At their heart, adventure games are about delivering a narrative. They're mechanically simple. At their most complex, they offer puzzles that give the player some agency in the world, and slow their progression so they don't just blast through the narrative content. This means that in order to be successful, adventure games need to precisely execute on the few attributes they offer. There isn't anywhere for developers to hide weakness or inexperience.
Like failed empires of the past, I found myself caught in a hyperbolic debt spiral in Offworld Trading Company. My Mars-based colonial corporation had invested into energy production, and one of my rivals detonated an EMP through my plants, disabling them. As the market for electricity boomed, I had to purchase it at increasingly higher rates to keep my company afloat. Within a few minutes I'd gone from a solid AAA credit rating with negligible debt to a lousy D and millions in the red. But hope wasn't lost.
The second episode of Hitman opens with Agent 47 lounging on a bench in the idyllic vacation destination, Sapienza. With a newspaper in hand and a crisp Italian shirt on his back, you could be forgiven for mistaking Agent 47 as a proxy of Daniel Craig's James Bond--if it wasn't for his shaved, barcoded head.
What We Deserve feels personal, a narrative so steeped in familial heartbreak that it almost plays more like a visual stream-of-consciousness diary than a choose-your-own-adventure zombie apocalypse story. What started as a typical tale about how to survive the zombie apocalypse shifts in its final episode into a fascinating tale that asks the most relevant and important question of all: why bother?
Drinkbox Studios' games all share a unique, rather dark sense of humor and very distinctive artistic flare. With Severed, the studio has turned its attention to classic first-person dungeon crawling, and the result is a creative touch-screen adventure with sharp, colorful graphics that mask an incredibly dark center.
At times, I can't help but marvel at Ashes of the Singularity. Watching a battlefield gradually pack in thousands of hover-tanks and carriers as supply lines stretch and groan to support massive war efforts is intoxicating. There's a wonderment here that begs you to grasp at what commanding a continent-spanning conflict might feel like. At that scale, the subtle movements of fighter squadrons and the flashes of canon fire yield to larger vistas, and you can feel the game's pulse as wave after wave of enemies cascade across your screen.