There are so many video games out there with super-fast gameplay, hyper-real graphics, and the potential to suck away your attention for hours on end, but sometimes it’s nice to get back to basics a little. With the hyper-real video game explosion has come a small, but noticeable, trend for point-and-click games. This style of gaming has been around for decades, because back when hyper-real wasn’t an option, point and click was easy to program and fun to play. Nowadays the graphics have become more polished and there’s more variety than ever before. Here are some of the best point-and-click games that you can really disappear into.
Little Misfortune has a well-deserved place on the list, despite its slightly disappointing ending. Unlike the absolute travesty that was the end of Mass Effect, Little Misfortune isn’t so much a disaster as a bit of a bump back down to Earth. Like Mass Effect, Little Misfortune gives players three different options to decide the ending of the game. Whilst some of us enjoy a genuine choose your own adventure story, it seems like the vast majority, according to the reviews for these endings at least, prefer to have one really solid ending, over three with potential pitfalls. Whichever team you’re on, Little Misfortune is still absolutely worth playing through to the end(s).
The game was developed by the brilliant Swedish company Killmonday Games back in 2019 and has racked up plenty of praise from fans since then. The game is dark in subject matter, so probably best to play only when you’re feeling buoyant. It tells the story of Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez who is living an unhappy life with her parents. Misfortune goes on a quest to find eternal happiness for her mother, and you are the one that guides her. The game runs forwards to backwards only and you can guide Misfortune into whichever decision you think is best. The illustrative style is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking and for a fairly short game, it will leave a lasting impression.
When a game absolutely smashes its Kickstarter target, then it’s already set itself a pretty hefty challenge, but in this case, Ron Gilbert and Garry Winnick, makers of Thimbleweed Park, absolutely rose to the challenge. This point-and-click game throws out any modern ideals of augmented reality or hyper-real visuals and instead embraces a pared-back retro aesthetic and a wonderfully traditional user interface. If you’re used to the ‘use this on that’ gameplay and pixelated imagery, then you are likely to love it.
The storyline follows two FBI agents who are trying to investigate a murder. Whilst this alludes to a simple adventure to follow, the addition of various characters, each referencing their own favorite part of retro point-and-click gaming, makes the storyline a little muddy at times, but always hilarious. You can play as many of these different characters, using their unique points of view to help you further in the story. Whilst this isn’t going to impress those who are after jaw-dropping visuals, it will bring back fond memories for those who remember the games of the late 80s/early 90s era. There are references galore to the golden days of point-and-click, plus the puzzles are hard enough to keep you head-scratching. Altogether, it’s a real joy of a game and one that should be added to any retro gamer’s collection.
If a game has been almost singlehandedly designed by a student, then a lot of us might have our reservations about how great the quality might be. However, in the case of Gemini Rue, we would be wrong to. UCLA graduate Josh Nuerenberger pretty much created this game entirely by himself and it is incredible. Gemini Rue is set in a sci-fi world with a dark edge and follows the story of ex-hitman Azriel Odin. Azriel sets out on a mission to find his brother, as he suspects that his former employers have done something sinister to him. His adventure takes you around the drizzly, grey planet of Barracus, talking to various miserable characters.
The overwhelming feeling here is of gloom, but the storyline is so rich and the puzzles so fascinating that Gemini Rue still feels a true joy to play. The user interface is simple, but offers more control than in the forwards, backwards sort of point-and-click game. Here you can click freely around the world, investigating places, people, and clues with just a mouse click. If you haven’t tried this game yet then you’ve no excuse not to, as it’s available on every operating system.