Adventure News
 


January 2015

28

Jan

Most adventure game designs begin on paper, but rarely is paper the primary component of the finished product. That's what sets Papetura apart, as the new point-and-click adventure from indie Polish developer Petums is made entirely of paper. It's also seeking a little special paper of its own through an Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

The title is a blend of the two protagonists' names, as players assist Pape in looking after his little friend Tura. Their world of paper is brought to life when touched by light, but there are many "hidden mysteries waiting to reveal themselves, covered with paper-darkness." Among the many challenges will be "monsters in the darkness waiting for you with different intentions. During the journey, a bird covered with flames awoken by the light will cross your path. You’ll soon find out that the purpose of your journey is not only to survive, but also to save the world from the devastating power coming from the fire of a merciless creature."


Inspired by adventure classics like The Neverhood and Machinarium, as well as the animated films of Studio Ghibli, Papetura is a wordless journey through a magical world filled with "a considerable amount" of environmental puzzles to solve, as well as minigames fashioned in the same style. Every element along the way is made of paper, including the water! The game's trailer offers a glimpse behind the scenes into the transformation process, but there's no need to stop there, as you can play a short demo already. In this brief introductory sampler, Pape and Tura have been swallowed by a monster, and must outwit a lurking tapeworm to escape.

In order to make Papetura a reality, Petums have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $13,000 by February 28th. A minimum $9 pledge is all that's required for a DRM-free download of the game on PC or Mac (iPad, Android and Linux versions are also possible if stretch goals are met). If all goes well, we should be seeing the finished game in the third quarter of 2016.

To learn more about Papetura, including a more in-depth making-of trailer, visit the game's Indiegogo page for complete details. As well as backing the game financially, you can also vote for it through Steam Greenlight.



25

Jan

The afterlife has always been kind to adventure games, so here's hoping it is once again in the upcoming Goetia, a supernatural point-and-click mystery currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

Goetia casts players in the ethereal shoes of Abigail, a young girl who died nearly 40 years earlier at the start of the 20th century. It's now the middle of World World II, and Abigail suddenly finds herself back at Blackwood Manor, familial home of "a perverted and mad lineage, a clan whose final members devoted their life to mysticism and fanatical experiments." Abigail knows nothing of events that have taken place since her death, and is now forced to answer the question of what led to her family's downfall.

To call Goetia a "third-person" adventure doesn't quite tell the whole story. Though the game will be traditional in many respects, tasking players with "seeking out clues, finding objects, and figuring out how to use or combine them in order to progress through the different areas, puzzles and encounters", you must also make good use of your ghostly powers. As the spectral Abigail you can "walk through walls and fly through ceilings", but a ghost can't carry an inventory, so in order to have any effect on tangible objects, you must "possess them, just like a real poltergeist would." You can "combine what you possess with another item, or simply use it, throw it, or move it around", though of course you cannot pass through walls during physical possession.


A French collaboration of designer/artist Moeity with development studio Sushee, one of the key goals for Goetia is open-world exploration, free from the contraints of the living. Players are encouraged to roam about the manor at will, along with the surrounding areas that include an abandoned village, a dark pine forest, a strange labyrinth and a cave network. Thorough adventurers will discover some special optional powers, one of which allows you "to see an object owner’s last thoughts and actions when you possess it. Sometimes this will only be some insight into the story or the protagonists. Other times, it will give you a clue, allowing you to discover an alternate (and easier) way to solve a particular enigma."  

While much of the work is already done, in order to bring this supernatural mystery fully to... err... life, the developers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 by February 20th. A minimum $15 pledge is required to secure a download of the game for PC or Mac upon its completion, which is on target for this October. To learn more about Goetia and contribute to its fundraising campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details, as well as the game's official website.



24

Jan

Peter Moorhead, the force behind 2014’s sci-fi mystery Stranded, is preparing an all-new treat for fans of cyber-noir storytelling. The upcoming Murder is a retro science fiction story, this time dealing with themes of morality in the face of technological evolution.


Set in a futuristic Japan, players follow Lieutenant Motomeru Minori, an officer with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, assigned to investigate the murder of a human at the hands of a machine. The case quickly turns into a dangerous one, in what the developer himself describes as a mostly interactive story. While eschewing traditional puzzles in favor of narrative, Moorhead is aiming to make use of environmental exposition, letting the player piece together the majority of the story through exploration of the surroundings, and perhaps even a meta-narrative for replay value for dedicated players.

Without a firm release date announced as of yet, Moorhead has his eyes on completing the game sometime “before the end of the year.” Murder is slated for release on Windows, Mac, and Linux.



23

Jan

Out of the heart of Romania, from deepest Transylvania, comes the announcement of a 2D point-and-click comic adventure about… Cthulhu? Yes, there’s not a vampire in sight in Stuck in Attic’s Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure, a game that “lovingly spoofs” the works of one H. P. Lovecraft. Gibbous will seek to take the writer’s dark subject matter, creatures, and locations, and give them a light-hearted, contemporary twist in the style of classic LucasArts adventure favorites.

Taking place in an alternate present day, Gibbous is the story of not one but three playable characters: Buzz, a mild-mannered librarian who accidentally stumbles across the notorious Necronomicon; his cat Kitteh who has been somehow transformed by the book; and Don R. Ketype, a hard-boiled private detective tasked with finding the book for mysterious benefactors. Death cults are all the rage, springing up all over the place, each one trying to outbid the others in a race to reclaim the Necronomicon and bring the god of chaos back into our world. On the lam, Buzz and Kitteh must stay one step ahead of their pursuers on their quest to set things back to rights.

Boasting technical features like frame-by-frame animations and hand-painted backgrounds, the developers are taking pains to include unique responses and lines of dialog for every possible combination of inventory items and environment hotspots – whether they produce a viable result or not – thus eliminating bog-standard negative responses when a player action fails to produce results. Besides Lovecraft, the three-person team is citing such disparate influences as Tim Schafer, Alfred Hitchcock, and Karl Pilkington, among others, so the result may be quite an interesting amalgamation.

The game will be available for  Windows, Mac, and Linux, and possibly mobile platforms further down the road. There is currently no firm release date, as a crowdfunding campaign is expected to be launched at some point in the future, but mid-2016 is the earliest likely target at this point. Fortunately, we’ll get a teaser in the meantime, as a demo could be available as soon as this spring.

To learn more about the Gibbous, you can follow its developments on the developer’s blog. The team is also seeking English-speaking voice talent, and interested applicants can reach them at gibbous.the.game@gmail.com.



22

Jan

As many of us shiver through the cold, dark winter months, we can start looking ahead to Missing from indie Italian developer LetsPlay, a new horror-adventure set in the cold, dark winter of 1973.

Missing casts players in the first-person role of a Private Detective named John Moore. When you receive a request for help from someone in "a little town in the middle of nowhere", you hop aboard the next train out. When you arrive at your destination, however, you soon realize that something is very wrong, as "there isn't a living soul out there...everyone has disappeared." Everyone... but not necessarily everything. Relying only on "instinct and reason [to] resolve some complicated situations and lead you to the truth," you must also contend with something continually stalking you – something that wants you dead.

A free-roaming 3D adventure, Missing promises to tell its "disturbing story" through a variety of diary entries left behind, so thorough exploration will be required to fully flesh out the town's background. Puzzles will be directly linked to the plot and complex enough to provide a challenge without involving abstact item combinations to proceed. Though the danger is very real, as you will be able to die at times, encounters with a deadly creature will be reserved for specific circumstances throughout the game, leaving you largely free to explore at your leisure without constantly looking over your shoulder.

There is no firm timetable yet for the release of Missing, but LetsPlay are hoping to complete the game for PC sometime this year.



21

Jan

Independent developer Svarun Games has announced a project in the pipeline that will appeal to fans of classic 2D  point-and-click adventure games. Taking a break from their other endeavor – the continuing work on their premier title, Vsevolod – Svarun is shifting focus to K’nossos, a game with “strong emphasis on unique atmosphere, immersing puzzles and gripping storyline.”

Not much has been revealed about the actual plot of K’nossos, but the game’s Facebook page hints that it will be a reimagined version of the classic Minotaur tale from Greek mythology, albeit with a sci-fi bent (Knossos being the city under which the Minotaur’s labyrinth was supposedly built). One key feature of the game will be an Orb that accompanies the protagonist, offering four unique abilities that will be crucial to the gameplay: Heat, Melt, Weld and Cut.

The team takes its inspiration from a multitude of well-known sources, from the abstract visuals based on Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, to the lonely and unsettling atmosphere of games such as Kentucky Route Zero, to the settings and sci-fi overtones of books like Frank Herbert’s Dune, all while staying true to traditional adventure game mechanics of exploration, dialog, and inventory manipulation.

Though much of the story is still shrouded in mystery, the game – which should be getting a crowdfunding campaign at some point down the line – will be released on Windows, Mac, and Linux, with iOS and Android versions to be considered as well. A firm release date has not yet been decided upon, though it seems the game likely won’t be available before 2016 at the earliest.



18

Jan

Although they both rose to prominence in the 1990s, TV dramas Twin Peaks and The X-Files are still inspiring storytellers more than twenty years on with their blend of the seemingly ordinary with the mysterious. Following in their footsteps, British developer Variable State is hard at work on a new first-person adventure game, Virginia.

Described as an "interactive drama", Virginia tells the story of a rookie FBI agent and her partner in the early 1990s as they investigate the disappearance of a young boy in the titular US state. The game seeks to put players in situations that are "relatable" and "mundane" to serve as a purposeful contrast to the strange goings-on and cast of "loners, has-beens, creeps, and beatniks" you will encounter during your time on the job. Although detailed plot elements are being kept under wraps for the moment, the developers say they hope to keep players on their toes with surreal sequences that force you to question "what is real" and make the protagonist an "unreliable observer" – familiar territory for fans of the game's sources of inspiration.

The game’s graphics will forego the photorealistic environments prevalent in other first-person games in favor of a blocky, almost plastic appearance that, appropriately enough, feels surreal when gazing upon the initial screenshots. Players will be able to move freely throughout each location using the mouse and keyboard or gamepad, but the story itself will be "unabashedly linear." Variable State hopes that a more controlled experience will enable every player to experience "the same key moments and hopefully to have a similar emotional reaction to what they're experiencing." Puzzles are being downplayed in Virginia's design in order to further strengthen the narrative and dramatic elements.

PC gamers can prime themselves to explore the mysteries of Virginia sometime in 2016. Until then, those interested in learning more can keep up to date at Variable State's official webpage.



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