Best Adventure Games
Recommendations from the Adventure Gamers staff
An ambitious story with real, complex characters makes BEYOND: Two Souls one of the year’s most memorable adventures, as long as you’re willing to look past some constrained and awkward gameplay.
This PS3 exclusive from Giant Sparrow is a short, sweet game set in a white-washed world. By flinging paint, you assign definition to the area around you and gradually begin to make sense of this half-formed place. It's a creative experiment that’s worth a play, even if some aspects feel incomplete.
From the innovative creators of flOw and flower comes an even more ambitious, experimental exploration of discovery. Far from a traditional adventure, the appropriately-named Journey is a joy to experience, from the striking visuals and music to the fluid controls and ingenious anonymous co-op feature that binds you to strangers in a way you wouldn't think possible. It's a game that both thrills the senses and touches your emotions, and it's an absolute must-play for any PS3 owner.
Sherlock Holmes has outsmarted all the most devious masterminds in his illustrious career. But what if the bad guy is him? In the great detective's seventh adventure from Frogwares, all the evidence points to Sherlock in an increasingly violent string of crimes, and even his trusty sidekick Watson begins to question his motives. It's an intriguing story backed by stellar production values, challenging-but-accessible gameplay, and multiple control schemes to cater to everyone's preference. The deduction to buy it is elementary.
This downloadable PSN title ain't your daddy's adventure game, but then its child-abusing monster protagonist is anything but your typical daddy. Papo & Yo is a courageously personal allegorical tale of a young boy and his alcoholic father, wrapped up in a fantastical platforming puzzler that will make you feel as deeply as you think.
Who says it's bad luck to have a woman on board a pirate ship? Obviously not Wizarbox, who promoted the feisty Spanish supporting character from the So Blonde games into her own spin-off starring role. And Morgane Castillo doesn't disappoint in this charming swashbuckling high seas adventure-meets-teenaged coming-of-age story set amidst some gorgeous hand-drawn Caribbean islands.
You just can't keep a good developer down! After a few recent missteps, Telltale Games has sprung back to life with a superbly atmospheric adaptation of Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic book series. Its puzzles are few and far between, but the gaps are wonderfully filled with player-driven storytelling, compelling characters caught up in an apocalyptic fight for survival, and zombies. Lots and lots of brain-eating zombies.
Lots of adventure gamers have pined for an expansive, vibrant, open-world setting to roam around in, like Grand Theft Auto only without all the mindless violence. But that takes big bucks, and who’d be crazy enough to go to all that trouble for an adventure game? Well… GTA's own Rockstar, that’s who. This rare AAA-adventure game does have some action, but it’s largely skippable and seamlessly integrated into a series of gripping, utterly immersive film noir-styled mysteries that nail just about everything… and the bad guys, too!
Argue its genre all you like, but the one thing we’re certain everyone will agree on is just how fantastic this unique physics-based puzzler is. We’d call it one-of-a-kind, though the sequel is much like its own already-impressive predecessor – except double the length, with memorable new characters to meet and obstacles to overcome, plus a two-player co-op mode for twice the gaming pleasure. This is the sort of game that makes you glad you’re “still alive”.
You don’t need to be a five year old girl to have fun playing with dolls. Not if they’re Russian stacking dolls starring in this beautifully stylized, whimsically offbeat puzzle-adventure from Double Fine Productions. Tiny matryoshka Charlie Blackmore is on a quest to save his brothers and sisters from a life of 1920s child labour, but in order to overcome the many obstacles in his way, he must strategically stack into the various larger dolls he meets, each of which has its own unique ability. It all adds up to a bold and brilliant downloadable adventure quite unlike any other.
Console fans had to wait a while longer than PC gamers (you knew there had to be some kind of time distortion problem somewhere along the line), but Telltale’s episodic adventure is now ready to take PlayStation 3 owners on the first new ride with Marty McFly, Doc Brown, and the time-travelling DeLorean in two decades. It doesn't take Einstein to figure out this is one trip you don't want to miss.
The second beloved LucasArts classic to get the “Special Edition” treatment is available not only on PC, but on a variety of platforms that didn’t even exist when the game was first created. Now a whole new generation of gamers can lead Guybrush on his search for Big Whoop, in either classic or enhanced versions, with updated graphics, full voiceovers, remastered soundtrack, developer’s commentary, and more!
No, you’re not imagining things. The Freelance Police have at last arrived on PlayStation in their third season of episodic adventures. Now even the most hardcore thumb jockeys and couch potatoes can discover for themselves what PC gamers have known for years: Sam & Max games are just plain fun. This season, the duo square off against power-mad alien gorillas, armed only with psychic toys and a razor wit… well, those and one crazy gun that must be fired to be believed. BFG’s have got nothin’ on this thing.
The six-episode comic whodunit series originally exclusive to the PlayStation 3 (since ported to PC) gets off to an explosive start with a stunning mmuuuuurrrrderrrrrrrr… and it’s up to you to solve it! Well, you and as many as three different friends in this oh-so-short but sweet single- or multiplayer investigative adventure. Currently available only for download, the episodes are now bundled together for the full Blue Toad experience.
The wintry environs of 2005’s Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy have given way to the oppressive downpour of Heavy Rain in Quantic Dream’s latest interactive drama. The noir thriller expands and improves on the already-ambitious goals of its predecessor, creating an emotionally-charged, compelling narrative experience that focuses on character development and player-directed storytelling. It may not quite be worth buying a PlayStation 3 just to play, but it’s close, and not to be missed by anyone who owns the system already.
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Xbox One PS4 PC