Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In Production: "The Exchange Student"

News of an intriguing game recently floated across the Bytten desk (or would have done if Bytten had an actual desk instead of a virtual one) - a point-and-clic graphic adventure! Following the adventures of Emilio, a student joining an exchange programme in order to meet Swedish girls, it is referred to as an "interactive sitcom" - the flow of the story and the humour being more important than complex puzzles.


Being rather fond of the point-and-click adventure game genre, I was pleased to take a look at Emilio's adventures, which are entirely in Shockwave Flash format, and my immediate thought was of a similarly hapless hero with a similar quest - Leisure Suit Larry. However, The Exchange Student is more subtle than Larry's adventures, and has more in common with the Carry On films than your typical adult-themed game.

The "Amore" control system is similar to such games as Curse of Monkey Island - clickable objects are highlighted and, when clicked, allow you to look at, use or talk to that item. Your inventory is accessed by moving the mouse to the top of the screen. Other elements of note include voice-overs by "real people" (some with notable professional experience) and "no 'h' sounds in any Italian speech"!

At this moment in time, Emilio's adventures are limited to a demo of his pre-trip preparations (finding his passport, getting rid of his porn magazines and a special gift from his father) and even this demo is still in development (and thus not for public consumption), but what I've seen has been stylish and very promising. I'm looking forward to more news about The Exchange Student - and hope that more indie developers attempt this highly under-represented genre.

Find out more at http://www.theexchangestudent.com.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Apocalypse RPG

I've recently been led to an online RPG - still under beta as I do so, but functional none the less. Boasting a population of over a thousand characters, it's free to join up and you can pop by whenever you have the spare time.

Find it at - http://www.apocrpg.com.

Gameplay is very simple - move your character around town (or the main map) with the arrow keys. You can enter buildings or perform actions by clicking on the option on the main part of the screen. There are also buttons to access your skills and your inventory.

A neat approach to the game is to limit the player to one valley. In this region the enemies are a little easier and you are only allowed out when your equipment has "cleared customs" - at which time you get your first armour and your exit visa to the rest of the world. This happens when you reach level 6 - and when you're battling weedy wasps and scorpions, that could take a while.

Like many online games, the graphics are simplistic to facilitate download speed. Likewise sound is minimal but there is some battle sequence music when you're attacked. The game plays in most internet browsers.

With zero cost to join up, there's no reason not to take a peek at Apocalypse RPG. Though it's still early days, the game is geared towards an adult audience and so (eventually, if not yet) there may be some elements unsuitable for under-18s.