I recently played through two point'n'click adventure games by German publishers and was positively surprised. It seems the adventure genre is back.
I have no idea on the availability of these games outside of Germany. Amazon.com seems not to carry them currently, which is a pity. Additionally keep in mind that I played the games in German – English dubs might be not as good as the German version.
“The Book of Unwritten Tales” is set in a fantasy world filled with orcs, dwarfs, elves, gnomes and mages. You play different characters that will only meet later in the game. Your task is to find some magical item and use it to end a long running war between good and evil and finally bring back peace to the kingdom.
The game features beautiful graphics and well executed voices and soundtrack. The game's tasks and riddles are always logical1). I never came to a point where I didn't know what I had to achieve next. Not that I immediately knew how to solve the task, but I never felt lost.
What I enjoyed most were the little homages to popular movies, books and other adventure games. And talking to the mummy in an archeologist's home made me literally laugh out loud – a really “Monkey Island”-esque moment.
I highly recommend to get this game.
“The Whispered World” is set in a medieval fantasy world, too. You're playing Sadwick, a young clown in a traveling circus group. Sadwick hates to be a clown. In fact he is annoyed by pretty much everything and believes the whole world is always turning against him.
Nonetheless he sets out to rescue the world of being destroyed, when the task arises. He's accompanied by his little pet caterpillar named Spot. Spot plays an important role in the puzzles as he can transform himself into various forms with different abilities. Using Spot in his correct form is the key to solve many puzzles.
Unfortunately the game isn't as logical as the Unwritten Tales. I often had to rely on a walkthrough to find my way out. What bugged me most was that certain puzzles involved indirectly manipulating parts of the screen that you couldn't highlight. I expect the things I can interact with (even indirectly) to be at least examinable.
Graphics, voices and soundtrack where as good as in the Unwritten Tales. Unfortunately voices and sounds did not always match the animations.
Despite it's shortcomings, “The Whispered World” is a solid adventure game. And the somewhat surprising ending is so touching I had tears in my eyes.