The best adventure games on PC 2023

From old-school point-and-click classics like Broken Sword to modern choice-driven narratives, we've collected all the best adventure games on PC.

best adventure games

What are the best adventure games on PC? From 1976’s text-based Adventures – that gave the genre its name – through the point-and-click golden age of the ‘90s and up to more modern fare, few genres have endured quite so well as the adventure game. That multi-decade lifespan has produced some of the most astounding titles, so narrowing down a list of the best adventure games is certainly a struggle.

Adventure games have prospered thanks to a focus on story and character. That, and a few tricky brain teasers, as opposed to violence, set the genre apart. Characters usually get by through talking or thinking instead of resorting to fighting – though, Full Throttle protagonist Ben might have a few things to say about that. These games are absolute classics and make up some of the best PC games ever.

We frequently return to our lists to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible and represent the best the genre has to offer, so you can be confident that what we list below is nothing less than classics.

The best adventure games are:

Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango

Dialogue, character, world, and imagination cement Grim Fandango among the best adventure games. Set in the Mexican Land of the Dead, where everyone’s a skeleton or a demon, the recently deceased have to work off any crimes they may have committed before taking the treacherous four-year journey to get into the Ninth Underworld. It is a cleverly-realized world with film noir influences and a big dollop of crime and corruption.

The game stars some of the finest characters ever written, including protagonist Manny Calavera, who must try to save Mercedes Colomar, the woman he thinks he wronged. Friendly, car-obsessed demon Glottis would not be out of place in the best Disney movies or Pixar movies, and Manny is one of the most effortlessly cool and likable player characters in an adventure game. The often obtuse puzzles can derail the pacing, but just exploring and interacting with this beautiful world makes up for these irritants and makes Grim Fandango one of the best PC games ever.

Tim Schafer’s journey through Mexican folklore still represents the pinnacle of proper movie-quality storytelling in videogames – just don’t mention those wretched demon beavers.

Best adventure games: return to monkey island

Return to Monkey Island

While The Secret of Monkey Island changed the genre and put LucasArts on the Adventure Throne, and Monkey Island 2 improved on the original in nearly every way, Return to Monkey Island is the perfect modern love letter to the point-and-click genre.

Loveable loser Guybrush Threepwood is one of videogames’ most endearing characters. His burning desire to become a swashbuckling pirate and win the heart of Governor Elaine Marley is noble. The problem is he is utterly inept, has more confidence than ability, and is a dab hand at ruining lives. Return to Monkey Island picks up where LeChuck’s Revenge ends and gives fans closure with a sequel two decades in the making. The game was so positively received that its reviews stunned LucasFilm Games.

Broken Sword

Broken Sword

Imagine Uncharted without the jumping and shooting, sporting a plot that hints at what an interesting Dan Brown novel might be like, and you will have a reasonable picture of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars. Like the Monkey Island series, it is difficult to decide which of the first two titles is best, but, in this case, the first game edges it.

Easygoing American George Stobbart’s holiday in Paris is interrupted by a bomber dressed as a clown, and from there, he’s pulled into the conspiratorial world of the Templars. The story is great, and developers Revolution keep the tone light despite a smattering of darker moments. But it’s the chemistry between George and French photojournalist Nico Collard that forms the franchise’s backbone.

Thanks to sterling writing and voice acting, Broken Sword remains one of the best adventure games on PC. It does, however, feature the infamous ‘goat puzzle’, which has been gently mocked by many adventure games since, including all four Broken Sword sequels. Self-awareness is half the battle, at least.

Day of the Tentacle

Day of the Tentacle

When it comes to quality puzzles, Day of the Tentacle is one of the best adventure games you can play. It is never obtuse or mean-spirited, and that is all the more impressive when you consider the player is expected to manage three characters over three different time periods, their actions from one affecting the other. You have to think fourth-dimensionally, as Doc Brown would say, and it is a testament to Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, and the rest of the team that somehow this never feels overwhelming.

Day of the Tentacle is still exceptionally funny, delightfully absurd, timelessly pretty, and contains the whole of LucasArts’ earlier adventure, Maniac Mansion – the game to which Day of the Tentacle is a sequel – as an Easter Egg. Despite the brilliance of the other point-and-click games on this list, if you ask us for one classic adventure you need to play, we’d send you this way.


Beneath A Steel Sky

If there is one button that any game can push to make us pay attention, it is ‘cyberpunk’. Combine that with a great original story, the finest UK adventure game studio, and art by legendary comic artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), and we are putty in anyone’s hands. Thankfully, Beneath a Steel Sky already exists, and it’s one of the best PC games around.

While Revolution founder Charles Cecil originally intended to adapt Watchmen with the assistance of Gibbons, we are glad the project did not pan out. Instead, they collaborated on this classic point-and-click game. Hand-drawn cutscenes, gorgeous pixel art, and the tale of Robert Foster and his attempts to escape from the dystopian Union City. The atmospheric world is influenced by the likes of Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, and Mad Max and thematically explores societal oppression and corruption. It is a bleak Orwellian nightmare with… fart jokes.

Revolution ensures that what could have been a depressing slog is a deeply entertaining point-and-click adventure game. The plot twists, wonderful character moments, excellent puzzles, and stylish world make it one of the best adventure games. Oh, and it’s free on GOG, so there is really no excuse not to play it. If you enjoy it, Beyond a Steel Sky is a worthy follow-up that’s worth a look.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Season One

The stellar first season of Telltale’s most popular series remains its best despite fierce competition. Tales From The Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us come close, but neither has the magnetism of The Walking Dead’s Lee and Clementine. Good-hearted lawbreaker Lee and recently orphaned Clementine establish a fiercely loyal bond as they weather an onslaught of tragedies and disasters. Chief among these is the zombie apocalypse, of course, but the agendas of every survivor they meet both help and hinder the pair, too.

Telltale’s ability to convince the player that they are in charge of the story – despite the whole thing being a smoke and mirrors act – is what makes The Walking Dead: Season One one of the best adventure games on PC. Scenes play out differently, certain characters can survive longer, and Lee can behave like an absolute dick. The main plot plows on, but it can feel wildly different depending on who is steering it. For the shocking end of Episode 4 alone, it is a modern classic of a point-and-click game.

Night in the Woods

Night In The Woods

It is hard not to fall for Night in the Woods. Developer Infinite Fall packed personal experience, humor, small-town Americana, a creepy conspiracy, stylish visuals, a fantastic soundtrack, and some of the most affectingly real scenes in videogames into one of the best adventure games ever made.

Night in the Woods tackles depression, dysfunctional families, economics, societal pressure, growing up, joblessness, escapism, and death in a whimsical and good-natured way that ensures things never become hopeless. Characters gently poke fun at each other and do anything to distract themselves, no matter how stupid or dangerous. Every character is quotable and lovable, and while the story’s main focus, Mae Borowski – an anthropomorphic cat and college drop-out – initially seems like an entitled jerk, you will grow to love her as she opens up.

It might play like a platform game, but there are no heads to jump on, no points to collect, no bosses to defeat, or worlds to conquer. Instead, there are friends to talk to, paths to choose, songs to play, and an awareness of the shrinking world we all inhabit. Better make the best of it, then.

Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero’s meandering plot, weird sights, and pleasant country music make it one of the most relaxing games on PC. If you’re a fan of just about anything directed by David Lynch, mainly his surrealist Americana and detective mystery, Twin Peaks, then you’re sure to find something to love in this magical realist journey.

Although it’s not your typical point-and-click adventure, fans of the genre can appreciate the beautifully choreographed story that unfolds through interactive fiction using a haunting, minimalist design, without too many distracting puzzles. Each person you meet has their own background, and you’ll shift perspective between characters constantly. What begins as a tale about a man trying to deliver an antique to a street he can’t find, becomes a mesmerizing saga about a group of people.

Kentucky Route Zero isn’t just a game with five acts, as supplementary intermission chapters flesh out the world with unusual storytelling like using a phone to talk to people or looking around a bar to listen in on conversations. This is not a ‘fun’ game per se, but it is a profound one that explores themes of capitalism and the dread of incurring debt.


Life is Strange

Life Is Strange

Developers Dontnod managed the seemingly impossible with Life is Strange: they out Telltale’ed Telltale. Life is Strange boasts consequential choices, a better-looking and more expressive graphics engine, and, most importantly, an entirely original setting.

The main character, Max Caulfield, is a photography senior working with classic Polaroid cameras, while everyone else sports expensive top-of-the-range digital gear. She is immediately endearing, appealingly weird, and… has the ability to rewind time. It is a testament to the Dontnod team’s writing skills that this game-changing superpower is the least impressive thing about Life is Strange; Max’s relationship with former best friend Chloe and how they reconnect after Max ran out on that life is the heart of a story that puts the game in the hallowed company of the best adventure games on PC.

You will cry. You will make bad choices – and you’ll make even more when you meet Sean and Daniel in Life is Strange 2 – rewind and make a completely different choice that you regret in a completely new way. You will stick with Max and Chloe until the end of the world. Literally. The relatively recent True Colors is excellent, but we still prefer Dontnod’s first.





Chuchel is as much a slapstick comedy as it is a point-and-click indie game. From the developers behind Machinarium and Samorost, Chuchel’s eponymous protagonist is a rotund, hairy, but lovable speck that looks like a bright yellow upside-down acorn. Alongside an equally goofy and colorful cast of blobs and everyday objects, you match your own childlike curiosity with Chuchel’s, clicking and experimenting with your delightfully hand-drawn cartoon world and giggling at all the mischief into which you can get him.

The laughs come thick and fast, as seen in our Chuchel review. Your cute critter can crack open the shell of a sentient egg with a spoon almost four times his own size after a psychedelic trip induced by licking a mushroom.

The playful joy of your endearing misdemeanors is enhanced by the satisfyingly silly boings, zips, and plops the game emits, imbuing Chuchel with an onomatopoeic quality that makes it one of the funniest and best adventure games on PC.

Thimbleweed park

Thimbleweed Park

While Day of the Tentacle is the official sequel to Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park – from adventure veterans Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick – feels like the authentic sequel, albeit one where you can explore the Mansion and the surrounding area and local town. The weird, weird town.

Thimbleweed Park is one of the best adventure and retro games around, not just because it feels like a forgotten LucasArts classic or love letter to the company’s adventures; it feels like a worthy update. Developers Terrible Toybox keeps Thimbleweed Park looking and feeling authentically retro, with chunky pixel art and huge verb buttons, but cleverly adds to the genre. For example, random events may or may not happen as you explore as one of the five playable characters. Wandering into a deserted alleyway, apropos of nothing, could see a character get abducted. Then there are more puzzles to solve before you get them back.

The characters are quirky and entertaining; they’ll stick in your mind for ages even if you do not want them to. The clever puzzles can require multiple characters to solve, and they can even have multiple solutions. Then there is the ending, an audacious denouement that feels like a mic-drop to the entire genre. Only the creators of Maniac Mansion could get away with it.

That’s the mystery of the best adventure games on PC solved. If you’re looking for a little more running, jumping, and/or bludgeoning, check out the best action-adventure games. You can return to using real-world logic for solving your problems from now on; no need to try using every object in your pocket together.