Feature

15 Exciting Adventure Games To Keep On Your Radar

by Elise Favis on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:26 PM



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. 

Up Next: Why a game made entirely out of claymation and Cyan's new project are worth checking out...

Tacoma 
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: 2016

Gone Home set the bar for a gripping story, and the team’s newest project, Tacoma, will hopefully achieve the same quality. Tacoma boasts a new setting and story, taking place on a space station with 1940s architecture resembling Bioshock’s Rapture. The trailer features a scratchy radio conversation between two individuals, but little is known about this game’s characters or story at this point.

Last Life
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: TBA

Developed by Sam Farmer and presented by Double Fine Productions, Last Life is a sci-fi noir adventure about a transhumanist colony on Mars. Playing as a murdered detective brought back to life through 3D printing, you set out to uncover who killed you and why. This manhunt ties into a much larger conspiracy, dealing with corrupted A.I., espionage, and a plot that may lead to the world’s demise. Last Life’s minimalist design has blocky, suited characters with gradient backgrounds.

Obduction 
Platforms: PC, Mac
Release Date: 2015

From the makers of Myst and Riven comes Obduction, a surreal exploration game where you are whisked away to dream-like worlds that defy reality. Just like Cyan’s past projects, Obduction will rely heavily on puzzle solving to advance the narrative. While there isn’t much announced about the game just yet, footage that has been released thus far showcases some beautiful landscapes.

The Flame in the Flood 
Platforms: PC, Mac
Release Date: TBA

After Irrational Games shut its doors in 2014, a handful of the team’s veterans moved on to create their own indie studio, The Molasses Flood. This rogue-lite is about a young girl named Scout and her dog, who attempt to survive in an unpredictable wilderness setting. As you traverse a procedurally generated river by raft, or journey alongside it by foot, you must collect resources, craft tools, and avoid the vicious rainfalls. 

Armikrog
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Wii U, PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: 2015

Armikrog’s world was created out of real-life objects and claymation, bearing a strong resemblance to the team’s past project, The Neverhood. This adventure’s biggest selling point is its aesthetics and uniquely crafted environments. For example, one room’s walls and exterior take the form of an accordion – an environment built in real life from the actual instrument. Taking cues from traditional adventure gameplay, Armikrog has you solving puzzles to progress the narrative. Playing as Tommynaut, a space explorer who travels with his blind dog Beak-Beak, you crash on an alien planet and become trapped in a mysterious tower called the Armikrog.

 

Alone With You
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Vita
Release Date: 2015

Indie developer Benjamin Rivers is moving away from the horror roots of his previous game Home and embracing new themes. Alone With You is a space adventure with a psychological romance twist. It follows the sole survivor on a decaying far away planet whose only companion is an A.I. that is able to create holographic forms of deceased crew members. Through these holographic encounters, you learn more about these long dead characters that once inhabited the planet. Your demise approaches as well if you are unable to escape the planet in 21 days. In these final moments, you must discover how to escape.

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

In Reflections, every little action you do is analyzed and comes with consequences. On your final day before heading to college, you can explore your surroundings in first person, conversing with family members and interacting with environments. The game begins in black-and-white visuals, but with every action, the world slowly fills with color. With only a certain amount of time to progress, you must choose carefully. Upon completion, Reflections sums up your actions and assesses your personality by how you spent your final day at home.

Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Wii U, PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: 2015

The LucasArts classic from 1993 is returning in a remastered version from Double Fine. Day of the Tentacle follows Bernard Bernoulli and two friends as they attempt to stop a sentient purple tentacle that is keen on world domination. Its bizarre storyline is complemented by even stranger characters, but this point-and-click adventure’s charm lies in its wacky nature. This is the second classic adventure game that Double Fine remastered this year, after Grim Fandango.

Minecraft: Story Mode
Platforms: PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC, Mac, iOS
Release Date: 2015

Telltale’s upcoming narrative-driven adventure takes place in the world of Minecraft. It has many of us skeptical, yet there is a significant amount of intrigue about how the concept will be approached. With some previous Telltale games tackling TV shows such as Game of Thrones or game worlds like Borderlands, it seems strange to bring Minecraft, a game more about creation than story, into the mix. Just how much creation-based gameplay there will be in Minecraft: Story Mode remains a mystery, but with Telltale’s excellent writing, the game may end up surprising us.