Category Archives: Adventure

When the Apple Watch released, a number of developers attempted to take advantage of the buzz by either updating old games with new features, or by releasing new games specifically designed with the Apple Watch in mind. One of the more success of the latter group was Lifeline [$0.99], an interactive fiction game that had you guiding a student named Taylor who had been stranded on a moon. As with most games in this genre, the game mostly consisted of reading text and making the occasional choice. The gimmick came from the way the game incorporated real time into the story. Taylor would often become busy after you made a choice, and you'd have no choice but to wait until Taylor notified you, via your watch or your device, that the story could continue. While the game itself was quite simple relative to other gamebooks, this element gave Lifeline the twist it needed to stand out from the pack...

'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream' Review – A Master Class in Psychological Horror

Some of you may remember from previous reviews of mine that I love horror and dark fantasy. Everything from Lovecraftian anti-existentialism to tastefully done psychological horror to torture porn to “2Edgy4U” bull-crap. I find something to enjoy in all of it. I also love simple stories of heroes and hope and overcoming hardships, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy the darkest depths and the brightest heights of the human imagination. Well… if any one living author, and any particular story, represents those darkest depths, it’s Harlan Ellison and his story and point and click adventure game, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream [$3.99]...




'The Walking Dead: Michonne' Episode 3 Review -  In the End, Does Her Violence and Killing Leave Space for Her Humanity?

If you've watched The Walking Dead TV show, then you probably know Michonne as the almost-immortal bad-ass with the samurai sword who chops off zombie heads as if her sole purpose is helping the poor creatures depart this world. The Michonne of the TV show has consistently been the most independent and strongest of the survivors, despite a few moments when her traumatic past rises to the surface. Those few moments aside, Michonne's character stands as the glue that often holds the group together, and her sheer will, determination, and head-chopping skills have turned her into possibly the greatest symbol of strength in the face of adversity. Having this Michonne in mind, I was immediately surprised by the way she's portrayed in the first episode of Telltale's three-part miniseries, The Walking Dead: Michonne [$4.99] (sorry, spoilers from here onwards)...

Apparently, merpeople are the new trend in interactive fiction. Yes, I call something a trend if I spot more than one instance. I'm pretty weird that way. Anyway, a couple of months ago, Choice Of Games released The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], a somewhat farcical adventure that provided a brief, enjoyable window into a fantasy world under the sea. The Sea Eternal [Free] also chooses the ocean depths as the setting of its story, but from the other side of the coin. Rather than playing an inquisitive human who accidentally stumbles upon this strange world, you play as one of the merpeople who inhabit it. In spite of this shift in perspective, the core of the story largely tries to untangle what it is to be human, or at least what it is to be sentient. It takes on a lot of very difficult questions, and although it doesn't handle them all with perfect grace, The Sea Eternal is nevertheless quite engaging and thought-provoking...

The Heroes Rise trilogy of gamebooks are, as near as I can tell, among the most popular releases from Choice Of Games. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, including the popularity of both superheroes and reality show send-ups, the interesting, convoluted plot, and the overall quality of the writing. Most of those things are still just as popular now as they were before, so even though the author of Heroes Rise has already started a new series set in another universe, it's perhaps not that surprising that the Hero Project is coming back for a second season. That trilogy wrapped things up so well, however, that it's hard to say what the best way forward would be for a follow-up. The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$3.99] finds a new direction, and while it's a pretty good one, it's tackling some complex issues that it can't quite seem to get a proper handle on...

Say what you will about Crescent Moon Games, but they're certainly big believers in mobile games aimed at the traditional gaming demographic. That's a quality that's getting harder and harder to find among mobile publishers as time goes on. It wasn't that long ago that Crescent Moon gave word that another premium release in the Ravensword series of RPGs was on the way, and the follow-up to Mines Of Mars [$4.99], titled Mines Of Andromeda, is also in the works. Well, everyone knows that you aren't really juggling until you have at least three balls in the air. Ever the jugglers when it comes to game releases, Crescent Moon's got another potentially huge game coming called Morphite...

'Guns Of Infinity' Review - The Ravages Of War

My quest to stay more or less on top of major gamebook releases has been pretty tricky of late thanks to the speed at which new ChoiceScript-based games have released both through Choice Of Games and Hosted Games. It's hardly the worst problem to have, but readers who have stayed on top of my recent gamebook reviews know that none of them have really grabbed me recently. Coming off of the massive, disappointing Magikiras [Free], I was a little wary of Guns Of Infinity [$4.99]. It's by a completely different author, mind you, so there wasn't much of a logical basis for that fear, but the relatively large word count certainly had me cautious. An unpleasant read can result in very different levels of agony depending on its length, and if Guns Of Infinity missed the mark, it was going to be a very long haul...

Squishy Platformer 'Goo Saga' Makes the Jump from Android to iOS

There's no shortage of amazing platforming games on the App Store, but I'm still always on the lookout for more. I guess I just have an insatiable appetite for running and jumping. A few weeks ago, a beautiful little platformer called Goo Saga launched on Android from developer Toka Loka Games. It was about a mad scientist obsessed with creating life in his lab, and after many many failed attempts he finally does it by creating a gooey little blob named Goo. When the scientist mysteriously disappears, Goo becomes lonely and decides to break out of the lab and go in search of him. Thus, the saga begins! After a bit of a snafu with Apple approval that prevented it from coming out last week, today Goo Saga [$4.99] has finally arrived in the iOS App Store...

It was just a couple of days ago that we learned about the release date for episode 3 of Telltale's The Walking Dead: Michonne [$4.99] mini-series, and today we now have a trailer to go along with that announcement. And boy what a trailer it is. This third episode, which is titled What We Deserve, brings everything that's happened in the first two episodes to a head, and it looks extremely intense. Obviously, if you haven't played the previous two episodes, there are spoilers contained in this trailer. You've been warned!..

There are a lot of different ways a piece of interactive fiction can succeed. Some of them tell a great story, some of them give the player a genuine feel of agency in the plot, and some of them have interesting puzzles. Some have tense, RPG-like battles, while others have no fighting at all and focus on building character relationships. A few just take a very interesting setting or theme and run with it. But for all of these strong points that gamebooks can take advantage of, there are a ton of pitfalls that, if not specific to the format, are at least more potentially devastating to the overall enjoyment of a work. It's not an easy thing to put a smooth, highly-interactive narrative together that manages to be strong enough to carry an entire game. It involves almost all of the headaches of writing a good book combined with the difficulties of quality game design...

Well, here it is, everyone. Magikiras [Free] is easily one of the worst gamebooks I've played in my years of reviewing, and hands-down the most painful. It's absurdly long given its meager premise, poorly-written, and just plain boring. There are tons of spelling and grammar mistakes, and many other instances of incorrect English. It's linear to a fault, with almost every choice in the book save a few very important ones coming down to the same set of approaches listed in the same order. Even those chances come entirely too sporadically, however. You'll mostly just be tapping through page after page of banal text, praying for a release that is perpetually too far away...

If you enjoy doom and gloom, you might want to take a look at Tormentum: Dark Sorrow [$4.99], an adventure game just out on iOS and Android. As you can see from the trailer below, the developers went for a nightmarish ambience that looks like it will definitely stay with you. The surreal atmosphere evokes the paintings by H. R, Giger and Beksin'ski according to the developers, which is a fancy way of saying the art is taken straight out of all those nightmares you had as a kid. In Tormentum, you play as a nameless hero who wakes up one day locked in a metal cage on your way to a castle to serve time for crimes you don't remember...

Marriage is a tricky, tricky act, isn't it? Quite often those joined in holy matrimony don't really fit well together, and even when they do, compromises must abound if there is to be any kind of happiness in their new union. And when the marriage is of two very different people, the challenges are even greater. If you've played Minecraft (either the mobile or the PC version) and any of the Telltale games, then you already know why I started my review of Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99] with these metaphors. When Telltale told the world that it would apply its narrative-based formula on Minecraft, the game that's now synonymous with sandbox, many gamers wondered whether Telltale could pull it off and whether Minecraft players would bother with a developer that put their beloved open-world game in a narrative straight-jacket, possibly chopping off any parts that refused to obey the narrative techniques that Telltale has used in its other series...

LEGO games on iOS are, by this point, nothing if not reliable. Apart from the earliest releases on the platform and the occasional experiment, the LEGO games based on licensed properties all essentially do the same things. They tell (or retell) a humorous story using a selection of stages from the console versions, offer up some mindless action gaming, and have a ton of unlockables. How much you enjoy them usually depends on how much you like the property involved, but all of the games kind of fall in that sticky zone that lay just between boring and interesting, and LEGO Jurassic World [$4.99] isn't any different. Except, you know, that this one has playable dinosaurs...

Generally speaking, I'm not the sort of gamebook fan that replays books terribly often after finishing them. I'm usually okay with getting whatever story and ending comes from my choices, so long as it's an ending and not a "game over". With The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], however, I found myself going back a few times. It's a relatively short adventure, and it's almost impossible to satisfy your curiosity about the game's mysteries in a single play. The author takes a light approach to whole affair, and there's a playful feeling running through the whole story. I can't say it's one of my favorites from Choice Of Games, but if it catches you in the right mood, you'll probably enjoy it...

When Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99] launched in October of last year, we were pretty impressed with how quickly Telltale was releasing new episodes compared to their previous episodic games. In just a couple of months 4 episodes were released with the last episode arriving just prior to Christmas, and it's those 4 episodes that are covered in our ever-evolving review of Minecraft: Story Mode. Then last week we learned that a fifth episode was on its way, and shockingly that there were three more episodes planned to arrive after it. It looks like Minecraft: Story Mode might just continue to evolve with new story arcs and episode sets for a long time, rather than having any separate sequels, and to that I say "Cool!" Today Episode 5 titled "Order Up!" is now available for download, and is designed to bridge the gap between Episode 4, which concluded the Wither Storm story arc, and the forthcoming Episodes 6, 7, and 8. Here's Episode 5's trailer...

The first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne [$4.99] was an entertaining start to Telltale's new miniseries primarily because of the complexity of the lead character (spoilers ahead). The way Telltale tried to bring Michonne's pre-apocalypse life into play made for an intriguing protagonist whose past regrets and present hauntings help the player feel more invested in her fate and actions. Telltale even mixed in some horror elements to the episode beyond the usual jump scares, and I really enjoyed that part as you can see in my review. Sticking by its promise to bring one episode a month, Telltale has announced that the second episode of the miniseries, Give No Shelter, will arrive March 29th on all platforms and the last one is coming in April...

One of the fun things about following a specific platform over a number of years is watching how things progress. Developers and series will pop up, and if they hang around, you can see what they do to build on what they did before to try to make an even better game. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't. In the case of developer TouchMint and its Adventure To Fate series of turn-based RPGs, it's happily been the former. When the first game launched almost two years ago, it was a fun, somewhat rough game that got better with a couple of updates. Last year, a free-to-play follow-up came out, focusing almost entirely on the combat system and character development mechanics. That game, too, got some really nice updates that made the game better. I don't know what the update plans look like for Adventure To Fate: Quest To The Future [$3.99] looks like, but even in its present state, it shows the experience TouchMint has gathered in its own personal quest for glory...

The husband and wife team that makes up Swedish indie developer Killmonday Games successfully crowdfunded their vision for "a very creepy point-and-click adventure" called Fran Bow back in the summer of 2013. The game officially launched on PC in August of last year to a positive reception, and following its release on Android just a couple of weeks ago Fran Bow is now available on iOS as well. In the game you play as Fran, a ten year-old girl who witnesses the grisly murder of her own parents. She is discovered traumatized and alone in the woods, and taken to an asylum where she's separated from her only friend in the world, her cat Mr. Midnight. Due to the medications administered to her at the asylum, Fran hallucinates an alternate reality filled with gruesome monsters and death. Desperate to escape the asylum and horrible treatments, Fran utilizes the ability to jump between the two realities in order to solve puzzles, find Mr. Midnight, and hopefully discover who was behind the murder of her parents...

Virtually everything can be made better by doing it in space. Except breathing oxygen, I suppose. And eating potato chips. And using the toilet. Okay, let's revise that. Some things can be made better by doing them in space, and engaging in capitalistic ventures just happens to be one of them. The core principles of buying low and selling high simply go well with traversing a lonely universe and battling space pirates. Perhaps unsurprisingly, iOS gamers already have a few games to choose from in this style, including games that focus mostly on trading mechanics at the expense of action or visual flourish, ones that put most of their eggs in the combat basket, and some that try to dazzle you with their slick presentation and sense of immersion in order to build a believable universe. Simply put, there's a fair bit of established competition for Stellar Wanderer [$4.99], albeit little of it recent...

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