On a search to round up the best adventure games for PC, we rummaged through the archives to evaluate the funniest stories, most memorable characters, and most satisfying puzzles. We haven’t described the genre precisely—we’ve included both conventional point-and-click games and newer forms—but these are generally exploration, puzzle, and story-driven games that place a premium on atmosphere, dialogue, and discovery over action or stats.
The majority of these choices come from Richard Cobbett, a seasoned adventure game connoisseur, but we’ve continued to add more adventure games as they gain a place among the greats.
The most enjoyable adventure games
Gone Home and Telltale’s The Walking Dead are among the modern-style adventure games featured on this list. For the best point-and-click adventures, go to page two.
Stories Untold is a must-have for anyone who enjoys the satisfying click of mechanical keyboards, the magnetic buzz and whirs of a CRT, or the hot breath of a stranger standing right behind you in an empty house. It contains four episodes of sci-fi horror in which the key encounters revolve around an outdated piece of hardware. You sit at a desk in the first episode and play an ancient horror text adventure. But it doesn’t take long to figure out why you can see the space around you and how the text adventure applies to it. Each subsequent level adds a new twist (or two) to the setting and old electronics, resulting in some of the most unique and eerie adventure gaming available.
It’s an odd life.
Life is Strange was one of the most pleasant surprises of the last few years—a standalone Telltale-style episodic game with a clever gimmick and a lot of core. It’s the storey of a jittery girl who learns she has the ability to rewind time just as a catastrophe is about to strike her city. However, the drama stems from her relationships, the truly tough decisions she must make, and the clumsily crafted but still effective coming-of-age tale at its heart.
Soma is a fictional character created by Soma
When you make a game as well-known as Amnesia: The Dark Descent (aka “Screaming YouTube Payday”), there’s always the question of “OK, but what else do you have?” Soma was Frictional’s response, building on its horror roots while immersing the scares in an endlessly more nuanced, beautiful, and claustrophobic setting. Unlike a lot of recent horror, it avoids relying too heavily on jump scares and recurring gimmicks wherever possible, and it quickly shows that it’s about more than just scares. It’s a solid piece of science fiction that will always make you want to hide behind your couch. Assuming, of course, that your sofa is in the same room as your computer, which it almost certainly isn’t.
Her Story has now received enough accolades for creator Sam Barlow to melt them all down and create some kind of colossal super-award, and for good reason. Despite what some might say, Her Story isn’t the only successful FMV game ever made, but it is a truly genius effort to use the format for the kinds of experiences it was designed to provide, rather than bending over backwards to make it do stuff it was never meant to do in the first place. It’s a shame that what starts out as a murder mystery quickly devolves into a more fantastical character analysis, and that your role in the game isn’t quite as straightforward as it appears. Even so, sifting through the storey for keywords and clips and piecing together the story’s order for yourself is as engrossing as any detective novel.
Towards the Moon
The more reflective storey, with no need to be interrupted every five minutes to punch a demon or race a car, is something adventures do better than any other genre. To the Moon is one of the best recent examples, concentrating on regret, hope, and lost memories in reverse order. It’s a great mystery, a sombre tale, and a really moving experience, built in RPG Maker but still an adventure at heart.