The 12 Best Adventure Games You Might Not Have Played
What do you think of when you think of an adventure game? For some, it's pretty straight-forward, and usually some variation on the point-and-click theme. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that... point-and-click games are awesome! But adventure is a theme that can crop up anywhere, in any genre, and any tone, and over the years we've played a lot of games whose adventures will spook, delight, excite, and even startle you. In this latest installment of our 12 Best Games series, here's a dozen of our favourite games that have encompassed the spirit of adventure over the years. Do you have any you'd add? What are your favourites?
- Morningstar - Red Herring Games have been putting out top notch games for a few years now, and their reputation for incredibly quality started with this science-fiction point-and-click adventure game centered around you trying to find a way off of a hostile alien planet after a brutal crash landing that left almost everyone else dead. From its amazing opening cinematic to the gorgeous artwork and tiny visual touches that make the game feel lifework, it's a stunner, but more importantly it's also well written and well designed, with smart puzzles that feel like they were designed specifically to avoid the plague of "adventure game logic".
- The Blue Beanie - If you're in a bad mood, all you ever need to do is play this gorgeous and charming little game from Daphne Lim. It starts a tiny woodland creature whose favourite blue hat goes missing one day, and he strikes out across the forest to get it back. It's not a particularly long game, or even a very difficult one, but if you're blazing through it, you're doing it wrong. The game's main draw is its stunning, effortlessly charming presentation, and the way it fills its characters and settings with personality, all without a single word of dialogue. This is a game that's designed to leave you with a smile on your face, and honestly, the world could do with quite a few more games like it.
- The Dead Case - Zach Schaffer's horror-lite mystery game is all about unfinished business, as you play a rather grisly looking ghost who wants nothing more than to find out why he died... and maybe even prevent a crime in the process. You'll need to explore all over town, and help other ghosts you meet with their own problems, if you want to find the truth. Despite the grim subject matter, The Dead Case isn't really a scary game, and is instead all about its mystery. There is admittedly some unintuitive design, especially when it comes to finding your way around the town map, but it packs some truly memorable moments and likable characters into its story-centric presentation, making for a game that's perfect for relaxing during a quiet evening.
- William and Sly 2 - Lucas Paakh is basically known for creating slap-yo-mamma gorgeous games, and few are as beloved and immediately engrossing as this action adventure in which you play a spry, acrobatic fox exploring a lush world. You're looking for the pages of your human friend's journal, which the gnomes have torn up and scattered, but you'll also be hunting down treasure and special abilities, and perhaps more importantly, just drinking in the atmosphere, because William and Sly 2 is one of those games that just pulls you in right from the get go. You'll spend a long time exploring the expansive map and hunting down every secret and item, and the low level of difficulty means absolutely anyone can (and should) sit down and let this gem carry them away.
- Gretel and Hansel - If you like your fairytales twisted, then this morbid series from Mako Pudding is going to be right up your alley. In this spin on the classic (already creepy) tale, you play Gretel, who is constantly having to look after her... less, um, heroic brother Hansel. When Gretel hears that their parents are planning to get rid of them, she must try to find a way to escape safely with her brother. Too bad there are a lot of ways to die unspeakably here. Like... a lot a lot. Gretel and Hansel: Part 2 is just as messed up and perhaps even darker, but if you enjoy stories that put the grim in Grimm's Fairytales, this is definitely a series for you... especially if you don't mind humour that's black as coal.
- Chibi Knight - Hope you have a good dentist, because this Zelda-style action adventure by BoMToons is sweet enough to give a dragon cavaties. Why? Not because it's about a tiny knight slashing and hacking her way through huge yet cute boss monsters as she gets stronger and finds better equipment to save the world. Because it's voiced entirely by his five year old daughter. This is just one of those games that puts you in a good mood right away, the visual equivalent of having rainbows fired right into your eyes, and the adorable voice acting as you fight is just the icing on the cake. There's even a bigger commercial version coming soon!
- Castaway 2 - Likwid's Castaway games are a bad idea to pick up if you plan on being at all productive for the next few days. Combining traditional RPG action with monster-raising and exploration, you play a hero who can't quite remember why he's wound up on this mysterious island, or what he came there to do... all he knows is he feels compelled to keep moving. And so will you once you start collecting monster eggs and solving puzzles! This is another one of those games that sort of boggles your mind a bit when you realize that you're playing a huge, complex, beautifully designed title like this for free, and makes for the perfect bout of casual RPG/adventuring to relax with.
- The Trader of Stories: Bell's Heart - Pastel Games leant their considerable talent and experience to Marek Rudowski for this gorgeous point-and-click adventure, and one play and you'll know they're a match made in gaming heaven. You play a woman named Myosotis, also known as the Trader of Stories, who travels across the land buying tales from the people she meets, hoping that one day she'll find her own story. When her journey is interrupted by a broken wagon wheel, she'll have to solve puzzles and collect bits of a story from the nearby townspeople and the surrounding area to continue. It's a beautifully illustrated game, with a sweeping soundtrack, and its unique characters and setting will pull you in immediately. This is exactly the sort of creative, immersive point-and-click adventure we could do with a lot more of, and you'll be eagerly awaiting each new installment once you're done, too!
- endeavor - Dwarves are already pretty small, but you're a runt even compared to the rest of them in this platforming adventure by Zillix, and after your father passes away, you set out in search of a great treasure... only to wind up plummeting to a world beneath the clouds. If you love Metroidvania, this is definitely the game for you, as there's a lot to explore, with different powers and items to find and you scour the land... and even different endings depending on the final choices you make. Despite its tiny size and retro style, endeavor manages to feel truly epic in scope, and you'll feel like a real hero when you're done... provided you get a good ending, of course!
- I Have 1 Day - Before they went big time with their commercial release of Rogue Legacy, Cellar Door Games made a number of excellent free browser titles, including this hilarious twist on a point-and-click fantasy themed Groundhog Day. You wake up in a cell, and you have just 24 hours to stop a coronation... probably. See, every location you travel to takes time, and many puzzles and even items will take additional time off your precious hours to solve or acquire, which means you'll need to make use of an unlikely ability to rewind time and figure out the correct order to do things. The game is very much tongue in cheek with its humour, and fans of classic point-and-click games will feel right at home here, making this one clever adventure worth taking.
- How to Raise a Dragon - If you want compelling narratives, you always remember to hit up Gregory Weir. That's just how it goes. In this surprisingly emotionally affecting and unique storytelling adventure, the decisions you make will determine everything from the looks to the personality to the eventual fate of the dragon you create. Benevolent life-giving guardian? Vile fire-breathing tyrant? There are quite a few options, and Gregory Weir has done a great job at incorporating them in a variety of different ways. So, while they are moral choices, they don't feel quite so arbitrary or in your face about it, letting you play as you want and dealing with the consequences. It's a thoughtful little experience that won't take you long to play, so it's a good thing it has so much replay value!
- Friendship is Magic: Story of the Blanks - Even though My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic these days has already established itself as being markedly different from its predecessors (IE, not terrible), you still probably wouldn't expect to see an adventure game like this come out of it. Created by Donitz, in it you play as Apple Bloom, an exuberant little pony who (like her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders) has yet to get her Cutie Mark, and winds up lost when she follows a strange pony deeper into the Everfree Forest. There she finds a mysterious village, that... well, to say much more would be spoiling the twist, but suffice it to say this game isn't all sweetness and light. Nor is it oppressively grim either, with an uplifting ending and a vibrant, colourful presentation that makes it look and feel authentic. It's not very long or difficult, but it does make an exceptionally solid little piece of creepypasta that you don't have to be a fan of the show to enjoy.