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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! 

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Best Adventure Game Picks - Under-the-Radar Indies

Star Seeker in: The Secret of the Sorcerous Standoff (2020)

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.

While Krystopia: Nova’s Journey has better puzzle variety and greatly expands on the narrative introduced in the series debut, the ending will once again leave you wondering where things stand.

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.

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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.

This game is wildly implausible and absurdly melodramatic—you already know if that appeals to you or not, and if so, Fire Escape is a very fun way to spend an hour or more of voyeuristic spying.

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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.

Short on challenge but full of moments that can make you laugh or cry, Welcome to Elk is an intense and memorable narrative experience about a group of people dealing with the hardships of life.

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.

Football Game’s dark tale makes up for its short play time and lack of graphical polish with a satisfying and well-crafted story and creepy vibes throughout.

A short but satisfying adventure in a surreal and creative world, Caetano’s Slice is a terrific entry in the Off-Peak series and a promising first volume of a new anthology.

Florence (2018)

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 its intentionally abstract story may leave you in the dark, Heal oozes with spooky atmosphere and uses old age and memory loss as a compelling context in which to solve engaging puzzles.

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.

Combining smooth gameplay and solid level design, the pieces in Phantom Path click together to form a puzzle game that is easy to pick up but hard to put down.

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.

Once you have mastered the interface and worked your way through some design issues, Cutish will treat you to a fun if challenging experience that will definitely scratch your Myst-style game itch.

Interrogation: You will be deceived ambitiously marries adventure, RPG and strategy elements with a dark edge that will even have you asking questions of yourself.

Though a few artistic and technical blemishes stifle the immersion, Demons Never Lie remains an engaging if not particularly challenging narrative adventure.

Dry Drowning (2019)

While Dry Drowning’s conclusion may be overly complicated, the visual novel-styled journey of tracking down a serial killer in a future dystopian city more than makes up for it.

The latest Carol Reed detective escapade fires on all cylinders, as Geospots crafts a compelling tale and fascinating quest through awesomely eye-catching vistas.

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.

It’s over before you know it, but Feria d’Arles is a warm and hilarious throwback full of clever puzzles and wonderful characters in a vibrant, colorful version of Provence.

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.

With its creatively whimsical yet sincere approach, entertaining mechanics, memorable story, likable characters and vibrant world, Wandersong proves to be one of the most memorable and endearing games to come out of an independent studio in recent times.

When it isn’t bogged down by overly long conversations and cutscenes, Neofeud presents a compelling vision of the future clearly influenced by science fiction tropes of the past.

Dr. Doyle and The Mystery of the Cloche Hat presents a captivating murder mystery with a fantastic old-time aesthetic and an interesting if slow-paced take on standard adventure game staples.

The Idiot’s Tale is just a fun game to play, with a sarcastic, irreverent humour that permeates everything and lovingly throws shade at classic adventure titles. There are a couple of potentially serious negatives, but these are completely overshadowed by the enjoyable overall experience.

A lush, expansive, genre-bending adventure, Golden Treasure is worth seeking out for a fresh new experience, even if not all of the game’s ambitious elements fit together snugly.

As its title suggests, Yet Another Hero Story is a very by-the-numbers point-and-click fantasy adventure, but it’s generally a good one with great characters, a funny story and a compelling visual design.

It’s a short and simple point-and-click adventure, but Clam Man is so packed full of grin-inducing jokes that it’s bound to brighten up your day.

Smile For Me combines an engaging story with fresh gameplay ideas, a relatable and quick-witted cast of characters, and an impressive sense of style in a memorable experience that is worth any adventure gamer’s time.

STARDROP is a nice little sci-fi adventure for those who prefer story and solitary exploration over gameplay.

More Adventure Game Recommendations

The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 2 - A Bleaker Predicklement
Ahnayro: The Dream World
Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World
Aviary Attorney
Barrow Hill: The Dark Path
Bear With Me
Beyond the Sky
The Black Watchmen: Season 1
The Black Watchmen: Season 2 - Enduring Conflict
Bulb Boy
Bunker: The Underground Game
Catyph: The Kunci Experiment
Chronicle of Innsmouth
Dark Train
Darkestville Castle
The Darkside Detective
Dead Secret Circle
Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure
Detective Grimoire: Secret of the Swamp
Downfall (redux)
The Dream Machine
else Heart.Break()
Ether One
The Eyes of Ara
The Fall: Part 2 - Unbound
The Fall of April
Four Last Things
Fran Bow
The Frostrune
Hadean Lands
The Haunted Island: A Frog Detective Game
The House of Da Vinci
Hypnospace Outlaw
I fell from Grace
The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker
The Initiate
The Initiate 2: The First Interviews
J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars
Kelvin and the Infamous Machine
The Land of Lamia: World of Monsters
The Last Door: Season One
The Last Door: Season Two
The Last Time
The Little Acre
Little Kite
The Long Reach
The Low Road
Lucid Dream
Lumino City
Lupus in Fabula
Maggie’s Apartment
Message Quest
Miazma or the Devil’s Stone
Milkmaid of the Milky Way
MIND: Path to Thalamus
The Mind of Marlo
Myha: Return to the Lost Island
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet
Order of the Thorne: The King’s Challenge
Path to Mnemosyne
Profound Red
Quadrilateral Cowboy
The Samaritan Paradox
Sandra and Woo in the Cursed Adventure
The Search
A Short Tale
Shrug Island: The Meeting
The Silent Age
Silent Footsteps
Slap Village
Solo: Islands of the Heart
Starship Quasar
Stonewall Penitentiary
Sumatra: Fate of Yandi
A Tale of Caos: Overture
Tango: The Adventure Game
Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way
Tiny Echo
Tokyo Dark
Wailing Heights
Wanda: A Beautiful Apocalypse
The Witch’s House MV
Why Am I Dead at Sea
Yeli Orog
Yorkshire Gubbins

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