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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!
Like a David Lynch-inspired fever dream, Who’s Lila? refuses to be fit into a box, its bold graphics, creepy story, and peculiar facial expression mechanic making it one of the most unusual adventure games in recent history.
Pants Quest is a cute and cozy micro-adventure about dealing with stressors and being an adult. The comedy doesn’t always land, but otherwise the hour or so it will take you to get your pants on is highly enjoyable.
Its heavy focus on puzzle-solving frequently overshadows the story, but Another Tomorrow is a well-designed game with interesting isometric graphics and a great variety of puzzles of varying difficulties.
Escape Simulator’s charming puzzle-filled levels might not replace a real-life escape experience, but its wealth of rooms (including many free community downloads), solo and multiplayer options, and robust level creator easily make it the next best thing.
Don’t Escape: 4 Days to Survive combines traditional point-and-click gameplay with an intriguing day-night survival mechanic and randomized events for repeat playthroughs to provide a fresh take on the adventure genre that’s easy to recommend.
Even though a disjointed visual style and overly no-frills approach holds Zof back from greatness, fans of Myst-like puzzle adventures will find much to enjoy about the wide variety of surreal environments and enigmatic machinery that make up its difficult but fair puzzles.
Slice of Sea sets you loose in a gorgeously illustrated dreamscape and trusts you to figure out what needs doing along the way. Its lack of direction won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you long to get lost in beautiful otherworldly surroundings, you won’t want to miss it.
A few mechanical issues prevent it from being as user-friendly as it could be, but The Office Quest has a unique fantasy setting, interesting puzzles, funny characters and a beautiful art style that combine to guarantee a pretty enjoyable time.
Half Past Fate is a bundle of joy not only for fans of rom-coms, but for those who enjoy character-driven adventures and are looking to immerse themselves in a slow-paced, feel-good collection of human stories.
Critters for Sale is a captivating and almost unspeakably bizarre journey into black-and-white hell that you’ll have to play to comprehend. It won’t be for everyone, but those willing to take the plunge will find themselves mesmerized by an experience like none they’ve had before.
With its sheer volume of ever-evolving challenges, it’d be easy to credit Filament with being just an excellent puzzle game, but its equally impressive ability to build an emotional connection to the cast and central mystery is a feat that few puzzle games are able to achieve.
It’s short and may rely a little too much on satirizing the genre for its humor, but Death Off the Cuff is an enjoyably playful text adventure nod to the classic Christie-style detective stories that should appeal to any fan of whodunits.
Though it lacks much in the way of interesting gameplay, An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs boasts hilarious dialogue and dark mysteries to uncover from its wonderfully diverse canine cast, and its ambiguous undertones are proof that not all dogs see things in black and white.
It’s not particularly challenging, but Not Another Weekend offers solid gameplay, a zany plot loaded with humor, loads of 80s nostalgia, a few welcome surprises, and an expansive cast of memorable characters.
If you have the patience to fully explore the narrative of Where Wind Becomes Quiet, you can’t help but feel emotionally invested in the life of a tormented writer who is trying desperately to remember his past. Just be sure to have a box of tissues handy, as you will certainly need them.
I Saw Black Clouds is an entertaining psychological FMV thriller where player choice actually makes a significant difference in how the story plays out. While its production values are modest and puzzles are non-existent, the solid acting, short playthrough length, intriguing mystery, and high replayability will likely keep players coming back for more.
A solid addition to the puzzle box/escape room subgenre, Machinika Museum may lack the sleek polish of its more acclaimed inspirations, but it more than makes up for its modest production values with satisfying puzzles and an engaging sci-fi story.
Though it’s over far too soon, Repressed offers a satisfying series of challenging yet fair puzzles throughout a unique visual journey that tells a heartbreaking but surprisingly hopeful story of a wounded soul.
Genesis Noir’s gorgeous graphics may be mostly in black and white, but its cosmic journey through Earth’s past is anything but, though at times it’s a little too convoluted to be as ingenious as it could have been.
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery will blow away any cerebral cobwebs with its onslaught of fun, addictive brain-teasers to solve, even if their difficulty will leave some of the most seasoned puzzle solvers seriously scratching their heads.
Every moment of NUTS is surprising and delightful; its first-time developers have created a world you’ll want to spend even longer in to explore more deeply, full of fantastic design choices and an intriguing story that gets better and better as it goes along.
Devotion’s tale of fractured memories and buried secrets provides a dark, compelling look into the depths of human frailty and desperation. It doesn’t quite reach the heights its developer achieved with Detention, but it’s a well-crafted first-person journey to a strange and unexpected place.
Though its short play time is almost devoid of challenge and occasionally suffers from pacing issues, Voyage is an enjoyable one- or two-player cinematic side-scrolling experience with an intriguingly cryptic story told through its lovely animated visuals.
Its visual presentation is decidedly modest, but solid brain teasers, a quirky sense of humour, and engaging computer hacking elements make Alien Function a lot of fun to play even without any prior knowledge of the Sir Typhil series.
A lost-memory crime drama told through a unique take on the classic text adventure, unmemory is a slightly derivative yet incredibly compelling story that creates a vividly nostalgic atmosphere with its excellent writing and graphic design sensibilities.
While certain areas of Sarawak are more developed than others, the end result is a well-crafted, beautiful mystery adventure with a uniquely literary feel that’s cleverly enhanced by an inspired interface.
Despite a few irritating technical issues that detract from the experience, The Button Witch is an otherwise enjoyable adventure full of fantastic puzzles, wrapped up in a cutesy package with a fitting, chilled soundtrack.
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.