The adventure game genre has the habit of offering players intricate stories filled with powerful characters, mind-bending puzzles, and usually the power to shape the plotline. As they don’t require much skill or sharp reflexes to be played, they are usually titles that leave you with something more than just regret of a finished game. The overall experience you gain after playing an adventure game is unique for every instance you managed to lead the main character through a small slice of its in-game life. For those titles that changed us forever and made us go through some unusual experiences, we made a list featuring the 10 of the best adventure games.
When you explore a deserted house in search for the only clues that can tell you what happened with your family, you are left feeling hollow for quite a while. Even though it is not a horror game, Gone Home permanently makes you feel like you are being watched, and, to an extent, you really are. The ghosts are the memories and the clues that reveal stories of alleged child abuse, misunderstood same sex relationships and marriage issues between your parents give chills down your spine. The final goal of the game is to let you unfold the story by searching and introspecting the most obscure corners of existence.
Day of the Tentacle
Bernard Bernoulli and his friends Hoagie and Laverne have to save the world from the evil lab monster The Purple Tentacle. In a universe where time travel is possible the player can visit different historical eras and solve puzzles by taking control of each of the three available characters. The cartoonish style of the animation as well as the humorous story presented helped Day of the Tentacle become an all-time classic title of the adventure game genre, the 2016 remastered edition adding to the initial hype that surrounded this title.
The Longest Journey
The quest to restore balance between two parallel worlds: the magic-dominated Arcadia and the industrial Stark, is given to a very gifted heroine: April Ryan. With her Shifting powers, she is the only one that can travel between worlds and solve the puzzles needed to advance through the storyline. The player is taken into a universe of complex and enigmatic plots, where beautifully drawn sceneries of the game entangle with the ethereal elements of the gameplay. A strange, yet holistic experience is what the player receives after finishing The Longest Journey.
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Whisked away to a seemingly deserted island after placing your hand on the last page of a book named Myst, you’ll have to explore this new world and decide how you’ll shape the story. Time limits, physical violence, enemies or objectives are not traits that can be found in this atypical pioneer of the adventure genre. The player can flow through different time periods name Ages and solve interconnected puzzles that will provide the pages necessary to complete the two books that tell the stories of the brothers: Sirrus and Achenar. But, in the end, the player has the liberty to do as he pleases, saving one of the two brothers or none at all.
A unique blend consisting of features borrowed from full motion video, mystery and adventure gaming genres gives birth to the atypical title “Her Story”. Sorting through a police video file database, the player has to piece together clues that could solve the mystery of a man’s disappearance. The protagonist of the video interviews is the missing man’s wife: Hannah and as the game advances through her declarations, an intriguing story involving her twin sister Eve begins to unfold and complicate things. The organic feel of the game mechanics and the intricate plot are this game’s unmatched features.
After the Yellowstone fires of 1988, Henry is a fire lookout that needs to supervise the Shoshone National Forest from his watchtower. As the player starts exploring the surrounding area, mysterious occurrences start to uncover leading to the vandalizing of the observation tower. A sinister figure is sometimes appearing and watching Henry from the distance, contact with his supervisor Delilah being kept through a walkie-talkie during all this time. As the plotline advances, other characters’ stories start to unfold, making Firewatch a dense exploration of mysteries in a set that might seem mundane at first glance.
Life is Strange
After Max Caulfield discovers she has the unique ability to rewind time and alter the course of events as she sees fit, a stream of crucial choices tests her decision making skills. Having the power to decide how things will happen and knowing that this is going to set in motion the butterfly effect are elements that will definitely shape the way the player decides to play the game. Life is Strange doesn’t only offer these unique experiences but it also has the courage to tackle subjects that are usually taboo for the gaming industry. But what makes it an irreplaceable experience is the slice of life approach that results into a deeply naturalistic gameplay.
The Secret of Monkey Island
There cannot be an adventure games list without The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush Threepwood being one of the most iconic heroes within the gaming world. This wannabe pirate is on a quest to save his love Elaine Marley from a curse and in the meantime face different other rival bands and, of course, his old nemesis LeChuck. As the first title from the Monkey Island series, it is often regarded as a classic that helped shape the point-and-click adventure games genre to the point of becoming a real example for its amusing character lines, magnificent sound design and iconic characters. A 2009 Special Edition is available, offering enhanced graphical quality.
The Walking Dead: Season One (Telltale Games)
A visceral story set in the midst of the zombie apocalypse places the player in the vulnerable position of making the most beneficial choices both for him and for the ones around him. Unlike other adventure games where the gameplay relies on puzzles solving, The Walking Dead concentrates on the friendship bonds developed between Lee and Clementine and how their destiny is affected by the dialogue choices made by the player. The feeling that you’re constantly overwhelmed by the amount of dysfunctional things that happen in a zombie infected world, is exactly the particularity that makes The Walking Dead such a unique experience.
Grim Fandango (Remastered)
When dying is treated as a long journey to the underworld, where you need to book tickets and have an agent organize the whole trip for you, you know you stumbled upon a game with a dark, but nonetheless great, sense of humor. Manny Calavera is the protagonist of this film noir inspired story that takes the player into the bureaucracy of the Undertaking business, lifting the veil from the taboo approach everyone has towards death. Some dubbed it the best adventure game ever made, praising its music, characters, costumes, dialogues and puzzles and while we cannot neither confirm, nor reject this theory, we are definitely able to appreciate Grim Fandango’s unique take on death and how we perceive it.