• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Adventure Games Thread 2022 - We CAN use these things together

I love Warp Frontier!
Nice game





how did I miss this? looks weird enough to pique my interest. Ill buy it down the road once I clear my indie backlog.
 

dok1or

Member
Beautiful design and interesting story

  • Make decisions that affect the lives of thousands of people, and determine relationships between family and friends
  • A 2D point and click adventure in HD
  • 6-8 hours of gameplay with branching decisions, resulting in multiple unique ending sequences
  • Authentic Australian feel, voiced by a predominantly Australian cast
  • An alternate timeline of humanity branching from a catastrophic singularity event
  • Original Soundtrack by Thomas Regin
  • Explore space in your own ship, from the planet surface to the outer reaches of the planetary ring
Review - Adventure Gamers
 

protonion

Member
Just saw a game called Legal Dungeon for PS5 in the this week's releases.

Not a new game and probably not a good fit for the thread but there seems to be not a single mention in the forum and thought it could interest some people.

It is quite unique. It's mostly text based. You read the case files and have to connect bits of information and solve 8 cases.
I will probably play it at some point.
 
I booted up NORCO to check it out and wound up playing through the entire game in about two days. The game is great, nearly a classic even, but there's one big sticking point, for me, that keeps it from getting there. NORCO is a southern gothic story that takes place in a futuristic Norco, Louisiana. It's not the far future, the setting and its inhabitants are mostly familiar, but there's future tech and AI. You play as Kay, a drifter who's largely estranged from her family. She's compelled to return home upon getting word that her mother, Catherine, has cancer and may soon die. She doesn't make it home in time to reunite with her mother and upon arrival her brother, Blake, is nowhere to be found. You quickly discover that Catherine was conducting research in the bayou. Shield, an oil refinery with a big presence in Norco, has been sending mysterious surveillance groups to parts of the bayou outside of their jurisdiction. You play the game switching perspectives between Kate in the present and Catherine in the past before she died. Uncovering the mystery of Catherine's research at the lake and the whereabouts of your brother.

Norco is a beautifully written game. It's full of evocative descriptive text that lets your imagination see beyond its already gorgeous pixel art. It also takes advantage of the various different styles of presentation that can form a cohesive whole in games. Transitioning between dreamy landscapes overlaid with surrealistic imagery, to windowed portraits & characters in first person environments, to minimalist graphical touches & mostly text. Each accompanied with a different shade of Norco's distinct writing style. It's a balancing act. But the result is a game where the tone fits melancholy remembrances of loved ones and absurdist humor about cats being launched through the roof of a bookstore in equal measure. And the game is seriously funny as hell sometimes. There's one optional dialogue sequence in particular that had me absolutely howling.


The gameplay consists of simple item puzzles, mini game-ish memory puzzles/QTEs, and more tailor made puzzle sequences involving somewhat unique mechanics. There's some that involve recording characters dialogue with a cell-phone app that I liked a lot. There's also parts where you make decisions or can handle a situation in multiple ways. I'm not sure how much it changes, though. Norco is not a challenging game by any stretch. The focus is primarily on its narrative and while there is a decent variety of puzzles, the game isn't dense with them. And I'm okay with that...

But what I'm not okay with is that Norco has some of the most overbearing hand-holding I've come across in an adventure game, and I regularly play Japanese adventures. It doesn't happen every time, but it happens enough to be annoying. There are times when characters just straight up tell you puzzle solutions in casual dialogue, or the UI gives you the solution through its design. There's one example in particular, and I won't even use spoiler tags because it doesn't matter, where you have to activate lights scattered around a bayou. Each light has to flash a particular pattern. You find the pattern by using an app that reveals hidden symbols on a map; cool right? Wrong. The game has characters flat out tell you to use the app and where to do it. Well, at least now that I have the clue uncovered I can still use my own brain to think of how to apply it in the game world, right? Wrong again. Each light you activate turns green when you select the correct pattern and a chime plays. Which makes it pointless to even have to uncover the hidden symbols with the app. Actually, it makes the whole thing pointless busywork. It's like a prank, they show you something that has the vague shape of a puzzle from a distance but when you walk closer you're surprised with a boring chore.

I've already said it but I feel like I've gatta reiterate that they're not all designed that way. In other instances the game intelligently makes this kind of hand holding optional. It'll be placed behind certain dialogue choices with your companion characters that are obviously hints. Like when you ask Joey "Plan our next move" in the Blackwell series. I understand NORCO isn't the kind of game that's going for mind-melting challenge. I don't even mind casual puzzles, so long as they're creative or interesting in some way, or add a cool layer of interaction to the story. But actually let me solve them myself because that's the fun part. Telling me an answer and making me run around to input the solution the game gave me is just a waste of the game's potential, and a waste of my time.


At the end of it Norco was a unique, beautifully written, and genuinely fun game with some occasional design fumbles that keep it just shy of overtaking my favorite adventure this year, Perfect Tides. It's an impressive debut for Geography of Robots. I like how the ending answers the most personal questions but leaves enough of the mystery to fuel speculation. I like how fucked up everyone's faces look. I like the guy who eats a rancid hotdog and tells you a story about how he shit himself. I like NORCO (a lot) 8.5/10
 
Last edited:
Started cleaning my indie backlog. Just finished Dexter Stardust in one sitting, 5 hours. I'll make a review on steam later but suffice to say, while it started poorly it ended up being okay. Initially I did not want to recommend it but I changed my mind as I finished it. It's barely a 7/10 for me tho but eh, I'll be nice this time, some indie devs deserve a bit of love here and there for trying to keep this genre alive. Voice acting besides Dexter is absolute shit, especially Aurora. Going from a charming goofy self-aware dude to cringe/poorly recorded idontgiveashit acting was very annoying. He carried the entire game tbh. Now I dont understand what the fuck was the point of the episodes, it had no gameplay or story impact whatsoever, pointless shit. While episodes 0, 1 and 2 and 4 are just 20 mins each and with minimal stuff to solve, episode 3 was fucking great. Like I really wanted to just uninstall the game after the 1st/2nd episode but episode 3 kept me hooked. Then ep 4 comes and it just ends on a cliffhanger and the devs announced they're making some 2d thing. Fucking hell. Wait, why am I recommending this again?

Anyway, it's fine, it's cheap and if you have nothing else to play, I'd say go for it.
 
Started cleaning my indie backlog. Just finished Dexter Stardust in one sitting, 5 hours. I'll make a review on steam later but suffice to say, while it started poorly it ended up being okay. Initially I did not want to recommend it but I changed my mind as I finished it. It's barely a 7/10 for me tho but eh, I'll be nice this time, some indie devs deserve a bit of love here and there for trying to keep this genre alive. Voice acting besides Dexter is absolute shit, especially Aurora. Going from a charming goofy self-aware dude to cringe/poorly recorded idontgiveashit acting was very annoying. He carried the entire game tbh. Now I dont understand what the fuck was the point of the episodes, it had no gameplay or story impact whatsoever, pointless shit. While episodes 0, 1 and 2 and 4 are just 20 mins each and with minimal stuff to solve, episode 3 was fucking great. Like I really wanted to just uninstall the game after the 1st/2nd episode but episode 3 kept me hooked. Then ep 4 comes and it just ends on a cliffhanger and the devs announced they're making some 2d thing. Fucking hell. Wait, why am I recommending this again?

Anyway, it's fine, it's cheap and if you have nothing else to play, I'd say go for it.

Finding out that the next "season" of Dexter Stardust is going to be a 2D platformer was super disappointing. It's such a bad idea. If you want to make a platformer, fine, but why use the same story? You're basically sacrificing the original DS game as permanently half finished to do it this way. Maybe it'll be a good game, maybe I'll play it, but damn what a crap idea.

I'm curious when we will see new infos on Return to Monkey Island? So, so hyped!

There's been a few minor details scattered around the Twitter landscape that have emerged. Like David Fox being part of the team as lead programmer, Elaine's VA from tales reprising her role. Ron also confirmed that the game is essentially complete except for voice acting so I would expect a proper game trailer & release date info to come within the next few weeks to a month.
 

amigastar

Member
Finding out that the next "season" of Dexter Stardust is going to be a 2D platformer was super disappointing. It's such a bad idea. If you want to make a platformer, fine, but why use the same story? You're basically sacrificing the original DS game as permanently half finished to do it this way. Maybe it'll be a good game, maybe I'll play it, but damn what a crap idea.



There's been a few minor details scattered around the Twitter landscape that have emerged. Like David Fox being part of the team as lead programmer, Elaine's VA from tales reprising her role. Ron also confirmed that the game is essentially complete except for voice acting so I would expect a proper game trailer & release date info to come within the next few weeks to a month.
Really, thats awesome to hear. :messenger_grinning_smiling:
 
A couple of new things from Dave Gilbert (AKA the other Gilbert/the other Dave) pertaining to Old Skies. They've put out some key art & new screen shots:





Dave also released this "sizzle reel" of short animations from the game:



As always with Ben Chandler, the environment art is top notch. The character art could be better but it's decent. Animation has improved a lot since the earlier stuff they showed. Ben still has a problem with shrinking details (frames of animation where aspect of a figure will awkwardly change size). It seems like he's drawing the frames freehand without using construction to keep the details consistent. Could be worse though, it's an admirable effort from someone who's learning to animate in a higher-res style on the fly.

Also, there was mention of a demo in the works on Twitter. So I'll be looking forward to that. This game has gone through numerous iterations and revamps to the point where I don't really have a clear picture of what it'll be like.
 
A couple of new things from Dave Gilbert (AKA the other Gilbert/the other Dave) pertaining to Old Skies. They've put out some key art & new screen shots:





Dave also released this "sizzle reel" of short animations from the game:



As always with Ben Chandler, the environment art is top notch. The character art could be better but it's decent. Animation has improved a lot since the earlier stuff they showed. Ben still has a problem with shrinking details (frames of animation where aspect of a figure will awkwardly change size). It seems like he's drawing the frames freehand without using construction to keep the details consistent. Could be worse though, it's an admirable effort from someone who's learning to animate in a higher-res style on the fly.

Also, there was mention of a demo in the works on Twitter. So I'll be looking forward to that. This game has gone through numerous iterations and revamps to the point where I don't really have a clear picture of what it'll be like.
Looks good. Hopefully has puzzles, not just story focused.
 

Fuz

Gold Member
A couple of new things from Dave Gilbert (AKA the other Gilbert/the other Dave) pertaining to Old Skies. They've put out some key art & new screen shots:





Dave also released this "sizzle reel" of short animations from the game:



As always with Ben Chandler, the environment art is top notch. The character art could be better but it's decent. Animation has improved a lot since the earlier stuff they showed. Ben still has a problem with shrinking details (frames of animation where aspect of a figure will awkwardly change size). It seems like he's drawing the frames freehand without using construction to keep the details consistent. Could be worse though, it's an admirable effort from someone who's learning to animate in a higher-res style on the fly.

Also, there was mention of a demo in the works on Twitter. So I'll be looking forward to that. This game has gone through numerous iterations and revamps to the point where I don't really have a clear picture of what it'll be like.
Man, this looks so good.






 
I don’t know why but this shot reminds me so much of 13 Sentinels.

The scenes themselves are apparently similar from being "golden hour" rooftop shots drenched in sun. But I think the thing that makes the styles really feel similar is the texture of the brushwork. Dry, somewhat sharper looking brush strokes for the grime on the buildings concrete. When Ben Chandler was initially developing the aesthetic for Old Skies his biggest inspiration was Ghibli Films. Saying they evoke nostalgia which was a good way to get across the game's theme of time travel. That's particularly evident in this screenshot from about a year ago:



They've since drifted from this style and scrapped a lot of the environments from early on in the games development, but I think an amount of inspiration from Japanese artists remains.

(Also, I cant wait to play 13 Sentinels on Switch next week)

Looks good. Hopefully has puzzles, not just story focused.

It's hard to say even though I've been following the game somewhat closely. A while back Dave Gilbert tweeted out to fellow devs, asking if anyone knew of a good program for creating puzzle dependency charts. Something he's never used in his games before because his puzzles were never complex enough to require them.

That alone would seem to indicate at least a relative focus on puzzles compared to Dave's past games. However, on more recent dev streams, I've also heard Dave venting that he was having a tough time keeping track of all the variables for the game's time travel puzzles. Going on to say that they've been simplified in the latest iteration of Old Skies.

How in depth were they to start with and how simplified did they become? Hell if I know. I still remember three iterations ago when this was a Unity 3D game. I guess we'll get an indication when the demo drops.
 
Returned to a half finished save of Legend of Kyrandia 2: Hand of Fate and finally finished it. I started it on a whim after seeing the first few minutes of the game on YouTube and thinking that Zanthia seemed like a cool protagonist, and she was. Zanthia really steals the show as having a distinctly feminine perspective, being effortlessly cool but slightly corny at the same time, and just a lot of fun. You get a lot of characterization from her too because despite the game not having dialogue trees (you just click on characters until a given exchange ends) you can click on Zanthia herself for remarks on her surroundings or recent events. Some of these are hints but a lot of it is just flavor, which is something I really appreciated. She's a confident and determined character that never feels mean spirited, despite the fact that she's mostly interacting with really dumb people who don't seem to care that the world is disappearing. Zanthia also uses her magic to switch into environmentally fitting atire throughout the game, which was a nice touch of variety and it fits her personality.



The game has some of the best pixel art of the era as well. Looking at the next game it's a shame they went into the Donkey Kong Country-esque pre-rendered 3D territory. Everything looks lush and voluminous. Hats off to the game's artists. The plot is very basic, just a thin premise to see our hero out on their journey through a myriad of interesting fantasy worlds. It's not Simon The Sorcerer thin, but a little more thought to giving the events some intrigue, maybe giving Zanthia an actual character arc, could have gone a long way to making this game a true classic. Kyrandia 2 is clearly inspired by Monkey Island (it might have the earliest non-lucas Guybrush reference of all time) but the script is not on par with what LucasArts was doing at the time.

The game's puzzles are mostly good and fair but there are enough notable exceptions to remind you it's a 90s game. There's one puzzle that requires you to remember a color pattern from much earlier in the game with no way to check it aside from reloading a save. There are some that break the game's logic. There's a part where you use a teddy bear tied to a stick to guided a dinosaur along a cavern path. But you cant combine the teddy bear and the stick, as I thought to, nor can you use the items individually on the dinosaur. Once you have them you simply click the dinosaur and Zanthia uses them herself. This is the only puzzle in the game that works like this. So, a little bit sloppier than the era's best but I like the frequent use of Zanthia's spellbook and how it makes her feel like more than a nominal mage.



Kyrandia 2 is a solid retro adventure with a very fun protagonist and I enjoyed my time with it. I wouldn't put it all the way up there with the classics of the era but it's well worth playing. I can't say I've got too much interest in playing Kyrandia 1 & 3 from what I've seen. But I may check them out just off the strength of liking 2 enough.
 

Fuz

Gold Member
I can't say I've got too much interest in playing Kyrandia 1 & 3 from what I've seen.
Incidentally, they're the only Kyrandia I've played. I don't remember anything about them - except that 1 was a nightmare of mazes.
Always wanted to try 2, but I'm also always scared of punishing Sierra adventures mechanics.
 
Incidentally, they're the only Kyrandia I've played. I don't remember anything about them - except that 1 was a nightmare of mazes.
Always wanted to try 2, but I'm also always scared of punishing Sierra adventures mechanics.
It's not too bad tbh. As far as I know there aren't dead ends, although there are certain consumable red herrings that could make it feel like that. There is character death but it's well telegraphed and infrequent, less punishing than King's Quest 6 for reference.

One persistent annoyance is that there's a limited inventory and every time you unsuccessfully use an item on the game world it drops to the floor, requiring you to pick the item up again and place it in your inventory. You have a lot of inventory slots so the item limit is actually not a big deal, but having to repeatedly pick stuff up makes experimenting more of a pain than it should be.

Overall I'd say that, design wise, it's not too punishing but the interface is a bit sloppy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fuz

RAIDEN1

Member
I booted up NORCO to check it out and wound up playing through the entire game in about two days. The game is great, nearly a classic even, but there's one big sticking point, for me, that keeps it from getting there. NORCO is a southern gothic story that takes place in a futuristic Norco, Louisiana. It's nor the far future, the setting and its inhabitants are mostly familiar, but there's future tech and AI. You play as Kay, a drifter who's largely estranged from her family. She's compelled to return home upon getting word that her mother, Catherine, has cancer and may soon die. She doesn't make it home in time to reunite with her mother and upon arrival her brother, Blake, is nowhere to be found. You quickly discover that Catherine was conducting research in the bayou. Shield, an oil refinery with a big presence in Norco, has been sending mysterious surveillance groups to parts of the bayou outside of their jurisdiction. You play the game switching perspectives between Kate in the present and Catherine in the past before she died. Uncovering the mystery of Catherine's research at the lake and the whereabouts of your brother.

Norco is a beautifully written game. It's full of evocative descriptive text that lets your imagination see beyond its already gorgeous pixel art. It also takes advantage of the various different styles of presentation that can form a cohesive whole in games. Transitioning between dreamy landscapes overlaid with surrealistic imagery, to windowed portraits & characters in first person environments, to minimalist graphical touches & mostly text. Each accompanied with a different shade of Norco's distinct writing style. It's a balancing act. But the result is a game where the tone fits melancholy remembrances of loved ones and absurdist humor about cats being launched through the roof of a bookstore in equal measure. And the game is seriously funny as hell sometimes. There's one optional dialogue sequence in particular that had me absolutely howling.


The gameplay consists of simple item puzzles, mini game-ish memory puzzles/QTEs, and more tailor made puzzle sequences involving somewhat unique mechanics. There's some that involve recording characters dialogue with a cell-phone app that I liked a lot. There's also parts where you make decisions or can handle a situation in multiple ways. I'm not sure how much it changes, though. Norco is not a challenging game by any stretch. The focus is primarily on its narrative and while there is a decent variety of puzzles, the game isn't dense with them. And I'm okay with that...

But what I'm not okay with is that Norco has some of the most overbearing hand-holding I've come across in an adventure game, and I regularly play Japanese adventures. It doesn't happen every time, but it happens enough to be annoying. There are times when characters just straight up tell you puzzle solutions in casual dialogue, or the UI gives you the solution through its design. There's one example in particular, and I won't even use spoiler tags because it doesn't matter, where you have to activate lights scattered around a bayou. Each light has to flash a particular pattern. You find the pattern by using an app that reveals hidden symbols on a map; cool right? Wrong. The game has characters flat out tell you to use the app and where to do it. Well, at least now that I have the clue uncovered I can still use my own brain to think of how to apply it in the game world, right? Wrong again. Each light you activate turns green when you select the correct pattern and a chime plays. Which makes it pointless to even have to uncover the hidden symbols with the app. Actually, it makes the whole thing pointless busywork. It's like a prank, they show you something that has the vague shape of a puzzle from a distance but when you walk closer you're surprised with a boring chore.

I've already said it but I feel like I've gatta reiterate that they're not all designed that way. In other instances the game intelligently makes this kind of hand holding optional. It'll be placed behind certain dialogue choices with your companion characters that are obviously hints. Like when you ask Joey "Plan our next move" in the Blackwell series. I understand NORCO isn't the kind of game that's going for mind-melting challenge. I don't even mind casual puzzles, so long as they're creative or interesting in some way, or add a cool layer of interaction to the story. But actually let me solve them myself because that's the fun part. Telling me an answer and making me run around to input the solution the game gave me is just a waste of the game's potential, and a waste of my time.


At the end of it Norco was a unique, beautifully written, and genuinely fun game with some occasional design fumbles that keep it just shy of overtaking my favorite adventure this year, Perfect Tides. It's an impressive debut for Geography of Robots. I like how the ending answers the most personal questions but leaves enough of the mystery to fuel speculation. I like how fucked up everyone's faces look. I like the guy who eats a rancid hotdog and tells you a story about how he shit himself. I like NORCO (a lot) 8.5/10
Only downer is it is not on Xbox
 

kingpotato

Ask me about my Stream Deck
Recently got a steam deck and will be using it to catch up on a lot of these titles I've been waiting to check out. Last night I played about 90 minutes of If On A Winter's Night, Four Travelers. Not much in the way of gameplay but still really enjoyable so far. Will be looking to complete it today assuming I'm about half way through.

Surprised this title is free considering how well crafted it is.

Might read this book that influenced the game when I'm done as well: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_on_a_winter's_night_a_traveler
 
I started playing 13 Sentinels and I just got out of the prologue. So that actual game starts now and I can already tell it's in that vein of Japanese adventures that uses meta-narrative via branching to deliver some mind-fuck twist (YU-NO, 428, Somnium Files/all Uchikoshi games). There was a bit in the game's manual about getting items or info in one branch to progress in another, which reminds me of the ADMS system from YU-NO. Which is great because I loved ADMS and it'd be dope to experience similar gameplay without Takyua. Can't say too too much at this point since the prologue is basically an extended tutorial but I'm liking all the characters so far and, in the Vanillaware tradition, it's breath takingly gorgeous.


Plus I love how dramatically Ei looks at his inventory. It's like he's about to say "Alas, poor pill bottle! I knew him, Horatio..."
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
I started playing 13 Sentinels and I just got out of the prologue. So that actual game starts now and I can already tell it's in that vein of Japanese adventures that uses meta-narrative via branching to deliver some mind-fuck twist (YU-NO, 428, Somnium Files/all Uchikoshi games). There was a bit in the game's manual about getting items or info in one branch to progress in another, which reminds me of the ADMS system from YU-NO. Which is great because I loved ADMS and it'd be dope to experience similar gameplay without Takyua. Can't say too too much at this point since the prologue is basically an extended tutorial but I'm liking all the characters so far and, in the Vanillaware tradition, it's breath takingly gorgeous.


Plus I love how dramatically Ei looks at his inventory. It's like he's about to say "Alas, poor pill bottle! I knew him, Horatio..."
Once you done with the prologue the game opens up and you can choose which you want to play as.
 
Once you done with the prologue the game opens up and you can choose which you want to play as.
Yes, I'm nearly 8 hours in at this point and its opened up & the branching is getting more interesting. One thing I noticed is that most nodes on the flow chart tell you which keywords are necessary to advance to that branch point. I've been avoiding using that because I prefer to figure that stuff out myself. But I reached a certain node that I think had no keyword info on it, and it was one of the more in-depth sections. The Juro Kurabe part where you need to eavesdrop on the girls, get Iori to invite you into the hallway, and use the papers to get rid of Kyuta. So, if it's the case that the game intentionally leaves out solutions on the puzzle-y parts of the flow chart, that's actually cool but I'm not sure because I've been using one save slot and can't go back to check.

Guess I'll find out eventually. At hour 8 the plot is still setting a lot of stuff up, but It's the kind of slow build I enjoy with a lot of intrigue. Plus it's to be expected with so many playable characters. The pace is actually fairly brisk taking that into account. All I know is, on my list of characters I don't quite trust, talking cat is on the top. Yes, over every Kaiju enemy type.
 
Dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Bifrostia, populated by two mutant races as well as their robot assistants. The first Act takes place in the rusted city of Ilgrot, under the rule of an artificial intelligence. Strange things are happening there.



One regular day we discover a space shuttle with a mysterious robot inside. You will have to escape the city, uncover the robot’s origins, why it is getting hunted and what is happening.



Plunge into the adventure quests with puzzles and mini-games.



It’s a new stylized world with an illustrative atmosphere of retrofuturism, with hand painted 3D locations.



Enjoy the relaxing ambient soundtrack by Alexander Zhelanov with cyberpunk elements.

Mechanic 8230 is out and looks pretty neat. It being episodic is kind of a bummer but nevertheless there's a demo to check out if you're interested.
 
Agree.
It looks good but... episodic? No thanks. They either never complete it, or I will lose interest in the story before the new chapters.
Gimme a full story or GTFO.

Shame too, whoever did the work on that artstyle/animations has some talent. They should've kickstarted this and made it into a full game. Besides us and another small group im on FB, no one knows this game even exists.
 
Very late to the party (obsessed with physical releases...), but I got today the disc version of Road 96 for PS5 and it is pretty awesome!

I really enjoyed Road 96, it was a fun mix of eccentric characters, light puzzling, and fresh choice mechanics. I think some people in this thread passed it over for it's political aspects, which I understand, but personally found completely ignorable and was able to enjoy the game as a fascinatingly weird road trip story.

I actually started a run of Road 96 with a friend of mine, but I was busy for a couple weeks and he finished the game without me!
 
Which political aspects?
Personally, I skipped it because I'm playng other stuff all the time and the trailer didn't really strike me as being that interesting.
The game is an incredibly overt metaphor for Trump's presidency. You live in a country called Petria, that's supposed to be a authoritarian state but actually seems mostly decent lol, and there's a president named Tyrak (or Tyrek... or something) who's rounding up kids trying to escape at the Petrian border. There's some other characters that are evident takes on American political tropes as well. Yet again from a French dev who seems to only have a surface level understanding of them.

As a political commentary it's predictable, one sided, and lacks depth to the point where you cant get much from it besides "these devs dont like Trump." Plus, parts of the comparison seemed confused to me, criticizing Trump's border policy by making a character who stops people from leaving a country was an odd choice. But it's actually so shallow of a metaphor that you can very easily disregard the whole thing and get into the character drama / road adventure storyline. Since the bulk of the actual plot is about trying to survive on the road while you run into a bunch of wacky characters.

I ended up really enjoying the game and am looking forward to what DigixArt puts out next.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Fuz

Old Skies: How Wadjet Eye Wants to Reinvent the Point 'n' Click, Again​

A look at the next game from adventure game luminary Dave Gilbert.​

Joe Skrebels
By Joe Skrebels
Updated: 20 Apr 2022 1:00 pm
Posted: 20 Apr 2022 11:37 am

Dave Gilbert isn’t a huge fan of the “retro throwback” tag his games have been slapped with for the last 16 years. His studio, Wadjet Eye (The Blackwell Legacy, Gemini Rue), may trade in the point ’n’ click adventure space, but his own games tend to stubbornly refuse to stick to the conventions of the ’80s and ’90s games they resemble. His latest, Old Skies, is yet more proof that Gilbert’s games are forward-thinking, not backward-looking.

Sitting down with Gilbert at London’s WASD games convention, I’m quickly shown how. Old Skies adopts a similar structure to Gilbert’s last game, the fantastic Unavowed, showing its characters’ journeys across six self-contained episodes. But where that last game innovated by investing more in branching, BioWare-like dialogue paths than classic puzzling, Gilbert’s early-in-development new game is a whole new experiment.
At Old Skies’ heart is a narrative conceit, woven throughout the game’s mechanics, plot, and even visuals: In the future, time travel is real, but it’s used essentially just for tourism. The game’s lead character, Fia, takes paying customers on trips through time, allowing them to visit periods they could never have experienced, or revisit treasured moments in their lives. Things go wrong very quickly, as things tend to in time travel narratives, and Fia is left to solve problems and paradoxes through a mixture of deduction and sci-fi tech.








The brilliance, even in the short, early sections Gilbert shows me, lies in how time travel is built into how you play. One puzzle asks you to open a safe amid a tense standoff in a Prohibition-era jewellery store robbery – but no one person in the room knows the entire code, and they won’t share their pieces of it with the others. Instead, Fia can demand each of them to help out, learning their sections as they do so – but inevitably ending with her (or sometimes everyone) dying in a hail of Tommy Gun bullets. When Fia dies, however, we don’t see a Game Over screen, but time rewinding, leaving her back where she began, with new information to use, and an increasingly painful headache from being shot so many times in one evening. Eventually, you open the safe yourself, to the room's astonishment.
Gilbert says the unexpected benefit of using time loops as part of puzzle solutions is that it means he can build around less expected solutions – something closer to the infamous adventure game ‘Moon Logic’ of older games like Monkey Island, while retaining fairness in how it’s solved. Players will piece together puzzle solutions over multiple different loops, each with entertaining conclusions – rather than being sat in one place, clicking everything in a static room before brute-forcing the intended goal. One example Gilbert gives is realising Fia needs to stop a stalking enemy and, because the player knows exactly where that person will walk, dropping a nearby billiard ball on the floor to have them spill over in an undignified mess. You likely wouldn’t work this out on a first go, but with multiple passes at the same situation, you’re given the context clues to arrive there on your own.
It’s not just a different game to play from Gilbert, but a very different feeling game too. While it might be a sci-fi yarn, Old Skies is a dark comedy first and foremost. Gilbert tells me an early section includes a moment where Fia decides whether to accept a drink from a date, or buy them one – before a change in the timestream sees her partner erased from history (for reasons I’m not sure of yet, Fia’s immune from such fluctuations). Fia’s reaction depends less on watching someone cease to exist before her eyes, and more on that tiny decision: if you bought them a drink, you get to drink theirs too. If you had one bought for you by a date that no longer exists, the drink no longer exists either, and Fia’s left irritated by the whole affair.
Fia's look on the main menu will alter as you progress through different time periods. (Image credit: Wadjet Eye)
Fia's look on the main menu will alter as you progress through different time periods. (Image credit: Wadjet Eye)
It also comes with a new visual style, dropping the classic pixel art of old and adopting a hand-drawn look, with characters more closely resembling ’90s cartoons than ’90s games. It lets the developer play with character designs a little more – Fia will use another bit of tech to zap her clothing into something period-appropriate when she arrives in a new timezone. In a very neat touch, Gilbert says that even the main menu illustration of Fia will also change to match your current look.
It’s that playfulness, and an excitability around making something new, that proves Gilbert isn’t just making tribute acts to the good ol’ days of adventure games. He’s restless about inventing something new with every game, and Old Skies is already looking to be one of his most drastic reworks of the formula yet.

One of the first previews for Old Skies, curtesy of IGN.
Describes some of the Time Travel puzzling and is generally positive overall. With some "I haven't actually played many adventure games" cringe sprinkled in for good measure.
 
New Tales From the Borderlands to be announced this summer - Gematsu
ublisher 2K and developer Gearbox Software will announce a new entry in the Tales from the Borderlands series this summer, Gearbox Software founder Randy Pitchford teased at the Gearbox Main Theatre Show at PAX East 2022. It will launch in 2022.

“I know many of you love the Borderlands universe, the stories told within it—we love it, too,” Pitchford said on-stage. “We also know that many of you loved Tales from the Borderlands, right? Well as you know, some of the characters from Tales from the Borderlands made their way into Borderlands 3, so we really love that format as a way to create characters, create new stories, and explore all that differently than what’s possible with looter-shooter games. Because of the success and our love for Tales, and because of our interest in developing the Borderlands universe in new ways, we thought it would be fun and exciting to dive into the format of interactive fiction once again.”

Tales from the Borderlands 2
Pitchford continued, “This time, we’re doing it to imagine all new characters and all-new stories from the Borderlands. So soon we’ll be announcing an all-new game set within the Borderlands universe and presented in that style of interactive fiction. I’m talking about an all-new Tales from the Borderlands adventure. It’s going to be releasing this year [in 2022], it’s published by 2K Games, and it has been developed in-house by Gearbox Software. And it has all-new characters set in the Borderlands universe. We’ve been working on this experience secretly for many years. And I can’t wait until it’s time to announce this all-new game this summer and show all of you what we’ve been doing. So please be on the lookout this summer for the announcement of an all-new Tales from the Borderlands.”

Stay tuned.

Reminds me that I should finally play the last two episodes of this (or more realistically just replay the entire game). They aren't going through TTG so this will be a narrative adventure game developed in house by Gearbox. I'm interested to see how they approach things.
 
Last edited:
I really enjoyed Tales from Borderlands but as a Borderlands fan, what they did to
Scooter
I will never forgive. Im guessing this will be after the events of Borderlands 3.
 
Does anyone else get pissed by these kinds of "best adventure games" lists? Because they are not adventure games, god dammit!


To normies, adventure game means action adventure game

Which is fair enough, I guess, since we should probably always refer to our genre as point and click adventure games.
 
Last edited:

Nico_D

Member
To normies, adventure game means action adventure game

Which is fair enough, I guess, since we should probably always refer to our genre as point and click adventure games.

Probably so, games like Uncharted being "adventurous". Maybe I'm getting old but I'd rather not see genre definitions rewritten, especially because actual adventure games are having a renesseissance.

We have sub-genres, why not use those: action-adventure would be fine.
 
I think eventually "narrative adventure" will be the most used catch all term. Even though it originated as a subgenre category to describe TTG/Quantic Dream style adventure games that focused (even) more on narrative/branching decisions and less on traditional puzzles, I've seen every type of adventure game go under this banner. Even Cyan's new Myst-like was called a narrative adventure on its Kickstarter, and that's the polar opposite style. I'd basically be fine with that transition. It gets the point across that it's a story driven genre and IMO it makes more sense than using P&C as a catch all because not all adventure games used P&C controls and it's less ubiquitous as the years go by.

Conversely people could just get more familiar with the genre by taking Kotaro Uchikoshi's advice:
People who haven't played adventure games: first go home, try to drink a gallon of tequila, make sure your mind's loose, and then just accept what it is.
(this is a real quote)
 

Nico_D

Member
I think eventually "narrative adventure" will be the most used catch all term. Even though it originated as a subgenre category to describe TTG/Quantic Dream style adventure games that focused (even) more on narrative/branching decisions and less on traditional puzzles, I've seen every type of adventure game go under this banner. Even Cyan's new Myst-like was called a narrative adventure on its Kickstarter, and that's the polar opposite style. I'd basically be fine with that transition. It gets the point across that it's a story driven genre and IMO it makes more sense than using P&C as a catch all because not all adventure games used P&C controls and it's less ubiquitous as the years go by.

That is true. While Gilbert's Monkey Island will probably be P&C, adventure games, as we see them, have evolved beyond that. It's clear that this genre has gone beyond being just about puzzles and there's a lot more subgenres now - like Life is Strange - and many open-world games have puzzles now. It can get pretty hard to make a distinction - but that said, if the game, like Uncharted, is 50% action, 40% story and 10% puzzles, it's not an adventure game just because you can play an adventurer in it.

I like the term "narrative adventure". That can hold games like Monkey Island, Quantic Dreams' games and Life is Strange series - and many others.
 

Fuz

Gold Member
I really enjoyed Tales from Borderlands but as a Borderlands fan, what they did to
Scooter
I will never forgive. Im guessing this will be after the events of Borderlands 3.
Also what they did to
Jack

Not a big fan. I mean, it's a fun game in itself, but imho they didn't get the setting, the characters and the tone.
 
That is true. While Gilbert's Monkey Island will probably be P&C, adventure games, as we see them, have evolved beyond that. It's clear that this genre has gone beyond being just about puzzles and there's a lot more subgenres now - like Life is Strange - and many open-world games have puzzles now. It can get pretty hard to make a distinction - but that said, if the game, like Uncharted, is 50% action, 40% story and 10% puzzles, it's not an adventure game just because you can play an adventurer in it.
In their interview with The Verge, Ron & Dave mention that they're designing the new Monkey Island for mouse & controller. So I suspect it'll have P&C + direct movement controls like the Grim Fandango remaster.

In regard to the distinction between adventure games and other genres, my position is the genre's defining trait is that the gameplay is actually inseparable from the narrative. I always use the examples of drugging Elaine's poodles in Monkey Island, and exposing a contradiction in Ace Attorney. In both cases the game's narrative must exist for the gameplay to function. Without a story there's no contradiction to expose. Same goes for making choices to reach a desired outcome/route in a game like Blade Runner, it's a streamlined version of this narrative lead gameplay. This is the distinction I feel circles the consensus of games people historically regard as adventure. Other genre's like action, racing, or puzzle games can have narratives, even deep ones that greatly enhance the experience, but their core gameplay doesn't require one. They have gameplay and stories whereas adventures have gameplay as stories. To me, that's the difference.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom