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The Best Adventure Games Of 2021

Do you love exploring new worlds and stories through relatable characters or immersive environments? Do you enjoy games that make you think, use your sympathy skills, or learn about life itself? Then you probably love adventure games, a genre with a few underrated titles to its name.

Adventure games come in a variety of forms, which can make them a bit more all-encompassing than some other video game genres. However, they're all tied together by three core concepts: narrative, puzzles, and exploration. They're the perfect type of game to pick up on a rainy day and hunker down with, especially if it's cold outside. Some of the titles on this list can be completed in less than an hour while others will require days of dedication.

Considering how the last year and some change has panned out, getting lost in an exciting new world can be a breath of fresh air. Get ready to explore and relax with the best adventure games of 2021.

Sunlight

Sunlight walks you through a "harmonious, hand painted forest," where you will experience a 30-minute philosophical tale that will get the gears in your mind spinning. 

Critics loved the game, which racked up a respectable Metacritic score of 83. Screen Rant's Rob Gordon called the game a "little moment of piece" that was needed after what "the world [has seen] in 2020 and the start of 2021."

The game is hyper-focused on the arts, and it's evident in almost every detail. Sunlight's style draws inspiration from expressionist artists like Munch and Monet, according to the game's description on Steam. Meanwhile, the game's music is drawn from the works of the great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 

Whether or not you're a fan of art, Sunlight's story brings a lot to the table. Essentially, all of the trees have a voice, and you're going around listening to their stories and how they come together as one. As the Steam page says, "everything is connected." To hammer this theme home, buying the game has the added benefit of helping the environment, as a tree is planted for every time the game is downloaded.

Gnosia

Imagine Among Us as a visual novel and you've got Gnosia. The game is a single-player visual novel adventure game that's set in space. The game has a critic score of 82 on Metacritic with over 30 reviews.

In this game, "Gnosia" is the name of a threat that eliminates humans, and the crew will have to make hard decisions and put suspicious people into a "cold sleep" to try and save themselves. The most interesting part of the game is that you may or may not end up infected by the Gnosia — the game is meant to be replayed, and the suspect will change with each game. There are also added abilities and roles as you replay, and the game is meant to get harder the more times you play it, according to the Nintendo listing for the game.

It's a great option for both visual novel lovers and Among Us fans to pick up, as the game's built-in replay value means it offers nearly endless entertainment. As Digitally Downloaded's review for the game stated, "not only have you got here a game that you won't forget in a hurry, it's also going to have you actively thinking about just how smart it is for some time to come."

The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante

The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante takes you on a narrative adventure like no other. The goal of the game is to rise through the social ranks of a medieval society to claim the legacy of the Brante family. Born as a commoner, you'll make life choices that impact everyone around you — according to the game's Steam page, you can even "topple the foundation of the Empire itself."

While your character faces plenty of hardships, you'll be able to work to improve conditions for the social classes around you. However, you can also just accept your fate and live your life. Every choice you make matters, and you'll pay the price for all of it throughout your lifetime in the game. 

The game received an impressive 82 from critics on Metacritic. Reviewer Adam Conner, who had never played a visual novel-type game, wrote that Sir Brante kept had plenty of interesting "rippling effects" when it came to decision making, which kept him on the edge of his seat. 

The game has plenty of endings, and considering one playthrough can take up to 16 hours, you'll be entertained for awhile.

Signs of the Sojourner

One of the most unique adventure games to release in 2021 was Signs of the Sojourner. The game focuses on conversations that function like card games. Players make new friends and build their conversational decks as they travel around the game's world and bring back new types of food to your shop. Godisageek.com's Lyle Carr wrote, "Signs of the Sojourner is a truly special game dripping in charm," thanks to its "unique combination of conversation gameplay and deck building."

Part of the way you play the game is to learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds, and you can learn different communication styles to help you interact with certain characters. Essentially, the deck you create is your character's personality, and you'll have to make choices to decide who you'll be and how you'll interact with other people. 

Along the way, you'll be able to play Cupid for the other characters (or find romance yourself), learn about the character's pasts, and even influence the people around you. The game received a Metacritic score of 80 from reviewers.

Before Your Eyes

Before Your Eyes takes you on an adventure of a lifetime, quite literally. In this wild journey, you relive the main protagonist's past experiences for the benefit of a ferryman (or, ferrycat?) as you journey to the afterlife.

The game starts off with happy memories, but the ferryman believes you're lying to him and forces your character to remember deeper, repressed memories in order to get the truth of your life, no matter how dark it may be. While Before Your Eyes doesn't represent actual life, is still a relatable and "deeply emotional" experience, according to the Steam page.

You'll need a webcam in order to play this game, which you control by blinking. Although this is a cool concept for a game, some critics say the execution needs a bit of work. Despite the slightly-clunky camera system, most critics enjoyed the game, and it received a 79 from reviewers on Metacritic