In the early 1990s, home computer games were getting really good. Hardware and software had progressed beyond the repetitive jumping and shooting of the video arcade, and other aspects of a “good story” started to become more important, like characters, location and the dialogue itself.
Few genres did more for the adventure game movement than point and click games, characterised by classics like Monkey Island and emulators like SCUMMVM. These days, many of these classic titles can be found on the iOS App Store – along with a slew of brand new originals.
Point and click games are back with a vengeance, and here are some of the best.
Play The Classics
Like every other genre of game on iOS, old games are seen by developers as perfectly healthy horses – and are flogged in the App Store as such. My only issue with paying for games like Monkey Island in such a manner is that I already own most of them (albeit on Amiga floppy disks) and for this the SCUMMVM project exists.
SCUMMVM allows you to play old LucasArts titles you may already own using modern hardware. Certain games, like Beneath a Steel Sky, have already been released for free along with the project – so check there first.
Monkey Island is the quintessential point and click adventure game, famed for its commercial success, cartoon hero and side-splitting dialogue. Take on the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe-swashbuckling pirate with floppy hair and a knack for odd combinations of inventory items as he sets about unravelling the secret of Monkey Island.
The iPad (also PC and console) versions now come with updated hand-drawn graphics under the Special Edition moniker. At any point users can switch between the original and updated graphics, which is fun!
See also: Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge ($4.99)
Broken Sword: Director’s Cut ($3.99)
Another classic point and click adventure title, Broken Sword has been treated to some rather excellent remastering. Not only has the old girl had a touch of paint, a whole new narrative thread has been added to the main story which plays out alongside the existing mystery.
Visit exotic locations, solve completely new puzzles and allow yourself to be entertained once more with some brand new jokes. Even if you own the original Broken Sword, there’s arguably enough new material here to make the $3.99 price tag seem worth it.
See also: Broken Sword – The Smoking Mirror: Remastered ($3.99)
When it arrived on the PC gaming scene in 1993, Myst somewhat signalled the dawning of the end of the point and click genre. Myst used dramatically different 3D locations to prop up its graphical puzzle adventure gameplay style. The game was hugely anticipated and commercially successful, being one of the first games to make heavy use of optical media.
The game was the best-selling PC title of the decade until The Sims arrived to steal the throne. realMyst is a graphically enhanced version of the original game, from the original developers, now for the iPad.
See also: Riven for iPad ($6.99)
Discover New Games
Thankfully, many developers have jumped on the popularity of platforms like Steam as well as the App Store itself and now spend their time creating fascinating, puzzle-driven worlds for virtual sleuths to unravel. If the idea of curling up with an iPad and a brand new point and click adventure appeals to you as much as it does me, you’d better be sure you’ve played these.
Developers Pendulo Studios really outdid themselves with Yesterday, a noir comic book-style point and click adventure. Don’t let the cartoony look fool you, Yesterday is a dark tale and features some adequately squeamish moments to boot. Unlike many point and click adventures, Yesterday has you controlling multiple characters at multiple points in time, as the story slowly unfolds.
There’s enough game here to justify that $6.99 and enough polish on top to make me want to recommend it to all fans of the genre, particularly those looking for something a little bit… dark.
See also: Hollywood Monsters ($5.99)
Lost Echo ($2.99)
Quite possibly the most graphically impressive game on this list, Lost Echo is a point and click adventure with an emphasis on cunning puzzles, 3D exploration and the underlying story. Set in the near future, Greg’s girlfriend Chloe somehow vanishes in front of him – and it’s up to you to work out what happened, where Chloe is and exactly why nobody else can remember her.
For $2.99, Lost Echo is a very modestly priced adventure that features an original soundtrack, eventful story and both casual and normal difficulty settings.
See also: Machinarium ($1.99)
Year Walk ($3.99)
Year Walk is not your average point and click adventure game, but it’s included for being an offshoot of the point and click genre. In the loosest sense, you point and tap at things on screen to manipulate them – but this is also a terrifying horror game about hallucinating in the woods at night, rather than the usual story about becoming a pirate.
Year Walk has you explore one of the stranger facets of Swedish folklore – the “year walk”, a scramble through the woods at night, alone, on an empty stomach. The game can’t really be summed up any better other than to say play it!
See also: Year Walk Companion
Gemini Rue ($4.99)
If you’ve been longing for a dystopian-themed dreary ode to Blade Runner and Beneath A Steel Sky, Gemini Rue might just be the retro-inspired point and click game for you. Based on the traditional point and click genre, Gemini Rue uses retro graphics that are just about detailed enough to not get in the way of the gameplay, while at the same time making you feel like it’s 1994.
One thing this game attempts that others in the genre rarely try is combat – with mixed results, though on the whole this is widely regarded as one of the best adventure games on the iPad.
See also: Shivah ($1.99)
Do you have any favourite point and click titles on the iPad? Share them with us in the comments, below.
Image Credits: Alpha Via Flickr