The shambling Humble menace has claimed fresh victims. Not content with sucking the price out of assorted indie games for the excellently varied Humble Indie Bundle 8, they've also ambushed Telltale - creators of the brilliant The Walking Dead adaptation - in order to feed their Weekly Sale. Can they ever be stopped? Remember to aim for the wallet.
In addition to The Walking Dead - which is available to those who beat the average price - you can pay whatever you want to get:
Back to the Future: The Game Sam & Max: Devil's Playhouse Poker Night at the Inventory Hector: Badge of Carnage Puzzle Agent 1 & 2 Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventure
Which, combined, is a seriously large selection of adventure, both episodic and otherwise. Not all are great, admittedly, but there is fun to be had, even outside of the developer's masterful zombie tale.
The Humble Weekly Sale will run for the next six days.
That's no moon. No, really, some of the games in the Indie Royale Lunar Bundle take place in space, but none of them appear to be set on - or are even about - the Moon. Still, nonsensical titles can be forgiven when the upshot is a four pack of pay-what-you-want indie games, including Back to the Future and the enjoyably tense zero gravity platformer Cargo Commander.
Here's a rundown of the bundle's lunacy:
Pid: A 2D puzzle-platformer in which you use gravity beams to explore a "peculiar planet". That's planet. Not moon. Review here. Cargo Commander: A space-based roguelike-like about exploring randomly generated giant crates for weird loot. Still no moon. Review here. Back to the Future: Telltale's five-part adventure update of the Back to the Future series. It's possible you can see the Moon during night scenes. Review here. Dungeon Hearts: A fantasy match-three strategy game. Almost certainly no moon. No review either, I'm afraid.
A bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality, but I'd argue the inclusion of Cargo Commander more than justifies the cost. In addition, the three large question marks on the bundle page suggest some extra games will be announced at some point over the game's remaining few days.
What other stories should Telltale turn into games?
The adventure veterans at Telltale Games are keeping themselves busy fashioning the second season of The Walking Dead (which earned our Best Writing of 2012 award), but they're making it clear that they want to develop a narrative-driven game for another major franchise. Telltale co-founder Dan Connors told Red Bull UK he'd like the studio to work on something larger in scale, citing Half-Life and Star Wars as examples.
"Coming from LucasArts, we always felt we could do a great Star Wars story game,” he said. “We also love the idea of building out a deeper story to a great game franchise—something like Half-Life stories or Halo stories."
Telltale Senior Vice President of Publishing Steve Allison later elaborated to VentureBeat that the examples Connors used didn't confirm any intention to contribute to those franchises. "Will we do this? Yes, we believe we will sometime very soon,” Allison explained. “But the franchises mentioned are totally speculative and used only as an example to frame the idea.”
Allison and Connors' words may not necessarily represent a new direction for Telltale as much as a reiteration of its strategy. Before The Walking Dead, of course, Telltale released Jurassic Park and Back to the Future adventure games, both of which were panned. It's also currently at work on an adaptation of the comic book series Fables.
What do you think Telltale should work on next? I'd love to see a Deus Ex adaptation benefit from the same quality of writing and characters as The Walking Dead did.
Just when it seems the mod scene for Grand Theft Auto 4 lets off the gas from implausibly gorgeous visual upgrades and gravity-mocking hijinks, it surges back with an amazingly dedicated homage to Back to the Future's time-traveling DeLorean.
Crafted by YouTuber "seedyrom34," the mod mixes a custom cocktail ("There is no single download link," seedy states) of heavily altered files, sounds, and tweaks cobbled together to form the onslaught of awesome in the video below. Sure, other DeLorean mods existed long before this one, but seedy's extra dose of functionality and polish -- particularly with the spot-on fire trails and inventive randomization of street traffic and time-of-day after hitting that 88mph sweet spot -- definitely presents an exciting future for Grand Theft Auto 4 and 5's skilled mod community.
Come with me, back into the distant past. Don't mind that wibbly blurry effect and that "WooOOoOOooOO" noise, that's just what happens when you go back in time. We're almost there. All you have to do is click this link and make the transition to April 4 2011!
I've always wanted to say that. If you just took the trip, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. You'll also have a good idea as to whether or not you'd like to purchase the games going in the return of the potato sack sale on Steam.
There are moments in Telltale’s latest episodic adventure series that will remind you exactly why you love Back to the Future. And you do. By law, you do. The little twinkling sound as the story starts. The sheer joy of seeing Marty and Doc reunited for one last adventure. The moment the DeLorean hits 88mph. Nostalgic hits like that fondle the old geek glands like nothing else, and just for a split second, a game that offers them can do no wrong.
Unfortunately, Back to the Future is five episodes long, and those warm fuzzies are a distant memory by the end of the first. For the rest of the game, you have to make do with Telltale at their least inspired, clearly focused more on hammering their latest licence around their standard adventure game template, rather than working out how best to turn Back to the Future into a game. There are no cool time-travel brain twisters like the ones back in Day of the Tentacle for instance. None.
Instead, you’re forced to stumble through lots and lots of very easy, uninspired, but worst of all, boring puzzles, based more on cartoon logic than the tropes of the films. Where those had romanticised but iconic time periods, Telltale fail miserably at making their own circa 1931 Hill Valley anything more than a studio lot. A studio lot full of comedy gangsters and slapstick that makes Bugsy Malone look like Goodfellas. Almost everything you bump into feels, if not bad, cheap, rushed and phoned-in.
The one exception is the main storyline linking all of the puzzles. This time, we get to see Doc’s past, back at the start of his scientific career, with the timeline first put at risk by one of Biff’s gangster ancestors, and then a love affair that risks turning Hill Valley into a Big Brother style state.
What makes it work is that despite some incredibly silly individual moments, there turns out to be an incredibly strong emotional core to the story. As with all decent spinoffs, the best bits are when it expands on the films’ philosophies and asks new questions. Without wanting to spoil anything, the big one here is precisely what gives Marty the right to choose the ‘correct’ timeline, just because it’s better for him and his loved ones. The game still often struggles to find that authentic Back to the Future feel, the final episode especially going off the rails several times, but at least it tries.
With the same story, better puzzles, and the licence taken more seriously, this could have been the Back to the Future game fans deserve. As it is, while its adventure chops make it more than one of those old side-scrolling platformers with a popular movie’s logo on the box, the exact same kind of production-line thinking is clearly, painfully, in full force here. Marty and Doc deserved better. So did we.
The first episode of Telltale's series of Back to the Future adventure games is now free to all. You can download it from the Back to the Future site. You'll need to sign up for a free Telltale account first, but once that's done, the game is yours. Episode 1 is called "It's about time," and has Marty travelling back in time in the trusty Delorean to save Doc from trouble. Episode 3 of the 5 part series came out last week.
Telltale Games is using the power of love on PC gamers, offering the first installment of its latest adventure series, Back to the Future: The Game, completely free! Sure, this isn't our favorite of Telltale's episodic adventures, but you'd be an April fool to turn down a free game. Read on for a download link—it is your density. I mean, your destiny.
It's no prank—Telltale has a history of generously giving away game episodes in the past: Episode 1 of the Tales of Monkey Island series was free on Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th, for all you landlubbers), and the fourth episode of Sam & Max season one, Abe Lincoln Must Die!, is free to all indefinitely. Now why don't you make like a tree, and download Back to the Future: The Game Episode 1 - It's About Time now.