by Murray Lewis
previewed on PC
An adventure game within an adventure game. That’s the concept of this mad release by Brazilian developers Pigasus Games. It is currently in early access on Steam and presumably cobbled together – in true adventure gaming style – out of a ‘Shake N Shock’ buzzer, a babel fish, and a wad of cat hair covered in maple syrup. In fact, it seems like it is adventure games all the way down.
Maddening recursion aside, at the core of Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly is a comprehensive toolkit, humming with creative potential. At the time of writing, you are provided with a character creator, a level builder, and a cutscene editor, which should provide almost everything you need to make an adventure game of your very own. As an example of the power of these tools, Pigasus are creating a built-in adventure game called ‘When Pigs Fly,’ which will eventually consist of around 12 levels and a whole load of content to play around with.
ANY WAY YOU WANT IT
The character tool resembles an RPG-style ‘create your character’ screen, with a number of options for customising appearance. You can even get a character to wear a mask; displaying any face you like by importing a photo and adding a hilariously rudimentary ‘flapping mouth’ talk animation. By default, the game comes with examples of Barack Obama and Gabe Newell, which just about sets the tone for the rest of the production.
The level editor works much like build mode in The Sims, with a simple GUI for constructing walls, and placing objects and characters, as well as adding objectives and dialogue to bring the world to life. It’s also linked neatly to the cutscene editor, allowing you to build remarkably complex 2D animations on an animation timeline. The cartoony appearance of the cutscenes contrasts nicely with the 3D gameplay and, as always, you can easily import your own art assets rather than relying on those that are built-in.
As well as all of that, there is a currently unavailable scenario builder, which will allow you to bundle multiple levels together into a single, comprehensive plot, complete with branching paths. Most impressively, all of the above is done without the player having to write a single line of code! With this focus on ease-of-use, it’s easy to see Adventurezator attracting a large community of amateur adventure makers.
A great deal of this ease-of-use comes from the automation provided by the game engine. Without any real effort on the part of the player, things act as they are expected to in real life. Characters will walk around and find things to do, time will pass, and objects interact with each other logically. A great example is to consider a puzzle in which the player must fill a jug with water. In classic adventure games, you would generally have to use the specific container with the specific water source, as defined by the game designer. In an Adventurezator adventure, any container can be filled from any water source by default – it just works.
As with any early access title, though, Adventurezator is not without its share of issues that need to be resolved before the game is ready for general release. The editors are still very much under construction, and filled with niggling issues like not being able to test a level from inside the editor, or inconsistent objective triggers. Saving a level, too, can take several minutes, which just isn’t acceptable. To the developers’ credit, however, they seem extremely active on the forums, and very keen to fix any issues spotted by the community. With early access, it is important that buyers can see the development process at work, and Pigasus are doing a good job here so far.
VERY EARLY ACCESS
In terms of a recommendation, though, it really comes down to how much of a fan you are of early access. There’s no denying that there is a serious lack of content at the moment, with just three levels currently available in the When Pigs Fly story, no scenario builder, and a fairly sparse selection of assets. It is difficult to recommend Adventurezator in its current state to even die-hard fans of adventure games simply because there’s almost no game here as yet.
On the other hand, if you are feeling adventurous, and you’re interesting in getting a head-start on creating your very own adventure game, you could do far worse than picking Adventurezator up early and playing around with it. Either way, it’s absolutely something to keep an eye on. The tools provided show enormous potential, and the developers are clearly very much invested in building them up to a high standard – they just aren’t quite there yet.