Action-focused games are fun but sometimes it can feel refreshing to play a game that is slower, more relaxing, and instead of fast reflexes or grinding for hours to find the perfect gear requires putting your brain on a higher gear. That’s where point-click adventure games come in.
They tend to have several common elements: exploration of mostly static, 2D/2,5D locations, conversations, looking for useful items, and gathering clues. But it’s not always the case, as the list below proves – sometimes developers are trying new things and approach the genre differently in their efforts to deliver a fresh and unique experience.
As a result, we get memorable indie gems such as Papers, Please or Oxenfree existing alongside traditional, old-school point & click adventure games. Let’s take a look at some of the…
|The Secret Of Monkey Island Special Edition||2009-07-15||LucasArts||57%|
|Day Of The Tentacle Remastered||2016-03-21||Double Fine Productions||85%|
|Unavowed||2018-08-08||Wadjet Eye Games|
|Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis||1992-06-01||LucasArts||41%|
|Samorost 3||2016-03-24||Amanita Design||95%|
|Samorost 2||2009-12-10||Amanita Design||59%|
|The Book Of Unwritten Tales||2012-07-31||KING Art||85%|
|Grim Fandango Remastered||2015-01-26||Double Fine Productions||82%|
|The Wolf Among Us||2013-10-11||Telltale Games||68%|
|The Walking Dead The Telltale Definitive Series||2019-09-10||Telltale Games||83%|
|Deponia: The Complete Journey||2014-07-08||Daedalic Entertainment||93%|
|Black Mirror I||2003-10-17||Future Games||85%|
|Black Mirror 2 Reigning Evil||2011-02-08||Cranberry Production||89%|
|Black Mirror 3 Final Fear||2011-04-19||Cranberry Production||84%|
|Oxenfree||2016-01-14||Night School Studio||71%|
|Night In The Woods||2017-02-21||Infinite Fall|
|Thimbleweed Park||2017-03-30||Terrible Toybox|
|Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy||2019-04-09||CAPCOM||62%|
|The Journey Down Chapter One||2013-01-09||SkyGoblin||83%|
|THE LONGING||2020-03-05||Studio Seufz|
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
The Secret of Monkey Island is one of the greatest point and click games of all time, and its legacy lives on, over thirty years later.
It puts you in the shoes of Guybrush Threepwood, a young guy with an ambitious goal of becoming a pirate. Of course it’s not an easy task, so he’ll have to complete tasks given him by three elderly pirate leaders and confront a ghostly pirate legend.
If this sounds rather silly, that’s because it absolutely is. The Secret of Monkey Island is not a serious story by any measure, and gameplay tends to favor silly solutions as well. Although the game is quite old, in 2009 it received a Special edition, which lets it work with modern systems and adds some gameplay polishes, but also allows you easily swap between classic and remade graphics.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
|Developer:||Double Fine Productions|
Another classic from the same studio (LucasArts) and leading creators (Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, and Ron Gilbert) as The Secret of Monkey Island.
As a result what you can expect is a lot of humor, old school point & click gameplay, and an evocative, thematically appropriate art style cementing the cartoonish, silly nature of the whole game.
Day of the Tentacle is a science fiction adventure game about stopping a nefarious Purple Tentacle whose plan is conquering the world. The plot involves many time shenanigans, because the protagonists are scattered through time because of a time machine malfunction. Fun fact: it’s a sequel to 1987’s Maniac Mansion, but it’s perfectly enjoyable on its own, too.
|Developer:||Wadjet Eye Games|
You had an unfortunate encounter with a demon which used your body to wreck shop all across New York. The good news is that your ordeal made you a perfect candidate for a group of people whose life mission is protecting the world from evil supernatural forces. Welcome to Unavowed, now get to work, the city is far from safe and its supernatural denizens have issues that need solving.
Don’t be misled by Unavowed’s old-school graphics and style, it was released in 2018, and a fantastic adventure game for any fan of urban fantasy. In addition to old-school gameplay and solid voice acting it also offers a mildly customizable player character, a branching story, and three origin stories. And most importantly: it’s all really good even if you don’t fancy urban fantasy stories.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of the Atlantis
Going back to the classics, here’s a rare treat: a point & click adventure games inspired by the Indiana Jones movies.
The journeys and misfortunes of the intrepid archaeologist Indiana Jones are a perfect fodder for an old-school adventure game, filled with puzzles which need solving, and ancient mysteries which must be protected from the grabby hands of the Nazi occultists.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is the perfect marriage of the classic adventure movies and the classic adventure video games. With over two hundred locations to explore, the iconic music, and even a branching storyline/playstyle for good measure, Fate of Atlantis is certainly worth checking out if you aren’t opposed to graphics taken straight out of 1993.
Hopping back into the modern day let’s take a look at Samorost 3, a sequel to a beloved series of mildly surreal adventure games.
In Samorost 3 you’ll take control of a little gnome who gets to travel to several planets, each with many gorgeously designed side-scrolling maps. Of course, there are also many puzzles to solve through manipulating the environment and using your inventory.
The story kicks off when a mysterious flute falls into the hands of the Gnome, who makes the responsible decision to find out what’s going on. Samorost 3 is an ideal option if you’d love a calm, relaxing point & click adventure game with dozens of incredibly creative, surreal, gorgeously rendered maps.
Book of Unwritten Tales 2
This one is a sequel to an excellent game focused on an epic adventure in a fantasy world full of beautiful places and fantastic creatures, including gnomes, elves, and ogres, all mixed together with a good dose of humor and pop culture references.
Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a classic point-and-click adventure with item hunting, conversations, and solving puzzles to progress the story.
What makes the game unique is its vibrant fantasy setting and first-class humor, but one should not forget about the voice acting which makes the characters memorable and charismatic. Gameplay-wise you will often be able to control multiple characters – for some puzzles teamwork is crucial. It’s also worth noting that the graphics are quite lovely, mixing 2D and 3D elements.
Grim Fandango Remastered
|Developer:||Double Fine Productions|
Although it’s not the freshest title on the list, this classic humorous adventure should not be omitted when talking about the best and most popular point-and-click games, especially considering the fact that it received some remaster love recently.
Grim Fandango was originally released in 1998 and since then managed to obtain a cult status – and not without a reason.
The story of a Department of Death employee tasked with helping a certain spirit to safely reach its final destination met with huge praise from both players and critics alike. What’s certainly worth noting is the game’s focus on top-tier comedy writing, as well as drawing inspirations from Mexican culture, especially the calaca death figures and other Día de los Muertos traditions.
The Wolf Among Us
Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us is not a usual point and click adventure – you won’t need to figure out how to creatively combine and use items you find throughout the game.
Instead, it’s more of an interactive TV show with a strong emphasis being put on dialogues and player choices. It’s also based on a comic book series Fables, which makes it work well with the episodic structure.
Like the source material, the game is an urban fantasy setting with many famous fable creatures and character living in secrecy in Fabletown, their own district of New York. You will be playing as a sheriff of Fabletown, Bigby Wolf, tasked with solving the case of a recent murder, which also means getting tangled up with many other problems of your compatriots.
The Walking Dead
Telltale Games has more titles like The Wolf Among Us under its belt, and this one allowed the company to truly spead out its wings.
The Walking Dead game is loosely based on the comic series of the same title (as well the TV show), and it takes place in continental United States ruined by the outbreak of zombies, which reduced humanity to desperate and violent groups of survivors.
The story focuses on the character of Lee Everett, an honest man charged with murdering his wife’s lover. He find himself protecting a young girl named Clementine, for whom he will serve as a father figure throughout the game, teaching her how to survive and interact with people, and as the game is keen on telling you, “Clementine will remember this”.
Let’s take a break from serious games and explore a more humorous side of the point & click genre. Deponia – the first of the series – marks the beginning of a fantastic adventure filled with goofy dialogues and ridiculous situations.
It’s a classic point-and-click game, including thinking out of the box to find a solution to the problem in blocking your progress.
Not every puzzle or item combination will make sense at first, which encourages experimenting but it’s made in a way that doesn’t feel frustrating at all – listening to the protagonist’s thoughts as he comments on your tinkering skills may give some hints and, more likely, a hearty chuckle.
Primordia is set in a post-apocalyptic AND cyberpunk setting, and let’s you take part in a the story of an android Horatio and his robot friend Crispin, as they hope to restore an old spaceship they live in.
Unfortunately, their hopes are ruined when their home is invaded and its power core gets stolen, which sets them on a fascinating science-fiction adventure through a ruined world.
Primordia combines retro graphics and puzzles with one of the best sci-fi stories written in the recent years, giving birth to a game to which players willingly come back even if they completed it several times already. What makes the title stand out from the crowd is the fact that puzzles can have more than one solution, which is not something we see very often in this genre.
Paper’s Please is more of a puzzle-adventure game than a classical point & click game, but it is absolutely worth playing. It puts you in the role of a simple border-crossing immigration officer whose job here is to check travel papers of anyone who wishes to enter the glorious country of Arstotzka. Check if the document is not expired, if all the details are right, if it’s not fake, and so on.
But don’t be fooled – what might look like a simple and repetitive game quickly turns into something more. Soon enough you will inevitably have to choose between helping strangers out and being loyal to the country. You need to make money in order to pay the bills and feed the family, so sometimes the choice is not so obvious – will you value the lives of others more than your family’s?
Black Mirror III: Final Fear
If you like dark and spooky settings with a fair bit of supernatural elements, then Black Mirror would be an obvious choice to play.
The final part of the trilogy concludes the story of the Gordon family and the curse that haunted its members throughout the years. The third instalment once again focuses on Darren Michaels who tries to find the source of his unsettling visions and nightmares.
His search for answers will inevitably lead to confrontation with evil forces possessing the titular Black Mirror Castle, and it’s your job to help Darren fight his demons and survive the encounter. The castle and its grounds are sprawling, and along your journey to closure you’ll encounter dozens of characters, some helpful, some helpless, and some who really don’t want you to succeed.
Technobabylon takes place in a futuristic city ruled by artificial intelligence that controls most of the city’s systems and acts as the governor.
The story revolves around a mysterious murder, and one of your tasks will be to solve the case. Soon enough you will find yourself caught in the middle of a bigger conspiracy – and as you get some of the answers, more questions will arise.
Each chapter puts you in the shoes of one of the game’s three protagonists, each with their own problems to deal with. At various points you’ll get to make choices which might affect the story to some degree, including the ending you’re going to get. Technobabylon is a fantastic game, with a well-realized setting and an excellent, if complicated, story.
|Developer:||Night School Studio|
Oxenfree is a truly wonderful game – it has amazing watercolor style, an intriguing paranormal story, great music, and a clever conversation system.
It’s a story of a group of teenagers who came to a local island where they accidentally unleash a mysterious power. Now they have to find out what it is and how to stop it. There are even several endings influenced by many of your choices.
The implementation of dialogues also deserves a mention due to how fluid and smooth they are – while talking with other characters, speech bubbles appear over your head. You can choose one once the others finished their lines, or you can interrupt them which sounds very realistic. You can also remain silent if you wish – actually, there’s even an achievement for that.
Night in the Woods
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
Night in the Woods combines simple yet distinct and pleasant art style with narrative-heavy gameplay in a way which will absorb you completely for hours.
It tells the story of a mentally-ill college dropout, Margaret “Mae” Borowski, as she reunites with her old friends in her hometown, Possum Springs, inhabited by zoomorphic people and other fantastic creatures.
She finds out, however, that one of her friends went missing, and it’s your task as a player to help her solve the mystery behind his disappearance. Gameplay-wise it’s a title that puts a strong emphasis on dialogues but also has some interesting puzzles and minigames blended in, so you surely won’t experience any monotony.
Thimbleweed Park fully embraces the old-school easthetic despite being released in 2017. Join Ray and Reyes, an FBI team, as they try to solve the case of a recent murder in the titular town.
Despite the seemingly serious topic, it quickly becomes clear that developers didn’t want to create a heavy atmosphere, instead opting for a good-natured parody of X-Files, Twin Peaks, and True Detective.
It’s worth noting the game’s interface that consists of several action buttons, such as “talk to”, “look at”, or “use”, and an inventory that holds objects you’ve found. This reactes old-school systems, and favors logical (and abstract) thinking over the trial and error approach due to the sheer number of possible combinations you would need to try before hitting the right one.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Another break from the traditional point and click formula, but it’s worth the attention. Become a lawyer and stand up for innocents’ rights in this anime-influenced adventure.
There aren’t many games that allow players to fight prosecutors in court instead of fighting monsters on the battlefield, making the title a very refreshing experience.
Each case will require you, as a young lawyer Phoenix Wright, to conduct your own investigations in order to find clues and evidence you could use in court. You will also need to cross-examine witnesses in order to find contradictions and challenge your opponents through clever argumentation. The Ace Attorney games are a classic for a good reason, and this pack is a great introduction.
The Journey Down: Chapter One
If you love reggae, you might be interested in checking out The Journey Down – a game that managed to create a perfect Rasta atmosphere. But there’s no time to sit and relax, as you have an important mission to do.
The Journey Down takes obvious inspiration from the Afro-Caribbean culture, and is quite reminiscent of Grim Fandango in all the best ways.
The similarities are especially clear in terms of the style, humor, and how unique the characters are. Funny and silly dialogues appear quite frequently, reinforcing the laid-back nature of the game. Story-wise you will be tasked with uncovering the fate of the protagonists’ long-lost father, but the first chapter focuses on dealing with more pressing matters first.
The Longing combines point-and-click adventure with an idle game, so it does something that was probably not done before or at least wasn’t that successful.
The main mission is to simply wait for 400 real days for the king to wake up – that’s it. You can even just start the game and come back 400 days later. However, if you wish to alleviate the protagonists loneliness,there are things you could do.
Everything here takes an huge amount of time, from digging and exploration, to walking and even reading real books that are available in the game. However, the time can be sped up if you keep Shade occupied, after all time goes by fast when you’re having fun. The game is a unique experience in itself and will leave you asking some serious philosophical and existential questions.
This concludes our list of adventures games, with a special emphasis on the classic point and click ones and their modern successors. We’ve got science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal stuff, plenty of themes and styles to bite into and find something that matches your tastes.