A few days ago, I wrote a post listing some adventure games that I would recommend for the Halloween season. I thought I would do another one since there’s so many games I wanted to recommend.
Before I do that, I should probably mention The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, which comes out today. I haven’t played it yet but it’s probably a game that will be good since it’s developed by Cloak and Dagger Games, a studio I recommend later in this article, and published by Wadjet Eye Games, who are responsible for a lot of wonderful games as well like Unavowed and The Shivah.
The Corruption Within
The Corruption Within is a first-person psychological horror game set in the Victorian era. The game was developed by Cosmic Void and Dave Seaman, who both made adventure games on their own that I enjoyed. Cosmic Void created the Space Quest-inspired series Tachyon Dreams and Dave Seaman created the comedy series Captain Disaster under the developer name CaptainD. I was really charmed by the atmosphere in this game, the interesting cast of characters, and pixel art. The puzzles were challenging but never felt unfair or held me up too long, and the game only took me about 90 minutes to complete so it never wore out its welcome.
Both developers have new games coming out very soon. Cosmic Void is creating a sci-fi adventure game called Blood Nova and CaptainD has the retro-looking puzzle game Snow Problem.
Dark Fall is a first-person adventure game created by Jonathan Boakes in 2002, which I guess makes this both an indie and a retro game. You play someone who has received a message from his frightened brother asking for help at an abandoned train station. The game involves you investigating the ghosts that inhabit the station and felt authentic to me, someone who doesn’t know a single thing about ghost hunting. I have a soft spot for it since it came out during a time when there weren’t many commercial adventure games being released and very few of them were worth playing. That said, I think the game holds up outside of that context. The game manages to be very creepy without resorting to jump scares and I thought the various storylines of the people you read about in the station were interesting.
I think I would maybe have a hard time recommending it to someone who doesn’t enjoy puzzles, but if you do or at least don’t mind having a hint guide open, then I think it’s a game worth checking out if you have an interest in ghost stories. Jonathan has continued making games in the Dark Fall series so if the game sounds interesting but you want a more modern game, consider checking out one of the later games in the series since they’re standalone outside of some references and two games sharing the same location.
Don’t Escape: 4 Days to Survive
Don’t Escape: 4 Days to Survive showed me how much an adventure game could innovate on genre mechanics that I used to think should have been left in the 80s. It is a post-apocalyptic survival adventure where you must carefully manage your time if you want to survive. In many ways, this game reminded me of early Sierra adventure games which I felt had dated mechanics. It’s easy to die and you can softlock yourself if you aren’t careful. But with the way the game is broken down into four chapters and relies on replaying them to maximize your time use, these mechanics felt very fresh to me and I didn’t find it frustrating in the ways that I often do with early adventure games. If you bought the Bundle for Ukraine that was on Itch earlier this year, you already own the game.
When people describe something being Lynchian, it usually means that it’s set in a small town and there’s some quirky characters. Football Game is certainly a game inspired by him but its inspiration is more than just borrowing the aesthetics of his work, and tonally feels closer to later Lynch works like Twin Peaks: The Return. There is a feeling of uneasiness that carries through the entire game, assisted by the fantastic soundtrack by JUPITER-C. The game is only an hour long and I’d recommend it to any Lynch fan.
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