Adventure games had their glory days in the ‘80s and ‘90s, dominating the PC market with titles like King’s Quest, Monkey Island, and Myst. Today, the genre has made a comeback. While it is still a risky game genre for big-budget games, we have seen a multitude of success stories for franchises such as Telltale’s Walking Dead series and Life Is Strange from Dontnod.

Many fantastic adventure games were announced at GDC and PAX East earlier this year, joining several other promising projects on the horizon. If you enjoy story-focused experiences that emphasize puzzles and atmosphere over action, check out these top upcoming adventure games. 

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Release Date: 2015

Taking place in the tranquil countryside of the British county Shropshire, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture explores the unsettling peacefulness of an abandoned town during the apocalypse. Unlike most apocalyptic games, there are no action scenes or violence – they are replaced by a disturbing calm that reflects the lonesome world. Like developer The Chinese Room’s previous title, Dear Esther, you journey through different environments to progress the narrative. Revolving around six characters, you discover more about them by collecting objects they left behind and exploring locations they no longer inhabit.

The Witness 
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Mac
Release Date: 2015

Jonathan Blow’s time-bending platformer Braid made him a millionaire with its release in 2008, and he’s funneling that money into his new project, The Witness. This Myst-influenced exploratory adventure game is set on a mysterious island filled with nearly 700 puzzles and riddles to solve. The game has a lush, vivid landscape filled with bright colors, resembling a vacation destination. As you progress towards the mountain in the distance, which is the final area, you complete a series of challenging dot-connection puzzles in a first-person perspective.

Firewatch
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: 2015

Firewatch follows Henry, a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. With a crumbling marriage and a history of alcoholism, Henry is attempting to get past his rough bout. The woods are more exciting than he anticipated; he encounters skinny-dipping teenagers and strange happenings he can’t quite put his finger on. The constant rapport between Henry and his supervisor Delilah, whom he contacts through a handheld radio, is realistic, natural, and amusing. Firewatch boasts contrasting visuals with orange-tinted sunset skies and beautiful environments to explore. Especially with its brilliant dialogue, Firewatch is looking to be one of the most promising adventure games this year.

Technobabylon
Platforms: PC
Release Date: Spring 2015

Wadjet Eye Games is known for their retro-styled point-and-click adventure games, from The Blackwell series to Gemini Rue. Its upcoming title, Technobabylon, takes place in 2087, where cybernetics are the norm and addictive technologies like the Trance are replacing human interaction. Technobabylon follows three characters, two of which are agents of the city’s all-seeing police force, and one being a homeless man targeted for assassination. These stories interconnect as these individuals inch closer to uncovering a string of conspiracies that threaten their lives. 

Thimbleweed Park 
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: 2016

Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick haven’t worked together in more than 25 years – since the release of Maniac Mansion in 1987. Thimbleweed Park reunites the two adventure game pioneers by building on the same fundamentals and design mechanics they used in Maniac Mansion. Thimbleweed Park looks like it was straight out of that era due to its retro graphics and satirical tone. The game follows five characters, including a couple of washed-up detectives who find a dead body along a river. In typical LucasArts fashion, the tale escalates quickly, ranging from strange to humorous.

Jenny LeClue
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: TBA

The young and quirky detective Jenny LeClue sets out to prove her mother’s innocence in a murder case. This choose-your-own-adventure game applies player choice to each chapter, tailoring the story in different directions. The cast of whimsical characters are entertaining, each creating a lighthearted feel carefully balanced against darker story tones. The witty, bearded writer Arthur K. Finkelstein acts as the narrator, whose humorous monologue overlaps certain events – with Jenny even becoming aware of his presence at times. Similar to Life is Strange, Jenny LeClue features ambiguous choices that are not always clearly wrong or right. 

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