Whether it's gleefully ignoring your heroic responsibilities in the latest Bethesda mega title or trying to keep Edwin and Minsc from creatively murdering each other, it's hard to deny that adventuring is pretty rad. Developers have experimented with just what makes an adventure game for years now, and the result is that the internet is full to bursting with every manner of tale to explore and monster to thwart. This week's Vault takes a look at three very different adventures made by three very different developers that will take you to some very strange places. Just remember, as the Hobbits say, it's dangerous business going outside your door, but in my opinion, it's just as often worth it.
- Survivoo - The French are pretty tough, and I fully admit to basing that opinion completely on my sixth grade French teacher, Mrs Ross, who could bellow thirty resentful students into submission entirely en Français. Is it any wonder, then, the star of this surreal little point-and-click game is so superhumanly rad? After surviving being inexplicably captured, towed away by helicopter, then abandoned over an island at sea, our little Frenchman, armed with only his jaunty chapeau, manages to overcome all odds and nonsense in pursuit of... whatever. Since the scant text is only in Japanese, you're left to figure out what's happening here on your own, but though the interactivity is actually fairly low, anyone looking for a dose of charm and the sort of quirky adventure that usually only comes from Dr. Seuss after a night out with Hunter S. Thompson will enjoy this a lot thanks to the silliness and lovely, simple artwork.
- Dr. Stanley's House - This escape game is, unfortunately, mostly in Chinese, but is still more than playable if you set your mind to it. And if you're a fan of Resident Evil sound effects and an overall unsettling mood, you'll definitely want to make the attempt. You, presumably, are James, and a note brings you to a quiet house in the middle of the night where the lights are on but nobody answers your knocking. A little poking around reveals someone might need your assistance, however, so you're going to have to puzzle your way past all manner of obstacles. A lack of a changing cursor makes this one occasionally more frustrating than it might otherwise be, but Dr Stanley's House manages to craft such a remarkably engrossing little setting you'll be compelled to play 'til the end.
- Daymare Town - If you're a regular of this site and you still don't know who Mateusz Skutnik is, shame on you! Eschewing the subterfuge of Covert Front and the otherworldly mystery of the Submachine series, Daymare Town is like a vaguely unsettling children's book come to life in your browser. You find yourself stranded in a seemingly deserted town full of strange mechanisms, odd corridors... and little figures that may or may not be watching you from the shadows. The Daymare series is a personal favourite of mine, and if the superbly sketchy design and slight creepiness appeals to you, you'll probably love it too. It's amazing the sort of story and atmosphere you can convey without words. Particularly if you're willing to creep your audience out a bit in the process.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!