Let me start with a couple disclaimers before I get into the meat of this week’s Humble Weekly Sale. First, I grew up back in the time when we actually had to load up games from floppies, and later that graduated to the glory of 40MB hard drives. I played nearly all of the classic Sierra Online games, which ironically were not online (King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Heroes’ Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, etc.), and as a youth I loved them – well, not Police Quest so much, as it was too tedious for my tastes. Later I graduated into playing more RPGs, and the classic point-and-click adventure games (and the text parser games they replaced) have largely given way to modern action-adventure games (e.g. Tomb Raider, Bioshock, etc.).

So I know a thing or two about adventure games, and I’ll be frank: in my opinion there’s a reason they have largely died out and become a niche market (hello linearity and trial-and-error object combination “games”). My second confession: I haven’t heard of a single one of the games in this week’s Humble Bundle, though I have heard of publisher Daedalic Entertainment.

With that out of the way, if you’re hankering for some old-school point-and-click adventuring, you might be interested in the latest weekly Humble Bundle. There are five core games available ($1 contribution or higher), and $6 or more will unlock three additional games. A few  of the games are apparently so far off the radar that they don’t even have entries on Metacritic, which might be taken as a bit of a red flag. Those that have been reviewed by a reasonable number of sites (many based outside the US) typically received fair to moderate scores, with a few enthusiastic reviews cropping up here and there. As usual, YMMV.

Here’s the complete list, starting with the core games. Any donation of $1 or more will get you Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes (10/2012, 75%), A New Beginning – Final Cut (12/2012, 72%), The Whispered World (04/2010, 70%), Chronicles of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet (07/2012), and Chronicles of Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (07/2012). Other than the two Chronicles of Shakespeare titles, all of the games are available for Windows and on Steam; they’re also all available for OS X, with the exception of The Whispered World. I should pause here for a moment to note that the two Chronicles of Shakespeare titles really aren’t adventure games; instead they’re hidden object games where you basically click on objects based on hints in order to solve mysteries (and judging by most reviews, they’re rubbish, explaining perhaps why they’re not listed on Metacritic). Paying $6 or more gets you three additional games: Deponia (08/2012, 74%), Journey of a Roach (11/2013), and The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (06/2012, 75%).

Not all of the games are widely available, but with a bit of searching I found some prices. The three bonus games are, not surprisingly, more expensive titles. Deponia runs $20 on Steam, though you might be able to find a code on eBay for less than half that (and there are two sequels for Deponia if you happen to enjoy it). Journey of a Roach is brand new and currently priced at $13.49 on Steam. The Dark Eye is also a $20 Steam game. If you want any of those three, a $6 donation is obviously a better value. The Chronicles of Shakespeare games are, as mentioned, probably not worth the time required to get them (I’ve seen plenty of “free” Facebook games that look similar in concept), while Edna and Harvey ($20 Steam), A New Beginning ($10 Steam), and Whispered World ($10 Steam) bring the total value to around $100.

This is another bundle I’m going to skip, but if you’re (still?) a fan of adventuring there’s probably a few good ways to pass some hours. And if you have any personal experience with the games, let others know in the comments. On the bright side, you can always donate the money to charity (Red Cross or Child’s Play), and you could even give the games to someone else. Until next week….

PS: I regret missing a few Humble Weekly updates (several times now since I started doing these udpates), and two weeks back you could have snagged Cipher Prime's bundle with their new game Intake. It's an addictive little pill shooter, which is currently on sale (10% off) for $9 at Steam. When you consider you could have picked up four other games for $6 total (Auditorium, Splice, Fractal, Pulse), you get a good idea of the value proposition offered by the Humble Bundle. I can't promise I won't miss another update (and in fact I can pretty much guarantee I will!), so if you like these bundles I'd suggest subscribing to their email updates.

Source: Humble Bundle

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  • dylan522p - Thursday, November 7, 2013 - link

    Mostly meh games. Wish they had some legendary point and clicks instead of these.
  • ol1bit - Thursday, November 7, 2013 - link

    I have 285 games on Steam. I support Humble almost every time...but Don't need anymore PC games. :-( I do buy every Android humble still though...but even that is getting a bit much. Long term gamer myself, graduated in 1983.
  • Streetwind - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    Daedalic Entertainment is a German company publishing its own games only. As such you could call it "indie", and some of the games have that flair. "Harvey's New Eyes", for example, is a fully featured and developed game, but it's actually a sequel. The initial game was produced almost entirely by one man - as an university project. And it was a surprise hit in Germany, largely due to its dark yet zany humor, a quality which many of Daedalics games share to this day.

    And thus the problem: sometimes, humor doesn't translate all that well, especially if it is heavy in puns. I have a feeling that the titles suffer a bit for that in international reviews, considering that it's one of the games' main content parts. If it's not funny, then the experience suffers.

    However - if you happen to be able to speak German, by all means do get this bundle. Harvey's New Eyes is delightfully dark - you play a 10-year-old girl in a monastery orphanage. She's shy, quiet, dutiful, adorable and also a psychopathic mass murderer. The game gains a lot from knowing the prequel, but even without it it's hilarious... in a way that makes you constantly tell yourself "I am a terrible person, I am a terrible person, oh god I can't stop laughing".

    Deponia is somewhat short and struggles to get off the ground; but it's only the first in a trilogy. The second part, released last year, is probably one of the most hysterically slapstick games I have ever played (and has much more content, too).

    The Whispered World is a bit more serious than the rest, but the premise is no less quirky (you must save the world as a sad clown, of all things), and it has very high production values.

    I personally played Chains of Satinav but I heard good things of it.
  • marc1000 - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    Jarred, why you think the adventure games have died? Slow action? Simplistic graphics? Something else?
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    It's a case of losing out on a lot of the fun and being too linear. There are still good adventure games, to be sure, but the trial-and-error approach that used to be so common (where you basically "use" every object on every other object and screen hotspot) is really dull. There's little sense of accomplishment when you end up with a solution that logically falls apart. To that end, text parser games were almost better (in some cases at least), as it required a bit more thought on your part...but at the same time, you could end up stuck for hours because you didn't figure out you could "use sword on branch" or yell "Echo" or something.

    Today, a lot of adventure games feel more like a short story where it's artificially long simply because you have to wait for someone to walk across multiple screens. Once you know the solutions, some of these games can be finished in less than an hour, with no replay value. So we start adding fights, skills, random events, etc. and end up with something closer to an RPG as gamers often feel that's a better value.

    My two cents at least.
  • marc1000 - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    that makes sense. reading your description i remembered the Doodle that google launched a few months ago about an alien falling on earth - you had to move to the sides, get the ship pieces, and fly away. I guess they had more fun doing it that us playing it lol.

    I did miss the text parser games though - my friends and I started around the 486 age, so I played a lot of The Dig, Full Throthle and others... it did not feel "linear" for us back then, but looking back today you are absolutely right.
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    High five Jarred!!! High five ol1bit!!! I was born in 1984 and I grew up on all those adventure games, with Space Quest being my favourite, followed closely by Police Quest. :-)
  • HollyDOL - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    quote Jarred:
    So I know a thing or two about adventure games, and I’ll be frank: in my opinion there’s a reason they have largely died out and become a niche market (hello linearity and trial-and-error object combination “games”).
    Tbh adventure game is a book expressed by a different form of art. You can't have non-linear book by principle and pple still read books. The problem of real adventure games (not action FPSses with a fragment of story) is the target audience. It's much more demanding to figure out right course of steps in a complex story than spam LMB in a FPS. Thus with majority of gamers being (sub)teens these days they won't aim for adventures because they are not adult for them (lack of knowledge, experience etc.). Back in old adventure games times the target audience were university students+. So the adventure games diminished because common gamers audience composition rapidly changed in last 20 years.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    That's perhaps part of the problem. The other part is most of them aren't the equivalent of a GOOD book. In fact, some are downright trite, and yet they cost $40 or $50. I can buy ten good books for that price, and each will provide 10 hours of "entertainment"...or I can get one adventure game that maybe provides 5-10 hours of entertainment. If the story and art and gameplay are up to snuff, it works out well, but when they just feel like filler people want something else. Witness the canned World of WarCraft Adventure -- it was sure to sell plenty of copies, but Blizzard (probably rightly) decided it would just water down their game world and brand.
  • BlindCarbonCopy - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    I played all of those Sierra games too. At one time i played all of their text parser adventures of their back catalogue. The last one was hard to get for my system at that time, Gold Rush. Man i don't know if its only me, but i started to appreciate the sierra games to a lesser degree when KQVII came out and they switched to a point and click system. Even if not true with a parser based game i always had the feeling that there were more possibilities.
    Nevertheless i will buy this bundle to support the effort of producing adventures.

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