What makes a good detective game? Obviously, a mystery that needs to be solved and a set of challenging but still enjoyable puzzles and objectives to be completed. The right atmosphere is important as well, whether it is set in a smoky lounge in the 1940s or a more modern city setting, players should feel like they're thoroughly immersed in the world the mystery takes place in.
There also needs to be a good detective, that players can really get into the mind of. The games listed here have all of these elements and more, here are the 10 Best Detective Games.
10 Professor Layton
The Professor Layton series shows that not all detective games take place in dark and gritty settings! While the character Professor Layton isn't a detective himself, his prowess at solving puzzles makes him just as good one. The major plot of the game series has him tasked with solving mysteries.
Players interact with NPC, find clues to help them solve puzzles and learn more about the environment. Solving puzzles is the only way to progress through the game, and each game consists of a collection of different style puzzles, like mazes, brainteasers, math problems, etc.
For most, high school was a nightmare, but for the characters in the Danganronpa series, it's a living nightmare. In the main three games, students are forced into playing a cruel game created by a remote-controlled bear called Monokuma. To escape their fate students have to take the lives of their classmates, without getting caught.
The game is split into two styles. "School Life" where the game is like a visual novel and "Class Trial" where players have to deduce the truth, suss out contradictions in stories and find clues to find the true culprit and stay alive.
8 L.A. Noire
L.A. Noire gives players the full experience of being in a Hollywood crime drama. Set in Los Angeles in the late '40s, players control Cole Phelps as he solves cases and rises through the ranks of the LAPD. Players are given locations to search for clues and suspects to interrogate.
When in interrogating characters, players can choose the options "truth/doubt/lie" (changes to good cop/bad cop/accuse in the remastered version) in response to suspects answers and receive a musical cue in-game telling them if they made the right choice.
7 Kathy Rain
Kathy Rain is a newer addition to the classic point-and-click adventure game that shows the genre is still alive. Players control Kathy Rain, a journalism major in the '90s. Kathy returns to her hometown after her grandfather passes on and she stays ti investigate the mysterious nature of his passing. The game has a rich story, lots of enjoyable puzzles, and a number of interesting and compelling characters. Kathy is the most compelling, and the player discovers more about her own troubled past as they uncover the mysteries that surround Conwell Springs.
6 Sam & Max Hit The Road
Another enjoyable point-and-click game is Sam & Max Hit the Road. This retro game is based on the 1989 comic characters Sam and Max, an anthropomorphic dog and a hyperactive rabbit who are freelance detectives. Players control Sam and Max as they investigate the disappearance of a bigfoot from a carnival.
The duo travel around to different Americana themed tourist sites searching for clues to find the elusive bigfoot. It's wacky and a lot of the puzzles have some pretty weird solutions, but it all fits the cartoon setting and makes for a more light-hearted detective game.
5 The Wolf Among Us
The Wolf Among Us mixes fairytales and fables together with the dark and grittiness of crime dramas. Based on the Fables comic book series, The Wolf Among Us takes place in a community called Fabletown, inhabited by many characters depicted in folklore and fairytales.
Players control the sheriff of Fabletown Bigby, who was formerly the Big Bad Wolf, as he investigates a homicide. Players can find objects that are important to the story and interact with NPCs. Dialogue choices can have a positive or negative effect on how Bigby is perceived and influence the route of the game.
4 Batman: Arkham Asylum
While Batman is a superhero, he's also Gotham City's greatest detective. In Arkham Asylum players take control of Batman as he faces against the Joker in his plot to take over Arkham Asylum and trap Batman inside of it as he wreaks havoc throughout Gotham.
Players use Batman's stealth, combat skills and gadgets to aid him in missions. The game even has a "Detective Mode" that turns the screen blue and highlights things of interest, like interactive objects, the status of enemies and more, that can be used to solve puzzles and find clues.
3 Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishment
Of course, a list of the best detective games wouldn't be complete without a Sherlock Holmes mention! And one of the best modern Sherlock Holmes games is Crimes & Punishment. Inspired by the original stories, players guide Sherlock through six different cases. Each case has it's own thrilling plot, from homicide to thefts to missing person cases. Players can use Sherlock's 14 investigation skills to find clues, deduce motives and interrogate suspects. And each case has multiple solutions and even more endings, with the choices a player makes affecting Sherlock's reputation and fate.
2 The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person horror game that really puts the player's deductive reasoning and investigation skills to the test. Players take control of Paul Prospero, a detective that specializes in the occult. A letter from a boy named Ethan Carter sends him to Red Creek Valley, Ethan's home and the sight of more than one homicide that catches his attention. Players use Paul's ability to communicate with the dead and their own observation skills to find clues and figure out the dark secret of Red Creek Valley and the fate of Ethan.
1 Her Story
Her Story is an interesting and unique take on detective games. Players are made to feel like they really are a detective working on a case as the visuals of the game are set up to look like an old desktop at a police station. Players are tasked with solving the fictional case of a missing man by searching through a database of police interviews. The interviews focus on the missing person's wife and players have to use their own deductive reasoning to figure out if she's innocent or if she played a part of his disappearance.