The best Android adventure games of 2021
It was about time, adventure games all looked pretty much the same. There were text adventures, then a new generation of text adventures with better graphics, then point-and-click adventures like Monkey Island and Broken Sword.
But the genre has exploded since the invention of the smartphone, going in so many different directions that we don’t even know what an adventure game is anymore. This list covers everything from cutting edge storytelling experiences to spooky political allegories.
A mix of traditional and more modern ideas, The Frostrune tells a story of Nordic magic and bizarre events. There are puzzles, a gripping tale, and so much more in this one.
A modern take on the adventure genre with a story that will captivate you from the start. The best adventure games make you think in different ways, and Life is Strange certainly does.
A magnificent story of lonely robots in a strange and wordless future. You’ve probably played Machinarium before, but if you haven’t, you should definitely pick it up again. Otherwise, try one of Amanita Design’s other games.
Love oozes from every pore of Forager. At least it oozes the pixelart portrait of developer Mariano Cavallero who greets you when you start the game. A labor of love, Forager is an ultra-rational crafting game that lets you explore an island by collecting resources, by building structures, leveling up, crafting tools, etc. He reduces the genre to its very essence, then refines that essence until it is irresistible.
FMV games have made an unlikely comeback lately, and The Complex is one of the finest and most star-studded examples. Not only does it offer decent production values, with brilliant sets and compelling makeup, but it features actors you can recognize on shows like Grantchester, Letterkenny and even – gasp – Game of Thrones. There is also a Telltale style relationship tracker and several endings to discover.
Far: Lone Sails is a fascinating game. Set in a barren desert, he sees you piloting a strange land vessel of your own design and construction. Your virtual life in this empty dusty landscape is all about making repairs, finding fuel, protecting yourself from the elements, and avoiding obstacles. It’s a simple life, made so touching that it would have made streamer Limmy cry.
Originally designed for virtual reality – and therefore arguably not ideal without it – EQQO is a unique puzzle adventure game that takes you to Ethiopia. You play as Eqqo, a blind boy trying to protect an egg as he navigates a magical world of mysterious rooms and ancient temple mechanics. You may struggle with the non-VR interface, but it’s worth sticking with EQQO to experience its music and narration.
Nobody likes high school, but Hope’s Peak is in a league of its own, when it comes to bullshit. It is ruled by an evil teddy bear principal who forces the students to kill each other. You play as a normal teenager going through the trials of moving to a new school and building a network of friendships while trying to survive the massacre and identify the culprits in your ranks.
The most conventional adventure game on this list, Truberbrook is a classic LucasArts-style point-and-click affair set in a parallel 1960s universe. You are a scientist, summoned by a lottery win to a rural village. isolated in Germany and involved in a Cold War plot. The gameplay is solid, but what really sets Truberbrook apart is its beautiful, handcrafted and technologically enhanced stop motion graphics.
Much like Jaws is not a shark movie, despite appearances to the contrary, The First Tree is not a game about a fox in search of its young. The fox thing is a metaphor, for a son trying to reconnect with his sick father in the Alaskan wilderness. From a gameplay point of view, The First Tree presents you with simple puzzles that you will overcome quickly, because that is not the challenge. This is the journey of life, man.
Samsara Room is a prequel to the stunning Rusty Lake horror adventure games from Rusty Lake and a total remake of its first title. He drops you off in a spooky room and challenges you to escape using the items you find there. The puzzles are well designed, but the real joy of Samsara Room is how spooky it is. Rusty Lake has a knack for mobile horror, and this lovingly restored adventure will disturb and entertain you to the same extent.
My God, they can do some smart things these days. Pitch Black: A Detective’s Demise is a black detective adventure game built entirely around sound. You’ll explore Dystopian District 5, avoiding deadly creatures and other dangers, while trying to hunt down “her” – all with your ears, of course, your imagination. It’s not the first audio adventure game we’ve come across, but we’re always happy when a new one arrives.
Like The First Tree, GRIS is an adventure game that is completely free of challenge and danger. Instead, he wants you to focus on the story that unfolds, about a young woman going through a painful experience. Her regret is manifested in her outfit, which acquires new abilities as the story unfolds. While there are puzzles and platform sections here, GRIS is all about admiring the magnificent artwork and absorbing the history.
Some adventure games are more equal than others. Orwell’s Animal Farm is a slightly odd proposition – an adventure game where you play as the animals rising up and taking over Manor Farm in George Orwell’s classic allegory of Soviet communism. But it’s handled with such intelligence and sensitivity that it somehow works. Few developers would have the cajones to turn a literary classic into a game, but it paid off for The Dairymen.
Less is more. The less instructions a game gives you, visual cues, illustrations, etc., the more you have to create for yourself in your brain. In the end, you will be happier for it. That’s the guiding principle of Ord., An ultra-streamlined text adventure that is limited to simple one-word prompts and subtle visual effects, like lines crisscrossing the screen to indicate rain. It’s totally unique and an absolute gem.
Lineweight, from ultra-hip developer Cipher Prime, is an innovative multimedia storytelling company that explores different facets of the human experience through five chapters. There’s no actual gameplay – you just need to swipe across the screen to reveal new text and visual effects. You might like. You might hate him. But Lineweight is totally original and a great example of the impact of technology on the ancient art of storytelling.
Developer Joe Richardson describes The Procession to Calvary as Pythonesque in his Google Play Store blurb, and there’s no other word. Assembled from Renaissance paintings, accompanied by rousing classical music and full of sheer paper beheadings, this singular point-and-click adventure game is like a Terry Gilliam cartoon that you can play. Fortunately, this is also a solid adventure game.