2017 was an exciting year for the adventure genre, with titles like the melancholy short story collection What Remains Edith Finch and the heartbreaking and mundane odyssey Night In The Woods leading the pack. 2018 looks to be a worthy successor, with a series of adventure games that run the aesthetic gambit: with expeditions in space, plague-ridden towns, cyberpunk futures. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are the 10 adventure games we’re most excited for in 2018.
10. Pathologic 2
Platform: PS4, PC
Despite Pathologic 2 having a sequel’s name, it’s actually a remake of the 2005 cult hit Pathologic. This ‘sequel’ finds you in a small European town stricken by the plague. Your mission is to save the town…or at least try. The original game was beloved in spite of its technical issues because of its idiosyncratic nature, offering no clear instructions and embracing a bleak atmosphere and design that allowed players to fail in their quest if they’re not careful. Hopefully, this remake presents the best version of one of gaming’s most bizarre and compelling titles when hits later this year.
Sam Barlow, the designer behind Her Story, tackles his latest project by creating an adaptation of the classic 1983 film about nuclear war anxieties. You know, the one starring Matthew Broderick. #WarGames’ brief trailer showcased a melding of FMV and is being branded as an “interactive series” that focuses on a group of hackers involved in a government conspiracy. Her Story was one of the most fascinating games of 2015, making us more than interested in seeing how Barlow’s latest FMV adventure turns out.
8. The Wolf Among Us Sequel
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Outside of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us has proven to be one of Telltale’s most beloved series, thanks to its combination of noir and fairytale fantasies. Despite the popularity of the original outing, Telltale kept quiet on the possibility of a sequel until early last year when it was revealed. No concrete details have emerged on the story or its characters this time around, but considering how the quality of Telltale’s games has wildly fluctuated in the years since The Wolf Among Us’ release, we’re both anxious and excited to see the Big Bad Wolf and crew return for another hurrah.
7. Where The Water Tastes Like Wine
Presented as a “bleak American folk tale,” Dim Bulbs’ debut game casts you as a wanderer making your way through a century of history in the US. Along the way, you meet other travelers and ne’er do wells. Every time we’ve played Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, we’ve been impressed by the beautiful, tarot card-style art and its ambitions. A currency system is based on the stories you tell and a creeping psychedelic tone becomes gradually overwhelming as your travels go on. Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is due out later this year and we can’t wait to get our hands on this wild and strange adventure.
6. The Walking Dead: Final Season
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
The last two seasons of The Walking Dead, though they had strong moments, came nowhere close to matching the brilliant and emotional intensity of the award-winning first season. The third season, in particular, felt like a strange detour story. Thankfully, Clementine returns as our protagonist in what Telltale is calling the final season. For those who have loved the series or gotten worn down by its superfluous and bleak meanderings, seeing an end to Clem’s story is enough to get us back on the undead horse. Here’s hoping Telltale’s conclusion for the series can match the brilliance of its classic first installment.
5. Donut County
Platform: PlayStation 4, PC
A strange vision born from a game jam, Donut County has been pitched to the public as Katamari Damacy in reverse. County’s delightful visuals and complex puzzles, all centered on pouring a plethora of objects into a steadily growing hole. The game impressed Andrew Reiner at PSX last year with its quirky sensibilities, leaving us eagerly awaiting the game’s launch later this year.
4. Detroit Become Human
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer Quantic Dream has a spotty track record when it comes to delivering complex interactive experiences that live up to the promise of their settings. At the very least, they’re often entertaining. With Detroit: Become Human, the developer is taking on its most ambitious game yet, focusing on an android uprising and offering players an immense number of choices that shift the story. Trailers for Detroit: Become Human have showcased a number of emotionally intense sequences, including a hostage situation. So far it looks to deliver that style of cinematic, action-packed storytelling that Quantic Dream is known for. While we’re concerned about the strength of the writing, particularly when it comes to dialogue, the sheer ambition and power of the setting might end up being Become Human’s trump card.
3. The Last Night
Platform: Xbox One, PC
The Last Night, a pixelated, futuristic adventure set in a world where computers have taken on most of the world’s labor, made a splash when it premiered during Microsoft’s 2017 E3 reveal. The game looks like a stunning homage to Blade Runner and similar cyberpunk influences. The E3 trailer didn’t reveal much gameplay but suggested hints of gameplay elements from cinematic platformers like Another World and Flashback. We’re always up for another quality cyberpunk game and look forward to seeing if The Last Night lives up to the promise of its sci-fi trappings.
2. Return Of The Obra Dinn
Developer Lucas Pope made waves with his dramatic border patrol sim Papers, Please. His return to video games is something more quiet and mysterious. Set aboard a ship that’s been missing for five years and has washed up on the shore, you play an insurance adjuster trying to figure out what happened to all 60 members of the crew. This enticing concept is made even more interesting by the game’s central mechanic, which has you using a device called the “Momento Mortem” in which you can flash back to someone’s death. Papers, Please was one of the most influential indie games of its time, and we’re excited to investigate his haunted boat in this spooky follow-up.
1. Kentucky Route Zero
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
An adventure five years in the making, Kentucky Route Zero has been a long and winding road. Being released over five acts, the intriguing adventure hopes to reach its conclusion this year. The mysterious game is unrepentant in its surrealness, offering many enticing questions about its mundane yet fantastical world. In it, the simple normality of Kentucky’s countryside is undermined by caves and otherworlds filled with accounting agencies, and bars that literally transform before your eyes when someone sings on stage. In spite of all the surrealness, there is an understandable and powerful emotional core at the center of this journey as protagonists Conway and Shannon search for answers to questions that deal with past traumas. We can’t wait to see how this long, aching ride finishes.
For more on adventure games, check out our favorites from the genre in 2017.