Many people who don’t consider themselves gamers have dived right in to puzzle games. Games like Candy Crush Saga, Bejeweled, and Angry Birds are easy to play because they have a very low learning curve. There’s also not a lot of depth to them. If you’re blissfully happy playing puzzle games, that’s great. But if you’re looking for something new to spark your interest, adventure games might be the way to go.
What Are Adventure Games?
The word “adventure” gets tossed around in a lot of different genres of games like “action adventure.” The adventure games I’m talking about are commonly referred to as “point-and-click adventure games.” The inception of the genre goes way back to the old text-adventure games like Zork. Those games were actually played by simply typing in commands on a keyboard. The point-and-click adventure game is the evolved version of the text adventure. Instead of reading and typing things into the computer, now you have scenery, characters, and lots of things to interact with, and you interact by clicking.
The first of these evolved point-and-click games was the extremely popular Myst. These games are compelling because they have a story and can be almost as fun to watch as a movie or television show. Some adventure games are actually based on popular properties from other media. This cinematic quality makes them a great game to play side by side with someone else even though only one person is controlling the game.
As smart phones and tablets have become popular, these adventure games have made a seamless transition because tapping is the same as clicking on a normal computer. The adventure games on phones and tablets are often a lot less expensive than a point-click-adventure on PC. And now the content of the games themselves ranges from cute and kid-friendly to gritty and mature. There’s really something for everyone.
How Do Adventure Games Work?
All adventure games start with a story or at least a premise. Lost Echo starts with a guy meeting his girlfriend in a coffee shop. When his girlfriend gets up to take a call, a strange event happens, causing the guy to wake up in the hospital. Then it seems no one there believes his girlfriend even exists. In Minims, a cute bouncy blob of a character can’t find his wife. In Broken Age, two teenagers are trying to escape from the predicaments in which they were placed.
Once you know the story and the goal of the game, it becomes a mix of solving puzzles and talking to people in order to get moving in the right direction. Adventure games are great for unseasoned gamers because the controls are very simple and few of the games have any sort of time constraints. If you’ve encountered a brain-bender type of puzzle, you can take as long as you need to solve it. And if you happen to have someone watching you play, you can work together to solve the puzzles. The Nancy Drew series of games are great for this type shared gameplay. They’re all available on PC, but Ghost of Thornton Hall is available on iPads and smartphones too.
Most adventure games are pretty straightforward and the path forward is easy to identify. However, some adventure games are a bit more abstract. Games developed by a company called Simogo tend to be very abstract or in some cases more like an interactive novel than a true game. If you’re looking for something really unique when it comes to adventure games, Device 6 pushes the boundaries of adventure games in a number of directions.
Which Adventure Game is Right for Me?
Adventure games come in all shapes and sizes. They can be simple or difficult. Cute or gritty. Family friendly or very mature. Here’s the lowdown on the games we talked about in this article, as well as a few others.
Minims is very kid-friendly. It has cute art and the puzzles aren’t very difficult to solve. Most of the game involves collecting and using items and talking to other people. $0.99 on iOS
Broken Age is pretty tame, but it does have some more mature themes. The art is very cartoony and the dialogue is often humorous. It can be difficult at times to figure out the way forward, but there are plenty of walkthroughs online. As an aside, my 3-year-old daughter sat next to me as I played Broken Age and asked questions about the plot. $9.99 on iOS and Android
Lost Echo is a fairly easy game, but some of its content is a bit on the mature side. Some scenes take place in bars and involve some unsavory encounters in order to move forward. $2.99 on iOS and Windows Phone
The Sailor’s Dream is more of an interactive novel than an adventure game, but it does involve exploring different places in order to progress the story. There’s not much mature content, but the story might be hard to understand for younger players.
Device 6 contains only a minimal amount of mature content, but the game is difficult to finish due to its unique game mechanic. I would recommend this game only once you’ve dipped your toes into adventure games because this game is like diving into the deep end of the pool. $3.99 on iOS.
The Nancy Drew games have some mature content, but they’re designed specifically to appeal to teen and preteen girls. Some of the puzzles in the games can be a bit on the difficult side, which is why they’re great for watching and talking. Ghost of Thornton Hall is available on iOS for $5.99.t
The Wolf Among Us is an episodic adventure game based on a comic book series called Fables. This game involves almost no puzzles, but the choices you make in dialogue and other places in the game have an impact on how the story plays out. The game is very mature with lots of violence, language, and nudity. The Wolf Among Us is developed by a company called Telltale, and they’ve released similar games on famous franchises like the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.