My favourite Adventure games

Adventure games are the b-movie of the gaming world. In an adventure game, I look for a good mix of story, traditional gaming feel and atmosphere. This is a list of adventure games I enjoy and I would like to recommend to my fellow gamers. 

List items

  • My favourite of the Monkey Island series, the game designers resisted the doomed jump to 3D and decided to go with a quirky, yet beautiful 2D art style. While not as nostalgic as the first two parts of the series, the game is filled with the series' trademark humour and quirkyness. An amazing story that takes you all over the archipelago, meeting bizarre characters and going to the oddest length to solve all sorts of crazy puzzles. Like the other games in the series, Monkey Island feels like a playful children's ghost story, wonderfully entertaining and entrancing.

  • An incredible game by adventure masters Lucasarts. Quirky puzzles and an amazing (web of) stories make this game incredibly entertaining. This may very well be one of the few adventure games who pull of time travelling without becoming too confusing or ignoring the causal implications of timetravel which would make it interesting in a puzzle-adventure game in the first place. The puzzles are rewarding and not too difficult. If anything, the difficulty is thinking around the corner (or around the time bend), which is fine and a very unique approach to adventure gaming.

  • More of the same, which is not always a bad thing. AOTD2 revisits the haunted mansion of the first game adding a few more touches of nice graphics and animation. The story is a bit more like a surreal ghost story, which is primarily owned to the aspect of a kindapped child and an evil clown featured in the game. Especially the ending of the game is quite bizarre but fits well into the canon the game is based upon (HP Lovecraft).

  • One of the greatest adventure game of all time. No game has inspired more adventure games in tone and theme. The Secret of Monkey Island kickstarted a fantastic series, featuring an amazing game world, characters, story and the typical Lucasarts puzzles which might be too quiry for gritty players but very rewarding if you're into it.

  • Like the movie, the PC conversion of the Blade Runner film owns lots to its appeal to the art direction and the sound department. Unlike many other licensed games, the game designers painfully recreated the feel of the game and it is a joy to roam the dystopian cities of the android-ridden streets of the future. On top of the fantastic presentation lies neo-noir flatfoot game which nicely balances searching locations, talking to characters and investigating clues. Some of the game's locations and situations still give me the goosebumps and I highly recommend this game to fans of adventure games.

  • One of Lucasarts best adventures, an amazing story and a very fascinating game world. A futuristic sci-fi game at its core, the story and aspects of science fiction are highly original and should interest both sci-fi enthusiasts as well as genre newbies. Unlike many other Lucasarts games, The Dig lacks the usual humour and quirkyness and is a very dense and intense adventure experience from beginning to start.

  • The second part in the infamous Monkey Island Series is as good and brilliant as the rest of the series. It is slightly more eerie and more difficult than the first part. One should have played the first game in order to enjoy the reference and narrative continuity of the 2nd part.

  • An incredible game which features a few RPG elements and action sequences. Yet, the game world and story is so fascinating, diverse and thrilling, the game plays like an adventure game at its core, and players will be more concerned with the background stories and developings in the game world than stats and other secondary aspects of the game.

  • A classic adventure which made the "haunted house" motif famous. A place infested with luncatics and a gang of teenagers going in ! The game had some odd mechanics, you have to choose three our of multiple game characters and only the right combination makes it possible to solve the game at all. The puzzles are not too difficult, just right. The game is eerie in a strange sort of way, it might be the graphic and odd sound effects, but the game still gives me goosebumps sometimes.

  • Based on Lovecraft's fantastic literature. Alone in the Dark is an adventure game which, despite some fiddly arcade sequences is as creepy as the classics get. The pace of this game is very well executed. In between fighting (or running) from Zombies, the players reads diaries and letters telling of the unspeakable horrors which took place in the haunted mansion. Did I mention haunted mansion ? Amazing game.

  • A very creepy and claustrophobic horror adventure game which makes good use of the setting. Isolation and cabin fever add to the eerie tone of crawling terror. A nice story with a few referencs to other games of the series. The puzzles are a bit steeper than the series' other games. A nod to adventure games of the golden era.

  • For fans of classic whodunnits, this game is the holy grail. Dont expect action sequences, supernatural entities or monsters. Instead the game unfolds like an Agatha Christie novel. Family and friends (and enemies) gather on the occasion of the Colonel's death whose mysterious demise urges Laura Bow to investigate. Gathering clues and interrogating the people roaming the estate might be tedious for some, very rewarding for others, depending on what type of game you are looking for. Furthermore, the game has multiple endings, and you can end up "solving" the game, although you accused an innocent. The game world is not static, at least its inhabitants are not and depending on where you go and who you talk to people will say and reveal different things. A fantastic and very deep gaming experience that will stay with you for a long time.

  • Somehow, the horror genre lends itself nicely to the adventure game. Sanitarium is a very eerie story and offers an unique and rewarding game experience. Due to the mental condition of the player's character, one can expect strange locations and puzzles, which manage never to go over the top and feature many classic images and aspects of traditional lovecraftian horror and angst. A great game, which densens and intensifies as it goes along.

  • It may sound rather weird, an adventure about a hare and dog police duo. Yet, once you start playing, Sam & Max unfold its charm in the classic style of the golden era adventures. The puzzles are quirky, but not too difficult. Like other lucasarts games, lots of love went into the design and artwork of the locations and the whole journey is very rewarding. Some of the puzzles are a bit weird and some players might not be able to solve the game without using a solution, but that should not stop adventure game enthusiasts to track this gem down.

  • A great example of how the present can emulate the feeling of the golden era of adventures. A good and first and foremost eerie story in a dense setting. It could use a few more puzzles, but nevertheless a great adventure title. Dry humour and a likeable lead characters make this a game to remember. Part of a series.

  • One of the newer games on my list, the game merges two of literature's greatest merits. Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu mythos. The game oozes with eerie atmosphere and fantastic locations. The game has a few setbacks though. The voice acting is a bit bland, especially the legendary character of Sherlock Holmes falls behind his potential. Another thing is that some of the puzzles are very un-Sherlockian and remind me of "The Incredible Machine", not true to the canon. Nevertheless, are very rewarding game which sucks you down into the terror of HP Lovecraft.

  • A B-Game of the B-Genre. The quirkyness reminds of classic Lucasarts titles. The game was made in the 90ies and has the overall feel of the 90ies UFO craze about it. The mixture of playful eerieness and whacky geek humour is very well executed. The game features a very annoying puzzle sequence, but other than that the puzzles are original and rewarding.

  • A great freeware game, clearly inspired by the Monkey Island series. The mix of scary story and offbeat humour is highly entertaining. The puzzles are a nod the Lucasarts adventures and some require you to think around the quite a bit. The game is rather the short, due to nature of its production circumstancs but should be played and loved for what it tries to be.

  • Not a lot of people remeber Legend of Kyrandia, despite it being a charming and lovely little game. Overshadowed by King's Quest, Legend of Kyrandia is a beautiful fairy tale. The puzzles might be too easy for some, but the traditional air of old school fantasy, a nice soundtrack and the fact that the game is part of a rewarding series make this a recommendation.

  • Loom is a rare game and I give Kudos to the designers for daring to make a game which was different from what people expected from adventure games. Like all other Lucasarts games, Loom has a great story, beautiful artwork, a quirky humour and so forth. What is unusual is the interface. The player charactes plays "magical" notes which translate various forms of interactions with the gameworld. Recently, the has been a resurgence of experimental adventure games playing with alternative forms of interface, controls and perspective, but back in the day, Loom was awe-inspiring and it still is.

  • Not as orginal as the first part of the series (5 Days a stranger) but a solid revisit to the original setting. Solid adventure game in the vain of classic adventure games of the golden era

  • By Now, Disney games are never worth playing and pretty much cash-makers for the franchises. Back in the day, Disney made the effort to think who to commission with programming their games. This one was made by Al Lowe (of Larry fame). A nice and cute fairy tale game.

  • SciFi used to be a very respected form of literature, gaming and movies. I dont know what happened in the 90ies but ever since the genre become an orphan child, looked after by geeks and nerds. Beneath a steel sky is a classic example of High-Sci-Fi. A dystopian future, corporate cities and droids with loose gobs. The story takes a while to unfold and the game never leaves the general area of neo-noir, which might be a bit too low-key for some, but I enjoy the b-movie atmosphere and time it takes to digest the game.

  • Eagle Eye Mysteries is a children's game, but it is charming enough to entertain grown-ups as well, if not only to be reminded of classic children's book series. The fact that the game is set in London makes is very interesting and the city's rich history make the "cases" (the game has several episodic "cases" or "chapters") very interesting.

  • The Interface might resemble classic RPG games, but dont be fooled, this is a classic inventory based adventure game. The story is very deep and complex, albeit a bit bizarre and might be a bit too looney for some, a strange mix of steampunk and traditional fantasy. Despite the static feel of the game (no in game avatar), the artwork makes the gameworld feel alive. The puzzles are tricky but rewarding and the pace of the game is never slowed down to a painful degree.

  • A nice B-Game depicting the doings of paranormal research unit. The game starts out very good, althoiugh it becomes a bit weird as it goes along. Nevertheless, the overall eerie feel and underlying notion that something "paranormal" is going on make the ride quiet enjoyable. Not the best adventure game out there, but it does not deserve its status of oblivion.

  • Based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld is an old school adventure game without many bells and whistles but sporting the crude and off-beat humour at home in the book series.

  • Before you go out and play the game until you drop dead. The true terror of the game (pun intended) is the fact that you cannot beat it ! Apart from that, it is a nice game of hunting down the evil count in his castle. The game has a very good soundtrack which adds greatly to the atmosphere and the game owns lots of its appeal to the brooding music.

  • A very simple adventure game which might only be interesting to genre enthusiasts. The simple premise of the "haunted house" and the quirky execution makes this an enjoyable and refreshingly unconventional experience.

  • A hidden treasure of adventure gaming. Lords of Doom is delightfully eerie. It might not be the best adventure game out there, but I include this as a recommendation to save it from oblivion.

  • One of the first new wave of adventures. The story takes a while to get used to and is not very original, but the overall experience resembles classic adventure game, so does the artwork and character design. The game is rather short, and seasoned players will finish it in a few hours. Nevertheless, worth tracking down.

  • Indiana Jones meets cheesy 80ies movies. This adventure game plays very nice while being entertaining without being too silly.

  • A very nice narrative in the spirit of Jules Verne featuring a sophisticated Englishman and wonderful graphics as well as being incredibly long.


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Edited By ahoodedfigure

I'm afraid to read some of these entries for fear of spoiling the ones I haven't played yet! :)
Interesting what you say about Science Fiction once being respected.  I'd say in some ways it's managed to become more respected, but it depends on how you do it.  William Gibson has been doing an interesting thing recently: instead of trying to talk about possible futures, he's been going into possible PRESENTS, building existing technology and culture and making what would probably feel like science fiction to someone who wasn't familiar with the potential of today's tech.  
Day of the Tentacle is responsible for the only joke in gaming that got funnier when repeated for me (hint: Ben Franklin).

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Great list! I totally agree with most of your picks, and CoMI is my top favorite adventure game, too.