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Under-the-Radar IndiesBest Adventure Games
Recommendations from the Adventure Gamers staff
The adventure genre is home to many ambitious indie developers, but without widescale distribution, it can be hard for these games to get the exposure they deserve. They may not get the same publicity as high as the games on our list of top PC latest releases, but don't overlook these smaller hidden gems, as they're well worth your attention!
Despite some notable interface limitations, the unique LOVE: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories succeeds in delivering an interwoven anthology of heartwarming personal tales in the style of an apartment-sized Rubik’s Cube.
Oniria Crimes introduces a welcome variation on mystery adventure conventions in an intriguing, attractive futuristic noir world with a rich backstory to be discovered. While some aspects could be improved, it’s definitely worth a look for players seeking out something different from the usual kind of detective game.
Though its puzzles are simplistic, Nine Witches: Family Disruption is both an audio-visual retro treat and an amusing supernatural WWII romp that is bound to be a winner for those who can handle a little combat in their adventures.
Its bold mixture of traditional adventure with a turn-based RPG combat system means The Girl of Glass won’t be for everybody, but those who are open to its genre-bending experimentation and exploration will find it a beautiful, captivating experience.
The simplistic gameplay can be underwhelming, but I Am Dead is a beautiful, well-written adventure that approaches the subject of death with warmth and compassion in what is really a celebration of life.
It’s a bit too relaxed at times, but Carto is full of heart and almost impossibly cute, sending players on a warm, fuzzy journey into the not-so-wild blue yonder to discover what it means to be far from home.
Those who enjoy a solid murder mystery with well-written humour and charming characters will find all that packed into a single room in Star Seeker, a short but sweet LGBTQ+ friendly pixel art adventure.
Forsaking both challenging gameplay and a traditional narrative structure, The Norwood Suite is a welcome odyssey into oddity that will more than satisfy those craving strangeness or just another piece of the delightful Off-Peak universe.
Shut In is a short but intensely atmospheric side-scrolling pixel art horror adventure that nicely builds dread, tension and intrigue whilst also cleverly exploring the everyday difficulties that living with depression and anxiety can bring.
A little less toilet humor would have better suited its otherwise serious story, but Oneiros is an adventure that both seasoned veterans and genre newcomers can enjoy thanks to its well-crafted gameplay and gorgeous art.
While Deeproot Manor’s extremely dark aesthetic and retro-styled atmosphere may not be for everyone, the game creates an exciting and memorable horror gaming experience, building something new and fun out of a host of old ideas.
Though not as memorable as its acclaimed puzzle-platforming inspirations, Stela manages to carve out an identity of its own and is worth playing for its interesting world, atmosphere and excellent music.
Embracelet doesn’t offer much challenge, it’s a welcome change of pace from the norm, and the simplicity of its gameplay and beautiful low-poly presentation nicely serve an elegantly told, astoundingly good story.
Beautiful and bittersweet, When the Past Was Around is a brief but touching point-and-click adventure with simple puzzles that tells a tale of loss and love through gorgeous hand-drawn graphics and elegant, memorable music.
Investi-Gator and the Case of the Big Crime is a short but sweetly entertaining romp that lightly pokes fun at the tropes associated with classic mystery stories. While it doesn’t require any critical thinking and there is a distinct lack of puzzles, it’ll be a welcome diversion for those wishing to take a break from more serious fare and have a few laughs at the same time.
Although a little more polish to the unique medieval-themed art style wouldn’t be unwelcome, the Monty Python-inspired Lancelot’s Hangover is a charming, fun and delightfully bonkers point-and-click comic adventure.
Florence is a moving and emotional tale of love gained and lost, and the trials of finding oneself in early adulthood. While a very short experience and light on actual gameplay, the charming presentation and strong narrative will leave a lasting impression.
Later Alligator may turn off some adventure fans with its minigame-heavy gameplay, but those willing to try something different will find a beautifully animated, wonderfully replayable and often hilarious experience.
Though it doesn’t explore its heavy themes as deeply as it could, and the needlessly small environments are overly restrictive, The Almost Gone is an enjoyable isometric puzzle game with an engaging, sensitively explored narrative.
Mutazione is a feel-good narrative adventure that will remind you of the importance of love and family, though with minimal gameplay to master, the experience will appeal mainly to those looking for a poignant, character-driven story.
Shapik: The Moon Quest ticks almost every checkbox for lovers of charming, atmospheric puzzle adventures. What it lacks in narrative depth it more than makes up for with fun gameplay and impressive production values.
With a focus on old-school, high-quality puzzling and an intriguing stand-alone story, Boïnihi: The K’i Codex comes with an unhesitating recommendation for both newcomers to the Black Cube shared universe and series veterans alike.
The complexity and weighty subject matter of the complete seven-part Pendula Swing threaten to get the better of it at times, but the end result is unique and uplifting, offering a timely social history lesson wrapped up in jazzy fantasy flair.
Debonair, aggressive, honest, deceiving—whatever your spy style, Over the Alps is a wonderful visual novel with a really fun mechanic. Picking this game up, with the promise of similar games still to come, is a choice no story lover will regret.
The Gateway Trilogy is sometimes too mysterious for its own good, but it’s nonetheless an entertaining collection of well-designed puzzles presented alongside accessible and entertaining commentary from its developer.
With its Monty Python-inspired silliness, cleverly recycled art and music, plenty of fun objectives and appropriately zany tasks to complete, The Procession to Calvary gives fans of Four Last Things more of what made the first game great.
After two freeware warm-ups, Nick Bounty returns for his first commercial outing, this time picking up a sidekick to help him solve a baffling murder. Don’t expect much in the way of challenge, but the comedy and production values make for an entertaining couple of hours.
Despite some excessive backtracking, the Reversion series finale ups the ante with much more to see and do, and its well-paced plot development ties up the loose ends left over from the earlier chapters.
The genre-bending Nauticrawl successfully turns intentionally confusing submarine controls into an immersive journey of discovery where understanding leads to incremental progression and exploration is key to your survival. It’s by no means perfect, and feels like it could have been more, but it’s nevertheless an unforgettable experience.
Players looking to tackle Pode on their own will experience a cute, fun puzzler with at least a few moments of challenge before the end. But those who bring a friend or significant other will arguably reap the greatest reward in this short but sweet wordless tale of love and friendship.
Discolored is a surreal and atmospheric experience that is less a well-rounded adventure than puzzle game, yet it is very satisfying and enjoyable to play. Just be prepared for it to raise a lot of questions and leave you to supply your own answers about the strange events unfolding around you.
The laid-back nature of the simple but fun exploratory gameplay coupled with the soothing music and lush scenery make A Short Hike a relaxing adventure filled with not only humor but the tenderness of personal connections.
Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard expands on its predecessor’s strengths with an even wider cast of loveable, eccentric characters to question, all the while keeping the original’s sunny charm and humour.
Making good use of its modest presentation, Moonrise Fall is an enchantingly bittersweet and beautiful game filled with intrigue and environmental obstacles to overcome. While you won’t get answers to all of your questions by the end, it’s still well worth investigating this surreal mystery.