The latest game from industry legends Lori and Corey Cole is Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale – a visual novel set before the events of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Kickstarter backers were sent Steam keys today with a release date on Steam currently listed as March 29, 2023. The game will also release on Nintendo Switch in around a month’s time. Any fan of the Sierra games will be aware of Hero’s Quest / Quest for Glory by Lori and Corey Cole. Released in 1989, this game holds a special place in my gaming memories as Hero’s Quest (renamed to Quest for Glory) came shipped with our new family PC around 1991. It was games like this, Legend of Kyrandia, all the other Sierra Quest series’ and the LucasArts games, solidified my love of adventure and point-and-click games.
Fast forward through the years to 2012 where the Coles wanted to create a game they wanted to make on their own terms. It wasn’t an easy time with two kickstarter campaigns spread over several years, but with the urging of a fiercely loyal fanbase, finally they released Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption in 2018. I absolutely loved the game as they managed to capture the nostalgia of the Quest for Glory games perfectly, and the puns were fantastic. The game development ball kept rolling for the Coles and their team at Transolar Games, with talk of sequels to Hero-U with wizard and paladin characters. This was all quite exciting, however over time, plans, budgets and life changes, and the next game concept became a visual novel with rich storytelling and more puns. Their latest project was also successfully kickstarted in 2019, called Summer Daze at Hero-U. Over time, and with the world’s challenges thrown at everyone, the concept evolved and now they are on the verge of releasing visual novel, Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale – the first of a series of games.
Where the Quest for Glory series and Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption were adventure games filled with exciting combat, fascinating stories, puzzles to solve, intriguing characters and puns for days, Summer Daze is a visual novel set before the events of Hero-U. In Corey’s words, “think of it as just like a Sierra adventure game without having to walk everywhere.” Hero-U is a school like Harry’s Potter’s Hogwarts but with bards, rogues and paladins, as well as wizards. In Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale we play as Tilly Appleberry, a rogue student who values people and fun above rules and authority. A fantastic voice cast stars Zehra Fazal (Voltron: Legendary Defender; Young Justice: Outsiders) as Tilly.
The focus is on the story and quirky fantasy characters. You’ll meet a Minotaur Paladin, a Doggie Chef, and many more potential friends and love interests. Suitable for all ages, Tilly’s Tale is a story full of humor and heart. Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale combines the best elements of visual novels and adventure games, offering players multiple paths and control over Tilly’s actions as she navigates her challenging semester as a rogue at Hero-University. Your choices matter in this game and there are multiple endings with hundreds of paths through the game, and this is just the beginning. Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale is the first game in a new series of interactive visual novels set at Hero-U.
There are three more games in planned development – Ifeyo’s Adventure is the wizard story, and also about Ifeyo’s growth in an unfamiliar place and culture. Rounding out the three main characters in Summer Daze is Sami’s Story, featuring a brave and mighty warrior who also happens to be a humanoid corgi. The stakes and challenge increase in each story. Lori has just started concept and story design on a fourth game/book – Jani’s Journal. Jani has to choose between a safe life or the dangerous and exciting career of a Paladin. However, it will take time to development these games, with an estimate of late 2024 (Corey disagrees, and feels it will be more like mid-2025).
I am excited to jump into Summer Daze: Tilly’s Tale with Steam release set for March 29, 2023, and I will have a review out soon. For more information about the game, head over to the Steam page and the official website.