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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Evoking the feel of classic Sierra games but without their sudden deaths and dead ends, Sumatra: Fate of Yandi is a fun, enjoyable tale of survival in a lush rainforest, only marginally brought down by a weak ending.
Like a trip through a prop-filled haunted attraction, The Witch’s House MV captivates with preset scares and gory imagery, an onslaught of retro-imbued horror, inventive puzzles and a surprisingly whimsical attitude toward the protagonist’s frequent death.
Essentially five short games in one, Photographs presents a series of dark, disturbing, and above all compelling tales of woe interspersed with their own diverting puzzle minigames ranging from easy to challenging.
A loving homage to the Myst series, Myha: Return to the Lost Island has everything that characterized its iconic inspiration: lovely locales, a world of depth and complexity, and puzzles that will tax the little grey cells.
Yorkshire Gubbins is a short and easy but hilarious escapade through a small town filled with memorable characters and quirky puzzles. It won’t pose much in the way of difficulty, but its biting British humour makes it hard not to keep playing, just to see how it all turns out.
The second Initiate outing replicates much of what made the first game so enjoyable, this time with three playable protagonists sharing the spotlight. But the vague nuggets of narrative still fail to deliver, and are once again easily eclipsed by the satisfaction you’ll get instead from cracking the many puzzles.
The mystery takes a while to catch up to the intrigue of its captivating Swedish locales, but once The Fall of April rises to the occasion it provides another highly entertaining entry in the Carol Reed series.
Although light in puzzle complexity and narrative depth, the side-scrolling Lupus in Fabula delivers a memorable experience that has much to delight. Its characters, panoramas and irreverent, absurdist comedy come together to create a farcical adventure that is quite distinct and helps it stand apart from other offerings in the marketplace.