The adventure game genre brings many gameplay loops to mind, anything from puzzling point-and-click adventures to the best swashbuckling RPG apps. But the genre seems to be less about specific kinds of gameplay and more about the spirit that gameplay evokes, taking players on hair-raising trips through beautiful open worlds that utilize the best Android gaming phones or weaving gripping tales of wonder and danger. Adventure game trappings like suspense, intrigue, and charm have spawned some of Androids’ most popular gaming apps, from the delightfully charming to the horrifically terrifying, and that list is only getting bigger. AP loves a thrilling escapade, so here’s a roundup of our favorite adventure games available on the Play Store.
What is an adventure game?
Adventure games broadly involve story-driven experiences that thrive on making the player want to continue, exploiting the cliffhanger-style allure of “What’s going to happen next?” As stated previously, gameplay can be very loose in this genre but works best when it compliments these story intrigue elements, such as puzzles that give hints to the story’s wider plot or explorable areas that provide additional information about certain characters. They can also be more literal, taking players on expeditions around beautiful environments to discover the unknown. Adventure game elements can overlap with other genres, but the base principles of enticing the player to continue with an engaging story persist.
1 Thimbleweed Park
LucasArts was well known back in the day for its exceptional point-and-click adventure games, like Maniac Mansion. Two of the very people that worked on those classics created Thimbleweed Park. It lives up to LucasArts’ quality, which is precisely why it’s at the top of today’s roundup. It’s a fresh game that plays like the classics of yesteryear, offering an enjoyable sense of humor with a story that pays homage to the X-Files. Hands down, Thimbleweed Park is one of the best point-and-click adventure games out there, and it plays perfectly on Android, making it well worth the $10 price tag.
2 Sky: Children of the Light
Thatgamecompany has seen a few hits on consoles with games like Journey, Flower, and Flow, and it took these successes and created a free-to-play mobile game that actually stacks up to Journey. As a matter of fact, Sky: Children of the Light plays similarly to Journey, offering a similar seamless online experience where you can play with friends, exploring a strange world while piecing together the evolving story. Bordering on a live service game, offering events and continual updates, Sky: Children of the Light is easily unique, and even though it can feel directionless, that’s part of the fun, figuring out what in the world is going on.
3 80 Days
An oldie but a goodie, 80 Days first landed on Android in 2014. This is an adventure game where you fulfill the role of a rich world traveler’s assistant, so you’ll be making all the plans to help your employer navigate the globe in 80 days. It’s up to you to pick the destinations and where to shop; it all rests on your shoulders. This means you might not make it all the way around the globe on the first, third, or tenth try. But part of the fun is figuring out the best routes while watching as the action unfolds after each choice you make. The game is a delight, and despite its age, it holds up quite well.
Back in 2003, Amanita Design hit the scene with Samorost, a quirky browser-based adventure game that offered gorgeous vistas backed by brain-bending puzzles. But 2009 is when the developer really found success with Machinarium, vastly improving upon its brain-teasing gameplay. To this day, Machinarium is still one of Amanita Design’s best games, thanks to its wonderful art and challenging puzzles. It’s easily one of Android’s best adventure games, precisely why it’s on today’s list. Best of all, if you’ve already experienced Machinarium, Amanita Design offers a handful of similar adventure games on the Play Store, all of which are excellent experiences that are well worth their asking prices.
5 Layton: Curious Village in HD
The Professor Layton series debuted on the Nintendo DS in 2007, an adventure series where you hunt down clues to solve mysteries by solving puzzles. The first title is called Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which was eventually ported as an HD release for mobile in 2018. While it took a while to see all three titles from this series released on Android, they are all available now. Curious Village is the perfect starting point since this is the game that kicked off the series. And don’t forget, this is a Level-5 game, the same people behind the Ni no Kuni RPG series, and a handful of Yo-kai Watch. Animation is a clear strength of this studio and Layton: Curious Village in HD displays this talent superbly.
6 Ace Attorney Trilogy
Since we’re already talking about classic Nintendo DS ports with the Layton series, I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the Ace Attorney Trilogy. This is a much more recent release, having only landed on Android in 2022, collecting all three titles from the original trilogy, in HD, of course. Similar to Layton, you’ll investigate by solving puzzles, but you’ll also get to argue your case in a courthouse, where things get interesting. After all, Phoenix Wright is a defense attorney, so you’ll get to present evidence to clear your client. This all plays out in a typical adventure game format, mainly through text and cutscenes, and the move to HD means the game looks great on phones and tablets alike. Sure, the collection is expensive, but it’s a full-featured release from Capcom that offers three separate titles to play through, which is a pretty good deal.
7 Oxenfree: Netflix Edition
Night School Studio’s Oxenfree might not be the most recognizable game in today’s roundup, but it’s well-reviewed everywhere it’s sold, all thanks to its 80s-like adventure where a group of friends accidentally open a ghostly rift. It will be your job to figure out how to close the unnatural phenomenon by traveling through a mysterious island as you solve puzzles. The game is gorgeous to look at, thanks to its moody graphics, but the story is pretty good too. The dialogue between the group is pretty outstanding, especially since your choices influence how the group behaves. This opens up replayability, ensuring the 5-hour story will last much longer than a single playthrough. Just keep in mind the game moving to Netflix means it requires a Netflix sub to play.
8 Pikmin Bloom
There’s nothing like a game that exploits the portable nature of smartphones. Pikmin Bloom is a roaming adventure game themed around the titular Nintendo series. The gameplay will feel familiar if you’ve played Pokémon GO, you roam around the real world gathering Pikmin and planting flowers. The game tracks how many steps you’ve taken in addition to how many Pikmin you’ve accrued, causing your existing Pikmin to plant flowers and put on various silly hats. The original gameplay of the Pikmin series is acknowledged by the mushrooms, which groups of Pikmin can be sent to swarm for superior loot. Pikmin Bloom is a charming revival of an old series that gets you out of the house; what’s not to love?
9 Life in Adventure
A perfect example of innovation in mobile game development, Life in Adventure is a role-playing fantasy game that plays out like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. With a ton of possible endings, story events are presented through text descriptions accompanied by beautiful pixel art. You must make decisions on how to proceed and face the consequences of your actions. The combat is ripped straight from Dungeons and Dragons. Roll a die to determine your attack strength in classic Final Fantasy-style 2D turn-based battles. Adapting this style of tabletop game to the mobile platform is really cool, and it’s highly recommended if you need a western fantasy hit.
10 Lucid Dream Adventure 2: Story
A perfect example of blending traditional point-and-click gameplay with a mobile touch interface, Lucid Dream Adventure 2 plays well as a tense atmospheric adventure game with a focus on story and inventory management while exploring lovingly crafted gloomy environments. You take control of a small girl who must find ways to manipulate her environment as a mysterious intrigue develops, and this is where Lucid Dream Adventure 2 shows off its innovative approach to point-and-click gameplay. You have the option to move horizontally across the environments, and clickable items will reveal themselves as you pass, either yielding some benefit or just adding flavor text. The game is understandably a slow start as you get to grips with the mechanics, and while some of the puzzles can be a little on the obtuse side, the creepy art style and music are great at maintaining that tense atmosphere even when you are struggling. One of the better point-and-click options on the Play Store.
11 Broken Sword 5: Episode 1
The latest installment in the long-standing Broken Sword series, Broken Sword 5: Episode 1 follows the returning protagonists George Sobbart and Nico Collard on an adventure concerning a stolen painting and a murderous conspiracy. Use your deductive skills to investigate crime scenes and other environments for clues and inventory items; via Telltale-style inspection gameplay. Interact with the world and its characters to deepen the lore and further the story. The game looks great with a detailed storybook art style that pairs great with the observation-centric gameplay. The second chapter is already out, so now’s the time to get stuck in.
12 Cube Escape: Birthday
Another great experience by Rusty Lake, Cube Escape: Birthday has their classic point-and-click gameplay and signature surreal tone that invites discomfort. You are placed into an ominously subdued birthday party and must explore the environment for items that will help you progress. The game can be extremely unnerving, from the liminal space pastel theme to the vaguely melancholic music that randomly cuts out, to the robotic way characters repeat their dialogue lines. The logic is fairly sound, so there’s not a great barrier to entry for those new to point-and-click adventure, and the creepy atmosphere keeps things interesting.
13 Alien Isolation
One of the central spine-tingling AAA darlings of 2014, Alien Isolation is a survival horror game themed around the legendary Alien film series, placing the player into a cramped and isolated spaceship with a murderous rampaging creature that stalks your every move. Feral Interactive did a great job adapting this to the mobile platform, with incredible visual quality and responsive touchscreen controls that do an excellent job of helping you sneak around. Gameplay mandates stealth and caution as opposed to fighting, making it ideal for handheld play, with a great story to keep you moving forward. Alien Isolation is definitely worth playing on consoles and PC, but unforgettable on Android devices.
Teslagrad is an old-school platformer with engaging physics-based challenges, delightfully detailed environments, and atmospheric storytelling without any dialogue; concerning a young boy’s adventure through a hostile world. Players must traverse various platforming challenges in order to find and explore a mysterious tower, acquiring magnetism-themed abilities along the way to help you. Controls are smooth, reactive, and complex enough to justify Teslagrad’s excellent controller support.
15 The Healing – Horror Story
This is one of those situations where “gameplay” is in quotation marks. The Healing is more like a choose-your-own-adventure book in the context of a WhatsApp-style messaging feed, with you contributing to the conversation by selecting one of three prepared statements, similar to TellTales The Walking Dead. Unlike that series, however, there are no alternate gameplay loops here, as the game’s horror is the main focus, and The Healing achieves this by shooting for hyper-realism. You have been added to a mysterious group chat, and nobody knows why they are there until a mysterious doctor starts to mess with your mind. The interface of the fake messaging app is very convincing, as are the scripted messages from the fictional chat members, with the game even including videos of real actors to lend authenticity. There are times when you genuinely forget that it’s a game and not a real messaging app. The horror does take a hit from the lack of player input, with the story largely happening around you rather than to you, but horror is ultimately subjective, so It’s up to you how frightening this actually is.
Adventure awaits on the Google Play Store!
Playing adventure games has a unique edge over other kinds of intriguing storytelling methods, their interactive nature gives them a strong and direct way to immerse the player. Whether solving puzzles with Professor Layton or taking your cheap Android phone for a walk with Pikmin Bloom, these apps ensure that you are at the center of all the action. So dive in and experience a thrilling story wherever you go.