Adventure, story and sandbox games
The best adventure, story or sandbox game for Android is... The Room: Old Sins (£4.99)
An engineer and his wife disappear, and their trail leads to a dusty, dark attic. You get a light working, shining it on an elaborate doll’s house. You glimpse a body in the gloom, but are then sucked inside the toy, which appears to be an impossible full-sized recreation of a mansion – and one teetering on the edge of a monstrous abyss.
Packed full of puzzles and atmosphere, Old Sins echoes Myst, but without any of the tedious traipsing around. Instead, you dart from location to location, trying to unlock the mysteries of the objects you discover, in a tantalising, tactile and creepy slice of touchscreen horror.
Thimbleweed Park (£8.99)
A love letter to 1980s point-and-click adventures, Thimbleweed Park is (sort of) a murder mystery. It begins with a bloke being horribly killed by something with glowing red eyes. Then two feds show up, but they act weirdly and keep secrets from one another – and the player. In fact, everyone in the game has an agenda, is borderline nuts, or both.
If you’ve ever played a game by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, you’ll be right at home. Thimbleweed Park has their trademark humour, and even the basic control system and pixel art famous from the days of Maniac Mansion. But even if you’re new to this type of thing, you should love this funny, oddball, brain-smasher of an adventure.
Samorost 3 (£3.99)
The mechanics of classic point-and-click adventures have transferred nicely to touchscreens, but the power in modern kit has enabled them to evolve in terms of artistry. Samorost 3 is a case in point: although it mostly involves pottering about, prodding the landscape, and figuring out where to use found objects, it’s the lush visuals and gorgeous soundtrack that prove hypnotic.
The story involves a mad monk who’s smashed up planets with a mechanical hydra, and your little gnome must put things right. The tiny worlds deftly marry photography and hand-drawn elements, and are peppered with delightful moments. Our favourite: encouraging creatures by a crater to sing a song, to which the gnome fist-pumps the air as if enjoying the best club event in history.
Oceanhorn (free download + £4.99 IAP)
People who moan smartphones aren’t good for console-style fare need Oceanhorn thrust into their mitts. Yes, there’s a whiff of Zelda about the islands of the Uncharted Seas, but you’ll forget all that when immersed in this epic arcade adventure.
The story begins with your father’s disappearance. He’s left a letter, a notebook and a mysterious necklace. Before long, you’re getting all questy, duffing up aggressive wildlife, and pilfering bling like it’s going out of fashion
For free, you get the first chapter, and can ensure the game works well on your device. A single IAP unlocks the rest.