Last time on You Can't Go That Way, I talked about the beginnings of point-and-click adventure games. If you want to check that out first, click here and then come on back to read part two. From it's humble beginnings, with game developers like Sierra Online, point-and-click adventure games have blossomed into an amazing genre all their own. While Sierra Online might not be producing new content, that doesn't mean creation of new games in the genre has slowed down at all. I'm going to go through three of my favourite game developers still providing content for genre-lovers and why you should totally play them.
Daedalic Entertainment is a German game developer based in Hamburg. Founded in 2007, Daedelic offers it's players some updated and amazing artwork in each of its games, and a sense of humour that reminds me of its predecessors in the 1990's. Their games have won numerous awards and receive high Metacritic scores.
Night of the Rabbit is likely my favourite game they've developed, though it is hard to pick from such a great selection. It's about magic, little furry critters anthropomorphized and solving riddles and puzzles. There's also an achievement for collecting dew drops that's one of the most annoyingly miss-able achievements to get. Don't let that deter you, though. The art in this game is phantasmagorical and I've been known to use screenshots as my desktop background. Daedalic definitely wins a fan award from me in its storytelling here, as well. You get sucked into the world of Jerry, a kid who wants to become a magician as he travels through this parallel world that's seemingly just at the bottom of the lane, where he lives with his mother. It's got a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it, as well. The concept of a hidden magical world and a boy who discovers it and his own magic along the way. I'm a sucker for things like this. It's also perhaps reminds me of Neil Gaimans' short series The Books of Magic, wherein a young boy has the potential to be the worlds greatest magician. I'm all about magic, and if you are, too – this game is totally for you.
The Whispered World takes place in a fantasy world called Silentia with a 12 year-old clown as our protagonist and hero named Sadwick. Whispered World follows the Hero's Journey to a 'T'. Sadwick has humble beginnings with his families travelling circus troupe, where he is the low man on the totem pole. He gets the grungiest and thankless jobs in their wagons. It's not long before Sadwick is plunged into an epic story facing the extinction of the land, royalty, and having to come up against evil itself. There's even a twist ending that leaves you wanting more – and perhaps a little sad. It's also an absolutely beautiful game, as Daedalic seems to put everything they can muster into not only the game-play and story, but the scenery, character renditions, and colours. If you've played another Daedalic game and enjoyed it, try out this one as well – I don't think you'll be disappointed.
The last of the Daedalic games I'm going to go through is the Deponia Series. This game is hilarious. It follows the same beautiful artistic style that I've come to know and love by Daedalic, and adds in a high dose of comedy as well. We follow our here, Rufus, on a journey through a post-apocalyptic planet called Deponia. He lives with his ex-girlfriend. It's Rufus' long-time goal to get off of Deponia, a rusted out junk metal planet, and shoot himself into space to Elysium, where all the rich folk live. We learn fairly early on that the people of Elysium don't think there are any people left living on Deponia, and it's been decided that the planet just needs to “go away” (as in, kaboom!). Rufus comes up against the Organon – who are sort of like evil police trying to convince the people on Elysium that there's nothing good on Deponia. We follow Rufus all over Deponia, meet the new love of his life (even if she doesn't return the feeling), Goal – travel to new cities and locations to solve puzzles and listen to Rufus crack jokes at just about everything. If you fall in love with the story (and Rufus) with the first instalment, not to worry – there's four Deponia games so far and who knows if they'll be adding more in the future.
Pendulo Studios doesn't have as many games under their belts as some of the other companies, but the quality of the games they do have, is what keeps me coming back, and replaying their games over and over again. They are a Spanish game developer, founded in 1994, but still bringing us up-to-date games. Their games have a “comic book feel” to them, which I adore.
Unlike some of the other devs, one of their longest running series, the Runaway series, isn't fantasy or sci-fi based. It's a mystery-adventure game that takes place in modern-day America. Our heroes are Gina, who has just witnessed a Mafia murder, and Brian who finds himself pulled into a story of murder and intrigue with Gina after he takes her to the hospital upon her passing out. The game spans three installments, making it a trilogy that just gets better and better. If you're into games, but don't want that fantasy or cyber element, the Runaway series might just be for you.
If you're totally into old monster movies like I am, you need to check out The Next Big Thing. It's technically a sequel to a previous game entitled Hollywood Monsters (which I have yet to play), but you do not have to have played the first game to play the second. We follow Dan and Liz through an alternate 1950's Los Angeles, where humans live alongside monsters and robots who are struggling to obtain the same civil rights as humans. That alone is what made me buy the game, but what kept me playing was the storytelling and the artwork. All of Pendulo Studios' games have the same 1990's cartoon feel to them, which works fantastically in the point-and-click genre.
Wadjet Eye Games This developer was saved for last because the best is always saved for last. I am truely, madly and deeply in love with everyone at Wadjet Eye games – a company run by husband and wife team Dave and Janet Gilbert. Wadjet Eye was founded in 2006 when Dave decided making adventure games was more fun than any other job he could have.
Their main claim-to-fame is the Blackwell series, which follows the family members of the Blackwell series who aim to help the dead move on through the light. This is done through the aid of their personal family ghost, Joey Malone, who assists by talking directly to the ghosts, while the Blackwells talk to the living remnants and try to solve age-old murders. This is my favourite game series, point-and-click genre be damned. The story is so in depth, and wrapped around itself for you to unravel slowly, through all of the games – and you're left wanting more and more and more – until the end, when you wish you could erase your memory and replay them without knowing what happens. Or is that just me? Just me? That's fine. I cannot recommend these games enough. 100/100 would recommend to everyone. It's not just puzzles – it's the 1990's 32-bit style graphics, the characters, the voice acting – everything. It just wraps you up in a warm blanket on a blustery, rainy day and feeds you warm soup.
Because I love pretty much anything Wadjet Eye produces, I'm going to give you a short run down on a couple more games by them that you need to check out without going into too much detail.
Shardlight is great if you love post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian themed anything. Bombs fell, the world ended, but there are still people trying to stay alive and a tyrannical government trying to rule them. Here we have Amy, a young woman working for the government so she can qualify for the vaccine lottery, designed only for the poor. The rich get their vaccines, as long as they provide a healthy dose of government support. Wadjet Eye really took us down the rabbit hole with the story on this one – it's intense, it's fascinating, and will leave you wanting more. They always leave you wanting more. I'm beginning to feel like a Wadjet Eye addict, begging Dave and Janet for just one more hit. It's bad, guys. Mama's got it bad.
Primordia is a different game in that you're not playing as a human – because...well, because there aren't any (and we all want to know why!) We're given another post-apocalyptic world (which I cannot get enough of – I'm all about post-apocalyptia, not just in this gaming genre). Here we have an epic storyline about the destruction and disappearance of the human race as we follow Horatio Nullbuilt, a robot in search of who – or what – stole the power for his ship. We arrive in Metropol, a robot city and slowly begin to unravel the truth about not just the world around us, but of Horatio himself.
If I've whetted your appetite to Wadjet Eye games, head on over to Steam to add their next game Unavowed to your wishlist – I've been waiting for it for what seems like an eternity, but I've found that with Wadjet Eye, the wait is always worth it.
Whether you played point-and-click games in the 90's and are looking to get back into the genre, or have never played before – it doesn't matter. Play them. Enjoy them. Unravel their mysteries and enjoy the art, epic storytelling and voice acting. Point-and-click games are like visual novels where you get to interact with everything, without the fear of dying like you would in a game like Fallout (not that that's bad, I have a major Fallout addiction, as well). So get out there and point and click at things! And don't forget – you can't go that way.
Jess Armstrong lives in the cornfields of Southern Ontario, Canada where she's a full-time procrastinator and loud mouth. She's also a giant geek, gamer girl, horror movie fanatic and player (and often DM) of Dungeons and Dragons. You can follow her on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
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