Adventure games were all the rave back in the late 80’s and 90’s but have since fallen out of the spotlight as first person shooters, sports titles and role-playing games seem to rank the highest on sales charts.
Regardless, there are still many great adventure games being made today by talented video game developers.
In no particular order, here’s a list of nine great free online adventure games you shouldn’t miss!
Created by Dreamagination Entertainment, Dirty Split is a very high quality adventure that rivals many commercial games. You play a private investigator named Alan Baxter who is looking to solve the case of a plastic surgeon’s murder. Visuals are stunning and crisp, and the voice acting is spot on. Albeit it a little short, playing this is a great way to spend an afternoon.
If you haven’t heard of Sam & Max, then you’re not an adventure gamer. It’s okay – don’t beat yourself up too much. Just go ahead and download the free fourth episode of Sam & Max: Season One.
Sam & Max are known to have a great sense of humor, so if you like to laugh (and who doesn’t), you must play this game. This is also a good choice for new adventurers, because unlike some other games, the puzzles in this one aren’t too bad. The dialogue is hilarious and after playing the free episode, you may be tempted to buy the whole season. Hey… don’t blame me!
A cult classic, this was a commercial game long ago, but is now available as a free online adventure game by using the ScummmVM engine. In the game your whole town is destroyed and you are captured. Fortunately, the helicopter you’re on crashes and you’re the only survivor.
Considering its age, the graphics are nice and the gameplay is simple. At the time the game had a somewhat revolutionary system that allowed non-playable characters to go about their business in the game and interact with the environment. We’ve sure come a long way.
To play, download the game from the ScummVM Extra’s section.
Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy
Game developer Alasdair Beckett made this game for his girlfriend, but we all get to enjoy it too. Wonderful graphics are one thing you’ll notice in many of the games on this list and Nelly Cootalot is a good example. Nelly’s unique graphics are made by using an interesting hand-drawn and cutout style. Besides the art style, the gameplay is also in the classic style of LucasArts games and is very easy to get into.
Created just a few years ago in 2007, A Tale of Two Kingdoms by Crystal Shard is a great adventure you don’t want to miss out on.
Graphics and gameplay are similar to the Sierra and LucasArt games of yesteryear. The world is quite large, but it doesn’t feel deserted as there are many characters in the game. One unique feature about this free online adventure game are the five different endings. I recommend you save your game frequently, as it is easy to make a mistake and you’ll be wishing you could go back in time.
Another classic game with an Indian Jones 1940’s type of feel. If you like games with a silly storyline and a fun plot, be sure to check this one out. You play Joe King, a pilot with a wise mouth. Your mission is to rescue Faye Russell, a beautiful (of course) movie actress. Some others may need your saving as well… but I’ll let you discover that on your own.
Some of the puzzles are a bit confusing but stick with it and you can get through it. Some aspects of the game aren’t perfect, like the interface, but overall the price is right and it’s a fun adventure.
Another one courtesy of ScummVM, you can download it here.
I’m including this game on the list for two reasons. One, it is a good game, so why not mention it? And two, it’s demented, just like many of us.
In Emily Enough: Imprisoned, developed by Logan Worsley, you play a psychopathic little girl who has murdered her family. Why? Well, that’s what happens when you don’t buy her what she wants for her birthday. The graphics for this game are a bit drab, but it’s intentional as it helps set the mood.
To get through this game, some of the puzzles will require you to think as a psychopath, so keep that in mind. I recommend this game, but only for those who aren’t easily offended and enjoy some dark comedy!
So far, all the games on the list have been downloadable. But for those who are looking for a funny web-based adventure, look no further than Kingdom of Loathing. Since it’s online, you also have the ability to play with other real players. Originally released in 2003, the free online adventure game has continually been updated with more and more content. Although it lacks a focus on graphics (you should expect a lot of stick figures), the game makes up for it with wit and humor.
You can choose from six classes when creating your character, each specializing in certain fields. Would you like to be a Disco Bandit, or perhaps a Seal Clubber? Whatever floats your boat. Be sure to check this one out.
For more information about getting started, be sure to read Karl’s guide.
Life Of D. Duck
I promise you have never played a game quite like this. For starters, let’s talk about the graphics. Do you have children? Have you ever seen the drawings from a child on a refrigerator? Those drawings basically sum up what you can expect to see in Life of D. Duck.
The shining element of this game is its dialogue. You won’t be overly impressed by the graphics or the puzzles (which are neither too easy or too hard), but the story keeps it going. To me, it’s charming and simply funny.
Besides playing the game, be sure to check out the additional content on the author’s web site for additional story-lines. Some of them are very compelling, such as when D. Duck gets stung by a bee. Wow.
There are many great adventure games out there and it was difficult narrowing them down to nine. What would you have liked to see on the list? Do you have any suggestions for can’t-miss games? Please comment and let us know!