Saturday, June 30, 2012

Indie Royal Includes The Journey Down: Chapter 1

The Indie Royal Summer Bundle includes the fantastic adventure game The Journey Down: Chapter 1.

If you pay the minimum (currently just over $5.00 USD), along with The Journey Down Chapter One, you get Harvest: Massive Encounter, Serious Sam 2, Gundemonium Recollection, GundeadliGne, Hitogata Happa, Acceleration Of Suguri X-Edition, Dino Run SE, and AirMech (with an exclusive in-game item, the Indie Royale Companion Pet).

If you pay $8.00 USD or more, you also get a bonus music album, Pixeljams Volume 1.

Here's my review of The Journey Down: Chapter One if you're on the fence about it. Suffice to say, this bundle is worth it just for The Journey Down: Chapter One alone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Walking Dead Episode 2 Out Now

The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help is out now on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360.

The release dates for the other systems have been announced as well. On Friday, June 29, the game will be available to gamers on the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Network in North America, as well as on PC and Mac worldwide.

Update: It's out now on PSN and on PC and Mac through the Telltale Store and on Steam.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Indiana Jones Adventure World Review

Update: Unfortunately, Zynga shut down Indiana Jones Adventure World on January 13, 2013. Because it was never released at retail, the game is no longer available to play in any form.

Zynga brings Indiana Jones to a game that combines the casual gaming style of Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures with the friend-begging social gaming style of Farmville. And, somehow, it actually works.

When Adventure World was announced last summer, it was a simple homage to Indiana Jones films. The powers that be must have realized that the opportunity to actually bring Indy into the game was too good to pass up, as Zynga announced they had arranged a deal with Lucasfilm to bring Indiana Jones to Adventure World just a few short weeks after the initial announcement. The title screen was changed to read Adventure World: An Indiana Jones Game, an a mailbox was added that would periodically send letters to the player sent by Indiana Jones. The game remained that way for two months, until Indiana Jones was finally brought into the game as a non-playable partner character, and the title was changed again to Indiana Jones Adventure World.

Indiana Jones Adventure World actually manages to feel like an Indiana Jones game, even though the main character isn't Indiana Jones. The main character is either a male or female character, which is linked to your Facebook account. You begin the game in the jungle, and learn the basics of the game. You slash at bushes and vines with your sword, and attack spiders, snakes, and other hostile creatures with your whip. You also disarm traps by interacting with ancient carvings. After you complete the mission and recover a treasure trove of artifacts, you are brought to your home base. This is where the social gameplay comes in. In the home base, you can set up a farm, an oil rig, a well, a supply drop, a coffee plant, archeological dig sites, and other things that bring you resources you need. Your actions (such as cutting bushes or attacking enemies) take away energy, and once the energy is gone you have to wait for it to slowly replenish, ask your facebook friends for more, or buy some with real life money. This is truly a casual game at heart, and is meant to be played in short bursts. Each mission also requires a certain amount of food, water, oil, and supplies, which are acquired through the buildings set on your home base, or by visiting your Facebook friends' home bases. You can also recruit your friends to help you on missions. They don't play the missions themselves, as you are the one who controls them at that point. Your friends do receive compensation for allowing their characters to help you, however.

Starting with the first Indiana Jones map, Calendar of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the people from his adventures were finally brought into the game, and it also delivered the most fun missions in the game. The graphics are altered a bit here, to bring the traps a bit away from the homage feel of the original Adventure World to those you'd expect to see in a casual Indiana Jones game. Here, the game play mechanics are also improved upon, as you can now swing across gaps with your whip. Hal Barwood (of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine fame) was brought in to do dialog for Indiana Jones Adventure World. The dialog by Indiana Jones sounds exactly as what you'd expect the character to say, which is a testament to how well Hal Barwood knows the character. The Indiana Jones missions work slightly differently than other missions, as, if you complete them when they are first introduced, you have to wait a day to play the next one unless you spend money to unlock the next location. If you play an Indiana Jones map after all missions have been added however, you don't have to wait if you have the appropriate amount of energy, oil, food, and water to continue.

The game is set in 1934, so the Indiana Jones missions also bring in friends and collegues of Indiana Jones which could realistically be able to join in on archaeology expeditions during that time, such as Marion Ravenwood (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Sallah (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Last Crusade), and Harold Oxley (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). They also bring in adversaries of Dr. Jones, such as Dr. Forrestal, Indy's archaeologist rival who had been skewered by a trap and decomposed to a skeleton in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The addition of Indiana Jones to the game also brought the Indiana Jones theme music, which is played when the game starts. The game always had an orchestrated soundtrack that sounded like it could have come from an Indiana Jones game, and thankfully the original music is still here as well. The home base music is cheerful and has the whimsical feel of the most famous part of the Indiana Jones theme, while the music in the missions is more serious, setting the mood there very well. There is no voice acting here, but there are a few instances where the characters will make sounds if hurt, and the sound of the voices changes depending on if the character is male or female.

The game is quite a bit of fun if you can get around the social game aspect of the game. It does help to have Facebook friends that play the game, but it's not necessary. What is necessary, however, is a lot of patience, as this is a Zynga social game, with all of the tedious gameplay mechanics that Zynga is known for. If you do manage to endure waiting for energy and asking your friends for items, the game is rewarding, and it does feel like an authentic Indiana Jones experience. However, as getting past the Zynga social game structure really is a test of one's patience and endurance, the game definitely isn't for everyone.

Final Verdict

3 out of 5

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Adventuress Forums Are Open

I have decided to bring all of my sites closer together, so I have opened up forums for The Adventuress on my website for my art projects. So feel free to make an account and stop by for some discussion about adventure games or anything else. :)

Reversion: The Escape and Indiegogo

Reversion is an adventure game by a small team in Argentina that is planned to have several chapters. The first chapter, The Escape is completely free.

The team started an indiegogo campaign (a crowd funding site like kickstarter for projects that are not USA based) to raise funds for the second chapter, The Meeting. They are aiming for $4,000, which isn't bad at all and is certainly doable.

The tier for a digital download for the game is $4. As this is funding for a single chapter, there is no tier for a boxed version this time. There is however, a T-shirt available at $60 and a big poster at $150, as well as many higher tiers such as the $1,800 tier in which you become a character in the game.

If you'd like to support Reversion chapter two, pick a tier and pledge your support at the Reversion: The Meeting indiegogo campaign.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1954: Alcatraz Announced

1954: Alcatraz is an adventure game by Daedalic Entertainment and Irresponsible Games, a studio founded by Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island team member Gene Mocsy after Autumn Moon was reduced to one employee, founder Bill Tiller (creator of A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island). Bill Tiller also reportedly contributed art to 1954: Alcatraz, and Pedro Macedo Camacho (composer of Autumn Moon's games) is composing music for the game.

The game is set in 1950s San Francisco, a man named Joe is sentenced to 40 years in Alcatraz for armed robbery. He's determined to escape, but no one has ever broken out of the infamous prison before. He'll need his wife's help, but she's got problems of her own, as a fellow gangster is threatening her life if she doesn't hand over the stolen money. But only Joe knows where it's hidden, and the entire North Beach is searching for the stolen money.

The game is expected to be released later this year.

Monday, June 11, 2012

HeXit Sci-Fi Adventure Is On Kickstarter

HeXit is the newest game to seek funding through the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform. HeXit is a sci-fi point and click adventure game, which could become an episodic adventure series if the first game is successful. The HeXit kickstarter has multiple tiers to choose from with various goodies, starting with a digital copy of the game for $10. The game will be released for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

This one looks really interesting, the graphic design is phenomenal, and they're only asking for $75,000US, which should certainly be doable.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

SpaceVenture Prototype Demo #4 Is Out

The fourth playable prototype demo of SpaceVenture, the new game by the creators of Space Quest that is going to be created if enough money is raised on the SpaceVenture kickstarter, is out now.

The new prototype has four possible deaths, a playable Cluck Y'egger II minigame, and new animation. The demo is playable in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers, as well as on iPad. The final game won't require a browser to play. If you enjoyed the demo, and/or enjoyed Space Quest, back the SpaceVenture kickstarter by picking a tier on which to pledge your money, and get various goodies in the process.

The project is currently at just over $450,000US of it's $500,000US goal with just less than two days to go. It's still very possible that this will be funded, but it's certainly going to be a close one. Every new pledge (and upgraded pledge) helps.

Geisha is now supported in ScummVM

ScummVM has just posted news that Coktel Vision's semi-erotic adventure game, Geisha, is now supported in ScummVM in the latest daily builds. In this game, you have to stop a mad scientist from turning your girlfriend Eve into a half cyborg geisha. As this is a newly supported game, the ScummVM team is accepting bug reports for the game, which can be reported by following the instructions outlined at the ScummVM website.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quest for Infamy Demo and Kickstarter

Quest for Infamy is the first original adventure game by the creators of the Space Quest 2 and King's Quest III fan remakes. It is a hybrid point and click adventure game and RPG where you take the role of a man who is trying to start his life over after running away from a shady past. The team has released a demo so you can see how the game will play. They have launched a kickstarter campaign to help finance the game. They are seeking $25,000US, and like other kickstarters, there are multiple tiers to choose from with an assortment of goodies depending on how much you pledge.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Enter the Story: Hamlet is Out, and It's Free

Hamlet is the newest story in Chris Tolworthy's ambitious project, Enter the Story, which aims to turn the world's classic literature into choose-your-own adventure style video games. This game, based on William Shakespeare's play about Prince Hamlet seeking revenge upon his uncle for murdering his father, is completely free.

If you enjoy this game, the rest of the Enter the Story games, including the original five original adventure games for Windows created with Adventure Game Studio, can be purchased in a package deal from the Enter the Story website.

Pledge Quest - SpaceVenture Kickstarter Fan Game

PledgeQuest is an adventure game for Windows and Linux created by a group of fans at the Space Quest fansite The Virtual Broomcloset to stir up interest in the SpaceVenture kickstarter. The game is a single room adventure game created with Adventure Game Studio starring a woman named Bea (named after Roger Wilco's love interest Beatrice). The goal is to get Bea to visit the SpaceVenture kickstarter page to pledge support to the Two Guys From Andromeda's SpaceVenture kickstarter campaign.

The the SpaceVenture kickstarter is currently at 72% of it's goal of $500,000US, and there is only 5 days left to go. If you liked the Space Quest games, pick a pledge tier. The game may not contain the Space Quest name, but it contains all of the Space Quest humor and charm.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SpaceVenture Playable Prototype Demo 3 Is Out

The SpaceVenture Kickstarter has been updated with a third playable prototype demo, that is not restricted to just Chrome this time. It's playable in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and iPad. Note that the full game won't require a browser at all. Only the prototype demos are designed that way, so they can be developed quickly and released each time the kickstarter meets another $100,000US goal.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Replay Games' Paul Trowe Sabotaging Kickstarters?

If you're not aware, Paul Trowe of Replay Games (the company who started the Leisure Suit Larry kickstarter) sent out a message to the press that he wanted to sue Wisecrack games for using Al Lowe's name and the Leisure Suit Larry name on their kickstarter. Al Lowe reponded to the message saying that he didn't intend to sue and that he gave his permission to use his name and wishes Wisecrack Games luck on Sam Suede.

However, some posters on the Adventure Gamers forums have dug up something rather concerning. According to this post by Adventure Gamers poster supaplex, a person called "gamespygeek" has been trolling the Sierra related kickstarters. There is a profile on Myspace also under the name gamespygeek that looks like Paul Trowe. Additionally, the name on the Myspace page "Jiminy Drambuie" is friends with Paul Trowe on Facebook, and both Paul Trowe and Jiminy Drambuie are listed as living in Austin, TX.

Also, an Adventure Gamers forum user by the name of Siddhi noted some similarites between Gamespygeek's trolls and Paul Trowe's own posts.

Gamespygeek wrote on SpaceVenture kickstarter:

I don’t know who the heck this guy Chris Pope is, but I believe in Scott & Mark and their ability to make a game after all these years. I originally dropped my pledge to $1.00 because of the technical screw ups but I don’t think that’s The Two Guys’s fault…I blame that on the Chris guy…he’s leading this effort.

Paul Trowe wrote:

Ask them why they didn’t join up with the folks at Replay Games to create Sierra 2.0 and instead chose some guy they’ve never heard of, Chris Pope, to run a company they don’t own.

All of this evidence does seem like Paul Trowe, or a friend of Paul Trowe, is trying to sabotage other Sierra related kickstarters. And if that is indeed the case, it's incredibly poor sportsmanship and reflects poorly upon Replay Games.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Enter the Story: Othello is Available Now

Enter the Story, Chris Tolworthy's ambitious project to turn the world's classic literature into choose-your-own adventure style games, has received its newest title. This time it's one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays: Othello. The play is about a Moorish general named Othello who is going to marry a Senator's daughter, but the Senator is against the marriage due to Othello's race.

Half of the game is available to play for free on the Enter the Story website. The whole game can be purchased as part of a package deal that includes the other choose-your-own adventure games created in Javascript, as well as the original five Enter the Story adventure games created with Adventure Game Studio.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sam Suede is Now on Kickstarter

Sam Suede in Undercover Exposure is the newest game on kickstarter. The game is a comedy adventure game by Wisecrack Games and coded by Wizarbox (of Grey Matter and So Blonde fame). The game design was created by Al Lowe (creator of Leisure Suit Larry) and Ken Wegrzyn of Wisecrack Games in 2006, and still remains in tact. Al Lowe is no longer involved in the project, and he stresses that his comedy writing is not present, but his game design is still present.

Thankfully, Steve Ince (formerly of Revolution Software (he was director of the first three games in the Broken Sword series), and creator of Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso and So Blonde) is involved, so the comedy factor should be handled very well. He also did the art design of the games he worked on, and was the art designer of Beneath a Steel Sky. So, the game is in capable hands.

Like the other adventure projects on Kickstarter, there are multiple tiers to choose from, each with their own goodies, including a physical copy of the game at $125, along with the game bible and an art book. So, if you like comedy adventure games, choose a pledge tier at the Sam Suede Kickstarter.

The Journey Down Chapter One Review

The Journey Down: Chapter One is SkyGoblin's high definition remake of their free low definition adventure game, The Journey Down: Over the Edge. It is the first part of a four chapter adventure. It's an episodic game akin to The Dream Machine, as opposed to Telltale's episodic games, in that both games are made with a small team (a team of four core members in The Journey Down's case). As such, the future chapters do not have any set release date, and this chapter is going to have to leave a lasting impression on those who decide to play it before all four chapters are released. Thankfully, it does manage to do just that, for the most part.

The story is interesting, but it's clear this first chapter is meant as an introduction for things to come.  The game's main character, Bwana, and his brother Kito run the bayside Gas & Charter.  The problem is, they haven't had a flight chartered in twenty years, and the gas business is so slow the company can't pay their electric bills.  Luckily, a mysterious woman named Lina shows up one night looking for a mysterious book and wanting to charter a flight out of town.

The puzzles are centered around finding the book and then fixing the plane so they can take Lina where she wants to go.  The puzzles are pretty interesting, and they are centered more in the classic adventure puzzle mold. So, they do need some more thinking than an episode from Telltale Games, but never as much as a LucasArts or Sierra adventure.  The difficulty level lies somewhere in-between, which should sit well for people looking for more of a challenge than is usual in modern adventure titles.  Being a modern adventure game though, there are, thankfully, some modern additions.  If you take too long to solve a puzzle, Bwana will say something to hint at what you should do next.  These are subtle hints, similar to those said by the characters in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, and fit within the context of the game's world without drawing you out of it.

Where the game really shines is in the art design and music categories. The game's style is reminiscent of the LucasArts classics, particularly Grim Fandango.  Where the latter game used Mexican calaveras as the inspiration for it's game's characters, The Journey Down uses African tribal masks as its influence.  It works really well, and helps add to the African theme of the adventure.  The music also is wonderful, with a Caribbean style soundtrack that really sets the mood for the game.

The voice acting is also well done, for the most part.  Bwana and Kito sound great, and the voices really fit their characters.  Lina is also voiced well, although her performance is a bit flat at times.  The latter is true for the rest of the characters as well.  They are voiced well for the most part, and fit their characters, but their performances are lacking at times.  Thankfully, this is better voiced than most independent adventure games by a small team, as. although the performances are hit and miss, the voices don't grate on you enough to want to turn them off.

The first chapter of The Journey Down does a nice job of setting up things for future episodes, while being entertaining on its own.  The art and music really shine, and help set the mood for the African theme of the adventure.  The game ends on a cliffhanger setting up the next chapter, but the abundant puzzles and interesting story so far should leave you satisfied enough while you wait for Chapter Two.  The voices of Bwana and Kito are excellent, but the other voices are hit and miss.  They fit their characters, but the performances can be a bit flat.  Thankfully, this is just a small blemish on an excellent game.

Update: June 26, 2012: Since I first posted this review, the game's price has been reduced by half. I definitely recommend this game now at this price. It's a reasonable price to pay for one chapter of a four chapter game.  Plus, it does go to help a small team, and the game is well designed and fun, so you'll likely feel like you've gotten your money's worth.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5

Chapter Two Review