Top Adventure Games
Recommendations from the Adventure Gamers staff
The adventure genre has often been home to ambitious indie developers, but without widescale distribution, it can be hard for these games to get the exposure they deserve. Since you won't find them on regular store shelves, don't forget about these self-published titles.
In Gone Home, you don’t solve puzzles. There are no action sequences, no dialogues between characters, no use-this-on-that inventory, no cutscenes. This game’s sole pastime is exploration, its singular focus on a teenage girl’s high school experience. Many people read books for the opportunity to see life through someone else’s eyes, but it’s rare for a game to do it as well as this one does.
With their first commercial game, the indie developers behind subAtomic and Plan M have engineered a delightfully surreal retro sci-fi comic adventure. In an era where trains rules the galaxy, space piracy and alien invasion are a very real danger, and it's up to an unlikely pair of protagonists to stop them using only their wits, a few tools, and a joke every minute. You can set your watch by it, as the laughs are delivered right on time.
When the fate of the universe's space-time continuum is at stake, you might hope for someone a little more reliable than a former small-time rocker with a drinking problem. But Bob Marshall surprisingly proved his chops in the first Quantumnauts, and now he's back in Midian Design's bigger and better pop culture-laden sci-fi sequel. This time around, Bob finds himself worshiped as a god on a planet of robots, but all he really wants is to get back home.
For most developers, a game about a gender-ambiguous film-noir private eye with rudimentary black-and-white claymation figures and cardboard sets, virtually self-solving puzzles, and a story that plays out largely through song would be utterly unthinkable. But from indie developer Deirdra Kiai, anything other than a thought-provoking and utterly eccentric adventure that thumbs its nose at conventions would be a surprise. And somehow she manages to make it all work with whimsy, audacity, and a lot of brass polka.
In terms of worldwide attention, the murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986 may not rank right up there with the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, but in Sweden it remains the country's most famous unsolved case. Now it's Carol Reed's turn to take a crack at this decades-old mystery, and the ninth adventure for the amateur sleuth provides another scenic photography tour and the same entertaining detective work series fans have come to expect.
It's not really named after aspirin, but with all the brain-straining puzzles in ASA, maybe it should be! We mean that in the very best way, of course, as this solitary indie adventure is a classic first-person puzzler with photorealistic environments, node-based navigation, challenging puzzles with no hand-holding (you'll need your hands for all the note-taking you'll be doing), and an intriguing sci-fi backstory to discover.
Route Zero is a lonely highway in an isolated area of Kentucky. Or maybe it isn't. It doesn't seem to be on the map, but the locals all tell you that's the way to your destination. Except the locals might not really be there either. Such mysteries are at the heart of one man's beautiful, minimalist journey through the Bluegrass State. Like an interactive poem with a David Lynch influence, what this episodic series lacks in gameplay it more than makes up in immersive, melancholy atmosphere.
If you looked up the term "independent adventure" in the dictionary, you might just see a picture of Kairo – a stark, minimalist, monochromatic screenshot of basic geometrical shapes. With no real story, characters, or even inventory, this is the kind of game only an indie creator could make. It's bold, it's daring, and it works. A bit like a surreal Myst puzzler made out of LEGO, there's really nothing else out there quite like it.
Cats may have nine lives, but we humans only have one, and how we lead it is an essential theme in this brutally raw and deeply emotional indie adventure. When a woman's suicide attempt fails, she faces a life-altering journey of self-discovery in which she never quite knows what is real and what is fantasy. Either way, the path is fraught with peril, as in seeking redemption there are those who'd seek to do the "cat lady" harm. This game is definitely not for children or the squeamish.
3 | Jul 21, 2014
2 | Jul 18, 2014
2 | Jul 15, 2014
3 | Jul 8, 2014
7 | Jul 2, 2014
0 | Jun 30, 2014