We were planning to wait until the end of the year before publishing this list but such has been the demand from our readers for more point-and-click games that we decided to bring it forward. This article is a follow-up to our list of Top 10 point-and-click games that we published at the end of last year.
2010 has thus far proved to be a pretty good year for point-and-click fans. It has not perhaps yet reached the heights of 2009 when two of the greatest ever point-and-click games - Machinarium and Little Wheel - were released. But there have certainly been enough great new point-and-click games in 2010 to keep even the most voracious point-and-clicker sated.
Here, we list what we think are the best point-and-click games of the year. As usual, we have focused mainly on games that you can play in your browser for free. Enjoy!
Video games are shallow creations that pander to our most basic instincts. They are violent, gratuitous and senseless, and have absolutely no redeeming artistic or educational qualities. If that is your opinion of games, you really ought to play The Curfew - an intriguing point-and-click game developed by the UK's Channel 4.
The game drops you into a dystopian future Britain where an authoritarian government has imposed a draconian curfew on all citizens. You have come upon some subversive information that you need help disseminating but who can you trust and who can you not. I can think of no better or more enjoyable way (save perhaps from reading George Orwell's seminal novel 1984 itself) of learning about the issues of civil liberty and authoritarianism.
The Curfew has reinvented the point-and-click genre as a form of education while at the same time keeping the puzzles and exploration that make the genre so much fun. The game appears to have some bugs but despite this deserves its number one position for its sheer nerve of turning point-and-clicking into an edifying - as well as an entertaining - experience. The Curfew can be played here.
From one hugely innovative point-and-click game to another. With Flower Insect, Japanese artist Akira Noyama has transformed his portfolio website into a point-and-click game. And not just any point-and-click game but one of the most beautifully-illustrated - not to mention weirdest - point-and-click games you will find. It is a brilliant way to showcase his artwork. And he has kindly translated the game to English for those whose Japanese is a tad rusty. The game can take some time to load, so be patient. And don't forget to select English as the language by clicking on the litte flag icon at the bottom right of the game. Play Flower Insect here.
The game's astronaut hero might be cartoony cute but The Dreamerz is in no way a dumbed down point-and-click experience. Exactly the opposite in fact. The game's puzzles almost perfectly walk that fine line between being too easy to be a challenge and too difficult and frustrating. We recommend that everyone plays this game and helps the little astronaut collect the dream ingredients he needs to fix his dream machine. The game can be played here.
4Scene of the Crime
Most detective games I have come across give you a gun and expect you to shoot a lot of criminals rather than doing any proper sleuthing work. Not Scene of the Crime: Golden Doll, however. This game expects you act like a proper detective, interviewing witnesses, checking out leads and carefully examining the crime scene. I don't know if it is a result of watching too many noir thrillers but I can't get enough of games like this. I hope you have fun too. The game can be played here.
5The Dream Machine
Indie developer Cockroach Incorporated is currently working on a five-chapter point-and-click epic called Dream Machine. You will have to pay to download the full game but the company is making the first chapter - which is currently being beta tested - available to play for free in your browser. Don't be put off by it being just one chapter - it is still a sizeable point-and-click game in itself. And the quality is impressive. Great graphics and fun puzzles. Check it out now. Thanks to Stray Dog for bringing the game to our attention. Play Dream Machine here.
6Alice is Dead 2
Alice is Dead was a hit 2009 point-and-click game inspired by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's surreal Alice in Wonderland stories. The game won praise for its dark, sinister ambience and abstract but fun puzzles. The follow-up game featured here does not quite live up to the exceptional standards of the original but it is still a very polished and enjoyable point-and-click game. You can play it here.
7Daymare Town 3
Mateusz Skutnik of Pastel Games is a legend in the world of point-and-click games. He is responsible for two of the most popular point-and-click series - the Submarine games and the Covert Front games. My personal favorites however are his Daymare Town games, featuring beautifully drawn cityscapes and fiendishly intelligent puzzles. The third and latest Daymare Town game can be played here.
8Fog Fall 3
Another Mateusz Skutnik/Pastel Games masterpiece, Fog Fall 3 is an atmospheric point-and-click game set in a Fallout 3-esque post-apocalyptic world. The hand-drawn graphics and eery sound effects give the game a unqiue, haunting ambience. Can you survive in this tough, unforgiving environment? Fog Fall 3 can be played here.
9Reincarnation: The Clergy of Unholy
This the latest in a series of popular point-and-click games where you play an evil cat-like demon. In typical point-and-click style, you pick up and combine items to solve puzzles, in your quest to return escaped souls to their rightful owner. Reincarnation: The Clergy of Unholy can be played by clicking here. Earlier incarnations of the game can be played here, here and here.
You start off in a pitch black room in this clever take on the escape-from-the-room genre. Initially, you can see nothing but blackness, but as you begin to explore the room by clicking on the controls that pop-up on the right and left of the game space, small details begin to emerge from the inky darkness. Your task is not so much to escape as bring light back to this dark space. Another great game from the legendary Japanese point-and-click scene. Loom Dawn can be played here.
Space Oddity could be the beginning of yet another great series of point-and-click games from Mateusz Skutnik and Pastel Games. The studio's trademark sketchy graphics seem to work just as well in space as back on earth. Combine that with atmospheric music and taxing but fun puzzles, and you have the making of a classic point-and-click game. Play Space Oddity by clicking here.
Loondon is one of the best looking point-and-click games on the list. The game really is worth checking out for its sublime artwork alone. The puzzles and game-play are not too shabby, either. Help hunchback Jonah find happiness using all the weapons in your point-and-click arsenal. Play Loondon by clicking here.
13Panda's Bigger Adventure
This game is the follow-up to the 2009 point-and-clicker Panda's Big Adventure. The question on everyone's lip is: is it really bigger. Well, yes, but the 2009 game was pretty short anyway, so this is nothing to get excited about. What should get you salivating however is the game's appealing characters, good humour and enjoyable puzzles. Not the hardest point-and-click game around but a lot of fun. You can play Panda's Bigger Adventure here.
14Nightmare Adventure 4
If you are a point-and-click legend who loves nothing more than having your puzzle-solving skills stretched to breaking point, then you probably won't get much out of this game. If however you are a youngster or new to point-and-click games, Nightmare Adventure 4's blend of appealing cartoony graphics and relatively simple puzzles will be perfect. Games do not have to be hard to be good. Nightmare Adventure 4 can be played here.
Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, so you ought not to judge a point-and-click game by its graphics. Make that mistake and you would probably not even give Agent 079 a second look. The game's graphics are basic to say the least but behind this plain Jane exterior lies some of the best puzzles you can find in a point-and-click game. If you are after a game with intelligent, well thought out mental challenges, then you won't want to miss this game. Play Agent 079 here.
16Submachine Network Exploration Machine
You would have thought that people would be getting a bit bored of Mateusz Skutnik's Submachine games by now. There are, after all, six games in the main series. Plus, a prequel, an episode called Future Loops, and now Submachine Network Exploration Machine. But so good are all these point-and-click games that interest in them - far from flagging - is growing ever larger. The only people who might be getting bored of them are poor Mateusz and his staff, forced to churn out yet more of them to meet the insatiable demand. Play Submachine Network Exploration Machine here.
Developed by the team behind 2009 space-based point-and-clicker Morningstar, Hetherdale is a high-brow point-and-click game in which you play the part of scholar Heather Montrose. Heather is off on a mission to Africa to find a legendary city that was thought to be nothing more than the pipedream of a mad poet. Not perfect by any means - some of the solutions to puzzles being a tad bizarre - but certainly a very respectable addition to the point-and-click oeuvre. Hetherdale can be played here.
18Harry Quantum TV Go Home
A pretty standard point-and-click adventure game that deserves to be on the list thanks to its clean polished graphics and fun storyline. You play the part of private detective Harry Quantum who has been given a job to retrieve some missing tapes for a tv company. But there is something fishy about this case. Can you work out what. Harry Quantum TV Go Home can be played by clicking here.
If you like point-and-click games where you don't know where you are, who you are or even what you should be doing - in short, games that enshroud you in mystery and expect you to extricate yourself with nothing but your own wits (sorry, that was not very short) - then Imagia 1 - The Tower could be ideal for you. The game is literally dripping with mystery and intrigue at every turn. You can play it here.
20Ugly Americans: Citizen Ugly
Games developed with the sole purpose of promoting TV shows generally do not have much merit. But there are the occasional exceptions. Home Sheep Home is one example. Ugly Americans: Citizen Ugly is another. This game is a humorous point-and-click exploration of modern life in America. Intriguingly, you start the game hand-cuffed by the bed. What have we been up to! Ugly Americans: Citizen Ugly can be played here.
We came across tons of other decent point-and-click games during our research. We have listed the best of the rest below in no particular order.