It's the Monday after SOE Live 2013 and Las Vegas remains as hot, dusty and blindingly lit as ever. As you might have already known, this year's event brought about some phenomenal revelations and also an unfortunate delay in our weekly round-up. But better late than never, right? We've got a stunning medley of ghouls, goblins, ghosts, conspiracy theories and tyrannical employers for you this week so kick back, relax and enjoy.
If you haven't checked out Wadjet Eye Games' excellent Blackwell franchise, you need to fix that. Largely focused on the misadventures of a psychic named Rosa Blackwell and her spirit companion Joey Mallone, a 1920's gangster with more than a few secrets of his own, this point & click adventure series would make Sierra Online proud. The latest entry in the Blackwell quintet of games is called Blackwell Epiphany and it will have Rosa Blackwell once again reprising her role as a bridge between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Though the series has never been truly light-hearted, Blackwell Epiphany may be the darkest installment yet. Here, Rosa Blackwell must unravel the mystery behind the very obliteration of a human soul.
You know all those chain letters you laughingly delete? What if they were real? What if they brought the horrors beyond mortal imagination to those who defy their commandments? That's the idea that The Chainletter Massacre is exploring. One of the many games created during the recent Pack of Horrors game jam, The Chainletter Massacre is centered around a man named Derek Freake and his attempt to survive what begrudged chain letters can bring. During the day, players will interact with their inboxes. During the night, they must attempt to dodge uninvited nocturnal visitors. How long will you be able to keep your sanity intact?
Finally. Like, seriously. Finally. Billy Lowe's Before has been a source of fascination long before it even had a name or the promise it might one day become a playable experience. Unfortunately, while we now know that the talented individuals behind it intend to turn all those pretty screenshots that have been popping up over the last few weeks into a game, the most I can tell you about Before is that it's about survival, relationships and societies. And cave men. Lots of cavemen. Or possibly one.
Though I'm not quite impressed with the gameplay video that is currently available, I've still got pretty high hopes about Specter. Powered by a two-man team, Specter is meant to be a single-player action platformer with puzzle elements. Think Mario meets Castlevania, the developer says. The story behind Specter is pretty basic, the gameplay familiar but good god, do those lighting effects look as sweet as cotton candy.
In spite of the fact that there's a functioning website, actual information on what Volantus Corp is somewhat scarce. It appears as though it's a '2D sidescrolling artillery RTS that will require you to 'throw with accuracy and utilize the behavior of your units to achieve victory.' No, I have absolutely no idea what that meant either. Nonetheless, it's hard to hold a cryptic description against a game that lets you play as a necromantic lich lord.
Extrasolar is an interesting conundrum, a web-based endeavor that will blend actual science with a dose of science fiction. The game is set on an Earth-sized planet orbiting Episilon Eridani where you, along with a host of others, will take command of one of the many rovers atop the surface. Though it begins as an exploratory mission, Extrasolar apparently expands into a tale of broken promises, unexpected friendships, conspiracy theories and - has it been released yet? Tell me it's been released.
The Screenshot Saturday website is a place of enigmas. Sometimes, you get an unexplained image, something beautiful but utterly devoid of data. Sometimes, you get answers that may as well be a litany of new questions. Upcoming RPG Unfolded is a gorgeous, unearthly-looking thing and it's a collaborative effort between artist Nat Iwata, Cresent Moon Games' Josh Presseisen, Blowfish Studios' Ben and Witching Hours' Ian Gregory. Unfolded also has a tumblr that hints at a lot but tells you absolutely nothing. Goddamnit.
Project Alchemy is, quite possibly, a Metroidvania of some variety that also includes a racing element. Little has been said about Project Alchemy outside of the fact it is now officially known as Zos. Zos, incidentally, is a strange place. There is no shortage of creatures that would not look amiss in a court held by Cthulhu. From cyclopean fungi to heart-shape abominations to a wealth of other monstrosities, Zos has them all. In other words, this is yet another one of the games that will keep me hungry with anticipation for weeks to come. 'Why isn't this ready for purchase yet? Why isn't any of the cool stuff ever ready for purchase?
At first glance, it's easy to mistake the bulbous creature in this screenshot for a resident of a survival horror game. But that's not what Level 22 is about. No, Level 22 is a stealth-based point & click adventure that will have you playing as a desk monkey named Gary. Your mission? To get to your office before anyone finds out you've yet to arrive. According to Neogo's website, this grand game of infiltration will entail crawling through pipes, hiding in closets, making creative usage of coffee, pens, donuts and even laxatives?