Adventure News
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June 2014

29

Jun

As adventure gamers, we've all had those "aha!" moments where the light bulb suddenly switches on in our heads. But an indie Polish development team is taking that notion one step further: what if the light bulb is our head?!  That's the premise behind the quirky new point-and-click adventure Bulb Boy, currently raising funds through Kickstarter.

The diminutive Bulb Boy lives in the Electric Forest, growing up in a "big old house with his GRANDPAraffin and Mothdog. It was a time of fun, friendship and love." All that changes one night, however, when "Bulb wakes suddenly from a frightening nightmare to discover that darkness has overshadowed the old family house. GRANDPAraffin and Mothdog have disappeared." In order to find them while warding off the evil creatures now roaming the house, you'll need to use your head – literally!

Having a bulb for a head comes with unique abilities, as "not only does your head light up, emit heat and electrical shocks, [it] can also be unscrewed for use in other places." You'll need all these talents and more as you fend off a host of monsters, including flesh-eating moths, Bulb's favourite plush bunny, whose "snot manifests itself into different shapes and forms and becomes deadly", and a headless chicken that can sense light and "choke the life out of you using its headless neck." Each of the game's four main sections will be protected by a "monstrous boss" and there will be reflex elements involved in defeating some of them, but you'll also need to employ "a little trickery" to succeed.

As seen in the teaser and first screenshots, Bulb Boy is a stylish hand-drawn adventure with no dialogue, just animated thought bubbles used to communicate ideas. Inspired by the likes of Gobliiins and Machinarium, the game promises to combine a cute and likeable main character with a "slow-paced horror story". You can sample the game for yourself, as there is a browser-based tech demo already available.

If you like what you see so far, you'll want to hop on over to the game's Kickstarter campaign, where the developers are seeking $40,000 by July 27th. If successful, the game is due to arrive on PC, Mac, and Linux by October 2015, with iOS and Android ports also possible. A minimum $15 pledge is required to receive a downloadable copy of the game upon completion. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



28

Jun

You might think the life of a worm is pretty low on the karmic scale, but it makes for a pretty intriguing premise in AuraLab's surrealist adventure Karma. Incarnation 1, currently seeking funding through Indiegogo.

In Karma, players control Pip, a "cute-yet-brutal worm, living in a truly surrealistic world." Just incarnated into this form, Pip is naive and knows little of this strange world, and he is as "willing to talk to flowers and stones... as he is ready to swallow whole another representative of local fauna." It's up to players to make Pip's moral choices in this "psychedelic tale of good and evil driven by the laws of Karma."

As demonstrated by the game's early gameplay video, Karma is a highly stylized, hand-drawn point-and-click adventure. There is no spoken dialogue, but there are plenty of decisions to make in a game that promises to be "jam-packed with original humour and brain-bending puzzles". Not only will your choices affect Pip's appearance throughout the game, they'll also impact the storyline itself, opening new avenues and closing off others during a single playthrough. In order to advance, Pip will need to view the world through his inner eye, a "special ability which allows him to perceive the spirit world at any moment of the game." In this "astral plane he'll find additional creatures and hints on how to sucessfully complete the quests."

The game has been in development for quite a while in Russia, and is now ready to take the final steps towards release on PC, Mac, and Linux by the end of this year. In order to do so, the developers are seeking $35,000 through crowdfunding on Indiegogo by August 3rd. A mininum $7 pledge will earn backers a free digital copy of the game, and a portion of all proceeds (this being a game about karma, after all) will go to support the World Wildlife Fund. Note that as a flexible funding campaign, the developers will receive all donations made, regardless of whether they reach their ultimate goal.

To learn more about the game, visit the official website and the Indiegogo fundraising page. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



21

Jun

Victorian England. A vicious killer is on the loose, and only one man can hope to stop him... No, this isn't Sherlock Holmes squaring off against Jack the Ripper once again, it's Bertram Fiddle in pursuit of Geoff the Murderer in an upcoming point-and-tap mobile adventure trilogy.

Bertram Fiddle, leading "Victorian Explorator" in 1884, is in desperate need of a new case, but he gets more than he bargained for in pursuit of Geoff the Murderer, London's "most elusive serial killer". Along with his Cyclopean manservant Gavin, when Fiddle takes to the "dark, shadowy streets of London" he becomes "embroiled in the greatest murder mystery of his time". It's up to Fiddle (and the player) to "unravel the clues and stop Geoff before he strikes again."

Although the premise sounds like a gritty suspense mystery, The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle promises plenty of dark humour to go with its intrigue. Inspired by Victorian-era novels, Hammer horror films, and point-and-click adventures, the game will include "strange creatures and lost worlds" to go with its "stunning vistas and... chilling terrors."

All this will be wrapped up in a hand-drawn, cartoon-style presentation on IOS and Android devices in three parts. The first episode, subtitled A Dreadly Business, is due for release in October. In the meantime, you can find more information about the game at the official website.



20

Jun

Tale of Tales are known for their artistic, genre-defying interactive experiences, and while that continues to be true of their next project, the Belgian team of Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Graveyard, The Path) are going a little more mainstream with Sunset, a new "narrative-driven first-person videogame" currently raising funds through Kickstarter.

Sunset takes place in the early 1970s, entirely within the confines of a "luxurious penthouse apartment against the backdrop of violent revolution in a fictional South American metropolis." Players assume the role of housekeeper Angela Burns, who returns to the "swanky bachelor pad of Gabriel Ortega" each day an hour just before sunset. You'll have your required duties to perform, but in between the "temptation to go through his stuff is irresistible. As you get to know your mysterious employer better, you are sucked into a rebellious plot against a notorious dictator Generalísimo Ricardo Miraflores."

As its premise suggests, Sunset is certainly not a traditional adventure, as this game will include no puzzles. Rather, it is a personal exploration of the emotional story behind the (usually) nameless victims of war. Players can influence Sunset's story in a variety of ways, whether "going through the owner's possessions in search of information for the revolutionaries... or simply making your presence felt in his life by changing his radio station or having your own fun interacting with his 1970s-era high-tech gadgets." You can also impact your relationship with Ortega, even in his absence, as "for each task in the apartment there is more than one way of performing it: a neutral way or a naughty, funny way or flirty way. Gabriel will respond through small notes and other actions. It is up to you to decide how intimate or antagonistic this relationship becomes."

In order to bring Sunset to PC, Mac, and Linux by March 2015, the developers turned to Kickstarter for $25,000 funding by July 17th. That clearly won't be a problem, as the target has already been surpassed, but backers can still reserve a downloadable copy of the game for a minimum pledge of $15, with additional perks offered at higher tiers. For complete details, visit the Kickstarter page to learn more.



19

Jun

Adventure Gamers have good luck with island secrets to date, and indie developer Somgame Studio is hoping to continue that trend with The Secret of the Mayan Island, currently in development for release later this year.

The Secret of the Mayan Island casts players in the role of a researcher of Mayan texts who discovers a forgotten island where an ancient civilization once flourished. Eager to learn more, he sets off for the island, but once there he "encounters a number of obstacles and mysteries left by the Maya which he must solve in order to uncover the scariest secrets hidden on the island. Unexpectedly, the ordinary adventure turns into the most important event for all mankind."

Clearly inspired by Myst, the game is presented in first-person perspective, with 360-degree panning around photorealistic backgrounds. As players explore the island in search of ancient artifacts and secret places, the gameplay, too, takes its cues from Myst, promising "many mysteries and puzzles seamlessly woven into the gameplay."

The game is currently in development for PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices, and could be finished as early as the end of this year.



18

Jun

There's another acclaimed videogame designer making a return this year, though the name won't be as instantly familiar to adventure game fans as his recent predecessors. Paul Cuisset, the French creator of Flashback, is joining forces with Microïds to develop the sci-fi puzzler Subject 13.

Subject 13 casts players in the eponymous role, whose real name is Franklin Fargo. A former physics professor, Fargo has become a recluse living a "solitary and bitter existence" since a robbery targeting him claimed the life of his fiancée Sophie. Suddenly, Fargo "wakes up in an abandoned underground scientific facility with no external contact other than a mysterious voice. The voice calls him 'Subject 13'." In order to escape the facility and discover the reason for his imprisonment, players will need to "interact with the 3D environment around them by collecting, using, and manipulating objects to overcome a multitude of devious barriers to the professor’s escape."

Though Cuisset is best known for Flashback, he is no stranger to more traditional adventures as well, as he was also a lead developer on Delphine titles Future Wars: Time Travelers and Cruise for a Corpse in the early '90s. Subject 13 is being produced in collaboration with Microïds, with Cuisset solely responsible for its story and game design.

Subject 13 is in development now for PC, Mac, and iOS and Android devices, with console versions still being considered. The game is currently on track for release near the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.



17

Jun

It may not sound like there's a whole lot of adventuring possible in a game called The Little Acre, but there is when it leads to a whole new dimension for a father-daughter team in the upcoming indie offering from Irish developer Pewter Game Studios.

From inside his garden shed, Aidan is transported into another dimension through one of his father's eccentric inventions. There he meets a variety of characters who "eat by taking 'life essence' from the living things around them and in doing so take on the characteristics of the things they feed from." One such local, an age-old villager named Twiggy, offers Aidan help in getting home in exchange for rescuing some friends from a town prison. Meanwhile, his daughter Lily is also transported into this mysterious world and begins to "figure out the mystery of this strange world and her missing father and grandfather."

As seen in the early screenshots and trailer, The Little Acre is a fully voiced, hand-drawn, point-and-click 2D adventure, but the alternate dimension gives the game several distinct qualities that makes it stand out from its contemporaries. While the family farm in the regular world is shown in the usual side-view format with traditional-style puzzles, the other dimension provides for a rather dramatic change, both visually and in terms of gameplay. Here the view shifts to an isometric perspective, and puzzle solving for Aidan centers around a "gauntlet device he wears and certain types of plants that you encounter throughout the game. Each of these plants has an 'essence' such as being sleepy, explosive, attractive, etc. and the player can use the gauntlet to suck in this essence and shoot it at other items to essentially transfer this essence into another item." Lily, too, has a unique way of overcoming obstacles in this world.

While the gameplay in this other dimension is described as "a little more action-based", the developers have confirmed that the obstacles don't require significant dexterity. Instead, the puzzles are designed to offer a change of pace from the traditional adventure approach while still "very much solved by thinking about them in your own time."

The Little Acre is currently in development for PC, Mac, and Linux, and if all goes well we could be seeing the game as early as the end of this year. In the meantime, you can vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



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