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|OT| Adventure Games Thread 2021 - The Future of Fine Leather Jackets

Danjin44

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Yeah, it's pretty integral to the design; so you don't just go around exhausting every option with no thought whatsoever. I do think the Somnium's get short shrift in some people's estimation, they're very creative and although I do take the criticism that there's perhaps too much trial and error vs considered problem solving. That being said it's not purely guesswork the way some people tell it. There are clues in the story leading up to each Somnium that help you understand the dream logic of them and in some cases it works really well.

Overall the I enjoy the more conventional adventure puzzles in Zero Escape but I'm happy to see Uchikoshi take risks, try new things, etc. The Somnium puzzles hit more than they miss for me and I think they'll refine them further in the sequel.
To me helps that time doesn’t move fast when you standing still, I can just look around and see what I can or can’t interact without fearing I’m losing time.
 
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AI: The Somnium Files shoot out sequence against masked guys was hilarious!:messenger_tears_of_joy:

The moment art becomes high art.
out of 10 what do you say?
It's a 9 for me. Likely less depending on your preference for in depth puzzle solving. The puzzles in Unavowed are pretty simple overall.
 

Danjin44

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So far I finished Iris and Mizuki's Routes and I'm fucking hooked, holy fuck this game is fun and I LOOOVE character interaction, it can be both laugh out loud funny and be very emotional.

I enjoyed 999 a lot but I can safely say I had way more fun wth AI: The Somnium Files, this game is by far my favourite game from Uchikoshi.
 
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So far I finished Iris and Mizuki's Routes and I'm fucking hooked, holy fuck this game is fun and I LOOOVE character interaction, it can be both laugh out loud funny and be very emotional.

I enjoyed 999 a lot but I can safely say I had way more fun wth AI: The Somnium Files, this game is by far my favourite game from Uchikoshi.

I think it's his best/most fun cast of characters. Plus it's got all the Uchikoshi insanity you want without going so far that it winds up feeling farcical, which I'd say happened in Virtue's Last Reward and Zero Time Dilemma. I think I'd rate it as my favorite game of his as well, but I go back and forth between it and 999.
 
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Danjin44

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I finally finished Resolution Route in AI: The Somnium Files, what a ride. What really liked about the story that even smallest detail became important to the plot.

For example: Every time Date and Aiba joke around she would say "maybe I give you too much dosage" I thought she just messing with Date but I never thought be important plot point.

I don't know why I didn't buy this game when it first came out, maybe because ZTD disappointment kind of soured my taste but it was stupid of me to ignored this game for this long.

Its also kind of sad this game didn't sell well but at same time it still getting sequel despite of that, so I'm super happy.
 
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New batch of Old Skies screenshots:


In a recent livestream Dave Gilbert talked about the game going through (yet another) massive overhaul, where a lot of the initial assets were scrapped. The new environments have a crisp-er, more overtly sci-fi, look about them. They've also revamped the style of animation a bit, the new walk cycles look way better than before. Unfortunately the VOD for that Twitch stream is not available so there isn't really a way to check that out atm.

There are some animation snippets from Wadjet Eye's twitter, though:

Ben still has a bit of a problem with shrinking features. The protagonists head gets noticeably smaller in some inbetween frames, but overall the motion is much more fluid and expressive than what they've shown off before. I like how it's shaping up.
 
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I finally finished Resolution Route in AI: The Somnium Files, what a ride. What really liked about the story that even smallest detail became important to the plot.

For example: Every time Date and Aiba joke around she would say "maybe I give you too much dosage" I thought she just messing with Date but I never thought be important plot point.

I don't know why I didn't buy this game when it first came out, maybe because ZTD disappointment kind of soured my taste but it was stupid of me to ignored this game for this long.

Its also kind of sad this game didn't sell well but at same time it still getting sequel despite of that, so I'm super happy.
I felt the same way for having waited a year when I played it last November. It likely would have been my adventure of the year for 2019, general GOTY second only to RE2 Remake. AI really confirms that underneath all the flair, schlock, insanity and pseudo science Uchikoshi is a very talented writer/story teller. Some of the payoffs like the ones you mentioned totally blew my mind. He's also willing to take chances with the game design and not just spam the Zero Escape formula. Can't wait to see what he comes up with in Nirvana Initiative. Hopefully Mizuki can come up with all new and exciting ways to forget Kagame's name.

lol also I must be the only person I know who enjoyed Zero Time Dilemma. It's a head-first dive into pure schlock but I was laughing hysterically and loving it the whole time. The chainsaw/hatchet duel with Akane and Carlos is iconic in my mind.

But now the true and final stage of AI fandom comes... Endlessly watching compilation videos on YouTube:

(Also spamming tf out of the invincible rainbow arrow final dance scene)
 
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Danjin44

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Now I'm curious to know how Mizuki lost her eye and got Aiba. Did Mizuki used old Somnium?
 
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My guess is that Mizuki wanted to join ABIS once she turned 18 and got voluntary eye surgery. Maybe since the time skip Date has become a higher ranking member of ABIS and isn't as involved with the ground level investigation? It would be cool to still have interaction between Date and Mizuki via video calls on the job, etc. But i'm probably not thinking insane enough for what'll actually be in the game.
 
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Been following this project for a bit, an obscure ps1 adventure game called "...Iru!" or "...They're Here!" There's a lot of newer indies trying to mine this low poly/ps1 aesthetic for their horror titles, often times the craftsmanship is lacking even if they get the look. So it's cool to get what's effectively a "new release" that's authentic to the era. Don't know if the games actually any good or not but I'm gonna give it a whirl.

The translation is available on romhacking.net:

Game Description:​

…Iru! is an adventure game for the PlayStation.

Translation Description:​

You and a few classmates stay late at the school to prepare for the culture festival tomorrow. Unknown to you, something far more sinister is underway. Can you survive the horrors of your school and escape from this Lovecraftian nightmare alive?
…they’re here! is more of a narrative adventure game than a survival horror game. The game mostly progresses from talking to people and using items. There are times when enemies will attack you, but you can only run and hide.
This patch has been tested with a CD-R on a modded PS1 and completed without issues.

Now I cross my fingers and hope for Tokyo Twilight Busters.
 
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Danjin44

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Animation looks pretty good here, even tho its 3D they kept same type of animation style from 2D games.
 

Danjin44

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Eh, I'm not a fan of 3D-at-all-costs. It's not that bad but... look how much better looking are the 2D scenes.
I would agree that nothing beats 2D, but still think 3D models here looks pretty good for what they are, especially compare to how bad 3D models was in ZTD.
 
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I really disliked the 3D in Dual Destinies (AA5, and that game had far greater problems than its visuals) but by Great Ace Attorney I think Capcom got it to the point where I'll take the minor aesthetic hit for the big improvement in fluid and expressive motion. Comical gesture is such a huge part of the Ace Attorney series and I think GAA has some of the best visual gags/witness freakouts/facial expressions/etc in the whole series.

That being said these character models were originally made to be viewed on a 3DS screen so there's a little bit of chunkiness at PC resolutions. Barring the Disney/Ghibli tier 2D animated adventure of my dreams, I'm happy with the current style. Also I'm curious to know what Ace Attorney 7 is supposed to look like (which was revealed in the same Capcom leaks that revealed the GAA collection, among other things) since it's the first game in the series designed for home consoles.
 
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Danjin44

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Comical gesture is such a huge part of the Ace Attorney series and I think GAA has some of the best visual gags/witness freakouts/facial expressions/etc in the whole series.
I'm excited for that!!! Its my entire reason why I got in to Ace Attorney series in the first place.

Edit: I planning buying this on Switch since I like to play games like this on my bed before going to sleep.
 
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So, since I last documented my deep and dark spiral into the degeneracy that is playing machine translated Japanese adventure games... I've plunged even further that darkness. This time with a playthrough of Wolf Team's 1995 cult classic, Tokyo Twilight Busters. This is the same Wolf Team who developed Tales of Phantasia and would eventually dissolve and split into tri-Ace and Namco Tales Studio, working on the Star Ocean and Tales Of series', respectively.

Tokyo Twilight Busters starts with an imprisoned young woman who's been in captivity so long she can hardly remember who she is, with little hope of escape. She's all but given up when she suddenly hears a mysterious voice telling her to keep going. It turns out that mysterious voice (which seemed to be in her head at first) is actually an archeology professor named Takuma, in the sewage pipe just beyond her room. He's come to rescue her and it's all but plainly stated that she's his long lost daughter and her name is Yuki, but she cant remember that. You later on find out that they're in an abandoned meat packing factory that's been requisitioned by the imperial guard. Strange things are going on there, mysterious men in black, and a weird guy in charge called "Iron Mask" that the guards are afraid of, they speculate he has some kind of supernatural abilities.


Screens of the initial P&C ADV section. Translations at the bottom are Google, to the right DeepL.​

Takuma tries to help Yuki escape. During this part you're pointing and clicking around, gathering items, looking for secret passages and whatnot. So far it's pretty linear and there's not too much genuine problem solving, but they're setting up time/choice/character switching mechanics that I've read get put to interesting use as the game progresses. Eventually "Iron Mask" stops Takuma and Yuki's escape attempt, killing Takuma. At which point the game switches protagonists to Sho, Takuya's son who's been studying abroad in Europe but returns home upon receiving a latter that says his father's been missing for a month. You investigate the case by meeting up with your father's colleagues, his secratary named Sayoko, and a police officer named Onigawa who's the only one still carrying on the formal investigation. During this section the game switches from P&C to a Command Selection ADV, playing like Snatcher or Portopia. You move around with a map screen and make choices on where to be/who to team up with for the investigation.


Screens of the command selection ADV part. I really enjoy the style of the character portraits.​

Eventually Sho finds out his father was in some suspicious arrangement with the military, studying super ancient civilizations, a mysterious undiscovered metal and the disappearance of an unknown girl. It's kinda funny that I just replayed Fate of Atlantis to try the "wits" path for the first time and this game also has several references to Atlantis in it. Where I'm up to now Sho's dad has been found dead. Sho planned to return to Europe but began experiencing pains and semi frequent hallucinations of Yuki trapped somewhere. He also discovered that the locket found on his father's burned and mangled corpse had a picture of Yuki underneath his picture. Which makes me think there might be a twist deeper than them just being related. Since the game is making it a bit too obvious for that to be the only mystery with her.

I'm a couple hours in and really enjoying it so far. The game just introduced the multiple character thing so we'll see how it goes from here on out. I can play this game a lot more effortlessly than the other Japanese adventures I've gone through because since then I've found out way better ways to play non-English games. For anyone curious about that, I detailed it in this post:
Wanted to revisit and revise my first response to this because since that initial post I've found out so much more about playing games with machine translation. So there's a lot better information I should have given at the time.

The first big thing I found out about was DeepL. It's a translation service, like G Translate, but uses a more interpretive deep learning process which frequently results in better, and more naturally phrased, translations. It's drawback being sometimes it over-interprets passages deciding to leave out certain words that may have been crucial. But used in conjunction with G Translate I've been able to comfortably understand 90% + of any game I've tried to play so far.

The next thing were the desktop OCR and Texthooking programs available to use for playing these games. It's a huge step up in convenience from scanning the screen with my phone. These programs are also better than RetroArch's AI Service, with broader application. The first one to show is VN OCR, an OCR program with a convenient set up for gaming. You have a transparent adjustable window that you can overlay atop any program, then press a button to scan for characters and receive a translation. You'll have to adjust the image settings for each game so you can get an accurate scan, but afterward it works pretty well. Text for the translation is automatically copied to your clipboard as well, so you can quickly and easily enter it into other programs. Pros are it works with everything, cons are the capture isn't always 100% accurate (especially for games with weirder fonts).


Some examples with VN OCR. You can choose between DeepL & Bing as the default (bottom window) I've got additional apps on the side as backups.​

The second program to mention is Textractor, rather than Optical Character Recognition via screen capture, this program is a Texthooker that scans the hexadecimal code of the game you're playing to directly extract characters from it. So it's more accurate than any OCR by default. It's really easy to set up and use, but the downside is that certain games aren't hookable. The even bigger downside is that hooking into an emulated game is almost always unsuccessful (although there are supposed ways around that, which I haven't looked too deeply into). If the option is available, this should be the go-to solution IMO. Luckily for this thread, someone has made a hookable version of the Neko Project II PC-98 emulator. Which means you can use it for most of the games you've seen here.


Some examples with Textractor initial translation is G Translate (can change via plugins). I've got DeepL on the side.
I've been making my way through a run of Tokyo Twilight Busters using Textractor, G Translate & DeepL, a couple hours deep atm and it's been a smooth experience so far. Between the to programs all but a handful of lines have been perfectly understandable and good enough that I'm genuinely engrossed in the mystery & characters. Way less tedious than before when I was using my phone, so hopefully this post is more informative than the last one.

Relevant Links:
VN OCR - Download links in video description.
VN OCR Quick Setup Video
Textractor Github Page
Textractor Basic Guide Video
DeepL Translator
Hook Any Text (HAT) - A plugin for cheat engine/way to text hook into emulated games. I haven't really tested this out much so IDK how good it is.
 
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Agree, love that style too. It's a shame we basically have "lost" it in the modern age.

Anyway, feel free to spoil everything since I now want to know all about the mistery but I'm not gonna go through the hassle to play it ever. :messenger_grinning_sweat:
lol yeah, probably not too much point in even using the spoiler tags for this game. I'll keep posting about it as I make my way.

I do agree, though, that it is a shame the more "exaggerated realism" style of anime isn't so popular anime more and the cutsey/cartoony stuff is the default. The cute stuff has it's place but I do like some recognizably human features from time to time lol.
 
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Playing through more of Tokyo Twilight Busters and the game has developed significantly in the last three hours or so. Sho, Sayoko and Sho's family butler, named Mokunen but affectionately referred to as "Gramps" (or Grandpa/Grandfather I guess, but I'm going with Gramps), have decided to snoop around the meat packing factory where Takuma was last seen. However, upon finding the Imperial Guard there, the group decides they can't just walk right in and instead stake the place out. Unfortunately that arouses the suspicion of Iron Mask and his posse of creepy hooded mages, who promptly begin to fuck up their shit. Right before things go completely south a mystery man rescues Sho and his friends, guns blazing. Turns out it's Kyoichiro Himuro, the military officer your father purportedly had some deal with.


Iron Mask starts off a stone cold creep and it only gets worse from there.​

The Kyoichiro informs everyone that the Imperial Guard holed up in the factory are actually an insurgent faction of the military that he's been tasked with investigating and apprehending. He warns Sho, Sayoko and Gramps that it's too dangerous to continue their investigation. They agree and back off... for about two seconds until Sho decides he's too compelled to understand the cause of his fathers death, and his mysterious visions, to leave things be. Sayoko and Gramps quickly follow suit and help Sho investigate.

At this point we switch back to point & click style and the game's mechanics really begin to take off. In Tokyo Twilight Busters your investigation and puzzle solving occur in a real-time scenario. This means that as you make your way, certain events are transpiring in the background. Intermittently you'll be shown a cut-scene of these events playing out and you can use them to inform your approach. For instance, you'll see a conversation between one responsible guard and another who's passed out from drinking on the job. Eventually that guard will wake up and begin patrolling, but if you make your way to the guard station quickly you can use a rope you found earlier to tie him up. Allowing you to get info & extra items off him and avoiding the combat mini-game (which, stacked against other examples of combat mini games from other adventure games like Fate of Atlantis or Gemini Rue, is actually not bad).

There's actually a lot of variable outcomes like that, and a satisfying layer of risk/reward atop the standard adventure game puzzling. On relevant hotspots there's a command for "break" which you could use to bust down a door or barrier that's blocking your path. But that may take much more time and stamina than finding the key or another way in. You could also use a pole or hammer to break things more easily, but those items are also useable if you're caught by a guard. So you might not want to waste them. Taking your time to consider all the variables could have been overwhelming in another game, but TTB gives you enough time to handle these challenges without feeling stressed. Plus, at any time you can close the lid on the UI pocket-watch and pause the game. While paused you can still queue a command or combine inventory items.


Spend time breaking this plate? Or search for secrets & make clever use of items?
In addition to all that you also control multiple characters. You're able to pair them into groups or control them separately, which is actually necessary for certain puzzles. Tokyo Twilight Busters isn't the kind of game with mechanics just for the sake of having them. Everything gets put to proper use. Certain characters are stronger, others better at searching, others are faster. It's reminiscent of Unavowed's party mechanic, but a much more fleshed out and substantial version of it.

During the course of your investigation you eventually discover that Iron Mask and his goons have rigged the factory to explode by planting 7 time bombs scattered throughout the premises. You've got 10 hours (idk the in-game equivalent but its quite a bit of time) to find them all and disarm them, lest crucial information about Sho's father and the mystery girl from his visions be lost forever. While solving the necessary puzzles you happen upon evidence of the bizarre experiments and supernatural phenomena that took place in the factory. What appear to be human bodies are chopped up and scattered on examination tables, strange chemicals, hidden corridors filled with a mysterious gas... As well as a document written by Iron Mask chronicling the growth and development of a grotesque monster who eats human flesh. A monster that Iron Mask may have romantic/sexual feelings for.


The same room where Takuma found his locket earlier.​

Events culminate in Sho & Crew making their way to a hidden chamber within the basement of the factory. Wherein Yuki has been affixed to the statue of an evil-looking god. The same evil-looking god statue which, in a previous cut-scene, Iron Mask was talking to. It seems Iron Mask intends to resurrect the son of the god he worships so he can kill him. There is, apparently, some history between the two. Yuki somehow fits into this plan, although it's not entirely clear how. At any rate, after solving a puzzle involving blood sacrifice you managed to free Yuki from the statue. Yuki and Sho have a heart to heart about seeing one another in their respective dreams, then quickly make their escape. Not quickly enough, however, because Iron Mask shows up with his cronies and force Sho, Gramps, and Sayoko into a prison room. As he's taking Yuki away somewhere else, Iron Mask's luck begins to sour. In a fit of rage Yuki starts going demonic, making quick work of a guard then starting toward Iron Mask.


I get the feeling Iron Mask is in some trouble here.​

And that is the last thing I saw before it cuts back to Sho, Sayoko and Gramps resuming the gameplay. I'd been playing for hours at that point so I had to hit a save even though things were really heating up. Honestly I'm totally loving the game so far. I really hope it keeps being this good because if so, it's a classic. Looking forward to playing more later today.

Bonus Memes (read text on bottom right):
 
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The Last Stop dropped a few days ago. From the people who did Virginia, which I never played but some people seem to enjoy. From what I can tell The Last Stop seems like a TellTale esque narrative adventure, mostly choice based gameplay with some mini games added in. Seems to be getting decent, but not spectacular, reviews. Apparently it starts and finishes strong but drags in the middle.

Microids is publishing a new Agatha Christie based detective adventure called Hercule Poirot: The First Cases. Developed by Blazing Griffin who also made Murder Mystery Machine.

Blue June is a side-scrolling adventure by a studio called Tiny Dodo. The style and setting reminds me of Life Is Strange but on a creepy, overtly Orwellian, campus. The low-poly aesthetic comes of a bit sterile to me, but I've seen the trailer a few times now and I'm warming up to it. Could be neat.

STORY

A young girl is tormented by terrifying nightmares, slowly pulling her into the past. Before long, the real world begins to feel strangely foreign. The colors, sounds, and smells are no longer the same. With every passing day, the dream world seeps into the real one and soon, she might not be able to tell the difference...

GAMEPLAY

Players will navigate the world as June and interact with her nightmares, people and objects. Puzzles will require a keen eye as they scale with the intensity of June's nightmares and delusions. Although the main story path will require casual effort, collectibles and secrets or hidden paths may not be obvious at first.

FEATURES​


  • Dreamy 2.5D atmospheric horror experience
  • Immersive and mind-bending story
  • Beautifully gloomy low poly environments
  • Clever and interesting puzzles
  • Engaging collectibles and hidden secrets
  • Passionately developed by a one-girl team

Minds Beneath Us is another side-scrolling adventure with a really nice art style by Bear Gone. Hopefully the story is at least half as good as the visuals.

Story​

Minds Beneath Us is an adventure about a guy and a data ghost who lived in his head and controlled his body.
After society has become fully automated with AI, a new industry has emerged that replaces the hardware needed to operate the internet with linked human brains.
As a result, the most disadvantaged of citizens have had no choice but to put in their bid to sign up, one after another.
Against the stage of this mad society, a mysterious conspiracy gradually unveils.


Features​

  • Players can constantly make their own dialogue choices, and shape the relationship between characters .The combination of dialogue choices and actions will constantly affect the story.

  • Observe environments, pay attention to each dialogue then look for hidden clues in every scene.Unlock new dialogue choices.

  • With hand-drawn animation and smooth camera movement, we create a unique cinematic experience.

  • Combine 2D character and detailed 3D environment, present the near future Taipei street.

The Book Walker is an isometric adventure about a thief who can dive into books and retrieve items from them. Pretty much love everything about the presentation of this game.


  • Every quest will lead you to a unique world with its own story and rules.
  • Visit mysterious castle dungeons, a drifting spaceship, a desert city among deadly sandstorms. You never know what the next world will be like.
  • Jump between the real world and the world of a book to solve the mysteries set before you. Some solutions might only come to you while you are in the waking world.



Dive into vastly different worlds

As a bookwalker, you possess the unique ability to dive into worlds of books as if they were dreams. However, they are not as immaterial as mere fantasies. Bookwalkers can also bring valuable items from a book into the real world, and that is precisely what your job is

Hunt for powerful artifacts

Travel between worlds of books in search of legendary items of great power. Even though they are not as powerful in your world, you can still find buyers on the black market.

Meet dozens of characters and learn their stories

Visit mysterious castle dungeons, a drifting spaceship, a desert city among deadly sandstorms, and much more. Meet the inhabitants of those places and use them to reach your goal. After all, they are not really alive...or are they?

Find solutions to a plethora of puzzles, some quite… unorthodox

Some problems will make you think outside the box, and some will require you to travel outside of this world. If you are stuck, just wake up at your apartment. You may find something handy there that you can take with you on your journey. In a book, a crowbar may be just as effective against a lock as a key might be...
 

jacksp

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Hey everyone, I've been lurking for years and been following your great advices on adventure games and I would like to do the same now by suggesting you to keep an eye on this one
I played the demo and it's marvellous. Unfortunately it won't be ready till 2023, wishlist it on Steam to not forget about it, I'm sure it'll be an amazing adventure!
 

Mr Underhill

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We're so excited to finally let this one out of the bag 😊 We've been getting a lot of questions as to how the spell system will work - all will be revealed when we launch the Kickstarter.
You can follow it to be notified when it launches.
Even if crowdfunding isn't your thing (I hope it is!), we'll go in detail in the campaign descriptions and describe the twist we're putting on the classic adventure game inventory.
Hope to see y'all there! 😁 And thanks again for sharing! Revealing a game as a 3 person team is freaking exhausting. I have been typing and sweating for 4 hours straight, and who knows how many left to go.
Woohoo! 😄
 
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New gameplay trailer for Stray that shows off some character interaction, a few inventory puzzles and a chase sequence. The look of the game and the idea of playing as a cat are both quite nice. Looking forward to seeing more of it.

Lost, alone and separated from family, a stray cat must untangle an ancient mystery to escape a long-forgotten city. Stray is a third-person cat adventure game set amidst the detailed neon-lit alleys of a decaying cybercity and the murky environments of its seedy underbelly. Roam surroundings high and low, defend against unforeseen threats and solve the mysteries of this unwelcoming place inhabited by nothing but unassuming droids and dangerous creatures. See the world through the eyes of a stray and interact with the environment in playful ways. Be stealthy, nimble, silly, and sometimes as annoying as possible with the strange inhabitants of this foreign world. Along the way, the cat befriends a small flying drone, known only as B12. With the help of this newfound companion, the duo try to find a way out. Stray is developed by BlueTwelve Studio, a small team from south of France mostly made of cats and a handful of humans.
 
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It might be the case that they just haven't updated their Steam page yet? Looking it up means more than 12 seconds away from GAA, and I'm afraid that's a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

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Playing through more of Tokyo Twilight Busters and the game has developed significantly in the last three hours or so. Sho, Sayoko and Sho's family butler, named Mokunen but affectionately referred to as "Gramps" (or Grandpa/Grandfather I guess, but I'm going with Gramps), have decided to snoop around the meat packing factory where Takuma was last seen. However, upon finding the Imperial Guard there, the group decides they can't just walk right in and instead stake the place out. Unfortunately that arouses the suspicion of Iron Mask and his posse of creepy hooded mages, who promptly begin to fuck up their shit. Right before things go completely south a mystery man rescues Sho and his friends, guns blazing. Turns out it's Kyoichiro Himuro, the military officer your father purportedly had some deal with.


Iron Mask starts off a stone cold creep and it only gets worse from there.​

The Kyoichiro informs everyone that the Imperial Guard holed up in the factory are actually an insurgent faction of the military that he's been tasked with investigating and apprehending. He warns Sho, Sayoko and Gramps that it's too dangerous to continue their investigation. They agree and back off... for about two seconds until Sho decides he's too compelled to understand the cause of his fathers death, and his mysterious visions, to leave things be. Sayoko and Gramps quickly follow suit and help Sho investigate.

At this point we switch back to point & click style and the game's mechanics really begin to take off. In Tokyo Twilight Busters your investigation and puzzle solving occur in a real-time scenario. This means that as you make your way, certain events are transpiring in the background. Intermittently you'll be shown a cut-scene of these events playing out and you can use them to inform your approach. For instance, you'll see a conversation between one responsible guard and another who's passed out from drinking on the job. Eventually that guard will wake up and begin patrolling, but if you make your way to the guard station quickly you can use a rope you found earlier to tie him up. Allowing you to get info & extra items off him and avoiding the combat mini-game (which, stacked against other examples of combat mini games from other adventure games like Fate of Atlantis or Gemini Rue, is actually not bad).

There's actually a lot of variable outcomes like that, and a satisfying layer of risk/reward atop the standard adventure game puzzling. On relevant hotspots there's a command for "break" which you could use to bust down a door or barrier that's blocking your path. But that may take much more time and stamina than finding the key or another way in. You could also use a pole or hammer to break things more easily, but those items are also useable if you're caught by a guard. So you might not want to waste them. Taking your time to consider all the variables could have been overwhelming in another game, but TTB gives you enough time to handle these challenges without feeling stressed. Plus, at any time you can close the lid on the UI pocket-watch and pause the game. While paused you can still queue a command or combine inventory items.


Spend time breaking this plate? Or search for secrets & make clever use of items?
In addition to all that you also control multiple characters. You're able to pair them into groups or control them separately, which is actually necessary for certain puzzles. Tokyo Twilight Busters isn't the kind of game with mechanics just for the sake of having them. Everything gets put to proper use. Certain characters are stronger, others better at searching, others are faster. It's reminiscent of Unavowed's party mechanic, but a much more fleshed out and substantial version of it.

During the course of your investigation you eventually discover that Iron Mask and his goons have rigged the factory to explode by planting 7 time bombs scattered throughout the premises. You've got 10 hours (idk the in-game equivalent but its quite a bit of time) to find them all and disarm them, lest crucial information about Sho's father and the mystery girl from his visions be lost forever. While solving the necessary puzzles you happen upon evidence of the bizarre experiments and supernatural phenomena that took place in the factory. What appear to be human bodies are chopped up and scattered on examination tables, strange chemicals, hidden corridors filled with a mysterious gas... As well as a document written by Iron Mask chronicling the growth and development of a grotesque monster who eats human flesh. A monster that Iron Mask may have romantic/sexual feelings for.


The same room where Takuma found his locket earlier.​

Events culminate in Sho & Crew making their way to a hidden chamber within the basement of the factory. Wherein Yuki has been affixed to the statue of an evil-looking god. The same evil-looking god statue which, in a previous cut-scene, Iron Mask was talking to. It seems Iron Mask intends to resurrect the son of the god he worships so he can kill him. There is, apparently, some history between the two. Yuki somehow fits into this plan, although it's not entirely clear how. At any rate, after solving a puzzle involving blood sacrifice you managed to free Yuki from the statue. Yuki and Sho have a heart to heart about seeing one another in their respective dreams, then quickly make their escape. Not quickly enough, however, because Iron Mask shows up with his cronies and force Sho, Gramps, and Sayoko into a prison room. As he's taking Yuki away somewhere else, Iron Mask's luck begins to sour. In a fit of rage Yuki starts going demonic, making quick work of a guard then starting toward Iron Mask.


I get the feeling Iron Mask is in some trouble here.​

And that is the last thing I saw before it cuts back to Sho, Sayoko and Gramps resuming the gameplay. I'd been playing for hours at that point so I had to hit a save even though things were really heating up. Honestly I'm totally loving the game so far. I really hope it keeps being this good because if so, it's a classic. Looking forward to playing more later today.

Bonus Memes (read text on bottom right):
Is there combat in this game? Do the characters die as well?
 
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Is there combat in this game? Do the characters die as well?
There is turned based combat style mini-game. It's infrequent (and can be outright avoided most times, like in the case of tying up the guard) but exists as an extra layer of risk-reward for multi-use consumable items. Like in the example I laid out in a previous post where you can either use an item in combat, use it to break down an obstruction or search for the hidden switch. Each with their own time tradeoffs. If you've ever played Gemini Rue, it comes up about as frequently as the shootouts in that game.

You can die in combat or from general hazards during your investigation. There's a part of the game where you encounter a long corridor with deadly fumes. You need to split up and walk a single person across while using the gas mask to proceed. Without the gas mask your character(s) slowly lose health & can die while walking through the corridor. If that happens you'll get a game over and either have to reload a save or restart the real-time scenario.

 
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SlimeGooGoo

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There is turned based combat style mini-game. It's infrequent (and can be outright avoided most times, like in the case of tying up the guard) but exists as an extra layer of risk-reward for multi-use consumable items. Like in the example I laid out in a previous post where you can either use an item in combat, use it to break down an obstruction or search for the hidden switch. Each with their own time tradeoffs. If you've ever played Gemini Rue, it comes up about as frequently as the shootouts in that game.

You can die in combat or from general hazards during your investigation. There's a part of the game where you encounter a long corridor with deadly fumes. You need to split up and walk a single person across while using the gas mask to proceed. Without the gas mask your character(s) slowly lose health & can die while walking through the corridor. If that happens you'll get a game over and either have to reload a save or restart the real-time scenario.

Thanks, Vampire On Titus Vampire On Titus
At first, since it's real time, I though characters could die and the story would continue on.

The game looks fun though, and reading your playthrough makes me want to play it too.
 
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Alright, so I've made a lot of progress from my last post about Tokyo Twilight Busters. I'm going to attempt to cover a lot of ground here without getting too long winded, apologies in advance when if I fail.

After Yuki goes beast mode we rejoin Sho & Crew in their prison cell, ready to make an escape, which they promptly do and begin searching for Yuki and a way out of the underground tunnels. A quick sewer spelunk later we arrive upon a passed out Yuki, and Iron mask nowhere to be found. With some quick ammonia use, she awakes and we continue our way through the caves, finding a camera and some posthumous notes. The notes belong to Takuma (Sho's dad) and Yamagami, a newspaper reporter who you previously learned had gone missing. Upon reading the notes you discover Yamagami was helping your dad stake out the cult in the underground tunnels. Unfortunately, Yamagami was attacked by Iron Mask's love monster and was fatally wounded. You also read your fathers last words wherein he encourages Sho to rescue Yuki and return her to England. The crew gets the hell out of dodge just before the final time bomb explodes, taking down the factory plus the surrounding homes.


So now with the former headquarters of the military cult thoroughly exploded af, Sho's investigation into the people who murdered his father is back at square one. Still, he's determined to see the case through, and thus begins the process of hunting down leads. Leads which eventually bring us to Nakamise, a town where Sho's father had supposedly stopped a "dine and dash" theft. The store owner remembers Sho's dad and is thankful... but what was Takuma looking for in Nakamise? While Sho ponders this Gramps and Yuki suggest taking in a local carnival freak show for some fun and with nothing more to pursue for the time being, they do. The show is lead by a weird clown named Persimmon and a similarly weird blonde woman named Hilderica Liechtenstein. Right off the bat Hilda sports some weird vibes, coming off oddly flirtatious toward Sho. But before there's enough time to dwell on it... a horse (with the carriage it's leading) starts massively freaking out and crashes into Sho! Hilda offers to take Sho back to her place to treat his injuries, and despite some misgivings, Sho goes with her unaccompanied while the rest of the gang continue on to the freak show.


(Well that's a bit odd, but I'm sure everything will be f-...)​

It's not long before Hilderica reveals her true nature. She's a witch and A descendant of those from dark age witch hunts. As such, she's been nursing quite a bit of deep-rooted generational hatred toward men. During the witch hunts women were subjected to a powerful aphrodisiac which made them lust for men, only to be burned at the stake for acting upon it. Hilda now uses this drug to make young men her sex slaves and Sho her latest victim. Now, if you're thinking "A privileged white woman using the oppression faced by previous generations as an excuse to be terrible in the present?" "I thought this was a video game, not a documentary!" congratulations on your hilarious joke, but we've got more ground to cover. Cutting back to Yuki & Co., we see Persimmon leading them to a theatre that's suspiciously vacant. He too wastes no time in revealing that the freak show was all a ruse to begin with. The only thing the gang will be treated to tonight is yet another prison cell.


(Oh god... no!)​

Sho wakes up in Hilda's room, while everyone else is locked up in some random dressing room. We're now within the next real time adventure sequence and we can switch freely between either party. Hilda's first order as Sho's slave master is to have her favorite tea made. Unfortunately she's not the best with directions, and not being a bitch, so you'll have to find the ingredients yourself. Which has the added benefit of giving you extra time to find some extra ingredients, like sleeping pills. Over on Yuki's side we puzzle our way through the theatre's back corridors, eventually making our way to a dead ended room. Opening a secret passage behind some drapery on Sho's end reunites the gang once more, ready to poison the fuck out of Hilda. After that thoroughly satisfying poisoning were ready to make our escape. But just before we do Persimmon appears, revealing himself to be Iron Mask, with Hilda joining up soon after. Turns out Iron Mask and Hilderica had a deal, she would help capture everyone and get to keep Sho in exchange. But, after being struck by Sho's earnest and unwavering drive to save Yuki, Hilda calls the deal off. Hilda's now convinced that Sho is the rare example of a man with a genuinely good heart. So she agrees to set him free now and win his love in earnest later on down the road. After Hilda makes the modest improvement of rapist slave master to mere aspiring pedophile, Iron Mask gets pissed. So pissed that he unleashes the first of several impotent threats to come, deciding he'll get his revenge another day and buggering off. This leads me to think that Iron Mask isn't actually quite as strong as the rumors imply. Or at the very least he isn't at his full power presently.


At any rate, although this latest escapade revealed some tidbits about Iron Mask, the mystery of what he's truly after and how it relates to your late father's investigations still persists. So it's once more time to hunt down some leads, but after a mostly fruitless day of canvassing Sho returns home. Late at night the phone rings and it's a man named Tadashige Kujo, the father of Shizuka Kujo, a childhood friend of Sho's whos gone missing. When Tadashige saw Shizuka last, she was heading off to model for a young painter in the Koishikawa district and hadn't been seen since. Shizuka's father checked in at the painter's studio, but got there late and was turned away, he suspects Shizuka may have been kidnapped. Worried about his friend Sho rushes off, meeting up with Inspector Onigawara along the way, who was responding to a call Tadashige put in. Sho & Co. are welcomed into the mansion by the family butler who, after making you wait a bit, introduces you to the young painter Shizuka modeled for, Tatsuya Shinonome. Things are going decently enough, if a bit oddly, until Tatsuya's mother, Lady Shinonome, appears. She's an attractive woman in her 40's or 50's with the appearance and presence of someone much younger. She immediately shuts everything down and wont answer, or let Tatsuya answer, even a single question from Sho. After getting booted from the mansion you're given the choices of breaking in immediately or waiting so Onigawara can get a search warrant. Of course I chose to break in because the situation is sketch as fuck.


(Curious how this scenario might've played out if I decided to wait)​

So we're quickly back into another real time sequence. This time the Shinonome butler is patrolling the grounds and the game occasionally cuts away from your play to show you if he's either up or downstairs. Sho deduces that Tatsuya might be more cooperative without his mother around so we head there first. Of course he'll only talk after being satisfied with a fetch quest so we find him some paints and water to mix them with. After that Tatsuya assures everyone that Shizuka is nowhere on the premises, he hands us a useful key and tells us to search the mansion to our hearts content. Tatsuya won't tell anyone but we'll still need to avoid the butler and Lady Shinonome. It turns out Tatsuya's assurances are worth shit as our investigation of the grounds reveals a mass grave full of young women's bodies and a secret kill room beyond the lounge's fireplace. It's revealed that Lady Shinonome has been capturing girls and killing them by slowly draining their life essence. At first targeting maids and working in secrecy, but eventually enlisting the help of others like her son, the butler, and even Iron Mask. That's right, Iron Mask had a deal with Lady Shinonome too. He gave her the power to steal the youth from young women, in exchange should she capture a virgin worth sacrificing to Iron Mask's demon god, he gets first dibs. Unfortunately for Shizuka, she's one such virgin. So the clock is ticking on the rescue job.


(Middle image is an example of the surprisingly good prose DeepL can produce at times.)​

Eventually we make our way to the basement prison where Shizuka's been held captive. It takes a while for her to calm down as she's clearly suffered a great deal of psychological trauma. Very near to where Shizuka's been prisoner, there's another room that's been boarded up. Thankfully I took the time to break the door down because inside was the ghost of Lady Shinonome's late husband, Hideo Shinonome. Even though the ghost can't talk, through the magic of some inventory object puzzling, Hideo's ghost possesses Sho and begins filling the pages of a blank diary with his words. Hideo recounts the sad story of how he came to discover his wife's horrible secret and was imprisoned by her. In his dying moments he managed to create a seal to destroy her powers and hide it with him. With the seal now in hand, Sho confronts Lady Shinonome. She's not too happy that Shizuka's managed to escape, she's subsequently not happy that Tatsuya disobeys her orders and sides with Shizuka. I imagine she also wasn't too happy about getting that seal slapped on her and withering away into an aged husk within an instant, but she really wasn't in a position to comment.


(Sudden introduction of a ghost was a bit jarring. But I guess there's been plenty encounters with the supernatural at this point.)​

Immediately after Lady Shinonome gets the righteous smackdown she rightly deserved, the butler comes rushing in. Panicked, after having the secrets of his and the Lady's horrible crimes fully revealed, he doused the mansion in gasoline and set fire it ablaze. He's resolved to destroy any remains of what happened there and die in the flames himself. Feeling a similar shame and remorse, Tatsuya also decides he has to die for the part he played. Shizuka attempts to stop him. She's still in love with him for reasons that defy all good sense but ultimately she has no choice but to abandon him to escape a fiery death.



So that's where I'm at so far in Tokyo Twilight Busters. Even with the stuff I've joked about, like the scenario with Hilda and Sho; while I was playing that I was low key on the edge of my seat. Seems like there's still plenty more mystery yet to uncover, too. Looking forward to playing more soon.

Bonus Memes:
 
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Fuz

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I just started playing Loco Motive


And I'm loving it. Nails quite well the Lucasfilm games vibe. Even the humour is quite "Gilbertesque". I haven't played much, so I can still change my mind, but for now I'm really pleased with it.
Ah - only autosave. Dear Loco Motive devs, I love you and what you've done, but fuck you.

It's name-your-price if you wanna buy it, otherwise it's free.
 
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I just started playing Loco Motive


And I'm loving it. Nails quite well the Lucasfilm games vibe. Even the humour is quite "Gilbertesque". I haven't played much, so I can still change my mind, but for now I'm really pleased with it.
Ah - only autosave. Dear Loco Motive devs, I love you and what you've done, but fuck you.

It's name-your-price if you wanna buy it, otherwise it's free.

Wow, that looks really good especially for a free game. The promo blurbs on that itch page are encouraging too, will have to check this out at some point.

Also, there's more currently more indiegala giveaways:
Still Life
Return To Mysterious Island
 
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Fuz

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I just started playing Loco Motive


And I'm loving it. Nails quite well the Lucasfilm games vibe. Even the humour is quite "Gilbertesque". I haven't played much, so I can still change my mind, but for now I'm really pleased with it.
Ah - only autosave. Dear Loco Motive devs, I love you and what you've done, but fuck you.

It's name-your-price if you wanna buy it, otherwise it's free.
Well, I'm done with it.
It's super short and it's super clever. Funny game, I'd like to see those guys make something normal-sized.
 
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