Adventure News
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January 2015

16

Jan


The arrival of The Inquisitor was once dreaded news, but now it's welcome news for adventure gamers, as Microïds has announced the surprise launch of Nicolas Eymerich, The Inquisitor: Book II - The Village.

Picking up after the events of its 2013 predecessor, the second installment in the medieval series once again garbs players in the robes of the titular Head Inquisitor. It's the year 1345, and "Satan's shadow lingers over Calcares, in the South of France." Ever since the summer soltice, an "evil shape" has begun appearing in the sky, and a deadly plague now ravages the city. The Inquisitor fervently believes that "to hold back the contagion, the evil must be eradicated at the very source." But questions abound: "Is Nicolas Eymerich really struggling with evil entities? Or is his fanaticism forcing him to see evil where [there are] only unfortunate but sadly natural events?"


Players will generally guide Eymerich through the game's graphically improved real-time 3D environments, but at times there will be a second playable character in the form of a Dominican priest named Father Jacinto Corona. Gameplay promises to be fairly traditional, requiring "observation and deduction skills" as you collect inventory, solve puzzles, and converse with local characters (unleashing Eymerich's trademark scathing wit in the process) to "find out more about the dark events that have brought him there." An integrated hint system and optional Latin subtitles are among the other features incorporated into the game.

Nicolas Eymerich, The Inquisitor: Book II - The Village is available now as a universal app for iPad and iPhone, with PC, Mac, and Android versions of the game to follow within the next few days.



14

Jan

One of the key things that makes humans different from computers is our ability to love, but with that ability comes the danger of being hurt. This is one of the themes explored in the upcoming else Heart.Break(), a "game about friendship, love and technology in a place where bits have replaced atoms."

The point-and-click adventure centers around a young man named Sebastian, who moves far from home to the city of Dorisburg for his first job, ready to "start his adult life and figure out who he really wants to be." There among a "strange collection of people, hackers and activists he finds some true friends – perhaps even love. But can they stop the terrible deeds of the people ruling the city? And who will get their heart broken in the end?"


else Heart.Break() promises an "expansive 3D world" to explore, as revealed in the early screenshots and trailer. The "meticulously simulated" city of Dorisburg is populated by dynamic characters and many objects that you can interact with, but rather than provide a linear story full of puzzles, the game will be "primarily about exploration and talking to people", with puzzles based more on "information and knowledge, rather than combinations of items". Players will find a "laid-back experience where you can just go to the café and have a coffee whenever things get too hectic", but you must be careful what you do and say, as "your actions matter and nothing can ever be unsaid or undone." As you progress, you will gain the ability to "alter the code of the game" that will enable you to "dig deeper in the mysteries of the game world."

There is currently no firm release date for else Heart.Break(), but the developers are hoping to complete the game sometime in the first half of this year for PC, Mac, and "probably" Linux platforms. In the meantime, keep your eye on the game's official website for more details.



12

Jan

Like Bill Murray's character in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, when video game protagonists die or fail to complete certain objectives, they are forced to relive those moments over and over again. Usually, however, game characters aren’t aware of the time-loops in which they become stuck. But what if they did know? What effect would it have on both the character in question and on the gameplay of which they are a part?

These are the questions behind the upcoming point-and-click adventure Twelve Minutes, currently in development by former Rockstar Games artist Luis Antonio. The plot is a murder mystery which plays out over twelve (or fewer) real-world minutes, and it will be the player's job to figure out what happened between the protagonist's wife and her father, whom she is arrested for killing, before time loops back on itself. You will accomplish this task by using information gleaned in each playthrough in order to move forward, reacting appropriately to foreknowledge of upcoming events.


The entire game will take place in three rooms of the couple's home, namely the kitchen / living room, bedroom, and bathroom, and will be played from an unusual top-down perspective, a choice that Antonio believes will improve accessibility for people who don't normally play games. Because you are not given specific goals to complete aside from the overarching mystery, Antonio plans for the repetitive nature of the premise to be offset by the player's incremental knowledge of the situation, hopefully making subsequent playthroughs quicker and less repetitive, bolstered by the limited number of locations to explore. This approach also allows for more sandbox-style gameplay, where players could, in fact, completely ignore the main mystery and simply experiment with what the environment has to offer.

Twelve Minutes is tentatively set for release by December 2015, though this date is subject to change as Antonio is developing the game in his spare time while he collaborates with Jonathan Blow on his upcoming project, The Witness. For more information in the meantime, visit the game's official website.



11

Jan

The Last Door proved that retro graphics can still be effective in creating moody psychological atmosphere, and now indie Italian developer Bad Tale Studios are following suit with Under that Rain, which is now raising funds through Indiegogo.

Under that Rain stars Parisian social worker Andrè Lacroix, who is reviewing his last case of the day just as the rain begins to fall outside. The file is about an orphan named Alexander Lucien Lazarius, a suspected child abuse victim now in the custody of his aunt in a manor just outside town. Andrè becomes obsessed with Alexander's case, and despite the dreary weather he decides to drive to the child's new home in search of answers. Upon his arrvival, he quickly comes to understand that "he was right to be worried. The child was missing and the people at the manor house were acting as if they had something to hide." As Andrè begins to investigate the "horrible facts" about the house, he is "overwhelmed by a strange kind of nostalgia mixed with a horrible form of oppression", and soon realizes that "nothing is as it seems and that sometimes the worst atrocities [can] be made even worse."


Exploring themes like "love, hate, fear and vengeance", Under that Rain aims to probe the darkest corners of the human soul, confronting players with crucial questions about who we are, whether we're cowards or heroes, and what we are willing to do to survive. The game promises to "bring to life unimaginable and repulsive horrors" using a combination of old-school point-and-click adventure fare with more modern features like Quick Time Events that will challenge "not only your best deductive skills but also your speed." All this will be presented in a distinctive pixel art style seen in the early screenshots and trailer.

In order to make this game a reality, Bad Tale is currently seeking €15,000 through a fixed funding Indiegogo campaign by March 9th. A minimum €10 pledge will earn backers a free download of the game for Windows, Mac, or Linux upon completion, which is tentatively scheduled as early as October. To learn more and/or donate to the campaign, visit the Indiegogo page for complete details, as well as the Greenlight page if you'd like to see the finished game released on Steam.



11

Jan

The world did not end in 2012, but does that mean the Mayan prediction was untrue, or was disaster averted by one eccentric willing to make the necessary sacrifice to the gods? A new adventure by indie Spanish developer Luis Ruiz explores just such a premise in his upcoming debut title, along with the more pertinent question: where in today's world can you round up enough Damn Virgins?

The Mayans believed that life is "governed in cycles of 5200 years. When each cycle ends, the seven gods who created mankind allow the cycle to repeat in return for an offering." Unfortunately for the Mayans, "during the sacrifice, something went wrong. Enraged, the gods punished the Mayan people, who then disappeared. This disappearance wasn't immediate, though. Earthquakes, droughts, and volcanic eruptions came one after the other, ultimately leading to the fall of the empire."


Now 5200 years later, it's our turn, but only one man understands what needs to be done. As December 21, 2012 approaches, Alex, the dean of a small university, convinces himself that recent natural disasters are signs of impending doom from demanding gods. He therefore "decides to do the sacrifices himself. The problem is that today, virgins are really hard to find." Thanks to his position in the university, Alex founds a fraternity and "tricks the dumbest virgin boys that he finds into joining. Alex promises them that if they finish their studies, he'll take them to Riviera Maya as an end-of-term trip. Using an outing as a ruse, he plans to sacrifice them at the top of Chichen Itza." But first they must pass their final course, and "this professor won't make it easy, [so] Alex will have to take desperate measures. After all, his ticket to Mexico is only one way."

Damn Virgins casts players in the role of Xavi, one of the seven virgins "without any outstanding qualities or ambition, [who] spends his days sleeping on the couch and playing videogames." You'll spend much of your time exploring the fraternity house and a ficticious island, solving puzzles in traditional third-person, point-and-click fashion. As you do, you will unlock segments of a live action film that piece together the story and complement the gameplay.

According to Ruiz, both filming and gameplay are largely complete, with a release date targeted between April and August 2015 on PC and Mac, and possibly iOS devices as well. In the meantime, to learn more about Damn Virgins and vote for it to appear on Steam, drop by the game's Greenlight page for additional details.



9

Jan

Halloween 2014 may have passed, but it’s never too early to start looking forward to next year’s spooks, such as those promised in a new psychological horror adventure called The Dark Inside Me, which is seeking funding on Indiegogo.

Currently in development at Turkey-based Blue Arc Studios, not much has been revealed about the game or its plot so far, but players will begin waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed unaware of who they are or what they have done to require such restraint. A conveniently overheard conversation indicates that you are responsible for something terrible, and that it probably would have been better for you to have died. Of course, the first order of business is to escape your ad hoc prison, but beyond this point, the mystery surrounding the story remains intact. Headlining the game's promotional material is the promise of extremely graphic content, including "disturbing gore, sex, and intense violence," and thus the game is being targeted for gamers eighteen-years-old and above.


The Dark Inside Me will be presented in 2.5D perspective with 3D characters, and controlled with a point-and-click interface. Various environments will be available for exploration, both indoor and outdoor, as well as sequences that take place in vehicles of different kinds. Gameplay will involve standard adventure game fare like inventory puzzles, though players can also expect to encounter some unusual scenarios, such as a puzzle whose solution involves performing as lead singer in a "rock bar" band. Choice is also being emphasized, with players able to decide whether to use objects to kill (or torture!) their enemies, or avoid such potential hazards and obstacles altogether. Depending on the choices made, future opportunities can change over the course of the game. For example, if you choose not to kill a character, they could show up later on to assist or hinder you in your quest.

In order to bring this bloody vision of fun to life, Blue Arc Studios has taken to Indiegogo, hoping to raise a minimum of $100,000 by February 10th. Stretch goals would see more chapters added to the initial three, up to a total of six. A $15 pledge will secure gamers a digital copy of the game. Note that, as a flex-funding campaign, whatever money Blue Arc raises during the campaign period is theirs to keep, whether or not the target funding amount is reached.

Assuming a successful fundraiser, The Dark Inside Me is scheduled to release late in 2015, on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms. For more information, check out the game's Indiegogo page and official website (both sites are NSFW).




December 2014

29

Dec

Fans of the point-and-click adventure Tiny Thief have a reason to be happy this holiday season, with the announcement that a spiritual successor is in the works. Titled Love You To Bits, the game is being developed by Alike Studio and Pati.io, two Spanish outfits comprised of former members of the studio responsible for Tiny Thief.

Although story and gameplay details are vague at the moment, the game follows an as-yet-unnamed human protagonist as he journeys in search of his robot girlfriend, who has been broken into pieces and scattered across the universe. Along the way he will encounter planets "full of fantastic aliens, space-time puzzles, and hidden objects to collect" while searching for his lost love, promising a varied trove of activity to engage gamers.


The early screenshots and trailer show off the cute cartoony art style that should be familiar to Tiny Thief players, and the bright, out-of-this-world color palette that creates an inviting, fun atmosphere, though in much different environments this time around.

Love You To Bits is expected to launch in the second quarter 2015, first on iOS devices, with release on Android, PC, and Mac platforms to follow at a later date. Interested gamers can check out the official website for more information in the coming months.



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