Just released to the public a little more than a week ago is the enhanced version of J.U.L.I.A. : Among the Stars. The campaign ran on IndieGogo in April of last year (2013) and raised nearly 300% of their funding goal of $5,000. Jan Kavan was gracious enough to give me a Steam key for the game to review and I played practically nonstop (when I had free time, at least) just so I could get this article out to our readers as soon as possible. And it was worth every minute of playtime. The title of this review, by the by, should make a lot more sense by the end of the narrative. You can purchase the game from Steam and CBE’s own Web site.
Visual novels seem to be growing a bit in popularity lately as a handful have shown up on Kickstarter recently. One such “interactive story” is in the final week of its run and could use some help in getting funded. Hearts Under Blades isn’t your typical romance game (as the genre has pretty much become known for), although there are romantic options. It’s more a tale of honor and growing up, a “coming of age” story if you will. Set in feudal Japan.
The universe might implode at the sheer awesomeness of having three illustrious fan game developers, Guy From Andromeda Mark Crowe, SpaceVenture composer Ken Allen and Westwood composer Frank Klepacki all in the same podcast episode. But that’s exactly what’s happening here.
Get ready for two hours of pure unadulterated nerdy space fun as we take a closer look at three retro style fan games — The Lost Chapter, Replicated and Decision of the Elders — complete with commentary by all three developers, along with some added incentives to play Replicated by our resident Professor Jess.
Serena Nelson gives her lowdown on her favorite supporting character, and Mark Crowe talks about the inspiration behind Roger’s crew in Space Quest V. There’s also more fun to be had at Priapic Mountain Games’ CEO, Pete Toleman, and Josh Henry continues his epic fan fiction tale “Quest for the Two Guys From Andromeda.”
And, as a special treat, our music pal Ken Allen sits down for a chat with the composer for Westwood’s Legend of Kyrandia and Command & Conquer series, Frank Klepacki.
Crossover tales can be pretty much “hit” or “miss”, especially when you’re dealing with two very different settings. Such as Norse mythology and 1920s style Noir stories. Norse Noir: Loki’s Exile is such a crossover and it looks to hit the mark in pretty much every respect that it tries to. The game’s plot seems to tell two unrelated stories at first glance, but based on what I’ve seen so far they look like they’ll mesh very well together. But how they fit remains to be seen.
Something has pushed Beechworth to the edge. The very precipice. As The Game Kitchen’s low-res horror adventure game, The Last Door, opens, the text (for the game lacks voiceover, an interesting but fitting choice given the early generation era pixel graphics of the game) on the screen consists of a letter that Beechworth is composing to his preparatory academy chum, explaining why his actions are necessary. While the letter progresses across the screen, you control Beechworth as he prepares for his final moments on Earth. Your actions move a chair to the center of the room, string up a rope from the ceiling. Your actions place the rope around Beechworth’s neck. Your actions end his life. His lifeless body, in all its pixelated morbidity, swaying gently as he steps from the chair and into the dark abyss is the last thing you see before the game fades to black and opens on chapter one.
Quest for Infamy is an old time adventure game that transports this old adventure game player back to the heydays of adventure gaming. You can get the game at Phoenix Online Studio’s store, GOG or Steam. The game is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. This review is based upon being played in Windows 7 X64 with an nVidia Quadro card in a Lenovo W530 laptop. Before we meander too deep into this review, those unfortunate enough to have read any of my previous musings know that I like to establish my relationship to the game in question. In this case, I backed the Kickstarter for Quest for Infamy and have gotten to know the games creators Steven Alexander and Shawn Mills, as well as a number of the artists (especially Jenny Kit Pattison and James Broom) and the composer, James Mulvale. In short, I have, as they say, a horse in this race so don’t say you haven’t been warned!
Visual novels. They’re the equivalent of an interactive novel, but sometimes they have quite the tale to tell. In the case of Queen At Arms, it’s an epic one. There’s political intrigue, war, romance, and even other deep topics that you might not find in most “dating sims” that go with this approach. Sure, there’s a romance plotline, but it’s really about the war between two fighting nations and the people caught in the middle. Anyone who likes a good war story should find this one worth checking out.
Sometimes a game concept is so outlandish and weird that it is worth checking out just for the reason that there’s something about it that makes it unique. Paradigm by Jacob Janerka looks to be one of these offbeat adventure game titles that’s worth watching just for its absurd nature. It’s rather hard to describe any story that involves sentient beatboxing plants and evil sloth masterminds, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. I will point out here that this is a game very much not intended for younger audiences. There are some strong language and mature themes that would be inappropriate for anyone not an adult.
Kaptain Brawe 2: A Space Travesty is wrapping up its Kickstarter campaign on September 11, 2014. This is the second attempt our brawe Kaptain is trying to get his adventures funded. Sadly, unless the campaign picks up in the remaining four days, the Kaptain may be stuck as his ship. At present, Cateia Games has raised almost $41,000 of the $75,000 they are requesting.
The previous Kickstarter campaign was asking for $150,000 but by teaming with OUYA, they hope to get some of the funding from them. However, as of yet, many of the former backers have not returned to the new campaign.
While the Kickstarter is running, you can download and play Kaptain Brawe: An Unexpected Intermission to get a feel for the series. The game does not have voice work but does have a fun visual and writing style. It also fills in the time between the end of the first game and the beginning of the proposed second game. You don’t need to have played the first game to quickly figure out that Kaptain Brawe’s dedication knows no bounds. In fact, Kaptain Brawe is so brawe that he will charge into any situation with guns blazing; even if it only a run to the galactic equivalent to Dunkin Donuts. There is no doubt that Kaptain Brawe is the bravest man he knows.
To improve the second game, Steve Ince was brought on board to do the story and voice overs will be part of the second game. If that isn’t enough star power, Bill Tiller from The Curse of Monkey Island and A Vampyre Story will bring his artistic talents as well. The addition of voice work and extra art should ensure a wonderful game to play. Just playing the free download game shows the potential.
We at Kickstart Ventures are always looking for a good crowdfunded project with an interesting idea and have decided to branch out from writing solely about video games to tabletop gaming. Our first foray into the roleplaying scene literally just started their campaign. Veranthea Codex is not just an expansion on Paizo’s Pathfinder line of books and it’s not just another setting using their rules. It’s a tome that promises to be so much more should Mike Myler and Rogue Genius Games manage to get funding for this project.