious killings? As a member of the Special Forces Unit, it'll be your task to answer this question and catch the killer before even more victims lose their lives.


Like many familiar Japanese titles that followed it, The Silver Case is a blend of visual novel and point-and-click adventure. Played from a first-person perspective, you will work your way through a text-heavy story and solve puzzles along the way in order to gradually reveal the truth. The modernized update promises to be "fully remastered, while retaining the same atmosphere of the original." Enhancements will include various graphical updates and increased resolution, as well as interface modifications designed to be more "user-friendly for modern gamers."

While the finished version of the game won't be available for PC until some time this autumn, a playable demo is already available at Steam and Playism. This sampler drops players into the start of a chapter called "Decoyman". (Note that no saved game is available in the demo.)



9

Aug

Leave it to the devil to do everything backwards. While everyone else is busy modernizing games and movies with updated remakes and reboots, the supernatural thriller Lucius is going in the opposite direction with the release of a "demade" version in full 1980s retro style.

The plot of Lucius Demake is just as disturbingly unpleasant as the 2012 original. Players control the titular six-year-old son of Satan in orchestrating "accidents" to kill off the other residents of Dante Manor, often in brutal fashion. Given your unique heritage, you have supernatural abilities like telekinesis and mind control at your disposal, but you'll need to keep your involvement a secret in order to conceal your identity (the finest trick of the devil is to persuade people he does not exist, after all).


Whereas its predecessor was a realistic, free-roaming HD adventure, the new version of Lucius is anything but. Inspired by the mock-up artwork of series fan Gergely Sinko, indie developer Shiver Games decided to hire Sinko to redo the entire game in "uncinematic" 2D pixel art with only 16 colours. The game still features a full-length story (taking 5-8 hours to complete) and an open world to explore, but this time the sprawling manor is presented from a near-overhead perspective. Each chapter promises to follow the formula of the original, apart from "a few instances where you’ll get a more authentic '80s arcade style experience" to better suit the retro design.

Lucius Demake is available now for PC download on Steam. The gameplay trailer shows off the game in action, and you can learn more at the official website.



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