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.
Though not as polished as its famed inspirations, Krabat and the Secret of the Sorbian King does a good job of evoking the spirit of LucasArts and Sierra classics.
A mystery-laced vision of Sweden during the pandemic, Quarantine Diary provides an engagingly resplendent journey for Carol Reed fans and newcomers alike to undertake.
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.
Eternal Hope is a side-scrolling platforming adventure about love, death, and tragedy in a fantasy postapocalyptic land that is as fun as it is gorgeous.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.