Talking, puzzling, and exploring, together in harmony
Updated September 2, 2019: New entries added
The old point-and-click adventure genre fell into disuse and neglect following its early '90s golden period. Fans of the classic LucasArts adventures like Monkey Island were left to pine for a bygone age.
But the advent of smartphones and tablets, as well as a thriving indie game scene and online crowdfunding models, has seen the genre resurrected.
Not only resurrected, but often developed and spliced with other genres. There are some deeply interesting point-and-click adventure games out there that play with time and narrative conventions in bold new ways.
The following 25 games are all over the map in tone, setting, length and complexity. But they all take you on a rollicking good adventure.
Day of the Tentacle might be old, but that doesn't stop it from being excellent. Like a fine wine, it's only matured with age. This remastered version adds new hand-drawn art, remastered music and sound, and commentary from creator Tim Schafer.
A point-and-click puzzler with a deeply nostalgic LucasArts feel, Thimbleweed Park revels in its throw-back control system, retro visual style, complex narrative and hilarious dialogue. They do make 'em like they used to after all.
What if sci-fi met noir? Well, that's what Gemini Rue has to offer. It's a futuristic adventure featuring two separate main characters whose stories intertwine. If you like your adventures dark, gritty, and moody - go for Gemini Rue.
The Silent Age is an excellent indie adventure set in a dystopian future. You play as a janitor who discovers an item that allows him to travel in time. And he uses it to - you guessed it - save the world.
It might be a few years old now, but Machinarium is still one of the best point and clickers out there. Featuring an artful sense of character, storytelling, and world design, it remains one of the most appealing adventure games out there.
This deeply unsettling point-and-click adventure from Matt Gilgenbach deals with weighty themes like depression and mental illness in a suitably grim, unsettling way. It's a bit like playing through a nightmare.
You've never heard of Ghost Trick? Have you been lying in a haunted mansion with your hands over your eyes and ears for the last forever?! Well take those hands and put them on your iPad, as this twisted little puzzler is addictive as hell - and funny too!
This award-winning adventure is charming, concise, and refreshingly upbeat - especially if you've been playing a lot of the grimmer games on this list. Written entirely in rhyming poetry, you must guide milkmaid Ruth around the isolated Calf Ledge in 1920s Norway.
Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner brings us a bonkers murder mystery, set on a train where everything moves in real time. You'll have to be in the right place at the right time to catch the crook.
This twisted German adventure takes place in the hollow belly of an enormous planet, and stars Robert: an adorably clueless court musician who inadvertently ends up on course to save the land of Asposia.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars is regarded as one of the best point and click adventure games ever created - and the Director's Cut made it even better (well, aside from the iffier opening segment.) In no other game will you hear quite as much snark, fall in love with as many characters, or visit the number of countries on the globe as you do in the excellent Broken Sword.
Botanicula is a short and sweet adventure about a bunch of weird plant-like creatures who have to work together to save their tree home from a bunch of parasites. If you like Machinarium, you'll love this.
Set in a Scandinavian forest, Year Walk isn't quite like anything else you've ever played. With well-designed puzzles, a mysterious story and a vaguely unsettling atmosphere, Year Walk is one walk on the wild side.
Wadjet Eye knows what it's doing with this whole point-and-click malarkey. Technobabylon tells a ripping cyberpunk yarn, with elements of Minority Report, The Matrix and of course Bladerunner. Mix in some likeable characters and plenty of trial and error puzzling, and you're laughing.
Grim Fandango Remastered isn't the best remastering job on this list, and some of the logical leaps it demands are frustrating by modern standards. But with razor-sharp dialogue and a hugely imaginative world that mashes up film noir with Mexican folklore, it's impossible not to love all the same.
There's a lot of The Walking Dead (the game, that is) to Life Is Strange, but with a notable time-manipulation twist that allows you to change your meaningful decisions. Add in an involving teen-oriented story, and you have one of the most beloved games of recent years.
Point-and-click hero Tim Schafer got his fans to pay for the development of this one, and it's just about worth the Kickstarter cash. An old school adventure with a fluffy, painterly art style, a bucket load of gags, and puzzles that almost make sense if you squint.