You know that there are adventure games, and you know that some of those adventure games are better than others. But do you know which one is best, and which one is twenty-fifth best? Well, at last you can find out, with our definitive, unimpeachable breakdown of adventure gaming’s best moments.
The modern successor to Myst, but let’s not hold that against it too much. The Witness is more of a puzzle than a classic adventure, where every interaction revolves around simply drawing paths onto screens. Did I say ‘simply’? Forget that part. Early on it asks for nothing more than connecting a couple of dots, but it’s not long before the grammar of the puzzles is as complicated as any of the actual solutions.
Tales From The Borderlands
Tales From The Borderlands is simultaneously one of Telltale’s least interactive games, and one of its best. Probably best not to think about that too carefully. Luckily, there’s no need. What originally looked like the most ridiculous, random tie-in ended up being one of the funniest games in years. Enjoy it for its cinematic craziness.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Last Day of June
XING: The Land Beyond
For those who lust after old hardware—the satisfying click of mechanical keyboards, the magnetic buzz and whirs of a CRT, the hot breath of a stranger standing right behind you in an empty house—then Stories Untold is a must. It features four episodes of sci-fi horror where your primary interactions are centered around a set of old hardware. In the first episode, you sit at a desk and play and old horror text adventure. But soon, the reason you can see the room around you and how the text adventure relates to that becomes clear.
Life is Strange – Adventure games
Life is Strange was one of the biggest surprises of the last few years—a Telltale style episodic game that stood alone, and a clever gimmick backed up by tremendous heart. It’s the story of a nervous girl who discovers she has the power to rewind time, right on the edge of a disaster about to hit her town. Yet the drama really comes from her relationships, from the genuinely difficult choices to make, and the clunkily-written but still efficient coming of age story at its heart.
Any time you create something as notable as Amnesia: The Dark Descent (aka “Screaming YouTube Payday”), there’s going to be the lingering question—OK, so what else have you got? Frictional responded with Soma, building on its horror heritage, but putting the scares into an endlessly more complex, beautiful, and somehow even more claustrophobic environment. Unlike a lot of recent horror, it avoids an over-reliance on jump-scares and repeated gimmicks where possible, and soon reveals it has more to it than just scares.
To The Moon
Something adventures do better than any other genre is the more thoughtful story, with no need to be broken up every five minutes to punch a demon or race a car. To the Moon is one of the best recent examples, focusing on regret and hope and lost memories in reverse in an anachronistic order. Built in RPG Maker but still an adventure at its soul, it’s a great mystery, a sombre story, and a very moving experience.
Expectations were high for Telltale’s Walking Dead creators when they founded their new company, and they were met with this fascinatingly low-key follow-up. No zombies. No axe-wielding psychopaths. Just the story of a man, Henry, escaping his life by taking a job watching for fires in Wyoming, and the relationship he develops with his boss, Delilah. At least, to begin with. Its one of best adventure games.
The touching background story of young love and sexual identity is arguably the most talked about part, but it’s digging through the artifacts of a strange time not so long ago that makes this less an adventure game than time travel. A very absorbing take on the genre.
A Mind Forever Voyaging
One of the most intriguing games ever: a game about stepping through decades to witness the rise and fall of America through the eyes of a computer that’s only just found out it’s not really a kid. Wrenching, evocative and almost puzzle-free, it uses text to paint a picture even modern graphics would struggle with, creating a vision that’s a bit goofy, but easy to get lost in. You will enjoy this adventure games
Night in the Woods
Breezy platforming and very minimal puzzling provide the framework for a sweet, earnest, sad coming of age story set in a fading small town. With bouncy, affected dialogue—which is sometimes too cute, but always funny and unabashedly sweet—Mae Borowski explores her hometown and reestablishes friendships after dropping out of college for reasons she won’t say. Mae’s naive interactions with her parents, her friends, and herself strike genuine, clearly observed notes about adulthood and friendship, as well as the working class struggles of an alienated small town population. Best adventure games You will ever play
The Walking Dead
Completely rewriting the adventure gaming rulebook, Telltale brought a sense of action and deep emotion to its take on the beloved comics. The smoke and mirrors are best not investigated too closely, but no adventure has ever forced so many people to think about every decision for what it will say about them as much as what it might do. This game is also one of the best adventure games