When I was a wee nipper (That’s Scottish for young boy) I could not get enough of point & click adventure games. I spent so many hours going from overly pixellated room to overly pixellated room trying to use every item on anything that looked even remotely like something else. Use dog leash on pickle? Sure why not. Depending on the game the puzzles could span the entire gap from sublime to ridiculous. So, with all this history it was pretty easy to put together a list of my top 5 point and click adventures.
Rather unsurprisingly most of the titles stem from my youth, but there’s still one fantastic point & click adventure from a little more recently.
Discworld (Release Date : 1995)
Discworld, the point and click adventure game based on the immensely popular book series written by Terry Pratchett was released for the PC in 1995, on 13 floppy disks. If I wanted to install it, I had to book a day off. Though, it was clear why, the game was beautiful and the voice acting captured the sound and feel of Ankh-Morpork perfectly.
However Discworld was not without its issues. Some of the puzzles were downright Machiavellian in difficulty, and unless you had Sherlock Holmes’ level of genius or just got lucky trying one object with another completely insane and illogical one you could be stuck on puzzles for ages. Still, the level of difficulty did not stop Discworld being a highly enjoyable Point & Click adventure game.
Sam & Max Hit the Road (Release Date: 1993)
Sam & Max developed by LucasArts told the story of two private detectives, a calm methodical dog called Sam and a psychotic excitable rabbit called Max as they attempt to find a Bigfoot that’s escaped from a local carnival. Sam & Max Hit the Road takes you across a slightly twisted Americana setting, visiting tourist points and stops all across America, from golf courses and general stores to the world’s largest ball of twine.
The humor was dark, as you would expect from a game that features a pro-violence rabbit and a wide cast of slightly odd characters. Many Sam & Max games were developed after this one, so we really do love their antics but in my opinion Sam & Max Hit the Road is definitely the best one of the series.
Machinarium (Release Date: 2009)
Machinarium is the only game in this list to be developed fairly recently, and it hits my number three slot. Machinarium developed by Amanita Design tells the story of a small robot who after putting himself together overhears some criminal types saying how they’re going to blow up part of the city. It’s up to you to stop them.
Plotwise you’re not going to be amazed by it but if you’re like me you’ll fall in love with the graphics and general atmosphere of the game. Unlike many other point and click adventures, you have to also use yourself to solve some of the puzzles, for example you can extend your body which can give you access to different things at different levels. There is also no speech and entire conversations are had by way of simple symbols in speech bubbles.
If you haven’t picked up Machinarium yet you can find it on Steam for £8 / $10.
The Secret of Monkey Island (Release Date: 1990 / 2009)
The Secret of Monkey Island is a classic, and I’d be surprised if there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of the pirate themes P&C adventure developed by LucasArts. You play the part of Guybrush Threepwood a young man determined to become a pirate. First he has to complete three tasks; defeat a swordmaster, find some buried treasure and steal a valuable idol from the Governor’s Mansion. Although the story soon introduces you to the villain, the Pirate LeChuck and Guybrush’s love interest, Governor Elaine Marley.
The humor is simply fantastic, but by far the best part of the entire game is defeating the swordmaster by way of an insulting contest.
There were several sequels to The Secret of Monkey Island but for me nothing captured the magic and humor of the original. Although, when the game got a graphical and audio reboot in 2009, it made that same game even better.
Day of the Tentacle (Release Date: 1993 / 2016)
Speaking of classics, and yet another one released by LucasArts (they really did know how to make ‘em back then’ Day of the Tentacle is the sequel to Manic Mansion. The best part of Day of the Tentacle is that you are controlling three characters across three individual time periods. There’s Laverne who gets sent to 200 years in the future, Hoagie who gets sent 200 years in to the past which is around the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Bernard stays in the present.
The puzzles themselves mostly revolve around these three time periods, using one item in the past to change the future or simply passing items to other characters by way of a time-traveling portable toilet.
The Zombie chimp has done a full review of Day of the Tentacle.
So, which point and click adventure games are you’re favourite, and which ones do you think should be on this list? Bladerunner? Myst? Broken Sword? What about Toonstruck? Let us know in the comments.