Tuesday 28 March 2023

Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale Review

Written by Joe Pranevich

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption was one of the rarities of the “legacy kickstarter” era. It was a fantastic game with good production values, and it reflected well on both its source material and its development duo, Lori and Corey Cole. Development spanned an agonizing six years from its first successful kickstarter ($400k) in 2012, through a second kickstarter ($100k) in 2015, and finally to its completion in 2018, with patches and ports (even a Nintendo Switch version!) continuing into 2021. The final game included roughly as much content as the first four Quest for Glory games combined, despite featuring only a single playable class. The road to Hero-U was an arduous one that is more than worth a deeper look, but let’s just say that the pair had to mortgage their house to get it done. The planned sequel was intended to be Hero-U: Wizard’s Way, starring a new female wizard protagonist. Even with a working game engine and the “growing pains” that underscored the first several years of Hero-U development out of the way, the Coles had no path to fund the development of a second game on the same scale. 

In 2019, they took a different approach: instead of a puzzle-centric adventure/RPG, they would create their next Gloriana game as a “visual novel”. The Summer Daze at Hero-U kickstarter was a success ($100k), promising two new chapters in the Hero-U story. The first of these, Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale, has been released to backers and will be live on Steam and other marketplaces by the end of March. We promoted this kickstarter (with a special Corey Cole interview!) back in 2019 and we are excited to see the project cross the finish line.

Here at “The Adventurer’s Guild”, we don’t normally cover new games, but we have a soft spot for our favorite creators who keep the memories of our beloved 80s and 90s adventures alive. Unlike our normal reviews, this one will be light on spoilers, although I will post a few screenshots (mostly from the opening minutes of the game) and discuss some of the things that I like and dislike about the game. If you want to avoid spoilers entirely, just know that I enjoyed the game because it’s an adorable side-quest. Otherwise, read on for more.

Late breaking addition: The Coles have volunteered to do another short interview with us as part of their launch. Comment below if there is a question you have been dying to ask about the growing Hero-U series, Quest for Glory, or any of their other gaming projects. We will pass along those questions to the pair for an upcoming post. 

Saturday 11 March 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Final Rating

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

What can I say about Day of the Tentacle that hasn't probably been said by someone else? I don't know. That's sort of the reason I prefer playing and picking out the more obscure options, whatever I say hasn't been said before. I'm sure the sentiment that while this game is good, it isn't the greatest adventure game of all time is shared by many people. It's not necessarily everyone's favorite, but it is high enough on everyone's lists that its reasonable to put it at the number one spot. I'm not sure I would put it in my own top ten though.

Now of course, since this is me, someone who has mixed feelings on comedy adventure games in the past, one might point out that this is just my own bias against that. I think not, I enjoyed the comedy, most of it anyway, I find myself having issues with other aspects of it. For instance, I have mixed feelings on the same house throughout time concept. It keeps things focused and it's neat seeing roughly the same house over the centuries. It takes away all sense of exploration, because even if you haven't seen where you need to go, you already know where you need to go. There's never any sense of adventure and the game never does anything to fill that absence. In that sense, it's a pure puzzle and comedy game, everything else doesn't really matter.

Monday 6 March 2023

Dracula Unleashed - She’s Still Dead

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Dracula Unleashed! Last time out, I survived the third night at great cost. Juliet was murdered in her sleep and Anisette was nearly so. Alexander was thrown out of Anisette’s house so that Professor van Helsing and Dr. Seward could try to save her with an emergency blood transfusion. I’m not satisfied with that answer. With even our journal telling us what a colossal mistake we’ve made, I must assume that there is a way to keep Juliet alive. I thus restored to the beginning of the day and prepared to go through it all again and again to find things that I missed. 

Unfortunately, narrating this is challenging. I spend the next couple hours progressing randomly, trying things that usually fail, and occasionally finding something that doesn’t. When I’m playing text adventures, I think of this work as the gaps between the paragraphs and I fear I come off as being particularly clever instead of just skipping over the boring “throw everything against the wall” portions. That will be the way here too as I provide you the eureka-filled view of what had been hours of fun but frustrating play.

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Dracula Unleashed - Three Murders and a Funeral

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Dracula Unleashed! Last time out, Alexander survived the second day and finally broke the silence among the friends who fought Dracula in the original novel. The focus of the game has changed: our murder investigation is over, but now we have to find out what is happening with Anisette, Juliet, and the rash of decapitation murders around the city. We ended our previous evening by breaking into Mr. Horner’s bookshop and discovering his trove of blood vials and a book written in an unknown language. Is that going to be the key to unlocking who the Women in White are and how to defeat them? We know from the prologue that we have a date with Dracula in less than two days and it’s going to be interesting to see how we progress from here to there. This is exciting, but the clock is ticking. 

As before, this post will mostly follow a single trip through the day. As you will shortly see, I make it to the end, but not without casualties. I'll work hard over the next week to see if I can do better.