For those lucky enough to have grown up playing video games since the early ’90s — and in some cases, the mid to late ’80s — traditional point-and-click adventure games were the cream of the crop when it came to high quality story-based video game experiences only available on the PC. For me, titles like Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit the Road and Full Throttle were among some of the more memorable games from days long gone. Though it’s unlikely that we will ever see new original titles at their level any time soon, it’s great knowing iOS continues to keep the genre alive in the mobile world.
If you’re a fan of story-based adventure games and are looking to try something other than the countless, uninspired clones trying to cash in on the Angry Birds, Tiny Wings and Cut the Rope formula, look no further! Here are some of the iPad’s best after the jump.
Bulkypix released Yesterday in late June. While most of the titles in this roundup are perfectly okay for younger audiences, Yesterday hopes to reel in more seasoned adventurers with its dark plot and mature content. Its soundtrack and visual style are quite impressive, but I do have to say that it could have used MUCH more polish in the animation and lip-syncing departments. Come for the visuals, stay for the atmosphere. If you like them creepy, then this is your game.
Hector: Badge of Carnage was one of the first original iOS adventure games that really took me by surprise. Everything from its animations, story, quirky characters, puzzles and crass humor all come together into one very entertaining romp. It isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoyed a little bit of Leisure Suit Larry way back in the day, you’ll feel right at home here.
Developer: Telltale Games
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World is a wonderful throwback to original Sierra Entertainment adventure games like Space Quest. If a good space cop adventure with stunning visuals and great plot sounds right up your alley, I would definitely recommend giving Kaptain Brawe a try. Be warned — there is NO voice acting in this game. As someone that has grown accustomed to games like this, I never found it much of a problem. Others may not be so used to it and might find it hard to feel as engaged as they’d like to be, however.
Developer: G5 Entertainment
Broken Sword by Revolution Software is a classic adventure that has been reworked for the iPad’s touch interface. With everything from new touch-based puzzles to rewritten dialogue, Broken Sword still delivers an extraordinary murder mystery and is one of the rare classic titles that have aged well throughout the years. This one is a definite must-buy for Noir fans and is considered a favorite by many.
One of the most beautiful adventure games I’ve played in recent memory, Machinarium is an experience you’re likely not to forget. The art design is truly one of a kind with a most charming robot as your main character navigating through several different beautifully detailed locales with very creative puzzles. I could only hope that the developers would one day update this game with Retina quality graphics — they’re really that good. A must-have for any iPad owner.
Developer: Amanita Design
One of the biggest hits in all of point-and-click adventure gamedom makes a triumphant return on the iPad with updated visuals and multitouch controls. Monkey Island 2 features a brilliant plot with a colorful cast of characters and provides hours of fun for anyone looking for a pirate adventure full of laughs. If you’re new to the genre, this game is a great place to start. A feature that old-school players might appreciate is the ability to switch between the original version of the game to the new version with the swipe of a finger. The transition is quite nice as it works on-the-fly, making for a seamless switch.
I have to say I was quite skeptical about playing Back to the Future when I first heard about it back in 2010 when it released on PC/Mac. I’ve been such a fan of the movies that the idea of the games possibly butchering the entire franchise had me avoiding it like the plague. Long story short, I was wrong. Back to the Future remains quite faithful to the source material with impressive voice acting and animation to boot. The story picks up seven months after the trilogy and Doc Brown has gone missing. It’s up to you to travel back in time to find him!
Developer: Telltale Games
Telltale Games is on a roll! With great games like Sam & Max and Back to the Future under their belt, now we have The Walking Dead on the horizon. This one is definitely not for the kiddies as it stays true to the Walking Dead formula of blood, death and gore at every turn. I’m very impressed with the game’s storytelling and very well done conversation system. Everyone needs at least one zombie game on their iPad, right? Be sure to make it this one, as it’s definitely not one to miss.
Developer: Telltale Games
Through the magic of Kickstarter, Camouflaj Games is hoping to deliver one of iOS’ most ambitious games to date. Republique introduces you to Hope, an AI character who seeks your help in escaping from a facility controlled by “Big Brother.” The gameplay is reminiscent to titles like Metal Gear Solid, focusing heavily on stealth and manipulation of objects while guiding Hope to freedom. This is one of the rare titles that truly seeks to separate itself from the deluge of casual games flooding the App Store as of late in hopes of providing you with an experience that balances substantial gameplay with high production value. Republique is definitely one to watch out for.
Another PC adventure game in the process of being ported to the iPad, Botanicula puts you in control of Mr. Lantern, Mrs. Mushroom, Mr. Twig, Mr. Pepper and Mr. Poppyhead in an effort to save their home from parasites that have come to consume all that they know. Developers Amanita Design, who are also the creators of Machinarium, are incredibly consistent in delivering some of the most imaginative games you’ll ever see. Though the game is short, Botanicula’s charm will surely leave you wanting more.
Though the games we’ve listed here look to be some of the more expensive titles in the App Store, they’re also some of the most well-made games with high production values. They are very heavy on story, dialogue and clever brain teasers that will supply you with several hours of exploration. Be sure to check back regularly for even more round-ups in the future. As always, we welcome any and all thoughts on some of your favorite games. Let’s hear them!