The year has been kind to fans of the adventure genre, especially with the release of Telltale Studios’ top notch title, The Walking Dead. It also saw the release of many newcomers, including the recently released Chaos on Deponia and Harvey’s New Eyes. We’ve reviewed the latter here.
Long regarded as ‘dead’ by naysayers—undoubtedly the same people who declare the death of PC gaming every year—adventure games remain alive and well, especially with the advent of portable gaming on the iPad. Many of the games developed for the Mac and PC also find their way onto the iPad because of how easy it is to translate the mouse clicking of an adventure game into a touchscreen interface.
In any case, we’ll only be focusing on the games bound for the PC, Mac and console in this particular article as they’re the platforms upon which only the best games are released—at least for now.
If you thought this year was full of great adventures, wait till you discover what 2013 has in store for you. Click on the next slide to begin!
10. Until Dawn
Whoever said that the horror genre was dead clearly wasn’t expecting Sony to announce Until Dawn at this year’s E3. This Move-enabled survival horror game allows players to make clever use of an in-game flashlight, navigating—and surviving—the night in a cabin in the woods that’s every bit as haunting as any horror movie you’ve ever seen. Except for the old Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels. Those weren’t actually scary. What is it? It’s a teen slasher horror film in the form of a videogame.
Platform: PC & PS3.
9. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee HD
The classic two-dimensional platform/adventure game Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee is getting an HD remake that’s more than just an upscaling of textures. Designed almost fromscratch in a new engine for an entirely new audience of gamers, with the original game as its blueprint. The game is “basically Abe's Oddysee being redone in a 3D physics engine as a 2D side-scrolling platformer,” according to its creator, Lorne Lanning. What is it? It’s the classic 2D platform/adventure game remade from the ground up.
Platform: PC & PS3
Contrast is a game set in a surreal 1920s, Vaudevillian dreamscape in which you can shift freely in and out of shadow—hence the name, Contrast. Charged with aiding a young girl named Didi, players will unravel the mysteries behind her troubled family and the dark secrets that must be exposed—to the light, as it were—to re-shape her future. Revolving around the theme of light and shadow, players will create shadow landscapes by manipulating light sources, and use their ability to shift into shadows to solve puzzles. What is it? It’s an adventure game with puzzles revolving around light and shadow.
Routine is a first person survival horror game set within an abandoned moon base. Not to be confused with the likes of Dead Space, the game is set around a 1980’s retro-futuristic vision of space exploration. A bit like Battlezone then, but without all the flying space tanks. You take on the role of an astronaut whose job is to explore a seeminglyabandoned moon base to discover what happened to its inhabitants, all of whom have disappeared rather mysteriously.What is it? A first-person survival horror game set in space.
6. Among the Sleep
Among the Sleep. It’s a name that makes your hair stand up just by reading it. It’s a surrealistic, first-person adventure featuring stealth, scares, and a whole lot of exploration. In other words, a bit like Amnesia, but set in a bizarre dreamworld instead of a haunted old castle. But that’s not the strangest part about the game. You experience the world through the body of a toddler. After being put to bed one night, mysterious things start to happen, and you’re placed in the most vulnerable position imaginable. What is it? A haunting, first-person survival horror game wherein you take on the role of a 2-year old.
5. Jane Jensen’s Moebius
Described as the spiritual sequel to the Gabriel Knight series, Moebius is the latest game from Jane Jensen. Its creator was responsible for the the golden age of adventure games, with titles like Gabriel Knight, King’s Quest VI, and many more classic Sierra adventures. Funded through Kickstarter, Moebius is described as a “metaphysical sci-fi thriller in the vein of Fringe.” I’ll let the rest of the description do the talking. Sounds interesting enough. This point-and-click adventure puts players into the role of one Malachi Rector, an investigative sort of person with a knack for the preternatural. Like Gabriel Knight before him, Rector must travel the world and investigate a series of events, documenting them throughout the game. What is it? Moebius is a point-and-click adventure game in the vein of Gabriel Knight, but with sci-fi instead of European folklore.
Platform: PC & Mac.
Tearaway is Media Molecule’s new project after LittleBigPlanet. It’s described as an adventure game (which is what it is) that’s currently in development for the PlayStation Vita, using almost all of the device’s features in some way. Players will be able to interact with the world simply by touching it. Inspired by papercraft, the game’s world and all of its environments and inhabitants are designed in the form of papercraft objects. With that in mind, you’ll be able to fold objects, crush your enemies, and “cut out” or reshape pieces of paper to affect the world. What is it? Tearaway is a papercraft-inspired adventure game offering more interactivity than almost any other game.
Platform: PS Vita.
3. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
The first Amnesia was a terrifying experience unlike any other. Offering more than just cheap scares and shock, playing the game will put you in a state of mind that is unlikely to ever leave you even long after you’ve finished the game. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but the point remains that Amnesia was a very scary game in more ways than one. The game’s sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, plans to offer even more in the way of psychological horror. Very little is known about the game beyond the statement that no machine for pigs was ever intended for a kind purpose. What is it? Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a first person adventure game from the creators of Amnesia.
Platform: PC & Mac.
2. Beyond: Two Souls
David Cage is nothing if not ambitious, as his past two games—Fahrenheit, and Heavy Rain—have proven. They’re complicated games with unusual designs that don’t always translate well in the execution, but no one could ever say that Cage hasn’t tried to do something different with video games as a medium for storytelling. The upcoming Beyond: Two Souls is expected to be every bit as unorthodox—and brave—as its predecessors. Featuring the likes of Ellen Page, players will follow the story of her character’s life as she lives through the events in the game. Cage says that we’ll be given reason to care for the character, not just because the game wants us to, but because she’ll be written as an actual person and not just a shell for the player. What is it? Beyond: Two Souls is an attempt to tell an unorthodox story through unorthodox means.
1. The Cave
The Cave is currently in development at Double Fine productions, from the maker of Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle, Ron Gilbert. The game is said to borrow concepts from the aforementioned games while offering many new twists on the genre. The story of The Cave is based on a magical talking cave with a labyrinth within it. Seven characters are drawn across time and space to interact with this strange place, each of whom believes they can learn something about who they are and what they might become. In each playthrough, the player is given to control three characters who shape the narrative of that particular session. What is it? It’s an interactive adventure game about discovery. Isn’t that enough?