Mystery games, which let players investigate foreign settings, have been amusing puzzle-lovers since the late 1980s. There is something about solving a riddle that is both thrilling and satisfying. “Mystery games give players the chance to ‘try on different hats’ and act as their ideal selves in a world that is far removed from our own. It is the ideal form of escapism,” says lifestyle expert from THEGOODESTATE Brett Holmes. From murder mysteries to surreal settings, here are some of the best games in the genre ever made.
Platforms: PC, NS, PS3, PS4, XBO, X360
Release: May 17, 2011
Developer: Team Bondi
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Set in the gritty world of post-war Los Angeles, L.A Noire puts players in the role of Cole Phelps, a rookie police officer who moves up the ranks of the LAPD, as he solves a range of crimes from murders and arson to drug smuggling. The game features facial capture technology, which was hailed as groundbreaking at the time of its release. The quest to solve cases sees the protagonist interview suspects (looking for any suspicious facial gestures), investigate crime scenes and even get involved in shooting wars.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Release: September 26, 2014
Developer: The Astronauts
Publisher: The Astronauts
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter tells the story of a paranormal investigator Paul Prospero who receives a letter from a young boy – Ethan Carter – about strange occurrences in Red Creek Valley, Wisconsin. The game consists of an open world in which the player searches for clues to both find Ethan and solve a string of murder cases. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter received the Best Game Innovation Award from the British Academy Games Awards.
Platforms: PC, XBO, PS4, NS, Android, iOS
Release: March 30, 2017
Developer: Terrible Toybox
Publisher: Terrible Toybox
Thimbleweed Park is a point-and-click mystery/adventure game that sees players investigate a murder committed in a small town. Reminiscent of the 1987 game Maniac Mansion and 1990 game Monkey Island, Thimbleweed Park lets players switching between five characters to solve the case. Featuring old-school 2D graphics, the game has been designed to look similar to the games released in the late 80s and early 90s.
Release: 1989 – present
Developer: Access Software, Big Finish Games, Chaotic Fusion
Publisher: Access Software, Atlus, Chaotic Fusion
First released in 1989, Tex Murphy is a series of games that place players in the role of Tex Murphy, an investigator tasked with exploring post-apocalyptic San Francisco. The noir-style game sees the main protagonist interact with his environment and collect clues. While the game is mostly point-and-click, it features full motion video cutscenes. Due for release soon, the Poisoned Pawn will be the seventh game in the Tex Murphy series.
The Wolf Among Us
Platforms: Android, iOS, PC, PS3, PS4, PSV, X360, XBO
Release: October 14, 2013
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
The Wolf Among Us is set in 1986 in Fabletown, a city inhabited by both humans and characters from fairy tales who have to mask their real identities. The players take on the role of detective Bigby Wolf, or the Big Bad Wolf, who is tasked with investigating a murder. The game features five episodes where the players investigate various areas and talk to different characters.