In the years since launch, Nintendo Switch has hosted games from across the genres, including an array of old-school point and click adventure games, a genre which flourished on PCs in the old days and one which Nintendo's hybrid console offers a convenient way to play. The system's touchscreen makes it an ideal match for games which would have traditionally been best paired with a mouse, but many adventure games these days function just as well whether you're playing docked to your TV with a pad or you're out and about with your Switch in handheld mode.
Below you'll find our recommendations — in no particular order — for the best adventure games on Switch; games less swashbuckling and more navigating conversation trees and tapping verbs and objects. Of course, some of the very best point and clicks ever made are swashbuckling adventures, although the infamous Mr Guybrush Threepwood hasn't swung to Switch in a Monkey Island port just yet. It's only a matter of time, surely?
If you prefer first-person narrative games, we've got another list of the best Switch 'walking simulators' and environmental narrative adventure games for you to peruse, and we'll cover visual novels at some point in the future, too. Due to the large Venn diagram of adventure game types, you'll find a few edge cases in the list below but we wanted to cast our net wide, even if that means stretching the definition in order to get more quality games under your nose — games which otherwise might not sit comfortably on any of our Switch essentials genre collections.
So, sit back and prepare to scroll through the best point and click adventure games on Switch.
Point-and-click beginners may struggle with the myriad puzzles Thimbleweed Park lays across its curiosity-piquing plot, but its developers have rightfully made it possible to get ahead even when all you see are dead ends, with the inclusion of the tips line. This is a love letter to the LucasArts adventure games of old, updated to be as convenient as possible without stripping away the challenge or the charm. These updates mean that what would have been an essential only for a very specific audience is, with no explicit fail states, easy for anyone to not just enjoy, but actually finish. And going around for a second time is still a treat, much as Monkey Island et al were, as you can clearly see all the pieces of the grander picture coming together to comprise a fascinating whole, climaxing with one of gaming’s better twists.
Bulb Boy won’t stay in your memories forever; it is a relatively small game that shouldn’t take too long to complete, but whilst it lasts it offers nicely designed puzzles and an underlying humour that offers a different experience. It is clearly lovingly put-together and refreshingly manages to make horror cute and fun, rather than taking itself seriously. Bulb Boy appeal comes in the form of its characters, craziness and toilet humour – a deadly combination that deserves to be played.
2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL takes the classic point-and-click genre of old, strips out many of the annoyingly exacting puzzle systems, and injects a refreshingly positive and progressive outlook. A cast of memorable characters and some spot-on retro presentation should seal the deal for fans of a good story and snappy dialogue.
The first Inner World introduced the entertaining, eccentric world of Asposia and the naïve flute-nose Robert, but its lack of touchscreen support left us feeling frustrated. This sequel, however, addressed our primary issue with the original and improved things no-end, making The Last Wind Monk a much easier recommendation. Experimentation is a breeze with touch controls and the expanded possibilities offered by character-switching mean puzzles feel more varied. It maintains the original’s great writing and presentation, but offers a far better all-round experience, making it the best entry point for Switch owners. We've still got our fingers crossed for a part three.
There’s a good chance you’ve probably never heard of NAIRI: Tower of Shirin, but that doesn’t mean this hidden gem should pass you buy. Sure, it doesn’t have the pedigree of a Double Fine game or the licence exposure of something from TellTale’s back catalogue, but it still offers up a safe and engaging world full of quirky characters, challenging puzzles and all the screen-tapping backgrounds you could ask for. It’s no great reimagining of the genre, but it’s still a curio worth playing nonetheless.
A genuinely creepy creation, Oxenfree combines a clever story and smart dialogue mechanics with superbly sinister music to leave a deep and lasting impression on the player, one that should encourage an all-important second playthrough. Fans of Stranger Things and Poltergeist will love the direction this game takes – if not to hell and back, exactly, then absolutely to some other place where horrors abound, just waiting for an invitation into our world. It’s yet another Switch essential, and playing with a touchscreen gives it a more point-and-click flavour.
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is the full and complete Kentucky Route Zero experience. A magical realist point-and-click adventure that takes you on a beguiling journey to a place that exists both below and beyond. It's a trip to be savoured, ruminated on; no need to rush. Each act here brings with it some new perspective, new places and people to forge deep connections with. You may be confused, even bewildered by your initial steps down into the subterranea that exists somewhere beneath this version of Kentucky but, by the end of your journey, you'll have made friends and memories and been escorted through a rich and beautiful experience that will stay with you much longer than you may expect.
A point-and-click aventure game with a cool '60s styling and an intriguing story, we missed out on reviewing Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise, although Nintendo Life readers brought it to our attention. It's a stylish little adventure and well worth investigation if you're a fan of non-serious secret agent puzzling with the classic (or should that be cla-shic?) James Bond flavour.
An emotional story that weaves big themes across its episodes, The Lion’s Song is a poignant point-and-click adventure with excellent audio, a beautiful art style and great writing. The exploration of its subjects isn’t muddied with obstinate riddles or ill-fitting mechanics and it’s a satisfying, albeit brief, experience that is absolutely worthy of your time.
Point-and-click in the loosest sent of the term, whether you played this episodic narrative adventure back in 2012 or are completely new to the series, The Walking Dead: Season One is a masterpiece in video game storytelling. It features some of the best voice-over performances you’ll find on any gaming platform and sets the stage for a grand, multi-season odyssey of tragic proportions. However, this is also a satisfying and poignant collection even if you never play the subsequent episodes.
While the Switch incarnation of Machinarium doesn’t offer anything different from the other versions already out there, it’s still a fine port of an award-winning point-and-click adventure. Even after a decade, Amanita Design’s brilliant little odyssey still looks, plays and feels fresh thanks to a quirky soundtrack, those instantly recognisable hand-drawn visuals and an approach to environmental puzzles that strikes the right balance between obtuse and tantalisingly obvious. The lack of any additional content makes this a hard sell for anyone who's already played it elsewhere, but if you’ve never had the pleasure of joining Josef on his mechanical adventure, there’s arguably never been a better platform on which to try it.