Detective games are one of my favorite genres in video games. The one reason they are so intriguing is that, unlike in other genres of video games, they actually require you to pay attention to details and work your way up to progress through the game. And the satisfaction of finally solving the case after working so hard is a moment to behold as well.
In this list, we have collected the best detective games to play if you are a fan of solving mysteries. From murder mysteries to horror adventures, we have all kinds of games to satisfy your itch for playing detective games.
Best Detective Games of 2022
- Developer: Sam Barlow
- Publisher: Sam Barlow
- Release Date: 24 June 2015
- Platform: iOS, OS X, Windows, Android
Out of all the games I’ve played, Her Story definitely has one of the most unique settings. This game makes you feel like a true detective who is searching for clues to attach the pieces together. You’ll play a detective who is tasked to uncover the mystery of a missing man.
You are given an old computer which consists of videotapes of a series of police interviews. The story and plot become clearer as you watch more videos and use your deduction skill.
The tapes are mostly focused on the interviews of the person’s wife, and you’ll have to figure out if she is innocent or not by the end of the game. It has taken a different route to explain the thrills of playing detective games, but it does that in a good way.
- Developer: Team Bondi
- Publisher: Rockstar Games
- Release Date: 17 May 2011
- Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
L.A. Noire takes you on a true Hollywood crime action with its dramatic settings and story. You’ll take on the role of a detective and experience his journey as he goes from one bureau to another, solving various crimes and getting promoted along the way. The game depicts syndicates of crimes happening in L.A city.
As you progress through the game, you can expect a lot of suspense and surprises to unfold before your eyes. From patrol and traffic to solving major arson crimes, you’ll find yourself surrounded by all sorts of danger once you get deep into the game.
The missions involve exploring different locations and searching for various clues and interrogating different people. The game features an open world that will be fully explored by the end of the game.
- Developer:Revolution Software
- Publisher:Revolution Software
- Release Date: 1996
- Platform: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, Palm OS, Wii, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android
Broken Sword is basically a point-and-click game where you explore different locations to unravel the mysteries and conspiracies of a dangerous cult. It explores real-world history with the help of some of the most interesting theories and conspiracies to keep you engaged throughout the game.
The game is mainly focused on exploring different locations and questioning various characters to find clues. You are also required to check different items to discover hidden clues and solve puzzles to progress through the game.
This game takes you to different intricate locations in the streets of Paris while also letting you experience the joy of uncovering mysteries. Although there isn’t much action in this game, a true adventure fanatic will surely enjoy this game.
- Developer: Quantic Dream
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Quantic Dream (PC)
- Release Date: 23 February 2010
- Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
If you think solving crimes and mysteries from the perspective of a single character is amusing, wait till you’ve tried this game. Heavy Rain uses an unorthodox gaming approach where four characters come together to solve a mysterious case. Throughout the game, you will be able to play as each one of them and see things from their perspective.
The game is centered around a character named Ethan Mars, who also happens to be the protagonist of the game. Together with three other characters, he is trying to uncover the mysteries of a serial killer. All of the characters are in it together because of one major event that happens in the game.
Based on the situation, you are required to make various decisions that might result in the death of characters. The ending of the game depends on which characters are alive at the end of the game.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
- Developer: The Astronauts
- Publisher: The Astronauts
- Release Date: September 26, 2014
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
This open-world horror game will surely make your heart frown if you are a fan of horror mystery. It follows the story of a detective named Paul Prospero, a character with a rather unusual ability, on his quest to save a young boy named Ethan Carter.
The game takes you to a mysterious place called Red Creek Valley, where you find various secrets about the place. To progress through the game, you have to solve various cases with your ability to recreate a scene from your imagination.
Although to recreate these scenes, you have to make sure that all the objects in the room are placed exactly the way they were at the time of the event. The game tests your ability to solve various mysteries and find clues that finally lead you to the boy.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person horror game that puts the player’s deductive reasoning and investigation skills to the test. Players take control of Paul Prospero, a detective specializing in the occult.
The Wolf Among Us
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Release Date: October 14, 2013
- Platform: Android, iOS, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
This episodic tale from Telltale will let you view society from a different perspective. The Wolf Among Us is a story-rich game filled with suspense, drama, action, and thriller. It has lots of violence and uses strong language, so as someone who has played this game, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re still a minor.
The game has an excellent setting, though, as you’ll take on the role of detective Bigby and solve various cases leading to murders in a town full of fairy tale characters.
It is a standard point-and-click game, but the plot becomes much darker as you progress through the story. The gameplay mostly consists of conversations between the characters and making decisions based on the conversation.
However, it gives lots of freedom when making decisions. But that also means it will always lead to drama as there will be characters who are unhappy with your decisions. Based on your decisions, the game can take another turn completely. It has five episodes, with each episode being equally entertaining.
- Developer: ZA/UM
- Publisher: ZA/UM
- Release Date: 15 October 2019
- Platform: Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Unlike other games in this list, this one does not have a plot that is entirely based on the detective genre. Though it has elements of a detective game, it is more leaned toward the RPG genre. You’ll be able to customize your character and add various traits to help you solve a murder.
You will play as a detective tasked to solve a murder while also battling your amnesia. As you progress through the game, you’ll have much more problems at your hand as you start to remember broken memories from the past. The game constantly requires you to piece this information together and come up with clues to solve the murder.
- Developer: Joshua Nuernberger
- Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
- Release Date: February 24, 2011
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux
It is another point-and-click adventure game that is set on a planet of a distant star system called the Gemini System. In the game, you’ll play as a cop who is on a quest to search for his old war partner before the bad guys catch him.
Although it doesn’t have really nice-looking graphics, it does have an interesting story to keep you engaged throughout the game. The gameplay is mostly focused on visiting different locations and having conversations with various characters to find clues about your friend.
The game also has puzzle-solving elements which you have to solve in order to proceed forward. The game becomes much more interesting when a second playable character is introduced, and their stories intertwine.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
- Developer: Frogwares
- Publisher: Frogwares, Focus Home Interactive
- Release Date: 30 September 2014
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
The list of detective games is not complete without mentioning the name of the greatest detective. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishment lets you see the world through his perspective and solve crimes like a pro.
The game features multiple cases for you to get your hands on and solve them using your excellent deduction skills. It features crimes ranging from murders to thefts. You can visit the crime scenes and collect different clues to make your judgment.
The interesting thing about this game is that you are given the freedom to play however you like, which results in making some bad decisions. Oftentimes, you’ll be left with situations that make you think about whether or not you made the right choices.
- Developer: EggNut
- Publisher: Raw Fury
- Release Date: 8 June 2021
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
This post-noir dystopian detective game has a well-written plot to keep you busy and thinking throughout the game. In an alternate universe, where the inhabitants of Vancouver are animals, you’ll play a detective named Howard Lotor, who also happens to be a raccoon. Through his perspective, you’ll explore the city and uncover the deep-rooted corrupted side of society.
You’ll get the first-hand experience of how small things can lead to dangerously weaved large events. The gameplay mostly consists of visiting different locations and searching for evidence, having conversations with characters, and drawing conclusions based on that.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
- Developer: Capcom, Digital Works Entertainment
- Publisher: Capcom
- Release Date: February 7, 2012
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox On, Windows, iOS, Android
The Ace Attorney Trilogy is a series of games featuring a rookie attorney, Phoenix Wright, and his journey to become a top attorney of his time. The game features some of the excellent writing in detective games and will compel you to use your detective skills to test.
Most of the clients of Phoenix Wright are suspected of murder, and it is your job to prove them innocent by collecting clues and piecing them together to find a real culprit. The gameplay mostly focuses on interrogating witnesses and visiting crime scenes to search for clues. You don’t want to miss this trilogy if you’re a true fan of detective games. It is definitely worth a try if you are a mystery fan.
The Last Express
- Developer: Smoking Car Productions
- Publisher: Broderbund, Interplay, DotEmu
- Release Date: March 30, 1997
- Platform: Windows, Mac OS, MS-DOS, iOS, Android
The Last Express is a unique take on detective games as you solve various mysteries on a moving train in this one. The game takes place on a train named Orient Express and has a real-time structure. Filled with intense and immersive gameplay, you’ll have to unravel the mystery inside the train in the midst of murder, conspiracy, and romance.
Most of the time, you are presented with situations where you’ll need to make difficult decisions. Time is an important factor in this game, too, as you’ll only get limited time to solve the cases. There will be twists and turns in the events, which will lead to different endings based on your decisions.
- Developer: Kaizen Gaming
- Publisher: Fellow Traveller
- Release Date: September 4, 2020
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
This game takes you on a mysterious island filled with strange things and conspiracy theories. You play as a detective Lady Love Dies and use your investigation skills to find the culprit who is behind the murder of a person on the island.
The interesting thing about this game is that it doesn’t rush you to make decisions. You can play the game in your own place, search for clues and evidence by exploring islands as well as make decisions based on your findings. You can put the blame on anyone, but you’ll need to have enough evidence to prove them guilty as well.
- Developer: Access Games
- Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
- Release Date: February 23, 2010
- Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Who doesn’t love a little horror while playing mystery games? Well, brace yourself as Deadly Premonition has got lots of them. Set in a small American town, you’ll play as a special agent York and explore the town in search of clues that will finally lead you to the culprit.
While this game is very intriguing, it also gives you chills as you try to survive from supernatural beings that are trying to stop you from continuing your investigation.
Deadly Premonition not only clenches your thirst for playing a detective, but it also equally satisfies you with its horror elements. Throughout its gameplay, you’ll not once feel like something is missing or something more needs to be added. Suspense, action, horror, and mystery; it has all of them.
Whispers of a Machine
- Developer: Clifftop Games, Faravid Interactive
- Publisher: Raw Fury
- Release Date: 17 Apr, 2019
- Platform:Microsoft Windows
It is another point-and-click adventure game set in a futuristic Sci-Fi environment. It follows the story of Vera, a cybernetically augmented detective who can use various abilities and use them to solve a series of murders taking place in a rather peaceful town.
To solve this case, you’ll have to move around places, find witnesses and talk to them. Based on your conversation, you’ll have to draw a conclusion that will help to continue with the case.
The game doesn’t tell you what to do or where to go. Instead, you’ll have to find your own path and stick to it until you get answers. You can develop certain abilities based on how you converse with people.
The decisions you make will affect how the story progresses and how the ending turns out. And you are completely free to choose that path you want. All in all, it is a fun game to play if you like story-rich gameplay.