50 Best Point-and-Click Games for PC
For mystery, atmosphere and adventure, there’s nothing quite like a point-and-click game.
Generations of gamers have grown up with point-and-click games. A lot of them were clunky, a lot of them were unintuitive, a lot of them were not all that great-looking. But at their best, they were hilarious and heartwarming and epic. And thanks to the revival of the genre in recent years, they still are!
Let’s revisit 50 of the all-time classics of the point-and-click genre:
50) Alpha Polaris
Alpha Polaris gameplay video
Horrific nightmares afflict the crew of Alpha Polaris, an isolated Greenland research station. As the station falls prey to more horrific events and visions, they begin to suspect a supernatural cause.
They reused a prop corpse from The Thing for this scene.
Alpha Polaris isn't particularly revolutionary. What it is is an old-school horror tale done well, with engaging characters and a story that will keep you entertained the whole way through.
“The new screen-saver is working out great, huh?” “…that’s the window.”
49) Gods Will Be Watching
Gods Will Be Watching gameplay video
War rages across the stars. Sergeant Burden and his team must find a way to survive the war, make hard decisions, and prevent the unthinkable - no matter what the cost to his own men.
The dog farted, so he gets to sit on the outside.
Gods Will Be Watching's group management adds an interesting dynamic to a genre which often struggles with breaking new ground in gameplay. And the far-future story is more than fascinating enough to keep you playing until the end.
“Great! And only one guy’s brains got blown out!”
48) The Pandora Directive
The Pandora Directive gameplay video
Tex Murphy, a private detective in a futuristic world, finds himself caught up in a conspiracy that threatens his very life - a plot that involves a strange occurrence at Roswell, New Mexico…
Used to be detectives used actual magnifying glasses. Nowadays, that cursor would be an app.
The Tex Murphy games have always had a devoted following, and with The Pandora Directive it's pretty easy to see why. This mix of film noir and cyberpunk may not be visually beautiful (especially today), but it's got boatloads of charm.
The game subtly prompts Tex to investigate this actor’s old-man makeup.
Myst gameplay video
You stumble upon the abandoned island of Myst, where strange books serve as portals to other worlds. But this place is not completely devoid of life - for a sinister plot is being hatched, a plot in which you are meant to play a key role…
The island of Myst, where the game takes place. No, it isn’t a theme park.
Myst was something of a technical accomplishment when it first came out, made in an era without hard drives and enough memory buffers to run Minesweeper and pretty much nothing else. That being said, the island setting is still deliciously atmospheric and the puzzles are well thought-out. Wandering the abandoned home of Atrus is still a mesmerizing experience.
Beats the hell outta me.
46) Zork: Grand Inquisitor
Zork: Grand Inquisitor gameplay video
The Great Undeground Empire has fallen, and magic has been outlawed by the Grand Inquisitor. You are AFGNCAAP, the Ageless Faceless Gender-Neutral Culturally-Ambiguous Adventure Person, and it falls to you to bring magic back to the land through all manner of wacky shenanigans.
“I see they still have the bottomless pits installed. Oh, the nostalgia!”
The text-based Zork games were marvelous works of evocative literature, even though they were ludicrously unforgiving and the code could probably fit in a couple tweets. Zork: Grand Inquisitor loses a little of the old magic in the translation to a visual medium, but it's still got that spark of zany humor at its heart.
The White House, where it all began.
45) Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers
Space Quest IV gameplay video
Space janitor and would-be hero Roger Wilco is on the run from his nemesis Sludge Vohaul in a veritable conga-line of shenanigans that will take him through Space Quest adventures past and future.
I dunno...babes made of latex don’t sound that appealing.
Space Quest IV doesn’t particularly aim for emotional depth or layered storytelling. It’s more interested in just showing you a good time. And it is a good time!
A villain exacts revenge on Roger Wilco by making his lines impossible to read.
Phantasmagoria gameplay video
Shortly after moving into a New England mansion with a dark past, mystery novelist Adrienne Delaney finds the history of her new home surfacing in strange and horrific ways, threatening her and her husband.
Fun fact: this mansion was decorated by Gaudi’s personal exorcist.
In some ways, Phantasmagoria has aged pretty poorly - the themes it tackled in the mid-nineties may have been revolutionary for games at the time but are comparatively pedestrian today. Yet it’s still an interesting glimpse into a transitional period of gaming history as the medium learned to tell stories which aimed for mature themes.
This is an obscure visual reference to every romance novel ever.
43) Police Quest III: The Kindred
Police Quest III: The Kindred gameplay video
When his wife Marie is stabbed and left in a coma, highway patrol officer Sonny Bonds embarks on an investigation that will bring him into conflict with a drug cartel and a Satanic cult.
Thrilling car chases!
Police Quest III emphasizes realism in its police work, with one particularly memorable sequence involving sketching a face based on a witness’s accounts. These little touches keep the game distinct from other detective-style adventure games in that you’re actually asked to follow procedure, not just spitball solutions willy-nilly.
Thrilling car crashes!
42) Emerald City Confidential
Emerald City Confidential gameplay video
Someone is missing in the Emerald City. Petra, retired guard and private eye, is asked to look into the case - which goes further and deeper than anyone could have guessed.
Ten seconds earlier: “Got a thing for green, I see.”
Fusing film noir and L. Frank Baum’s children’s novels is a work of sheer genius: Oz always seemed to have a bit of a sinister undercurrent (picked up on in countless adaptations of the original books), and Emerald City Confidential gives life to it with a plot straight out of a Raymond Chandler story.
“Yes. I got a bear mask stuck on my head. Please help me.”
41) Tormentum: Dark Sorrow
Tormentum: Dark Sorrow gameplay video
A prisoner in a nightmare world must travel the land in search of his own mysterious purpose.
This looks like a game that will end happily for all involved.
The twisted, Giger-esque creep factor in this game will get under your skin and remain there for a long, long time…until it births itself out of your chest cavity! Well, no, probably not. But Tormentum’s eye-gouging horror is more than worth your time if you are an aficionado of the gruesome and the grotesque in gaming.
If you don’t get past this thing by feeding it something, I will feed myself to it.
40) Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers gameplay video
Writer and bookstore owner Gabriel Knight investigates a series of murders, looking for inspiration for his own novel.
Back when characters were modeled on blow-up sex dolls.
Sins of the Fathers is festooned with excellent voice actors that give life to its tale of murder and voodoo, and its visuals and atmosphere rank among the best of the Sierra oeuvre.
That guy’s got a serious case of Street Fighter Shoulder Syndrome.
39) Under a Killing Moon
Under a Killing Moon gameplay video
Divorced, unemployed and out of luck, private investigator Tex Murphy finds his luck changing when he lands a job - but with the apocalyptically-minded friends he’s about to make, his luck may not be changing for the better.
“Yeah, why’s Lincoln in the news when he’s been dead two hundred years?”
By general consensus the finest of the Tex Murphy games, Under a Killing Moon has the works: a meaty mystery, engaging characters and a great sense of humor. Even modern players could do worse than to visit this hard-boiled retro adventure.
Fun fact: this line was also a set-up for the cheesiest porno in history.
Toonstruck gameplay video
Animator Drew Blanc is about to hit rock bottom when he is sucked into a world populated by the cartoons he created. He must find his way back - and along the way, hopefully prevent all-out war among the cartoons!
We’ve all had THAT dream.
A marvellous performance by Christopher Lloyd anchors a visual treat of a game stuffed with an all-star cast. This is a game that isn’t just fun to play, it’s fun to just sit back and watch.
“We have to write a funny description for a DOORWAY? We do NOT get paid enough.”
37) Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote gameplay video
Mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher takes on a series of five cases in her home town.
Video game archaeologists do not know why Jessica Fletcher carries a typewriter around with her.
A modern game based on a TV series that aired more than twenty years ago is bound to be a strange proposition, but Murder, She Wrote is a charming casual game that entertains in its own right even while preserving the spirit of the original.
TO DO: REMOVE CORPSE FROM GARDEN
Resonance gameplay video
When a particle physicist’s secret experiment threatens to reveal the existence of a technology with catastrophic implications for the future, four characters become determined to take control of the mysterious Resonance before it can fall into the wrong hands.
Hint: The car mirror also doubles as a shaving mirror. (Hint: that doesn’t actually help.)
This pixel-art tale of scientific hubris comes alive in the little details, like an alternative inventory that stores characters’ memories, and it marvellously pulls off the classic point-and-click trick of depicting an entire world in just a few rooms.
I also like to call this game “Symphony in Neon”.
35) The Dream Machine
The Dream Machine gameplay video
Newlyweds Victor and Alicia Neff find their dreams influenced by strange visions - visions that seem to relate to the neighbors in their new residence. To get to the bottom of this mystery, Victor will delve ever deeper into the dream-worlds of others.
I woke up with my hair like this once.
The Dream Machine's stop-motion artwork is by itself a reason to check out the game. The surreal, fantastical story contains several more.
“I know kung fu.” “Show me.”
34) Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon gameplay video
When Pilot Fenton Paddock is entrusted with finding a missing explorer, he finds himself battling with the Third Reich over the secret to an ancient source of mystical power that could alter the course of history.
And that’s what happens when you don’t dress in layers.
Lost Horizon takes joy in plundering nostalgic pulp adventure properties like Indiana Jones for its material, and that's no bad thing. The varied gameplay and spellbinding visuals don't hurt either.
I need a tan quick. I’m running for the White House.
33) Five Nights at Freddy’s
Five Nights at Freddy’s gameplay video
A night security guard at a pizzeria discovers that the animatronic characters are coming to life, and must use the facility’s security cameras to track their movements and stay alive.
It's difficult to overstate just how hard it is to get horror right in games. Five Nights at Freddy's gets it so right that it makes it look easy, building everything around an idiot-proof premise: that animatronics are friggin' scary.
NOPE NOPE NOPE.
32) King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow gameplay video
Prince Alexander of Daventry sets out on a quest to search for his beloved Princess Casima, ready to brave storm and thunder, creature and legend.
The shipwreck is almost as great a tragedy as that outfit.
Another not-particularly-revolutionary game, King’s Quest VI earns its keep like its predecessors do - through quality of presentation. The Prince’s quest is a charming, well-drawn and well-acted tale entirely worth your time.
Fun fact: the word “shoppe” became “shop” when that shoppe pawned the “p” and “e” at the end of its name.
31) Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars gameplay video
After surviving a terrorist attack, American tourist George Stobbart stumbles onto a conspiracy masterminded by modern-day Templars who are determined to recover an ancient artifact from history.
“Hmm…marry, bang, or report to the police?”
Before The Da Vinci Code, there was Broken Sword. It may not be particularly revolutionary in its puzzle design, but it presents itself so well that you won't care. The music, the visuals, the voice acting and script all come together to create a game that borrows the best elements of cinema without sacrificing player agency - no mean feat in the mid-nineties.
“And that was BEFORE football!”
30) The Blackwell Series
The Blackwell Legacy gameplay video
Rosangela Blackwell discovers that she is a medium, bearing the grave responsibility of helping ghosts stuck in the real world to move on with their afterlives. With the help of her ghost partner Joey Mallone, Rosa investigates a series of mysteries.
A legacy of mansplaining.
The premise of the Blackwell Series - a detective with a ghost for a partner - is already enough to get most of us intrigued. Even better, then, that as gaming experiences this series has it all: interesting characters, involving mysteries, atmospheric graphics, and nifty puzzles.
“I said, that sweater doesn’t go with your hair.”
29) Discworld Noir
Discworld Noir gameplay video
While investigating a murder, the Discworld’s first-ever private investigator Lewton becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue, mayhem and apocalyptic horror.
“I’d prayed to them for a higher-resolution adventure.”
That this marriage of noir and Lovecraftian horror manages to preserve Terry Pratchett's beloved sense of humor without jarring is a minor miracle. So it's even more astonishing that the game itself is excellent - it may not be big on challenge, but the story is twisty-turny pulp at its best.
“My jovial attitude failed to impress them.”
28) Dream Chronicles
Dream Chronicles gameplay video
A sleeping spell has ensorcelled the town of Wish. Faye, the only one to survive the spell, must find her husband and learn how to break the spell. The lives of everyone she has ever known are at stake.
Dream Chronicles incorporates elements of hidden object games to create a distinctive gameplay experience that never gets samey. Even better, its story has real charm and the artwork is lovely to look at.
“So everyone’s asleep…? Time to get rich!”
Sanitarium gameplay video
A man finds himself in a sanitarium with no memory of his past. As he uncovers what he has forgotten, he is transported to otherworldly realms that may or may not be creations of his own mind.
Cognitive behavioral therapy?
Sanitarium's isometric gameplay already distinguishes it a great deal from the competition, but it's the unnerving atmosphere and unreliable narrator that make this a real delight to play - if, like me, you enjoy being thoroughly creeped out.
…yep. Got nothing for this one.
26) Maniac Mansion
Maniac Mansion gameplay video
Driven by an alien force, mad scientist Dr. Fred Edison kidnaps outsiders to steal their brains for experiments in his family mansion. Dave Miller and two of his friends must brave the mansion to recover his girlfriend Sandy - but the mansion’s inhabitants won’t part with her easily…
The first video game to feature “new kid” as a verb.
What Maniac Mansion lacks in visual dazzle it more than makes up for in its humor and vibrant characters. One of the earliest entries in the genre, it still makes for good entertainment today.
25) Broken Age
Broken Age gameplay video
Vella is a village girl in a barren land. Shay is a lone passenger on a spacecraft. Their worlds could not be more different - and yet they are on a collision course…
“I SOLEMNLY ACCEPT THIS MISSION, THOUGH IT MAY COST ME MY LIFE.”
If Tim Schafer's return to the point-and-click genre doesn't quite match the best of his LuxasArts days, we can still appreciate Broken Age's distinctive worldbuilding, non-linear storytelling and emotional depth.
“Make like a tree and…y’know, I didn’t realize how offensive that joke was until now.”
Syberia gameplay video
A lawyer sent to oversee the takeover of a French toy factory embarks on a trip across Europe to find the factory’s missing owner. On the way, she learns about the myth of Syberia, a land where the ancestors of humanity tamed ancient mammoths.
Fun fact: they later installed padding on the horns after jovial, skipping children kept accidentally goring themselves.
Syberia is a gorgeous steampunk tale filled with larger-than-life characters. Developers were still getting the hang of 3D graphics in the early 2000s, but with some excellent writing and visual design you'll feel right at home playing it today.
“This seems an appropriately jaunty tomb to desecrate.”
Botanicula gameplay video
Five plant creatures with different powers band together to save their home tree from an infestation of evil parasites.
Also known as Macro Lens: The Game.
Amanita Design's trademark weirdness rides again! Botanicula is bursting with atmosphere and personality and tells a charming tale without uttering a single word.
…and also known as Digestive Tract: The Game.
22) Beneath A Steel Sky
Beneath A Steel Sky gameplay video
In the aftermath of apocalyptic war, an economic struggle between two factions threatens to consume a bastion of human civilization - unless orphaned engineer Robert Foster and his robot companion Joey find a way to put things right.
“The protagonist. Who are you?”
In a time when post-apocalyptic narratives seem to increasingly fetishize the destruction and despair inherent to the setting, Beneath a Steel Sky seems positively outlandish for its touches of humor. But the result is a game that humanizes its setting and characters.
“Sorry, my lightsaber’s on the fritz.”
Riven gameplay video
A long time ago, Atrus trapped his malevolent father Gehn on a dying world. But by trickery Gehn has captured Atrus’s wife Catherine, and threatens to take her with him. Only you can find a way to rescue Catherine from the world of Riven.
The trick is to get the huts to un-pucker their mouths.
Riven took the already-excellent design of Myst and polished it to perfection with an expanded setting and a serious visual upgrade. Providing excellent puzzles alongside the joy of exploration, Riven is generally considered to be the best game in the Myst series.
A little fanservice for all you symmetry fans out there.
20) The Silent Age
The Silent Age gameplay video
Ex-military janitor Joe witnesses a shocking omen from the future. As he struggles to understand what is happening, he will become involved in a time-traveling plot upon which hinges the fate of humanity itself.
“The future depends on you hanging your laundry!”
A satisfying time-travel narrative is notoriously difficult to pull off, but The Silent Age does it better than most, with its meticulous plotting, marvelous art style and engaging characters.
Hint: use the dustpan to sweep the government conspiracy under the rug.
19) The Chzo Mythos
5 Days A Stranger gameplay video
He watches across the years, planning, waiting. Some of his servants are humans, others…once human. You may yet unravel the ancient conspiracy of which Chzo is the malevolent, beating heart. But take care when walking the divide between centuries…or you will truly know the King.
The Slenderman before Slenderman.
Yahtzee has no hesitation in criticizing his work on these games, but he doesn't give himself enough credit. The Chzo Mythos is a centuries-spanning saga of pain, isolation and mind-bending horror that stuck with me long after I played through it. Very few horror games have the ability to actually scare players. This is one of those few.
“Oh, this place is so getting a negative review on TripAdvisor.”
Machinarium gameplay video
After rescuing himself from the scrap-heap, plucky robot Josef discovers a plot by three nefarious criminal robots to blow up a tower in the city. He must foil them back and rescue his girlfriend Berta before it’s too late!
Hint: the solution is to remove the motion blur.
This is worth your money for the art design alone: the surreal robot world of Machinarium is rusted and dusty and brown and broken down, but life and beauty thrive in its hidden cracks and corners. Little Josef's odyssey from the scrapheap to the heart of the city is a wordless thing of wonder.
Society is falling apart due to a dumb timekeeping system.
17) The Curse of Monkey Island
The Curse of Monkey Island gameplay video
Obstinately incapable of achieving fame and fortune after two games, Guybrush Threepwood finds himself racing against time to rescue Elaine Marley, the love of his life, from the clutches of the zombie pirate LeChuck. And he is followed by one very important question: what really happened in Big Whoop?
“It’s more diamond now, than ring…”
The original dev team may not have worked on it, and it may be a little less haunting than its predecessors, but you could still do a lot worse than the third entry in the Monkey Island series. The game is dripping with personality: a cartoonish sense of comic timing, a zany setting, and the reliable goofy antics of the lead character, Guybrush Threepwood.
Fun fact: piracy was a great sector for diversity hires.
16) I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream gameplay video
The Cold War is gone. Civilization is gone. The future is gone. They have become obsolete with the birth of the ultimate supercomputer, AM. All that remains are six humans. Playthings for AM to torment until the end of time. Unless they can find a way out.
Hint: looking at the jackal is not the solution.
This voyage into madness is one of the most skin-crawling things to come out of the genre. The original short story was already a hideous portrait of human despair; the game forces you to become an active witness rather than a passive one. Battling AM's attempts to crush your soul is a mind-twisting effort.
Who does, my friend? Who does?
15) The Samorost Series
Samorost gameplay video
The Gnome may have no words, but with your help, he will become a hero nonetheless. A voyager to strange worlds, a rescuer of strange things, a battler of strange dangers.
Pretty sure you qualify as an ant for that anteater, buddy.
Eschewing verbal dialogue and puzzle clichés, the Samorost games craft surreal and fantastical environments that look like nothing else in games, and populate them with creatures and puzzles of fairytale logic. The results are nothing short of magical.
THE FIRES OF HELL! Aren’t they adorable?
14) Sam & Max Hit the Road
Sam & Max Hit the Road gameplay video
Happy-go-lucky anthropomorphic dog detective Sam and his violent anthropomorphic rabbit partner Max are charged with investigating strange goings-on at a nearby carnival. Their sleuthing will take them on a terrifying adventure of inter-species love, villainous country western singers, and a spell requiring hair restoration tonic.
How about we throw this whole *world* in the Hall of Oddities?
This adaptation of a comic book is buoyed by witty dialogue, quality voice acting and an all-round mastery of goofy charm.
He’s going to be disappointed.
13) Grim Fandango
Grim Fandango gameplay video
In the afterlife, the dead have to earn their way to paradise. Stuck in a dead-end job, skeletal travel agent Manny Calavera is determined to find a way to the Land of Eternal Rest, no matter what the cost.
Manny Calavera plays it cool.
LucasArts's best works show a spark of creative abandon that is still ahead of its time. Case in point: Grim Fandango, a delightful marriage of Aztec mythology and film noir. Following protagonist Manny Calavera's journey to redemption in the afterlife is by turns a hilarious and charming experience.
“Is that…a corpse?” “I WONDERED where I’d left that…”
12) Full Throttle
Full Throttle gameplay video
As anti-grav technology renders combustion engines obsolete, a struggle breaks out over the destiny of the last true motorcycle manufacturer left in the United States.
One of the first portrayals of a leather daddy in mainstream video games?
Another display of LucasArts's wild creativity at its height, Full Throttle mixes biker gangs, a futuristic setting, and a tale of corporate espionage to create an inimitable story.
This guy gets it.
11) Gemini Rue
Gemini Rue gameplay video
An interstellar war has left the Gemini System in the thrall of organized crime. But that’s none of Azriel Odin’s business - he may be an assassin, but all he’s looking for is his missing brother.
“Like it? Here’s another! *grunt*”
Gemini Rue's pixel art scheme gives it a decidedly old-school feel, but don't mistake that for creative laziness. This is an excellent sci-fi yarn exploring themes of identity by way of a crime story in deep space.
There’s an exclamation mark in there, can’t you read?
10) The Secret of Monkey Island
The Secret of Monkey Island gameplay video
Guybrush Threepwood wants to be a pirate. To start with, he has a puffy shirt and the ability to hold his breath underwater for ten minutes. But he’ll need a lot more than that to realize his dream - and to take on the sinister ghost pirate LeChuck, who haunts the seas…
Plot hole: how does the grog not dissolve the drinks machine? LAZY WRITING, that’s how.
The Secret of Monkey Island takes joy from tossing you into a thoroughly goofy and anachronistic world that looks less like the historical Caribbean and more like something a bunch of kids would make up on a playdate. But thanks to some sharp writing and a relatable protagonist to keep things grounded, you'll find the game's humor hasn't dated at all - and its moments of warmth and heart are surprisingly disarming.
Even if I never really figured out what the secret of Monkey Island was.
“The collar bone’s connected to the…neck bone…”
9) Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge gameplay video
Having failed to find much renown after defeating LeChuck, Guybrush Threepwood has set his sights on an even greater achievement - the recovery of a legendary treasure known only as Big Whoop. But in his youthful hubris, Guybrush inadvertently returns his old nemesis to (un)life. LeChuck also desires the secret of Big Whoop…and now he is out for vengeance.
“It all started when a remastered edition was announced…”
MI2 takes everything that made its predecessor great and runs with it, giving us greater scope, better visuals, and a less linear, more exploration-driven experience. And in addition to the humor being on top form, the story also expands the more menacing undercurrents of the first game. I'm not ashamed to say that being chased across corridors by LeChuck made my hair stand up on end as a kid.
Peak capitalism: an island with nothing to do but spit competitively.
8) Blade Runner
Blade Runner gameplay video
Detective Ray McCoy is tasked with hunting down a group of rogue “replicants”, genetically-engineered slaves with superhuman strength and intelligence. But this simple hunt will lead McCoy to question the foundations of the society he lives in - as well as his own sanity.
Fun fact: this level of visual quality was indistinguishable from films of the time.
Blade Runner's game adaptation preserves the grimy, glittering mood of the film while telling a original story that is compelling in its own right. The plot incorporates elements of randomness that keep the game spontaneous after scores of playthroughs - maybe it gave playtesters a headache, but it was stunningly ambitious for its time and it still impresses today.
“What shade of paint did you use?” “Depression Blue.”
7) The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead gameplay video
As a zombie plague overwhelms the world, Georgia convict Lee Everett escapes imprisonment and finds himself burdened with a new chance at life. But the new world is not as forgiving as the old - and the choices Lee makes on the road to survival may drag him back to hell…
The most joyous moment in the game.
In many ways superior to the television series from which it spun off, Telltale's The Walking Dead went the extra mile to achieve the emotional depth and visual dynamism of a television episode. Engaging cinematography, conversations that flow, and a cast of characters with depth and dynamism make for an enthralling exercise in situational judgment.
“And you shoot Old Yeller for me too, y’hear?”
6) Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis gameplay video
As the Nazis close in on the fabled city of Atlantis, whose power they intend to use to become invincible, it’s up to Indiana Jones to get there first and save the civilized world. But not without a couple of misadventures along the way!
Real archaeologists get Nazis to do their digging for them.
The Fate of Atlantis doesn't have much in the way of traditional Indy fight sequences, but it more than makes up for it in other areas. The game really does give you the feeling of being Indiana Jones - not Indiana Jones the super-athletic action hero, but Indiana Jones the puzzler, the thinker, the historical detective with a cutting remark on his lips. The story has all the classic elements begging for a film adaptation - exotic locations, mystical artifacts, repulsive villains, and a world-spanning adventure.
I don’t KNOW, Indiana JONES!
5) The Last Express
The Last Express gameplay video
In 1914, an American doctor on the run boards the Orient Express. But instead of getting him out of trouble, the trip will entangle him in a web of intrigue. Everyone on the Orient Express has a secret. Everyone on the Orient Express has a goal. And they will do what is necessary to achieve their ends…
“It’s not what it looks like! He, uh…swooned with desire for me.”
Lots of point-and-click adventures tend to string players along a fairly linear path of fitting different types of keys to different types of locks. The Last Express opts for player choice, creating a marvelously non-linear and replayable experience that still retains depth and the ability to surprise.
“Let’s make it interesting. I’ll play for that grey arrow on your armrest.”
4) Kentucky Route Zero
Kentucky Route Zero gameplay video
Antique delivery man Conway travels Kentucky on a final trip that will bend the laws of space, time, and the road.
“Excuse me, ma’am, could you help? I appear to have turned into a silhouette.”
Maybe it's premature to put Kentucky Route Zero so high up on the list, given that the fifth part is yet to be released. But even on those terms this game is a masterpiece. The art oozes atmosphere, the storytelling is layered and literate and the pervasive feeling of mystery will grab you and never let go.
I don’t know what “Diesel Liquor Coffee Snacks” are, but I’m sure they’ll perk me right up.
3) The Longest Journey
The Longest Journey gameplay video
The world of magic and the world of technology live side by side, preserved in an eternal Balance. When the Balance is threatened, the universes’ only hope is art student April Ryan and her mysterious ability to “Shift” between worlds.
Fun fact: this set was re-used from an old Final Fantasy game.
Point-and-click adventure games are often limited in the scope of the stories they can tell - sometimes by file size constraints, sometimes by budgets. But no game manages to squeeze a story of epic scope into a few rooms quite like The Longest Journey, which tells a dizzying tale of intertwined parallel universes that somehow also manages to pull off intriguing characters and minutely detailed worldbuilding.
“It’s easy to be a fisherman when you don’t have terrible posture.”
2) Papers, Please
Papers, Please gameplay video
A lone border official at the gates of Arzstotzka must check the documents of people coming into his country. The slightest inconsistency - an expired passport, an incorrectly-stamped visa, an item of contraband - means denial of entry. Failure could mean going cold, or hungry, or without medicine…or it could mean the collapse of society itself as saboteurs and terrorists scheme to destroy Arzstotzka from within.
“I thought you’d be taller.”
As a memory game, Papers, Please is pretty unforgiving - and that's the point. The game's masterstroke is to use brutal gameplay to trick you into also experiencing a story of crushing despair under an autocratic regime, where the choices you are given have real moral weight. Top it off with a distinctly Eastern European flavor not often seen in video games and you have something very, very special.
“REASON FOR DENIAL: JUST LOOK AT HIM”
1) Day of the Tentacle
Day of the Tentacle gameplay video
A nerd, a medical student and a roadie walk into a family motel and end up fighting a super-intelligent purple tentacle that wants to enslave humanity. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
A science geek’s nightmare: sub-par structural engineering.
It's over twenty years old and large enough to fit on a floppy disk, but the sequel to Maniac Mansion is still the gold standard for the point-and-click genre. A dynamic animation style borrowing the best from cartoons, a labyrinth of puzzles woven into a mind-bending time travel plot, and hilarious writing that reflects LucasArts at the peak of its talent make for a wildly creative adventure.
Note the heart transplant discount coupon in the top right.
It was only a few years ago that point-and-click games seemed to be a dead genre - mired in cliche, devoid of new ideas, barren of actual gameplay. But scratch the surface and you’ll find a wealth of experiences beneath: creativity, humor, depth and delight.
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