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Knock-Knock - a horror/mystery game from Ice-Pick Lodge - OUT NOW

Crooked Bee

(no longer) a wide-wandering bee
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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1535515364/knock-knock

In late November, 2011, a strange and troubling event has happened to our studio. We have received an anonymous e-mail which suggested that we should produce some "unconventional" game based upon the materials attached to the letter. Such offers are a dime a dozen and most of the time they barely deserve any attention at all, however, this one seemed quite different.

The attachment contained a set of 19 files added to an archive titled "lestplay". The files (snippets of text, scraps of audio recording, video footage fragments) as well as the style and wording of the message itself appeared to be rather disturbing. The surface examination did not reveal anything straightforwardly terrifying, yet we could not escape the feeling that something truly sinister was lurking underneath.

The stranger was begging us to complete the project he has started, yet he also made us well aware of the risk we took as the proposed ludic situation would potentially explain what calamity befell whoever has compiled the ominous archive, thus urging ourselves to meet the same fate.

The unknown Author was a gentleman and a scholar - he stated that he would introduce no boundaries to our creative freedom, yet he insisted that along with the ludic situation itself the items forming the "lestplay" archive should be included into the game, "else everything would be futile".

Alongside a significant number of others, we tend to lend a certain amount of credibility to mysticism, yet this specific predicament seemed more like a shoddy mystification. We were fed up with a massive number of similar "cursed files" tricks and at times we felt inclined to erase the whole thing for good.

However, upon consideration, we still decided to take part in this experiment. At the very least we would find out what the result would be, and what awful fate would possibly await us, as we will obviously be the first people to play the game.​

So yeah, Ice-Pick Lodge have launched a Kickstarter for what looks like a mystery puzzle/adventure game full of eldritch abominations and what not. $5 gets you a full digital copy of the game, so I'd say it's a bargain.

The gameplay sounds like it could be fun, too:

There is a wooden house standing in the thick of the forest. A single man resides there.

As of late the house is visited by unusual Guests which knock on the window shutters inviting the hermit to take part in a game of hide-and-seek. The winning condition is simple, you have to remain alive and to retain your sanity till sunrise. This means that approaching the Visitors head-on might be a terrible idea.

As soon as the first Visitor emerges from the thicket - the countdown begins. Every passing hour brings the Guests closer to the house, its walls proving to be an obstacle they are well able to surmount. Something is already inside. Something is opening the window and banging on the cookware. Something has gained control of the cellar and the attic. The floorboards are creaking softly behind the wall.

Hiding alone would never suffice, the Visitors are well aware of your position. Thus, you would have to make your rounds of the house, searching for the breaches that let the creatures of the woods inside and doing your best to mend them.

You could prevent the walls from being breached even more if you keep a close eye on the telltale signs and manage to bring some light into the room which would soon become an area of paranormal activity. The poltergeist would fall back for a while, if only to reappear in some other part of the house.

You could come across some useful loot which might contribute to your survival. The assortment and the stats of the items is always random, and the inventory is limited to 5 slots, so you would have to choose your gear preferences every single night.

If you manage to survive till sunrise, another monster would dissolve and disappear in the first light of dawn. But if the Visitors manage to get you before the sun shines... A mere thought of this outcome is nowhere short of terrifying.

Gameplay details

Hide! We have to emulate hide-and-seek with monstrous creatures of nightmares. It turned out to be a hybrid of Lode Runner, Home Alone and Nightmare Ned.

Don’t look now! Keep (your avatar) away from the night visitors. The objective of each new night is to hold out until dawn and stay sane. The Night (a level) lasts for 7-10 minutes each.

Turn on the light! Only illuminated rooms are a safe haven and allow freedom of movement. But the light does not last for long and needs permanent supervision.

Fix the house! The more breaches there are in the house, the more fear, darkness and creatures of the sick mind the hero has to withstand.

Everything that happens in the house is a clue. Uncover clues, master levels, stay sane and you will eventually expose the underlying mystery.​
 

Angthoron

Arcane
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Jul 13, 2007
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12,926
Damn, going to pledge this, just gotta figure out how much.
 
Self-Ejected

Ulminati

Kamelåså!
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God damn it, Crooked Bee. Why don't I just email you my credit card number? Kickstarters you post about seem like one of my biggest recurring expenses these days.
 

Phelot

Arcane
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
17,908
Oh wow, how did I miss this? Sounds like a cool idea, though I don't really care for the Tim Burton like art even if it is well done.

I love Ice Pick Lodge!
 

ghostdog

Arcane
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Joined
Dec 31, 2007
Messages
10,863
Whoa I just saw this, it looks great. This is icepick lodge we're talking about , so it's bound to be something special. From their kickstarter page it seems like they finally got someone who can write decent English, so the translation probably won't suck.

:thumbsup:
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
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7,428
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MCA
Apart from their statistical trend, this game's concept simply doesn't sound like it will have any of the brilliance of the first two games.
 

piydek

Cipher
Joined
Feb 13, 2006
Messages
819
Location
Croatia
I'm really trying to figure this one out, but I am really not sure if this game tries to be charming or scary. You just can't be both. There seems to be a fundamental conceptual discrepancy here that might be the game's downfall. The game's identity is really a bit schizophrenic.

I hope it'll all end up working in the end though.
 

Irxy

Arcane
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Nov 13, 2007
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Schism
Project: Eternity
Not really interested in this game, but pledged nonetheless in a hope for Ice-Pick to kickstart some Pathologic/Void-scale project in a future.
 

Crooked Bee

(no longer) a wide-wandering bee
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Looks like ITZ coming (soon)!

Ice-Pick Lodge has released another update for Knock-Knock; apparently the development process has been pretty daunting for them, but they're going to enter beta in a few days:

We are in beta

Dear Friends!

We are in beta.

It looks like we managed to follow all requirements presented to us in the original letter (we took that as a very important task!) – and at the same time bring this “interactive meditation” (or a “pathology emulation”) closer to something that can be called a game. The result is enchanting, but strange. We’d call this genre “a loop”.

Our feelings at this moment are complex. One one hand, this thing works and affects just about any person that encounters it. On the other hand it drank impossibly much of our strength and fortitude and we look forward to soon forgetting it like some nightmare. Never again will we sign up for anything like this. Besides, we hope that occasions like this are rare, and that we will receive no more letters from mysterious pen pals. (Although, it would be interesting to hear their impressions from the game).

On Friday beta testing began.

Today we will commence porting the build to mobile platforms.

In parallel we are working on realization of all the prizes that we promised for your donations. The Artbook is compiled and is ready to go to print. As you are reading this, your names, one by one are being added to the project’s credits. The “surrogates” are being prepped too. The Enhanced Soundtrack is nearly ready, but Mushroomer, obviously, will be polishing it till the last possible day.

In connection to everything written above, we’d like to remind you: we are still waiting for filled forms so that we can add you to the credits and send you the prizes according to your donation. Hard to believe, but we still don’t have information from two investors that donated $200 each. The Person That Donated A Thousand is also not answering our messages. Please, hurry, we would like to send prizes to all deserving!

And last, our project still needs your support on Greenlight. Will the game be available on Steam or will we have to choose some other digital distribution service? (We would really like to place it on Steam, many people find it easiest to use.) If you haven’t done it yet, click on “Yes” here.

Really looking forward to this.
 

Crooked Bee

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RPS has a preview and I'm just relieved the game actually exists, not to mention that it sounds interesting, at the very least.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/09/23/impressions-knock-knock/

Your character carries a candle or oil lamp, which dimly illuminates each room. He can also fix the light in each room, switching it on and allowing him to banish visions, or to close his eyes and “summon” the furniture of each room…

(Okay, it’s already not straightforward to describe, but this is Ice Pick’s most minimalistic production yet.)

…and this furniture can be used to hide when the apparitions do come for him. Hide successfully, and they won’t get you.

[...] I shouldn’t have found a 2D game with cartoon graphics more affecting than Amnesia, but I absolutely did, because it is so markedly weird in both theme and mechanics.

At points in the game, the front door will swing open, and your character will announce that you have to go out into the woods to “check” what might be out there. I’ve not yet played all the way through, so I suspect the surprise is still waiting for me, but usually my circuit brings me back to the house, and the level ends. Doesn’t sound all that weird, more just insane. Perhaps that’s what it is.

When the boy wakes again, the house is bigger, and has been rearranged. There is more stuff in there. Things have changed, and his disturbed and disturbing narration continues. What is going on?

As you’d expect from a horror title, sound plays a huge role in the atmosphere, you are bombarded with noises, particularly with what sounds like someone loudly banging on doors, and horrible whispers about things you might have thought. It does create a weird tension, even though there doesn’t seem to be any immediate threat from the things that make sounds. What there is a threat from is the loping, shambling things which appear in the dark rooms and then come for you. What are they? Horrible, that’s what.

I’ve not quite figured out the rules of their appearance (or, indeed, if there are any rules) but I’ve found it genuinely horrifying. They’re not particularly gruesome to look at or anything, but the sheer Otherness of their appearance in the empty house is the kind of skin-crawling event that horror games wish they could make routine.

All that matters is getting through to daybreak – and you can do that by busying yourself with going through the rooms or occasionally, fortunately, finding weird clock things which push time forward. If you are a hiding from monsters, however, time goes back. So finding the triggers that keep them at bay is presumably going to be crucial to any end game. It’s a weird setup, but one that is extremely evocative of something. Insomnia, bad dreams, childhood, madness. It reminds me of both older games, from a weirder era of 16-bit and 8-bit experiments, while at the same time carrying the sort of polish that the higher tier of indie games boast these days.

And it has me gripped. I want to know more. As we move between levels we see the player’s caricature move along a scribbled path threading over a sketched cranium. There is a big bad looking monster a little further up the thread. I dread/anticipate that reveal.
 

Crooked Bee

(no longer) a wide-wandering bee
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Yeah, they seem to be pretty bad at communication with their KS backers.
 

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