With all the powerful hardware packed into smartphones these days, text-based adventure games might seem obsolete. However, these games have a certain ‘je ne sais quois’, as they focus almost entirely on the story, so more often than not it will be much more interesting and engaging than when playing traditional games that heavily use visual representations and actions.
Also, text-based games can be simple yet entertaining time wasters that won’t drag you into complicated progress paths and mechanics when your mind is too crowded with more important things. This particular genre bundles some brilliant games, worth playing when you feel like taking a break from Candy Crush Saga.
Lifeline (Android, iOS)
Lifeline is an interactive story-based game we really enjoyed back in April when we curated a list of of the best games available for the Apple Watch. The game features a scientist named Tailor stuck on an alien moon as the only survivor after his spaceship crashed. It’s up to you what will happen to Taylor as the story will progress based on your choices.
The story plays out in real-time, just to make it more realistic, but you can always check out what you missed later, when you have some free time. The fact you can go back earlier in the story, and make different choices only adds to the replay value of Lifeline.
A Dark Room (Android, iOS)
It’s really difficult to describe this game. A Dark Room is a text based adventure game with an immersive story and the possibility to explore your surroundings. Everything starts with one button that lets you light a fire. The more you press it, more strangers will come and the need for additional resources will appear as well.
From there, anyone can build their own adventure as each player’s decisions will affect the scenario. It has an exquisitely simple black and white interface, although the experience on iPhone is much more pleasant than with the free but ad-riddled Android version.
Out There Ω Edition (Android, iOS)
Out There Omega Edition is an update to the original Out There game that was quite popular and so is the sequel. It’s a sci-fi adventure game that lets you play as an astronaut lost in space, doing whatever it takes to survive, including gathering resources. The game is text based but it’s not just text as the comic book style graphics will add something extra to the entertainment.
You’ll encounter aliens, mysterious objects, other spaceships and the so called ‘safe path’ will not be obvious, but that would only take the fun away.
Blackbar (Android, iOS)
Blackbar is very different from the games we looked at so far, as it offers story-based word puzzles with censored areas that you’ll have to uncover using clues in order to progress further. It offers some interesting puzzles and a refreshing gameplay experience – definitely not for everyone, but undeniably unique.
Sorcery! (Android, iOS)
Sorcery! Is a very complex adventure game offering an interactive story with thousands of choices. If you ever wanted to create a game as you were playing it, you couldn’t get closer than this. There’s also some action and beautiful illustrations to keep you engaged. Moreover, developer Inkle made two sequels for Sorcery! which you should check out as well if you’re into the genre.
Choice of Robots (Android, iOS)
‘Choice of’ is a series of games offering interactive novels where the story is controlled by your choices. And Choice of Robots is certainly one of the best from the series. This 300,000 word interactive sci-fi novel lets you play through 30 years from the life of a robot maker.
Depending on your decisions robots may turn on humans or they’ll end up peacefully co-existing. The faith of the robot maker is also influenced by your choices and he could end up alone, only with robots to keep him company or happily get to live to an old age surrounded by family. If you find Choice of Robots interesting, don’t forget to check out other ‘Choice of’ games from the same developer.
Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be (Android, iOS)
Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be is also an interactive novel, but in this case we’re talking about Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Think it would be fun to play as Hamlet and revenge your father’s death or as Ophelia and make scientific discoveries? Then you absolutely need to try this game. You could also make it a one page story if you play as King Hamlet Sr. just for laughs.
Have you played any of today’s featured text-based games and do you know of other such games that offer a great experience?
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