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September 2015



Rarely do video games tackle such sensitive real-world issues as slavery, but that's exactly the subject matter of indie developer Dysotek's upcoming episodic adventure, I'm Joshua.

In the early 19th century, the titular star of the game is born aboard a Portuguese galleon carrying African slaves to the United States. Eleven years later, having been "trafficked and bought when he was just an infant, Joshua works daily in the fields that belong to the Gallaway household, south-west of the city of New Orleans." A child "full of dreams" like any other, but forced to work the fields of the Gallaway plantation, Joshua will now "need to find the strength to fight against one of the greatest injustices of humanity."

Displayed in stylish pixel art, I'm Joshua promises to focus more on narrative than gameplay challenge, though there will be some light puzzling and traditional point-and-click adventure elements included. With dozens of characters to interact with, you'll need to figure out for yourself who means to help or hinder your efforts to "fight for your freedom and that of your people." Similar to the approach taken by Telltale (whom the developers cite as a key influence on the game), player choice will be crucial to the advancement of the story, sometimes under duress during interactive cutscenes that require quick thinking in action. Dysotek promise an adventure "filled with twists and turns", but "the plot... will depend entirely on you and your decisions."

I'm Joshua will be released in three parts, with the debut episode due out sometime late next year. The indie Italian studio has self-financed production of the game so far, but expects to turn to Kickstarter to secure the funding needed to finish the project. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.

August 2015



Remember back when Funcom used to make single-player games? It's been a long time since the Norse developer did anything besides MMOs, but the creator of The Longest Journey is once again planning a solo experience in the form of the horror adventure The Park.

Very little is known about the story so far, except that the titular setting is an amusement park where a woman named Lorraine takes her son Callum. Expecting to find a happy place filled with excitement, laughter and the "innocent joys of childhood and the exhilarating rush of hair-raising, but safe adventure", what Lorraine finds instead is exactly the opposite. When Callum goes missing and nightfall descends, the visit quickly turns into "the most terrifying nightmare of her life."

As a "smaller-scale" adventure born out ideas originally conceived for their MMO universes, The Park promises a "short, but intense horror story set against the backdrop of an amusement park where a dark and sinister secret is just waiting to be uncovered."

The best news of all is that The Park is nearly open for business, with a projected PC launch date sometime in October. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game through its official website.



It's been more than two decades since the launch of Trilobyte's FMV puzzler The 7th Guest, but the ghosts of Stauf's haunted mansion still have unfinished business after all this time. Fortunately, both for them and for adventure game fans, at long last the mansion is opening up once again in The 13th Doll, which just successfully completed its Kickstarter campaign.

Set immediately after the 1930s events of The 7th Guest, this game also stars Tad, the break-and-enter protagonist of the original. Having barely survived the toymaker Stauf's many sadistic puzzles to gain his freedom the first time around, Tad naturally feels unhinged afterwards and is locked up in a mental institution. There he meets Dr. Richmond, who believes that a "cathartic trip" back to the mansion would do Tad a world of good. Tad believes the same thing, though for much different reasons, as he plans to "defeat Stauf once and for all, and rescue those he left behind." Players can control Tad or Dr. Richmond, with "either option representing unique storylines that intertwine and affect each other in mind-boggling ways. Ultimately, the two characters become entwined in solving a mystery that may prove that they are both pawns in a larger story of murder, lies, and betrayal."

The 13th Doll will feature the familiar formula of its predecessor but be updated for modern audiences. The sequel will once again feature plenty of full motion video sequences to watch and puzzles to solve (26 in total), along with a "plethora of interactive objects and peculiar personages" (including Stauf himself) to interact with throughout the mansion. This time around, players can explore the "three spacious, fully navigable environments, comprised of over 25 smaller locations" in real-time 3D, though a more traditional point-and-click option will be included as well. Either way, you can still only progress room by room, as each one contains a puzzle that will unlock new "nightmarish locations" once solved. Who you control and how you play will help determine which of the five possible endings you experience.

The road back to Stauf's mansion has been a rocky and unexpected one. The 13th Doll actually began many years ago as a fan-made freeware adventure that never got completed. After several failed attempts to revive the series (and one early successful one in the form of psuedo-sequel The 11th Hour), Trilobyte agreed to fully license the franchise to Attic Door Productions for a commercial sequel so long as it could successfully be funded. And so it was, thanks to a recently completed Kickstarter campaign that contributed over $60,000 to production.

If all goes well in the next few months of development, we could be seeing The 13th Doll released for Windows, Mac and Linux in the first quarter of 2016.



Cops don't have it easy, at least not in the land of fiction. Whether it's the things they've seen or just the long hours and the stress, few seem to last for long without cracking up, getting divorced and turning to the bottle. In The Last Time, indie developer Daniel Black may start us down this well-worn path, but after that it's up to us in this "narrative-driven" point-and-click adventure that has successfully completed its Kickstarter campaign.

Jack Glover's life as a policeman started well, in a quiet town where he spent more time chatting with his partner than chasing criminals. But that all changed one day, forty years ago, when something went tragically wrong. Now living in a care home, he's old, cantankerous and pretty much withdrawn from the world. Until, that is, he gets a phone call from someone connected to the day he's spent 40 years trying to forget. At long last he must finally re-engage with the present and deal with the past.

The primary focus in this game is not so much on puzzles (though there will be some) as on story and moral choices. The developer promises that player decisions, large and small, will affect the path of the narrative and that there will be no "right" or "wrong" choices: the story will continue whatever you do. The short demo available certainly showcases this, being packed with (mostly small) decisions to make. It also highlights the game’s retro-styled art featuring some of the chunkiest pixels ever seen in an adventure game, which are not without a certain naive charm.

The Last Time is due out in early 2016, and will be available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices. You can keep up with developments at the official website.



Several comic book characters have successfully made the jump from paper to their own videogames, and the next two on the list could be Sandra and Woo, the titular web comic protagonists in the upcoming Sandra and Woo in the Cursed Adventure.

Sandra is a 12-year-old American girl who lives a very normal life in suburbia – other than having a mischievous talking pet raccoon named Woo, that is. One day that all changes, however, when the pair are sucked into a cursed adventure game by a strange computer virus. In this virtual world where "dragons circle the skies above, [and] a castle is under siege", Sandra and Woo must "go on an epic quest to seek a way back home". Along the way, they'll encounter "fantastic and bizarre characters, all of whom have their own agendas, wants and desires. Sandra and Woo will soon find out who exactly is friend or foe. Nothing is as it should be and even less is what it seems. And in the far distance a shadow, rising on the horizon, is threatening to swallow them all."

Created by Ute Knörzer and Stefan Müller, Sandra and Woo have beens starring in their own web comic since 2010. In making the transition to interactive adventure, German-based indie developers Feline Fuelled Games promise a game with "at least" ten hours of play time filled with "tricky puzzles" to solve. As seen in the early screenshots and trailer, the game will be fully voiced with a hand-drawn HD art style based on the original comic, while the gameplay will be fashioned after traditional adventures like the Monkey Island and Deponia series.

There is no firm release date available yet, but the game has been in development for over three years now and is nearing completion. If all goes according to plan, we should be seeing Sandra and Woo in the Cursed Adventure on PCs before the end of this year. In the meantime, to learn more about the game you can visit the official website.



Teddy bears and horror-tinged noir may not be the first pairing that comes to mind in a game of word association, but that could change if Indiefferent Studio's Bear With Me gets the necessary support through the Square Enix Collective.

Bear With Me stars a ten-year-old girl named Amber and her fluffy toy Ted E. Bear, who just so happens to be a private eye. That's a good thing, because when strange sounds wake Amber up in the middle of a dark and stormy night, she discovers that her brother Flint has gone missing. With Ted's help, now it's up to Amber to get to the bottom of the mystery, but it won't be easy because "something very strange is going on in the house. There is a Red presence which does not seem friendly at all." Adding even more intrigue, the "plot thickens while you are given the opportunity to control both Amber and Red and thus shape the hunter-hunted scenario."

This game promises a unique blend of elements. Although its "cute" hand-drawn art style is cartoony in nature, Bear With Me is presented largely in black and white, as befits its noir-themed influence. The atmosphere will be steeped in horror, and yet the developers promise a script "full of puns, sarcastic, dark and funny." The gameplay and point-and-click mechanics follow in the classic LucasArts  tradition, involving "hundreds of interactive items", many of which can be collected and combined in inventory, and numerous conversations and interrogations to engage in. The ability to play as both Amber and her hunter Red also gives players the "ability to control the non-linear story and make choices [of their] own."

If you'd like to experience this curious mix of styles for yourself, you can already do so as a playable alpha demo is available for PC and Mac. If you like what you see, you can support Bear With Me through Steam Greenlight and the Square Enix Collective, which helps promote select indie projects through to completion.

There is currently no timeframe for Bear With Me, as public support at this stage could determine whether the project is pursued further at all, or how soon it can be completed.

July 2015



Normally it's concerning to equate icebergs and the end of the world, but it's good news when it's Iceberg Interactive, who today announced not one but two new post-apocalyptic adventures, Bonded and Empathy.


Long after a catastrophic event effectively ended the human era, Bonded is set in a world now dominated by intelligent machines. As part of just a handful of remaining survivors hiding in bunkers, a "little girl called Mira, and her trusty partner, a domestic robot called Bao" must abandon the relative safety of their home when Mira's parents leave for help but never return. Mira "knows nothing of the world outside, but when danger forces her to leave, only an old book and her old robot can help her on her journey to find her lost parents. But as fate would have it, she ends up discovering much, much more than she could have ever imagined." Players can switch between both Mira and Bao as the two work cooperatively to face the challenges posed by this industrial 3D wasteland.

There is no firm release date scheduled yet for Bonded, but the game is currently slated to release on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles in the last quarter of 2015.


Like its counterpart, Empathy drops players into a world that seems "broken apart, almost dead." Unlike Bonded, however, what remains are not machines but the remnants of its former human inhabitants in the form of memories and emotions that "appear as physical things, hanging in the air, just waiting for someone to reach out." In this surreal 3D land, players must explore and manipulate these memories in order to "change the world around you, solve puzzles and access new areas." The branching narrative unfolds in multiple first-person perspectives as you begin to piece together the tragedy that has befallen this world and its people.

Empathy is a bit farther off than Bonded, with an as-yet-unspecified release target sometime in 2016. In the meantime, you can keep tabs on the game's progress through its official website.

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