Top adventure games developed by indie studios worth discovering

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The action-adventure genre has no shortage of triple-A blockbusters. Last year alone, Hogwarts’ Legacy, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and Tears of the Kingdom broke sales records left and right. However, recent years have seen many independent studios level the playing field with gaming giants, albeit with a fraction of the budget and marketing power. So, let’s check some tightly-crafted adventure games that might have flown under your radar. 

The Forgotten City

From action games playing out in the gladiator arena to strategy games pitting legionaries against barbarian tribes, history buffs passionate about Ancient Rome have many avenues to explore. The Forgotten City is of a different ilk, however. This open-world murder mystery with RPG elements transports you 2,000 years into the past, in a Roman city plagued by a terrible curse. The moment any citizen sins, the entire city will die. It is up to you to find a way to counter this ominous fate by exploiting a time loop. 

Bribery, intimidation, and combat can only take you so far, and you must delve deeper into the interconnected lives of a community teetering on the brink of disaster to piece it all together. While the time-travel trope sometimes feels contrived, repetitive, or predictable, this non-linear adventure avoids the pitfalls often associated with this well-worn genre. Despite being somewhat dialogue-heavy, what was initially a mere Skyrim mod is ultimately a narrative masterpiece whose moral quandaries are bound to keep you on edge. 

Chants of Sennaar

Few games have scored a ten out of ten on platforms like Steam, but Chants of Sennaar is one of those gems that are both boldly inventive and incredibly addictive. Ranked by the New York Times as one of the best games of 2023, this indie puzzler plays on the concept of being lost in translation in a clever way that appeals to many more gamers than mere linguistics experts. 

This adventure game can seem bewildering at first, as it transports you to a universe drawing inspiration from the myth of Babel, where you use deductive reasoning to decipher ancient glyphs. Making connections between images and words is key to navigating a string of language-based puzzles and putting together a lexicon that may once again unite the Peoples of the Tower. If a little short-lived, as it clocks in at approximately ten hours, this cerebral adventure with poetic graphics is a unique take on the genre.  

Card Shark

Card Shark takes a different approach to your run-of-the-mill card game, as cheating is very much allowed in this period caper set at the dawn of the French Revolution, which casts you as the mute assistant to a mysterious count. Your mission as a budding con artist is to swindle the elite of French society – including Enlightenment philosophers D’Alembert and Voltaire – without getting caught in the act. Mastering every underhanded technique in the book is both challenging and adrenaline-pumping, given such card tricks grow increasingly complex as the story progresses. 

Diving into this card game with a cunning twist might even make players eager to shoot their shots at real tabletop games. While online gaming can be overwhelming, platforms like CasinoReviews help newcomers find their footing. Prospective players can browse detailed reviews of new casinos and well-established websites with just a click. From withdrawal methods and payout speed to bonuses, they can filter casinos depending on various metrics to find the best pick for their playing style. Safety being of the utmost importance, all recommended websites are duly licensed and adhere to strict regulations to ensure the fairness of their games – meaning cheating is not an option, even for card sharks. 

Night in the Woods

Adventure games usually pack a punch in the story department, hitting players right into the feels. The debut game of indie studio Infinite Fall, Night in the Woods takes that philosophy to heart. In this story-rich adventure launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign, you play as college dropout Mae Borowski, who returns to her run-down mining hometown only to find out that everything feels different now that she has grown. 

Her childhood friends are no longer the same. Her relationship with her parents is strained and reconnecting with them is trickier than expected. Simultaneously, peculiar occurrences disturb the otherwise tranquil town – and something is up in the woods. Gameplay-wise, Night in the Woods brings nothing groundbreaking to the table. Yet, this deceptively cute coming-of-age tale full of relatable characters strikes the right emotional chords. 

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Last Updated: Feb 19, 2024