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Adventure Games Thread 2020 - Get To The POINT Where It All CLICKS

TheCockatrice

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The Dungeon Experience reminds me of Trover. Hopefully the jokes land because a comedy adventure game is really hard to enjoy if none of the jokes are good. Paradigm was amazing so I have hope. As for the new Larry, guess I'm getting it since I had no issues with the previous one, thought it was okay. I know some ppl here think it's shit but eh.
 
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TheContact

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I played through it somewhat recently. With a friend who's a big Warcraft fan, it was a fun experience. I don't actually know much about Warcraft lore so it was cool seeing his perspective on how they handled the lore. He enjoyed it and I thought it was a fun game as well.

If you do decide to play it I highly recommend installing the Warcraft Adventures Cutscene Remaster Project mod. It adds missing sfx, music and finishes up certain cutscenes. It makes for a more complete experience.

nice i wasn't aware of the mod. i should also be specific that i would love to see the series be re-created for 2020+ standards (though blizzard's standards lately have been shit)
 

Fuz

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I finished VirtuaVerse and I bloody loved it.
Be aware that it's really old style, the game doesn't fuck around and it's one of the hardest P&C games of these years, there are a few convoluted puzzles and there are no hotspot indicators and there's some pixel hunting that made me look up for a walkthrough (fuck the guy's jacket).
Artistically is fantastic, the cyberpunk city is exceptional and the pixel art is astonishing. The quality kinda goes down when you leave the city, it's still good, don't get me wrong, but the other zones are less inspired than the city design. I really wish we could have explored the city more. Also, character animations are far from bad, but they don't impress as much. Music, while objectively pretty good, surprisingly doesn't do much for me, even though I should be pretty much the target audience for that.
There's a lot of social commentary, and this is where you can love or hate the game, I guess. There's a number of rants and tirades about tech, freedom and music that perfectly resonate with me (as I said already - feels like I wrote that. I feel the need to become friend with the devs now), but they do feel a little out of place and can annoy you if you reason wrong think differently.
A bit disappointed in the ending, I though that Xenon was trying to become a biological entity, that could have given the writer some ground to lay some interesting philosophical arguments, but the whole "meaty space station" is left mostly unexplained. At least it makes sense on the need for a permanent implant. And it's really cool.
It becomes cringe-worthy when Nathan is pretentiously ranting about trivial problems like how "no one listens to full albums anymore, just singles and playlists."
The writer is a musician. Also, about the whole piracy/demo scene, I think they're in on these sort of things. That glove really exists.


P.S.
A little final rant: fuck all those interfaces where you "lose" the inventory object you selected after trying to use it on something, and have to go back and open the inventory and select it again. And the game would have benefitted of an inventory key on the mouse (like on the wheel).
 
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Great impressions Fuz Fuz . VirtuaVerse is definitely a great game. I really appreciated the 90s tier difficulty, save for the pixel-hunts you mentioned. I managed to luck out on the jacket but there's a screen in the forest with basically no hotspots, except for a lone twig, that one got me.

It's cool to see another impression of the writing & social commentary. A lot of the commentary on the overreach of tech and surveillance did resonate with me. But other rants, like the one I mentioned, felt at odds with the plot. IIRC that rant about singles and playlists comes at a point where Nathan is trying to track down is girlfriend.

But that's also one of the thing I love about indie adventures; how much of the creators personality shines through in the game. Even if some of the moments were clunky to me, the game is better off for having a distinct voice.

P.P.S
You're right about having to go back into your inventory to keep selecting an item. I think it's to discourage brute forcing but fuck that, it's annoying.
 
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For next years thread I want to add a community chosen AOTY section. So I created this straw poll for people to vote on. I understand that people may have not played all or many of the games on the list. But I still think it'd be cool to have some kind of consensus for the year represented in the thread.

So look over the list and vote if you're so inclined. You can comment another game if I missed something but I'm pretty sure I got most of the significant releases. You can vote on more than one entry, the entry with the most votes will be AdvGAF 2020 AOTY.

(Two of the games on the list, Zniw and Twin Mirror, aren't out yet. So either waiting to vote or voting now and commenting later work fine.)
 
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Fuz

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I managed to luck out on the jacket but there's a screen in the forest with basically no hotspots, except for a lone twig, that one got me.
I somehow found that immediately and managed to understand the puzzle way before finding the saw, but the friggin' fruit inside the carnivorous plant had me stumped for a while [EDIT: And to be perfectly honest, I felt like an idiot when I realized the robot mentioned it].
I think it's to discourage brute forcing but fuck that, it's annoying.
Absolutely, many P&C do it for this reason but when you're trying to bruteforce you're already annoyed, not a good idea to exacerbate the issue.
 
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A new game from The Brotherhood has just been announced. A sequel to their first game, Stasis, called Stasis: Bone Totem. Apparently a demo is coming soon. No other details than that but after being totally enamored with the world The Brotherhood crafted in Beautiful Desolation, I'm down for anything they produce next.

Already liking the vibes from this first screenshot.
 
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New trailer for The Night is Grey that shows off some more environments, characters and a bit of puzzling. Really enjoying the look of this game and its fluid 2D animation.


There's also some teaster clips for Stasis: Bone Totem. Not a whole lot of video but you get a good sense of the atmosphere in the game and it's looking good.
 
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GreenAlien

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So I created this straw poll for people to vote on. I understand that people may have not played all or many of the games on the list. But I still think it'd be cool to have some kind of consensus for the year represented in the thread.
What's the deadline?

I have most of these on my tbp pile, so I took this chance to actually put some of them back to the top of the list..

Tried Beyond a Steel Sky and didn't like it.

Röki I have played for an hour so far, that one is great. The music, the sounds, the atmosphere.. just awesome. I think full voice acting would make this game worse.


anyway, no love for Chicken Police? Did someone try it?
 
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lol frogmeetsdog frogmeetsdog 'sall good bro.

Love that video, btw. Especially how in depth they go into working within the limitations of the era's tech. I've never played the EGA version of Monkey Island but I'm gonna try it next time I go through the game again.
 
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frogmeetsdog

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Guess most of you know about the release of Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice about two weeks ago (Sorry Fuz :lollipop_smirking:)

Got some positive reviews (some mixed ones too though), 80 from Screenrant ("rare gem") or Ragequit ("One of the best point 'n' click adventures of recent years") and a Very Positive Rating on Steam. Definitely one to check out.

Release Trailer:

 
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New demo for Stasis: Bone Totem and a trailer as well. I just played through the demo and The Brotherhood has absolutely nailed the atmosphere. This time it's a derelict sea facility rather than a space station but the Cayne Corp connection provides a similar motif. There's a bit more of its own distinct touch, though, compared to the original Stasis. Which was very reminiscent of System Shock, Dead Space, etc. Bone Totem lives already lives up to it's namesake by introducing odd ancient-looking artifacts and a particular sort of body horror into the visual mix.

I like the gameplay a lot so far. You play as three different characters who can swap items between each other using some future tech. Each character also has their own particular abilities. One can crush things, another is agile enough to walk across narrow beams and another can hack into computers. It works similarly to Day of The Tentacle and I can see them putting that to good use for some thought provoking puzzles going forward.

There are some issues as far as polish and usability goes. The characters movement speed is too slow for my taste and the pathing is sub standard. Often times a character wont go where you think they should, it can take too long for them to respond to clicks, etc. Which compounds another issue, you have to be within proximity of certain hotspots to interact. Hotspots that you merely observe can be moused over at any distance but the ones that require character/item interaction have to be within close proximity to the player character. I don't think this really adds anything. It made sense in Beautiful Desolation's open ended environments but everything in S:BT is standard adventure game size so far, so it just feels like an encumbrance. Maybe it's for the sake of having the character move throughout the environment more realistically? In any case they should at least increase the range from which the hotspots are selectable.

Aside from those relatively minor control quirks, though, the demo got me very excited to play the full game. The Brotherhood have got plenty if time to iron things out the remaining wrinkles since they're aiming for a 2022 release date and are already this far along after 5 months of development.
 
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hariseldon

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So - was really glad to hear Sam and Max might be coming back - Telltale were really good fun when they did proper adventure games, and then the wokeness. This of course means that any new entry will be shit.
 
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Bosco is actually one of my favorite characters in the series too and his voice is a huge part of what makes him so memorable to me. I want to play this remaster and even if the new voice is decent thinking about the stupid ass reason for the change is gonna dampen my experience at least somewhat.

I'm hoping there'll be some mod for me to switch the OG audio back in. They can have their false moral purity and I can have the character I enjoy.
 
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Frequency: Chernobyl is an addicting puzzle adventure that follows the adventures of Val, an amateur radio enthusiast, on a quest to investigate the “number stations” phenomenon - enigmatic transmitters that only speak in riddles. The search leads him deep into the Chernobyl nuclear plant Exclusion Zone, to the ruins of the Duga station that still echoes the voices of the people from the distant year of 1986 to the present day. Realizing that the anomalous signals might be more than an ordinary broadcast, you will have to unravel the secrets and decipher the whispers that are being transmitted over the radio in order to escape the Exclusion Zone with your life.

Unraveling the puzzle behind the space-time irregularity will not be easy, but as long as you can still hear someone on the other side you will not have to go at it alone. And perhaps, by becoming a participant in the events that bridge the two eras separated by the Chernobyl disaster, you may end up learning something new about yourself as well.

Key features:
Complex Puzzles

You will find yourself in the role of a real amateur radio enthusiast and have to unravel secret ciphers in order to get out of the restricted Exclusion Zone. The game offers a variety of riddles and non-standard problems that are bound to have most players scratching their heads!

Addicting Gameplay

Communicating with the voices from the distant 1986 will require you to learn to operate old-school radio machinery. Unconventional gameplay will catch the interest of both real-life radio enthusiasts as well as more casual players looking for an original challenge.

Authentic Environment

The terrain of Pripyat, the crumbling equipment, outdated radio codes and principles of operation, as well as elements of the stalker lifestyle have been carefully recreated using real-life examples and materials with the expertise of radio experts and Chernobyl explorers.

At the junction of fiction and realism...

The story, filled with motives of mystery and loneliness, will appeal to both meticulous connoisseurs of the Soviet post-apocalyptic genre as well as all players who are eager to try something new.

Can you solve the mystery of the white noise at the Chernobyl Duga?

Newly announced 1st person adventure where you discover the secrets behind mysterious radio transmissions. I can appreciate this dev for boldly standing on challenging puzzle design in an era where many adventure games shy away from it. I hope the game turns out well.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Anyone knows some modern japanese adventure games like Famicom Tantei or Snatcher?

Everywhere I look, there's only visual novels to be found, and most of these only have cheap stories and are focused on erotic content
 
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Anyone knows some modern japanese adventure games like Famicom Tantei or Snatcher?

Everywhere I look, there's only visual novels to be found, and most of these only have cheap stories and are focused on erotic content


I actually just played through one. It came out last year, it's called AI: The Somnium Files. It's a really fantastic game, gripping mystery, great cast of characters, tons of cool interactions and some fresh puzzle mechanics, too, along with more familiar ones.

It's funny that you mention Snatcher in particular because this game is heavily inspired by Kojima's classic adventure games. Right down to the occasionally pervy humor and the detective with a robot sidekick. It's a lot of fun, I whole heartedly recommend it.

 

frogmeetsdog

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Man, like last time (when I posted about the release of the first Leisure Suit Larry remake - Wet Dreams Don’t Dry - here) the user score average on Metacritic massively went down all of the sudden by more than 2 points with 6 or 7 (from 7) negatives just within a single day. Know some hate the remake with a passion because it‘s not from Al Lowe and they don’t like the style. But only review bombing someone elses hard work just because - pretty certainly without even playing it - is a pretty sucky move.

Don‘t get how one can be so extremely biased and hostile towards a game anyway. Even if you don‘t like and don’t wanna play it, why not just let it be instead of negatively affecting sales by spitefully ruining the user score. The game got a 91, 88, 80 rating from review sites on Metacritic so it’s certainly no total stinker. And yes, it also got a few average reviews from other critics. But alone for its length, polish and clever puzzles its devs don‘t deserve getting negative zero reviews from people who just hate the game from the get-go anyway.

I myself really like it, yes, most jokes are crude and its story is no intellectual ride but its classic PnC style (lots of items, inventory/environmental puzzles, harder difficulty) is an absolute rarity these days (where 90% of point‘n‘click games are very easy and/or walking simulators) and such ratings just harm classical PnC adventures altogether. I for one am glad they made a second part and really regretting that I called attention to the game here.

And yeah, I know I’m making some assumptions but I‘ve registered the exorbitant hate one has for these two remakes mainly because it’s not from the original dev Al Lowe and that just makes it bad and wrong etc. Plus it’s just a strange coincidence that exactly the same thing that happened shortly after I’d I posted about Wet Dreams Don’t Dry happened again shortly after I posted about Wet Dreams Dry Twice - “Strangely” after the Metacritic user average had been steady at about 7.5 for weeks. Again, exactly the same like with its predecessor... Wish I hadn’t talked about the game’s release here at all.
 
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Thoughtful takes frogmeetsdog frogmeetsdog . Not sure why people would review bomb the new LSL games. From what I've seen around fans of the originals have been pretty positive on the new games.

I dont know about the review bombing thing, though. It's not the kinda thing you can know for certain but for what it's worth I did post about the new LSL game about two weeks before your post. So that would throw the timing off. Plus I just really don't think any of the people in this thread would do something like that.

In any case if you're looking for another challenging and traditional adventure to scratch that itch, VirtuaVerse should certainly be up for consideration. It's got all the same elements (different writing style though, obviously) that you were praising in the new LSL. It's tough as fucking nails, for damn sure. I had a really good time with it and Fuz Fuz liked it even more than me.
 
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Fuz

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TBH I played the first Larry, hated every second of it and left a bad review on Metacritic.
Don't care enough to even try this second abomination.

Anyway, yeah, VirtuaVerse is really great.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

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I actually just played through one. It came out last year, it's called AI: The Somnium Files. It's a really fantastic game, gripping mystery, great cast of characters, tons of cool interactions and some fresh puzzle mechanics, too, along with more familiar ones.

It's funny that you mention Snatcher in particular because this game is heavily inspired by Kojima's classic adventure games. Right down to the occasionally pervy humor and the detective with a robot sidekick. It's a lot of fun, I whole heartedly recommend it.

Hey, it looks interesting. At first glance though the humor didn't quite interest me, but I'll probably give it a try sometime.

I forgot to mention, but I was actually looking for 2D adventure games.
I've got nothing against 3D, but I feel like it takes so much more effort for developers to make character animations, and most of the time they end up looking a little too crude, and sometimes it doesn't translate well from the concept art.

It's nothing that prevents me from playing, but it takes me away from the experience a little bit.

I guess the era of 2D adventures was in the 90's, after all...
 
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Hey, it looks interesting. At first glance though the humor didn't quite interest me, but I'll probably give it a try sometime.

I forgot to mention, but I was actually looking for 2D adventure games.
I've got nothing against 3D, but I feel like it takes so much more effort for developers to make character animations, and most of the time they end up looking a little too crude, and sometimes it doesn't translate well from the concept art.

It's nothing that prevents me from playing, but it takes me away from the experience a little bit.

I guess the era of 2D adventures was in the 90's, after all...

Hmm as far as modern 2D adventure games from Japan, I can only really think of one off the top of my head: Tokyo Dark. I haven't played this game so I can't speak to it's quality. I do intend to try it out eventually but it's not at the top of my list because I find the artwork somewhat amateurish.

There's also 2064: Read Only Memories. Which is 2D and I really enjoyed it. It isn't a Japanese adventure game but it's very clearly inspired by Snatcher so it has a similar feel. Right down to the infrequent light-gun set pieces.



It has an upcoming sequel as well, Neurodiver, which I'm really looking forward to.

 

SlimeGooGoo

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Hmm as far as modern 2D adventure games from Japan, I can only really think of one off the top of my head: Tokyo Dark. I haven't played this game so I can't speak to it's quality. I do intend to try it out eventually but it's not at the top of my list because I find the artwork somewhat amateurish.

There's also 2064: Read Only Memories. Which is 2D and I really enjoyed it. It isn't a Japanese adventure game but it's very clearly inspired by Snatcher so it has a similar feel. Right down to the infrequent light-gun set pieces.



It has an upcoming sequel as well, Neurodiver, which I'm really looking forward to.

Thanks Vampire On Titus Vampire On Titus , I apprecitate the effort.

Unfortunately, none of these seem to stand out. Not trying to sound too negative, but there's some polish and quality to old adventure games that I can't seem to find in modern ones.

I guess because back then it was a more popular genre, so they could put more money into development.
 
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amigastar

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Just installed Kathy Rain on MS Gamepass. Played it some time ago for an hour or so and i liked it, so trying it again.
 
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Thanks Vampire On Titus Vampire On Titus , I apprecitate the effort.

Unfortunately, none of these seem to stand out. Not trying to sound too negative, but there's some polish and quality to old adventure games that I can't seem to find in modern ones.

I guess because back then it was a more popular genre, so they could put more money into development.

It's no problem. The games in the 2nd post I made are definitely indies and that comes with a certain level of production value. I will say that I think you should seriously consider checking out AI. Honestly if you liked games like Snatcher and Policenauts, it's completely in that vein. It's not a 2D game but I actually think it pulls off the 3D art style really well.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

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It's no problem. The games in the 2nd post I made are definitely indies and that comes with a certain level of production value. I will say that I think you should seriously consider checking out AI. Honestly if you liked games like Snatcher and Policenauts, it's completely in that vein. It's not a 2D game but I actually think it pulls off the 3D art style really well.
Thanks, will definitely give it a try!
 

PooBone

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The Double Fine/LucasArts games joining Game Pass gave me a good reason to go back to Grim Fandango. I ADORE that game. As a young teen it always reminded me of Beetlejuice, and I just love the time spent in the Land of the Dead.

Next, I went through Full Throttle for the first time. Next, Day of the Tentacle, which I've never finished. Maniac Mansion was one of my 5 favorite games on the NES but DOTT doesn't go for that spooky house vibe.
 

amigastar

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The Double Fine/LucasArts games joining Game Pass gave me a good reason to go back to Grim Fandango. I ADORE that game. As a young teen it always reminded me of Beetlejuice, and I just love the time spent in the Land of the Dead.

Next, I went through Full Throttle for the first time. Next, Day of the Tentacle, which I've never finished. Maniac Mansion was one of my 5 favorite games on the NES but DOTT doesn't go for that spooky house vibe.
Have you tried Thimbleweed Park yet? A great throwback to old days.
 

frogmeetsdog

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Thoughtful takes frogmeetsdog frogmeetsdog . Not sure why people would review bomb the new LSL games. From what I've seen around fans of the originals have been pretty positive on the new games.

I dont know about the review bombing thing, though. It's not the kinda thing you can know for certain but for what it's worth I did post about the new LSL game about two weeks before your post. So that would throw the timing off. Plus I just really don't think any of the people in this thread would do something like that.

In any case if you're looking for another challenging and traditional adventure to scratch that itch, VirtuaVerse should certainly be up for consideration. It's got all the same elements (different writing style though, obviously) that you were praising in the new LSL. It's tough as fucking nails, for damn sure. I had a really good time with it and Fuz Fuz liked it even more than me.

Yeah, I know that you posted about the game to be released a few weeks before. Back then one wasn’t able to review the game on Metacritic though. So I delivered a reminder for anybody wanting to thrash the game just because of stylistic issues. Anyway, as I said above, I’m aware that I‘ve made a few assumptions. Still, the drop in average rating/increase of negative reviews on Metacritic just within a few days of the announcements here is very weird timing at the least ... Twice in a row. Especially because both times my postings and the negatives happened weeks after the games had been initially released but shortly after I called attention to them.

In any way, I’d love for Metacritic to finally implement some sort of check if somebody owns a game before being able to rate it.

TBH I played the first Larry, hated every second of it and left a bad review on Metacritic.
Don't care enough to even try this second abomination.

Anyway, yeah, VirtuaVerse is really great.
Saw back then that you gave a negative. You hated the game so much from the get-go though that I would have never bet on you ever having played any of it. Still think a 3 is a little unfair based only on one’s expectations:
1. The original Larrys weren’t an intellectual rollercoaster either
2. I can understand that one doesn‘t like the humor or just expects different style/story from a Leisure Suit Larry game. But alone the game‘s above average length, lots of thought out puzzles in a classic PnC style or the professional voice acting would at least earn it a mixed rating. From an unbiased perspective without certain expectations (= being like older LSL games) that is.
3. Don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wet Dreams Dry Twice doesn’t have any negative ratings from critics on Metacritic (scores range from Mixed up to 91) and both games have a ‘Very Positive’ rating on Steam from people who actually bought them.

Not saying it’s a masterpiece but new style aside, it ticks nearly all the boxes if one wants to enjoy a rare chance at playing a classic Point’n’Click adventure with clever puzzles.

Well, anyway, that’s why abomination is pretty harsh. I feel it’s a bit unfortunate for the devs and the genre as a whole that some people don’t judge these games by their merits. Especially remakes apparently can trigger massive negative reactions from veterans who just don’t like certaiin artistic/stylistic/superficial choices the devs have made.

Just my 2 cents
 

Fuz

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Saw back then that you gave a negative. You hated the game so much from the get-go though that I would have never bet on you ever having played any of it. Still think a 3 is a little unfair based only on one’s expectations:
1. The original Larrys weren’t an intellectual rollercoaster either
2. I can understand that one doesn‘t like the humor or just expects different style/story from a Leisure Suit Larry game. But alone the game‘s above average length, lots of thought out puzzles in a classic PnC style or the professional voice acting would at least earn it a mixed rating. From an unbiased perspective without certain expectations (= being like older LSL games) that is.
3. Don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wet Dreams Dry Twice doesn’t have any negative ratings from critics on Metacritic (scores range from Mixed up to 91) and both games have a ‘Very Positive’ rating on Steam from people who actually bought them.

Not saying it’s a masterpiece but new style aside, it ticks nearly all the boxes if one wants to enjoy a rare chance at playing a classic Point’n’Click adventure with clever puzzles.

Well, anyway, that’s why abomination is pretty harsh. I feel it’s a bit unfortunate for the devs and the genre as a whole that some people don’t judge these games by their merits. Especially remakes apparently can trigger massive negative reactions from veterans who just don’t like certaiin artistic/stylistic/superficial choices the devs have made.

Just my 2 cents
A friend bought it and we played it together. We'll have to agree to disagree here, I've found it terrible - mediocre by itself (the fact that we don't have many good P&C games is not an excuse) and awful as a Larry. If you want to take someone else's characters, world and humour you have at least to be respectful of it, and this "Larry" isn't. It's a slap on Al Lowe's face.
Sorry, but we'll never see eye-to-eye on this.
 

RAIDEN1

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Why a Group of Ex-Telltale Developers Are Bringing Back Sam & Max - VICE


The Sam & Max franchise is getting some more activity, this time with a remaster of the first TellTale Game. I think the visual style looks pretty good overall. Some of the visual effects are a bit much in particular scenes but overall this makes me want to kill myself a lot less than the VR game.
For me the pixel art from the original would have been great to see again! Or if they took a leaf out of the Curse of Monkey Island book...
 

frogmeetsdog

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Sorry, but we'll never see eye-to-eye on this.

Yeah I‘ve known that for two years^^ - Since the release of part 1 in Nov 2018.

But I‘m still glad you‘ve at least played some of it before giving it a thumbs down on Meta. Thought you just voted the game down out of not meeting your personal expectations for any Larry title.

Imo out of the Al Lowe Larrys only 6 and 7 were pretty good so I‘ll never see those new titles as some desecration of a masterpiece or something in that vein. I like the Wet Dreams remakes, especially because of the puzzles - Stories are rather silly, same as with the original Larrys though.

Anyway, you‘re right - No use in arguing about different tastes.
 
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WalterSobchak

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I only ever played LSL 7 , and it's up there in my top 5 point and clicks .
Picked up Wet Dreams a few weeks back on Switch during a sale for $10 . Looking forward to playing. Seems to have good reviews and Carrie's on the spirit of the originals , at least somewhat.

Is Al Lowe too old to help now or just contract bs type stuff keeping him out ? They need to make LSL 8 Lust in Space someday .
 
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I'm somewhat tempted to get Chicken Police because it's gotten some really good press & positive impressions. But It released very closely to Zniw Adventure and I've been too hyped on that one to pass it up. Then next month there's Twin Mirror, Sam & Max and Call of The Sea. All of which I want to play, so Chicken Police (and Dude, Where's My Beer?/Girl of Glass) got put on the back-burner.

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On that note, though. I've been playing through Zniw Adventure and it's a fantastic game. The animation is absolutely gorgeous and overall the game is packed at every end with care and attention to fine details. It's a simple story of a lost Dinosaur trying to make her way home but told with charm and an endearing element of earnestness. It's the kind of game that just puts a smile on your face. Now, the story is very child-like so it's not for people expecting something dark or even emotionally heavy (although that should be fairly evident at a passing glance) but if you want simple and fun done extremely well this game isn't one to look over.



The puzzles are well balanced and ramp up gradually, each area (so far) is a little more open ended and complex than the last. I love how they went the extra mile with a slick looking encyclopedia for all the different kinds of dinosaurs and optional collectables that unlock concept art, sound tests, mini-games, etc. They're just some of the many ways that this game being a labor of love for the developers comes across loud and clear.



Even in the crowded field of 2020's adventure game lineup Zniw manages to stand out. Potentially even standing out among Roki and Beautiful Desolation as my favorite adventures of the year. As a fan of the genre I can only thank Azure Mountain for making something like this for the sheer love of it. I hope they get all the support they deserve, it'd be a shame for a game like Zniw to be overlooked.
 

frogmeetsdog

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Jul 25, 2018
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Finally came around to playing Trüberbrook. Nice game with great graphics, interesting story so far and good voicework. Just one caveat for me, alas a big one. And a real pity that it would have been easily avoidable.

One little design choice could have made the game so much better. Now it’s no challenge at all, thanks to every item combination (either within the inventory or the environment) working automatically. You can’t even interact with the inventory but alas it doesn’t even matter anyway if you don’t know what an item is from time to time. You just gotta click on all the stuff in the environment and (only) when you can combine something the item shows up in the menu. Even when you need two items for a task the game just adds both automatically.

Sometimes they also let you try one or two item-combinations that don’t work but basically you only gotta pick stuff up, click on every hotspot on the screen and find the one which doesn’t have the icon for combine greyed out.

Being halfway through, the rest of the game is pretty good (especially the visuals), the story is interesting so far (edit: being farther in now, that’s only true until the first "big revelation" = (Gretchen being a baddy), after that it gets rather weird and convoluted), puzzles would be challenging from time to time. Just wish they had gone a more traditional route with the inventory: Being able to interact with/look at your items, and try out combinations by yourself instead of making all of this automatically.

Would have made the game leagues better imo.
 
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Oct 14, 2010
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I, unfortunately, disliked just about every aspect of Truberbrook aside from the visuals and a handful of better moments that I could appreciate in isolation. The biggest issue of all is definitely the excessively streamlined puzzle solving. It doesn't even make sense to have that non-linear, Ron Gilbert style, game structure just to pair it with puzzles that solve themselves. There's also that laughable twist where the researcher chick is revealed to be the villain. So sloppily done.

I was so hyped for that game, too.
 
Oct 14, 2010
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Also, I just finished playing through Zniw Adventure! Which I'm happy to say was an absolute blast all the way through. Everything I said in my previous post remains true. It's a simple story with some really fun characters and amazing visuals that is exceptionally well crafted. The ending was very satisfying, and moreover extremely wholesome in a way that honestly brightened my day. In a smilar way to how a good Pixar or Disney film feels when its over.

The only issues I could really bring up are relatively minor. Zniw only moves when you click on certain clickable ground. Unlike most P&C protagonists who usually move where they can so long as you've given them a general direction. It makes navigation feel somewhat clunky on occasion but is generally not an issue. The other problem I had was Zniw Adventure's use of limited inventory. Not the biggest deal but I just don't feel like making me occasionally backtrack for items I dropped 3 screens over added anything to the game. As the game progresses you do get bigger & bigger backpacks, though.

In any case, love the game, love that such an awesome game was made by (mostly) two people and I can only hope they're not too burned out from 5 years on Zniw to consider making another great game like this. 9/10



Another game I played over the week was YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bounds of This World. It's a Japanese adventure game that's held in high regard as being extremely influential over all sorts of other Japanese media that succeeded it. I came away from my time with it having appreciated the experience but also having a fair share of frustrations at the shortcomings that hold YU-NO back from being unequivocally great.

YU-NO's biggest strength is certainly the time travel gameplay. Using a device called a reflector you're able to expend jewels which function as a save state tied to a particular point along the many branching paths of the game's story. This allows you to jump back to that point and try different interactions to see how they effect the progression of the game's plot.

You keep inventory items that you've gathered from different timelines when using a jewel save. Which leads to many clever moments where you obtain certain items in one branch, then time warp to another branch to use the item in another timeline. Which also means you have to be clever about where you leave your jewel saves (unless you want to replay an entire route to use one item). I played through the entire game without a walkthrough (almost the entire game actually. my save was randomly deleted during the epilogue so I had to watch the last hour on YT lol.) and had a great time figuring out all the different ways to navigate the branches.

From the outset you can view certain icons on a flowchart that represent points on the timeline you must travel to in order to obtain all 8 jewels for the reflector (you start off with just two). This turns the entire structure of the game into a meta-puzzle of sorts as you figure out which actions you must take to arrive at the correct spot in time and gather each jewel. It's an extremely in-depth mechanic and I can absolutely see the style and execution of YU-NO's branching paths in the games of Kotaro Uchikoshi, for example.



Which brings me to the frustrations I had while playing through the game. For starters the protagonists, Takuya, is frequently one of the most unlikable characters in all of gaming. He's constantly making cringe worthy passes at the entire female cast (including his own daughter), that range from witless jokes to outright sexual assault. All of which is all bizarrely played off as a virtue of his. Most female characters will praise him for his "honesty" or "honest nature" after being creeped on. The intention is clearly comedy, but it's really just puerile wish fulfillment. Once in a blue moon one of these moments will hit the "loveable jackass" mark they were going for but not nearly enough.

Even more frustrating for me was Takuya's extremely plot convenient retardation. There's so many moments moments where Takuya will plunge headfirst into a perilous situation that should have been avoided because the script made him magically 10x dumber than he is normally. At one point he surreptitiously listens in on a conversation between another character and some shady Yakuza types. They talk about ambushing and raping someone. He also notices that they drop a picture of his mother beforehand. Takuya walks away from this exchange thinking to himself "What could they have been talking about? I'm getting a bad feeling." That kind of thing happens far too often and it makes many of the dramatic moments feel too contrived to be enjoyable.

At its best YU-NO's plot is a genuinely enthralling sci-fi mystery trading in theoretical physics, alternate history, spiritualism, philosophy, etc to tell a multiverse love story that -- to the game's credit -- has genuinely touching moments. It's a shame, then, that so much of that is let down by the tonal whiplash of YU-NO's pornographic scenes/general H-Game vibe. There's about a million, maybe two, panty shot close-ups forced into moments where they're just awkward. The worst of all being one route in particular where Takuya's stepmother, Ayumi, kills herself. The game shows a close up of her wrists slashed, bleeding out in the bathroom, with her breasts exposed and panties showing.



Still, for the duration I was genuinely invested in finding out what happened next. I really appreciate that YU-NO is obviously swinging for the fences, the authors are knowingly trying to make a classic. That effort does come through and is part of the games charm. it's easy to see why this would have been such an influential game in the 90s. The art is great and the soundtrack is too.

YU-NO is one of the weirder games I've played in that there's basically as much to love about it as there is to hate. But I'm really glad I played it, especially for the deeper understanding of a super influential moment in Japanese gaming history. Despite being released in the 90s, as recently as 2017 YU-NO was rated the 12th best adventure game of all time by Famitsu readers. I don't agree with the ranking, personally, but it's definitely a testament to the game's lasting appeal among those who do love it.

For me it was a very enjoyable but ultimately tragically flawed game. An experience I'm glad I had but also glad I'm over with lol. 6.5/10
 

Fuz

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Jun 8, 2009
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Even more frustrating for me was Takuya's extremely plot convenient retardation. There's so many moments moments where Takuya will plunge headfirst into a perilous situation that should have been avoided because the script made him magically 10x dumber than he is normally. At one point he surreptitiously listens in on a conversation between another character and some shady Yakuza types. They talk about ambushing and raping someone. He also notices that they drop a picture of his mother beforehand. Takuya walks away from this exchange thinking to himself "What could they have been talking about? I'm getting a bad feeling." That kind of thing happens far too often and it makes many of the dramatic moments feel too contrived to be enjoyable.
This is so damn typical with Japanese character writing.
 

frogmeetsdog

Member
Jul 25, 2018
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Also, I just finished playing through Zniw Adventure! Which I'm happy to say was an absolute blast all the way through. Everything I said in my previous post remains true. It's a simple story with some really fun characters and amazing visuals that is exceptionally well crafted. The ending was very satisfying, and moreover extremely wholesome in a way that honestly brightened my day. In a smilar way to how a good Pixar or Disney film feels when its over.

The only issues I could really bring up are relatively minor. Zniw only moves when you click on certain clickable ground. Unlike most P&C protagonists who usually move where they can so long as you've given them a general direction. It makes navigation feel somewhat clunky on occasion but is generally not an issue. The other problem I had was Zniw Adventure's use of limited inventory. Not the biggest deal but I just don't feel like making me occasionally backtrack for items I dropped 3 screens over added anything to the game. As the game progresses you do get bigger & bigger backpacks, though.

In any case, love the game, love that such an awesome game was made by (mostly) two people and I can only hope they're not too burned out from 5 years on Zniw to consider making another great game like this. 9/10


Sounds great. Sometimes the best games are the ones one didn‘t have on the radar at all during their development. Definitely gotta add Zniw to my bucket list ... After I finished Trüberbrook. Or even better, before.
 
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