The adventure genre might not be as popular as it once was, but fans got a pretty decent helping of good, and even great games in 2016. We had atmospheric walking simulators, returning classics and even a few good old fashioned point and click titles. However, there were a handful of games that really stood out, be it due to their subject matter, style or just overall awesomeness.
Here are our picks for the best adventure games of 2016.
Batman: The Telltale Series
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Android, iOS
Giving Telltale Games, a company whose name became synonymous with the revival of the Adventure genre, the license to create a Batman game can only yield interesting results. Batman: The Telltale Series does not disappoint. With a strong emphasis on both the Caped Crusader and his alter ego Bruce Wayne, Batman delivers an intriguing story that actually manages to add something new to the veteran franchise. We especially like the fact you can choose to approach a situation as either Bruce or Batman. Not only does it create two different scenarios to experience, it also lets you play the way you prefer. There are also more than a few refreshing gameplay mechanics that help rejuvenate Telltale’s formula, which was getting a little stale by now.
Developer: Red Thread Games
Publisher: Red Thread Games
Even though the first episode, or “book” as the game calls them, came out in 2014, Dreamfall Chapter was only concluded earlier this year, so I’m putting it on the list. Also, I’m a huge fan of both The Longest Journey series, so there’s no way I’m missing an opportunity to talk about it. Dreamfall Chapter weaves an epic tale across two worlds, multiple characters, and at least a couple of dimensions. It forgoes the previous game’s clunky controls and combat is favor of clever puzzles, new and memorable characters, and a story that will leave fans of the series satisfied. This is the final time you’ll get to visit both Stark and Arcadia (and all the realms in between), and now that Dreamfall Chapters has been announced for consoles, there’s really no excuse not to cross the Divide one last time.
Developer: Campo Santo
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Some might call Firewatch a “walking simulator”, and we guess they have a point since you do a lot of hiking through the Wyoming wilderness. However, Firewatch isn’t just about enjoying a beautiful depiction of the Shoshone National Forest – it’s about loneliness and personal relationships, all with a healthy dose of mystery and government conspiracy. The game hit me hard right from the start, and continued strong from there, knowing exactly when to let go and let me enjoy a serene stroll down a mountain, when to give me a good scare and when to tug on my heartstrings. With a game such as Firewatch as their debut title, developers Campo Santo has a promising future ahead of them, and I’m curious to see what other story they have to tell.
Developer: Clifftop Games
Publisher: Raw Fury
Filling in the “classic point-and-click title” slot is Kathy Rain, a retro adventure game that sends you right back to the days when adventure games were all the rage. Its pixelated graphics, emphasis on dialogue and investigation, and intuitive puzzles are all wrapped up in an interesting story that will keep you digging deeper and deeper into the mystery it presents. The titular character can be a bit annoying with her edgy 90’s routine at first, but once the game really starts going, you discover there an actual character underneath the leather jacket and heavy makeup. It gives you a sense of connection as you learn more about Kathy’s childhood and family, and uncover more and more about what exactly is going on in her hometown.
Developer: Night School Studio
Publisher: Night School Studio
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Oxenfree doesn’t have complicated puzzles or even an inventory system. Instead, it offers a part supernatural horror, part coming-of-age story filled with “wonder, danger and humor” (according to developer Night School Studio’s website). All we can say is that they nailed it. The story is the main reason to play Oxenfree, and it more than makes up for the seemingly slim gameplay. The dialogue between protagonist Alex and her friends carries the game forward effortlessly, and reveals the deep narrative behind the game’s minimalistic art style. The visuals somehow manage to be relaxing and ominous at the same time, yet oddly charming. For better or worse, Oxenfree is not your average adventure game, and it deserves to be played.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.