The best adventure games on Android
Did you own or have access to a computer in the '90s? If so, you've probably flirted with a point-and-click adventure game at least once. Though hardly a ubiquitous delight, titles like Monkey Island, Loom, and Grim Fandango are fixtures in the annals of video gaming history. Even if you didn't enjoy their company terribly much, you knew who they were—kind of like Gangnam Style (except less annoying).
Sadly, fame is fleeting. As the years passed, interest in the genre dwindled and, for a while, people worried over its possible extinction. Thanks to the ingenuity and continued efforts of developers such as TellTale Games and Wadjet Eye Games, however, that fear is slowly starting to ebb. As shown in this recent piece on PCWorld, adventure games are making a comeback.
And while the best ones are still reserved for platforms other than Android (oh, Walking Dead, how could you deny us of your putrid pulchritude?), we've got a list of great adventure games to help you jump-start that trip down Memory Lane.
There's reason why Machinarium collects accolades the way Ash collects Pokemon: It's just plain beautiful. It's Wall-E without the special effects, the cutesy obese humans, and the dialogue; a robotic love story told with hand-painted, steampunk sensibilities. As the protagonist, you're responsible for penetrating a city's labyrinthine depths, finding your missing girlfriend, dealing with the intrigues of the Black Cap Brotherhood, and testing your mental acuity in the process.
Though devious, the puzzles you encounter in Machinarium are definitely rooted in common sense and logic. If you missed the bandwagon in 2009, when the original iteration of Machinarium was released, now's your chance to make up for lost time.
Nominated for Best Mobile game in the 2010 International Games Festival, Waking Mars is a sumptuous-looking foray into the depths of the Red Planet. The game puts you in the role of an astrobiologist—a glorified space gardener who must carefully tend to the foreign ecosystem in order to navigate the catacombs of Mars. The game focuses more on exploration than it does on character development, and finding your way around Mars's subterranean depths is an absolute treat.
Choice of Kung Fu
As someone born and raised in a Chinese household, I'm partial to anything related to Eastern martial arts. Choice Of Games' latest offering, Choice of Kung Fu, is best described as a "choose your own adventure game" for the 21st century. Choice of Kung Fu is a tightly written experience that starts you off as a neonate of the Order of the Peach Tree. You decide what your future will hold—Fame? Love? Notoriety as an enemy of the Emperor, or respect as a patriotic soul? While Choice of Kung Fu isn't one for fancy graphics or visuals (the game is text-based), its engaging story and open-ended plot are well worth the price of admission.
Here's another highly acclaimed PC game that's been ported to Android. The stunning Lume is a puzzle adventure with a simple concept: Figure out a way to get into your absentee grandfather's house. Why? Because the old man failed to ever make you a spare key, that's why. Though the plot itself is a little sparse and the game a little short, Lume is worth those few hours you spend with it and its occasionally mind-bending puzzles.
While lacking in photo-realism and particle effects, Lume is filled with a far different sort of beauty. Built out of cardboard and paper, the game features a wide panoply of lovable papercraft characters and set pieces. The game's well-thought-out puzzles and family-friendly vibe make it an ideal game for players new to the adventure genre.
Frantic, furious, and enjoyably insane, McPixel has you taking command of the red-shirted hero as he attempts to stop things from blowing up. Like any other good adventure game, McPixel has you poking around the screen to accomplish this noble goal. The only caveat here? You only have 20 seconds to solve your puzzle before everything goes kablooey. As you progress through the game's multitude of levels, you'll find yourself kicking signboards, haranguing soldiers, beating up clowns, navigating the affections of cavemen, and more. It may not make much sense, but it's a fitting tribute to classic point-and-click adventure games of old.
Broken Sword: Director's Cut
This one is old. Really old. The first Broken Sword came out in 1996, back when modems still hissed and trilled like tormented robots. After amassing enough awards and acclaim to color its competitors green with envy, the franchise eventually produced Broken Sword: Director's Cut. As you might have guessed, it's a dolled-up version of the original, with a few extras that make it worth replaying.
In Broken Sword: Director's Cut, you traverse Paris alongside the main protagonists—a feisty journalist named Nico Collard and the fashion-challenged George Stobbart—after a terrorist attack on an innocuous cafe. Low-key beginnings? It gets better, of course. Eventually, you find yourself entangled with the Knights Templar and excavating ancient tomes. The writing is spectacular and the audiovisuals look good—even in this day and age. Best of all, the game has a capital female lead.
If you scoff at how gentle modern-day titles seem compared to the point-and-click adventure games of yore (I'm looking at you, King's Quest), here's something straight from that more primal past. First unleashed into the world in 1991, Another World for Android is the story of a physics researcher named Lester Knight Chaykin. After being struck by lightning, he finds himself in an alien world filled with hostile creatures and other earthly perils. A cult classic, this 20th Anniversary Edition comes with a slew of extra features including the ability to switch between the original visuals and HD graphics, three difficulty settings, multiple languages, remastered sounds, and two control schemes.
Sick of inventory-based escapades? Try Hamlet. A cartoony, pastel-colored delight that's based loosely on the Bard's great classic, Hamlet places you in the role of an unfortunate time traveler who, thanks to a freak accident, has replaced the eponymous hero and been tasked with rescuing the princess Ophelia from the clutches of the evil king Claudius. The game's puzzles and environments are wacky and have you doing everything from confronting aliens to navigating the bowels of a very large fish. Despite the game's childish facade, Hamlet's 25 levels will challenge even the most hardened adventure game fan.
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery is a game that doesn't need an introduction: Described by its creators as a "crude haiku about love, life, and death," Sword & Sworcery lets you explore a beautiful pixelated world filled with memorable melodies. In your travels, you'll meet unusual characters and engage in battles that require you to have some rhythm in order to succeed. The game is best experienced on a large screen, but Sword & Sworcey is a delight no matter what device you play it on. If you're a fan of adventure games, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.