On this list, we’ve tried to include all Adventure Games that provide the broadest and most compelling modern examples, as well as some games that feel like the oldies. Here then, in no particular order, are the10 best adventure games to play in 2019. Let’s get all the caveats out of the way immediately. Yes,
Unavowed is actually from 2018. And yes, I did say we were going to find games that challenged the ‘traditional’ image of point and click games. But the truth is Unavowed is still one of the best adventures to play in 2019 precisely because it takes everything great about classic point and click games and revitalises them.
There’s character choice. Origin stories. Decision making. But most of all, it’s the rich, engaging, relatable supernatural tale at the heart of Unavowed that means you should absolutely play it if you ever enjoyed Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight, or Grim Fandango.
There are warmth and humanity to it that you rarely see in big-budget releases, and by the time you reach the game’s satisfying climax, you’ll feel like you’re close friends with Unavowed’s oddball cast of genies, pyromancers, and mediums.
The Outer Wilds is the sort of game that might stretch the definition of adventure for some people, but stick with us: because underneath the unconventional sci-fi trimmings there’s a mystery worth of any classical point-and-click game. It’s different in that it’s an open-world mystery game set during the dying moments of a solar system, in which you play the section of time over and over until you find the answers you need.
It’s a loop in which you fly to a new planet, explore as quickly as the ticking clock will allow, and then die as the solar systems go supernova. It sounds bizarre, but not only does it work- it ends up being one of the most compelling, cleverly intertwining experiences you can play on PC in 2019.
It’s an adventure that makes you join the dots, and piece together the mystery, which makes it a thrilling, leftfield game for anyone who enjoys a ripping intergalactic yarn. We’ve traditionally found a reason to include.
The Room series
The Room series in several lists features we’ve done on the channel, and with good reason: that combination of utterly tantalizing, tactile puzzles and a sinister background narrative means that the series is the perfect way to while away an evening while still feeling like you’ve achieved something.
And the third game, released late in 2018, builds on the incredible work of the prequels. In a typically ominous turn of events, you’re lured to a remote island and confined within the rooms of an ominous mansion, and you have to solve puzzles.
What else – to earn your freedom. And it’s the most ambitious, rewarding entry in the series so far: and as far as games as concerned, few do a better job of making you feel like a genius, even if you just pushed all the buttons and solved puzzles accidentally. I’m not speaking from experience.
Whispers of a Machine
Obviously, We’ve got another semi-classic style adventure game in slot four. And when I say semi-classic, what I mean is that it has all the trappings of a standard point-and-click adventure game with some very modern additions. In this sci-fi Nordic noir, you play Agent Vera Englund, a cybernetically enhanced investigator out to solve a murder plot.
And while Vera can do all the standard point-and-click things like look at items, interrogate suspects, and describe literally everything she sees, it’s her cybernetic abilities that make Whispers of a Machine unique. She can scan areas for forensic evidence and monitor interviewee reactions when she thinks they’re hiding the truth.
It’s a simple, compelling story that excellently told, with some great voice acting directed by Dave Gilbert – yes, the same DaveGilbert who made our first entry, Unavowed; he gets about. If you’re looking for a refreshing futuristic detective adventure, this will keep you busy until Disco Elysium arrives later this year… Stories Untold, the previous game from Britishstudio No Code was a great example of how you can tell stories with a variety of limited interfaces – one of the recurring elements of classic adventure games.
And this most recent game, Observation, is a smart, gripping, unconventional way to follow things up. In this sci-fi thriller, you play as SAM, the AI on a space station, as you assist Dr Emma Fisher in finding out exactly what happened to her missing crew.
And that’s all we’re going to talk about there, because if you’re even slightly interested in adventure games, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or narratives told from a unique perspective, this is as essential as it gets.
But can an adventure game be set in one location? According to Observation, yes, it absolutely can. Thanks to Indiana Jones, we’ve been conditioned to think ‘adventure’ and ‘archaeologist’ go hand in hand, even if the reality couldn’t further from the truth.
And what could be more adventurous than Heaven’s Vault, and a game about being an archaeologist in space? As Aliya Elasra, you explore the Nebula region of with your chipper robot companion Six, gradually uncovering historical secrets that span thousands of years.
The fact you have to use language to uncover the mystery means there’s a puzzle element here – and we’ve included it on other lists for that reason – but the character and intrigue of Heaven’s Vault means it’s equally worthy of inclusion here. Couple that with a striking, unconventional style in a stunning, middle-eastern inspired world, and you have an adventure that Dr Henry Jones Jr. himself would be proud of.
Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders
Di Renjie might be the most widely-loved detective you haven’t heard of. He’s China’s most famous and gifted investigator, and The Silk Rose Murders, he follows the trail of a serial killer in the capital city of the Tang Dynasty.
It’s a tale rich with political turmoil, set during the reign of the first and only female empress of China, as the newly appointed investigating magistrate Detective Di faces his inner demons and digs into a conspiracy that will take him to the heart of the Imperial Court. And although it might look rather simplistic, it’s a fantastically dense game, with dialogue options, with over 45 locations, and a rich, historical narrative.
But it’s the setting itself that makes TheSilk Rose Murders so compelling: a lavish lovingly made snapshot of an era and location we don’t see in games often enough.
If you play and love adventure games you’re probably used to things being pleasantly sedate. And they don’t come much more pleasant or sedate than Eastshade. This genteel adventure has you exploring an island of wafting trees and luscious flora, making a living as a travelling painter.
You have to converse with the animal-headed inhabitants and capture this beautiful world on canvas, but it’s a game you can play at your own pace. It’s like being inside Bob Ross’s mind- the only things you need to worry about here are whether you’ve got enough canvas or if the view your painting is as pretty as it can be.
There’s a story here too, that kicks off with you being shipwrecked then finding your place in the world you’re stuck on. And if you want more games to inspire your inner artist, hit the link onscreen now. If you’re into Lovecraft and story-driven games, there’s a chance you’ve already played The Sinking City – a compelling if aggressively damp take on the works of the author.
Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure
But if you fancy all of the lore and less of the despair, then Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure is alike clean, crisp, comedy mouthwash. In, an odd trio of hardboiled gumshoe, flippant librarian, and sassy cat – yes, an actual cat – find themselves in the crosshairs of a typically-sinister Lovecraftian cult after none other than the Necronomicon.
It’s a standard plot, then, but the execution is deft: the animation is gorgeous, the setting enjoyable, and the jokes are bright and snappy. It’s also not afraid to smash the fourth wall, so it’s full of adventure game references that hardcore point-and-click fans will love [Password puzzle wrong answer and response here]. Although be warned: not all those boundary-breaking jibes will make you feel good about yourself… [[Little girl in the street 4th wall joke]
Shenmue definitely puts a lot of the ‘action’ in ‘action-adventure’, but less so that its spiritual successor, the incredible Yakuza games.
And there’s something about playing as teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki in a sleepy 80s town that really feels like a nostalgic punch to the chest. You can spend your money on Gachapon machines; while away the hours playing old arcade machines; and take on any number of compelling distractions to delay the inevitable process of tracking down the man who killed your father.
It’s a gripping story in a world that still feels dense and engaging, even if some of the systems are fiddly by modern standards. And with Shenmue 3 arriving later in 2019, now’s the time to give it a go – at least you won’t have to 18 literal years like the rest of us. Talk about a dish served cold… And there you go.
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