The best point-and-click adventure games of all time
Point-and-click adventures were once the ruling class of video games. At a time when PC gaming was at its peak, these adventures entertained a whole generation of children. While advancements in technology and the move to more complex games resulted in the rapid elimination of the point-and-click genre, it still left us with some incredible stories. Of The secret of monkey island To Grim Fandango, many of these games remain iconic and important parts of the game’s history.
But that doesn’t mean the genre is entirely dead. While many of the best point-and-click games were born in the 1990s, there is also an impressive array of modern indies helping to keep the genre alive. There are so lots of great adventures there, and they rarely get the love they deserve.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best point-and-click adventure games and count the best titles in the genre. If you’re looking for your next big adventure or just something nostalgic to dive into, you can’t skip these games.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
The secret of monkey island
The secret of monkey island arguably created the modern Point & Click genre. It was a game that pioneered dense (and obscure) enigma, quick wit, and great adventure, all in a stylish package. And while it wasn’t the first game created by LucasArts, it was one who launched their profile and popularity among the general public. With clever writing and excellent mechanics, this was a game that was often copied but rarely reproduced.
Monkey island is self-referential and very silly, but still a lot of fun. There are puzzles that will challenge even the toughest adults, but throughout the game remains a total delight.
The Dark Side Detective
The Dark Side Detective is probably one of the lesser-known games on this list – and it’s a massive too bad because the game is absolutely amazing. If you’ve never played it, here’s what you need to know: In the game, you play as a detective solving a variety of supernatural mysteries. This includes destroying ritual summons and mapping ghostly stations, but it also involves befriending bodybuilding werewolves who speak like Ric Flair and âMacho Manâ Randy Savage, among other quirks.
It’s a smart, well-written little game, and one of the best modern point-and-click adventures. Groping in the dark, the rest of the game is just as good.
Grim Fandango is a video game epic that begins in the Land of the Dead and ends on a train to Heaven. The journey between the two is filled with incredible moments, including stops in seedy underworld cities and gang-controlled territories. At the heart of this story is Manny, a Grim Reaper in big trouble – but it’s the entire cast that makes this game black.
As you travel through the Underworld and attempt to save a woman from a gruesome fate, Manny’s story unfolds in a tragic and beautiful way. What follows is a bold black story of espionage and deception as the Underworld begins to unravel. It’s a fantastic story, and currently unmatched in games.
Anthropodes Park is a modern love letter to Point & Click games, and there’s a reason its release was followed by such a strong kerfuffle. The game is truly spectacular and brings back so much of what made the genre great in the first place. Memorable characters, fantastic puzzles and a beautiful story set Anthropodes Park in the same breath as the best Point & Click classics of yesteryear.
There are nuances of X files, but also THIS and Twin peaks, making the whole trip a brilliant, pop culture filled adventure. If you want to feel like a kid again, Anthropodes Park is the Point & Click adventure you want to grab.
Under a sky of steel
Under a sky of steel is a great cyberpunk adventure through the ruins of a dying city. It is also one of the few games to be set in Australia, and it explores a Mad Max– post-apocalyptic landscape style. But even though it tells a story of corruption and strained political alliances, Under a sky of steel is a story that balances lively humor with more beautiful, calmer moments.
It truly is a mind-blowing game, and one that remains poignant and important in the modern age. While it’s often overlooked as one of the best point-and-clicks, it absolutely deserves all the attention it gets.
Dark Discworld is a rare police adventure where you to feel as if you were doing a real detection. But beyond the game’s great Point & Click puzzles, it’s the ridiculousness of the title that makes it such a fun time. There are talking dogs, guilty parrots, cultists and werewolves in this dark – but it is Disc world for you. If you want to let off steam, this is the game for you.
While not based on any particular novel in the franchise, it draws on the show’s sense of humor and absurdity. This is what makes Dark Discworld so special and memorable. Unlike the other games on this list, it has yet to receive a re-release, so you’ll have to seek help from the internet to rediscover this one.
The catalog of gigantic games
Humongous Entertainment is responsible for a gigantic catalog of Point & Click adventures, each more emblematic than the next. If you grew up playing PC games, chances are you spent some time with it. Spy Fox, Pajamas Sam, Freddi Fish Where Putt putt. They all deserve a spot on this list as much as LucasArts’ next big adventure. Although they were designed for kids, these titles were just as fun, clever, and interesting as their Point & Click predecessors.
These games did not have the difficulty of titles like Monkey island Where Manic mansion but as a child the balance was right. If you dive into these games in modern times, they are still an amazing time.
It’s hard to imagine a game like ToonStruck going out today, mainly because it sounds too crazy to work. Plunging a live-action Christopher Lloyd into a cartoon world isn’t exactly an original idea (he played the infamous Judge Doom in Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit? after all) but ToonStruck managed to get away with it dramatically. Sure, it looks a bit janky by today’s standards, but this game and its concept is still amazing.
ToonStruck is packed with an all-star voice cast, a hearty number of Point & Click puzzles, and a Great plot that involves a cartoon animator sucked into his own worlds. If you are looking for a wild adventure and have never checked out ToonStruck, now is the time to take the plunge. While it was ridiculously difficult to hang on for a little while, a release on GOG means the game will live on in our hearts forever.
Full throttle is another elegant adventure from LucasArts that builds on the classic Point & Click formula. Here, players took on the role of Ben, a motorcyclist caught in the middle of a power war over the death of the motorcycle manufacturing industry in the United States. But that’s not really about it. Instead, it’s a story of love and loyalty, and how absolute power can corrupt. Like the other titles on the list, Full throttle recently received a remaster to polish up the visuals – but arguably, the game didn’t really need it.
Even today, it holds. Full throttle is a beautiful game, and it tells an important story about capitalism and gang warfare. Plus, Mark Hamill voices the main villain, so you know you’re going to have a good time. It’s just one of the reasons why Full throttle is such a lasting success.
Hey look, this is the game where you can put a hamster in the microwave and blow it up! But if that’s all you know Manic mansion, you miss a lot of fun. The current plot is a bit cthulian: you play as Dave, who tries to save his girlfriend from a mad scientist controlled by a sentient meteor. So yes, that’s all a bit Color out of space, but his humor and his heart make the game a real gem.
If you’re looking for a silly horror adventure where you can wreak havoc in a spooky mansion and do (essentially) whatever you want, Manic mansion has you covered. Sadly, there’s no remaster for this gem yet, but if you buy its sequel, Tentacle Day remastered, you will have access to the original (slightly improved) version of this game.
Myst is perhaps the most iconic game in this franchise, but it is Torn up that really deserves attention. This suite built on all that is awesome Myst and extended over the strange fantasy world of the game. Torn up, players are tasked with saving a family from their father’s destructive reign. But what actually takes place is a magnificent first-person adventure through beautiful surreal landscapes and a world filled with intricate puzzles.
It’s a great experience, backed up by a great soundtrack and great visuals that pushed the boundaries of what video games could be in the 1990s. While we often talk about the whole series, at point that it is easy to consider them overdone, Torn up is a game worthy of this praise. If you watch any of the games in the series, make it this one.
Sam & Max: Hit the road
When creating a list like this, it is always important to focus on balance. But really, every entry could have been a LucasArts game. The company essentially pioneered the genre in the 1990s and paved the way for a new generation of Point & Click adventures. The Sam and Max series is just another in a long line of success from LucasArts, and when you play Take the road, you will understand why the pair have enjoyed such popularity over the past few decades.
The joke between Sam and Max really drives the pair’s wacky adventures through Take the road, but when you combine that with clever puzzles, gorgeous pixel-rich backdrops, and a truly fun story, you’ve got a recipe for iconic success. Sam and Max stuck around for a very long time and the franchise earned its place in the Point & Click Hall of Fame.
Did we miss your favorite point-and-click adventure? Do you have any memories of the time that you would like to share? Access the comments below and share them with your fellow Kotaku Australia readers.