The Best Detective Games Ever Made

best detective games
Investigate crimes and outsmart suspects

The Best Detective Games Ever Made

Welcome back! Today we are going to focus on the BEST detective games ever made! While there are many well-known detective games, these stood out the most for their creativity and overall gameplay experience.

Let’s get started!

1. Lamplight City

Lamplight City gameplay 

Miles Fordham and his partner, Bill Leger, work as detectives in Lamplight City. While working one night, Leger is shoved from a building, leading to his death. Miles vows to uncover the suspect who killed his partner and begins his journey to discovering the man/woman responsible.

Investigation of Gripsholm Taxidermy. Even the name is creepy!

Miles investigating a potential suspect--what could be his crimes?

2. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary gameplay

A failing novelist and bookstore owner, Gabriel Knight, seeks to uncover the mysteries of voodoo in his New Orleans town. Mysterious murders arise involving voodoo, leaving Gabriel to investigate and uncover the truth behind what is happening in his city.

Our main character, Gabriel Knight, investigating this mysterious death. Who did this? Why would someone want this man dead?

Be careful, Gabriel, everyone is a suspect. What secrets is this house harboring? 

3. Puzzle Agent

Puzzle Agent gameplay

After an eraser factory suddenly stops production and goes silent, Nelson Tethers, an employee from the FBI’s Department of Puzzle Research, is sent to investigate. Every attempt at contacting the factory is met with odd puzzle responses, which Nelson must decode.

It's that creepy guy from earlier; I wonder what trickery he is planning.

The sadness and concern on Nelson's face. What is he seeing? What has he found?!

4. Disco Elysium (new release)

Disco Elysium gameplay

A detective who suffers from alcohol-induced amnesia is tasked with solving murder cases and determining the justice applied to those accused. In this city of Revachol, investigations of murder cases are joint, and this detective has the unique skills necessary to solve them.

Curious—a dead man hangs from what appears to be a tree, but one of the characters in the image seems unbothered. Could they be involved?

Beautiful colors and textures make this game so mystical and alluring. The level of detail in the reflection of light on the walls and tiles allows the player to become immersed in this world.

5. The Darkside Detective

The Darkside Detective gameplay

Detective Francis McQueen is known for his interest in supernatural cases. When just an incident occurs, it’s only natural that he is selected to solve it. Twin Lakes City, the location in which he works, becomes darkened by evil forces, and only McQueen is up to the challenge to purify it.

Classic point-and-click adventure game with pixelated gameplay.

A creative take on pixelated games. Blurring the faces of the characters allows the player to develop their ideas on the physical characteristics of these NPCs.

6. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

After becoming the prime suspect in a theft case, Sherlock Holmes must work against the clock to clear his name of the charges placed against him. Only he knows that he is innocent, and he must determine who framed him and why. This journey will test Holmes in more ways than one and push him to the edge, but he must prevail, as his reputation and freedom are on the line.

Holmes has been expecting him. Is this the same man from the beginning of the game? Holmes seems to have changed somehow, more sinister. Or maybe he’s always been that way.

From the looks of it, this did not go over well—Is this Sherlocks doing? Play the game and find out!

7. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments gameplay

After multiple crimes are committed through London, Sherlock Holmes is hired to catch the culprit and determine said justice upon them. Holmes has full reign concerning the choices he makes and, ultimately, the fate of the accused. He will be tested in more ways than one and will be held accountable for the decisions he makes.

The detail within this game makes it easy to get swept away. Proof that even a five-year-old game can still be beautiful, but physicality is just one aspect—this game delivers gorgeous imagery, as well as a stunning plotline.

Smoking gun, and what appears to be a body. Could this be an alternative case ending if you don’t follow your moral compass? Play and find out!

8. Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper

Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper gameplay

The investigative genius of his time, Sherlock Holmes, is tasked with investigating multiple murders throughout London. It becomes clear that Jack the Ripper has a hand in the unforgivable acts committed against the victims. Sherlock must use all his talents to find the killer before its too late.

Though this game is ten years old, it still provides an excellent backstory and decent graphics for its time. Here we investigate the unfortunate death of this woman.

Dr. Watson is aiding Holmes in locating his Map. A typical request for our lead inspector, as he is known for being unorganized.

9. Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect gameplay

After waking up and realizing he is dead, detective Ronan O’Connor must solve the mystery surrounding his death before he is granted passage into the next life. As his investigations progress, so does the overwhelming evidence that something very wrong is happening in his town.

Solve the hardest case of them all—your death. Possess the minds of others and influence their thoughts or read their minds to find out the truth to your untimely death.

Colorful, intriguing, thrilling, and creative. Play the game to find out what secrets Salem is hiding.

10. Unforeseen Incidents

Unforeseen Incidents gameplay

A once peaceful town, Yelltown, becomes plagued by a dangerous virus that begins infecting its inhabitants. Strange people in yellow bodysuits begin “removing” the infected from the city, but their intentions are questionable. Town handyman Harper becomes involved after receiving a letter from a dying woman with one request, deliver it to Helliwell at all costs.

Harper discovered a woman sick with Yelltown fever. Should he abandon her? Should he help her? The choice is yours to make.

Harper and a mysterious woman investigating the disturbing blood trails inside this lab.

11. The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us gameplay

In the hidden world of fairy tales lives a place called Fabletown, of which the inhabitants are living, breathing fairy tales. Bigby Wolf is the sheriff of this mysterious town and seeks to protect it from the “real” world. Trouble arises when murders begin occurring in Fabletown. Bigby and his partner, Snow White, are sent on a long and dangerous path to figure out why.

With a storyline that revolves around how you play, what choices will you make?

With such a diverse and unique cast of characters and environments, this game is sure to give you all the thrills.

12. A Detective's Novel

A Detective's Novel gameplay

Legendary detective Knox is a prodigy in his time, proving his skills with the immense amount of solved cases under his belt. He is sent to investigate the untimely death of a successful businessman, William Goldberg, where he suspects foul play. Knox will have to determine the cause of death and whether this is, indeed, a homicide.  

Detective Know (left) reminds me much of L from Death Note. Clark (right) functions as Knox’s assistant and handler.

This game reminds of anime characters. The long hair, the snarky attitudes, the monologues, it all fits an anime-Esque game without the label.

 

13. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy gameplay

The most well-known attorney of them all, Phoenix Wright, will have to fight for his client’s innocence and use his deductive skills to prove it. Through trickery and misleading statements, Phoenix must evaluate everything that is said and how it is suggested to tear apart the testimonies that threaten his clients.

 

Cute girls, sexual innuendos, hilarious reactions, beautiful graphics…-what’s not to love about this game!

 

Hilarious moments like this make the game fantastic and keep the player going for more moments of satisfaction when you finally get the truth.

14. Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn gameplay

After the disturbing news of an East India Company ship’s crew mysteriously disappeared, an agent of the shipping company is hired to find out why. The search is on, and not long after investigation of the ship has begun, it becomes clear this is no ordinary ship—it’s a ghost ship.

 

What was his/her role aboard this ghost ship? I wonder what memories he has to tell!

 

The art style and design give this game a creepy and uneasy feel, clearly by design (no pun intended). The color shading and shadows provide a lonely and horror-genre feeling, giving off eerie vibes.

15. Gemini Rue

Gemini Rue gameplay

Once an assassin turned law-enforcer, Azriel Odin works to uncover any information about his brother, Daniel. Aided by his friend Kane, search a planet called Barracus, for any leads regarding Daniel. Azriel seeks the aid of his old employer when he was an assassin but digs himself deeper into a hole he never knew was there.

Uncover the truth behind what dark secrets this lab holds.

A good deal gone bad? An old rival discovered? Find out the true nature of this meeting.

16. Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You 

Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You gameplay

In the country called Nation, national security is everything. State operatives work to uncover any security threats by monitoring persons of interest by live-population scanning, monitoring backgrounds and criminal records, and tracking each suspicious person's every move.

Keep tabs, watch their social life, and investigate their threat level for national security.

Scan people to find any security threats or criminal history.

>Observer_

>Observer_ gameplay

Observer Daniel Lazarski receives a call from his estranged son, Adam, leading him to find out the truth behind the mysterious phone call. He must hack the minds of others for information, observer biological evidence, and scan for devices to uncover the truth behind Adam’s phone call.

Beautiful graphics, a captivating storyline, fantastic character designs, and intricate character personalities make this game great.

Realistic graphics allow for deeper investment in the game and overall gaming experience.

18. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter gameplay.

Paranormal investigator Paul Prospero is a well-known investigator who receives an inspiring letter from a 12-year old fan, Ethan Carter. Inspired by the message, Prospero travels to Ethan’s hometown but shortly discovers the boy has gone missing. He will have to uncover the unsettling truths of Red Creek Valley to reveal the mystery behind the vanishing of Ethan Carter.

This image beautifully describes the hidden death that no one can see but is always there underneath everything that we perceive.

Beware of the secrets that you’ll find as you slowly uncover the truth behind Ethan Carter’s disappearance.

19. The Painscreek Killings

The Painscreek Killings gameplay

So, who killed Vivian Roberts? Everyone in the town of Painscreek seems uninterested in finding out. The secrets that are being concealed here were never meant to be uncovered. Now that they have been—what will happen to our investigator?

Painscreek Cemetery—Just the look of it gives me the creeps. Imagine exploring this place at night. I wonder what horrors await.

Imagine walking this hallway alone. What noises will you hear? What truths will you uncover? Will you be able to handle it?

 20. Contradiction—Spot the Liar!

Contradiction—Spot the Liar! Gameplay

Detective Inspector Frederick Jenks investigates the apparent suicide of Kate Vine. As the investigation progresses, things may not be what they seem. Witnesses might not be as innocent as once thought, and Detective Jenks must determine who is lying and who is telling the truth.  

 

A general idea of what to expect during the game. Make sure to keep track of your suspect’s facial expressions and physical cues. Notes can only help so much.

With facial expressions like this, how could you not enjoy this game?

21. Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure

Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure gameplay

Awakening to a disoriented state, Tex Murphy has no memory of the past seven years of his life. After consciousness, Tex notices strange markings and signs of violence spread across his body, with no memory of their origin. Remembering his long lost love Chelsee, he realizes that his beloved is missing and embarks on a journey to find her.

 

How do you feel about live-action games? Are you able to become as invested in these characters as you are with animated ones?

An example of a live-action shot with game-like interaction. Your choices on the circular dial will choose how the scene unfolds.

22. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair gameplay

A group of high school students are stranded on a tropical island by their school’s headmaster. It becomes clear over time that this will not be something they can wait out. To leave the island, a student must kill one of their peers and remain unidentified during the trials that follow.

Take notice of each character’s daily habits and the times they engage in them. This kind of information could prove to be useful when identifying who the killer is.

She might be the most immediate thing you notice, but is there anything else in the picture you think should be of importance? If there was to be a crime here, what would you take notice of?

23. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Danganronpa 3: Killing Harmony gameplay

 Abducted and transported to the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles, high school student Kaede Akamatsu realizes this is no ordinary school. She meets 15 other students who have been abducted against their will. Things take a turn for the worst when they are advised the only way to escape is to kill another student and not be voted guilty during the trials.

 

Learn what makes each character tick, learn their habits, and be aware of their body language. They may say one thing, but their body could mean something different.

If you vote correctly, only the guilty are punished, but if you accuse the wrong person, consequences occur.

24. Bohemian Killing

Bohemian Killing gameplay

While standing trial for a brutal murder, Alfred Ethon is accused of the untimely death of a young maid working for a wealthy lord. All the evidence points to Ethon, but he may be innocent. Only the facts can save this man’s life, but are they right?

 

Your character sits behind bars on the left side of the screen, witnessing the trial unfold with every gruesome detail.

The crime for which you have been accused. Did you kill her? The evidence is overwhelming; how you choose to proceed is your choice.

25. Agatha Christie—The ABC Murders

Agatha Christie The ABC Murders gameplay

Hercules Poirot, a famous private detective, is hired to investigate what is known as the ABC Murders. Taunted in a letter from the killer, Poirot will have to identify who the culprit is before they strike again.

Finding out the truth can be quite overwhelming, as we see above.

Make sure to keep an eye on the body language of those you’re investigating; it might provide valuable information later on.

What Makes Game Names Fun?

Creativity
Relatable ques
Design Style

Creativity-

The uniqueness of a name gives lots of pop and “oomph” to an all but unknown title. The more creative a name is, the more you draw in the players with visual promises of excitement and future well-spent game time.

Relatable ques-

These are things that most people, when heard, can immediately picture something such as Borderlands, or Elder Scrolls. These names provide vivid images of environments or items in our minds that quickly give an additional spark to the title.

Design Style-

Design style is one of the most critical factors for a video game title, in my own opinion. When a game has a captivating title design, it gives an idea of how the gameplay will be. For example, Borderlands using cel-shading on its title and the entire game which gives it a unique experience. Included in the title can be images or characters, which also provide a peak in interest to learn more about them.

On the contrary, a title can be dark, lonely, and simplistic but still give a lot of detail for us within a few words.

An example would be Dark Souls. Immediately we see a stylized text name that looks sad, lonely, and well, dark. It provides a gothic-like feel, which turns out to be very accurate with the content in-game.

Well, there you have it, guys. The Best Detective Games Ever Made.

What do you think? Are there any that should not have been included in this article? Are there any that I missed? Please let me know in the comments!

Until next time--happy hunting!

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A hobbit-loving, otakon-obsessed, video game uber-nerd who travels the realms of games to find all the sweet lewtz! Chest BOE, effect: -10 male intelligence, +5 to female intelligence
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dark Souls 3 (NG+4), Bioshock, Skyrim
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3
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