Like a number of other genres, the term ‘point-and-click’ rings false when applied to the iPhone. Just as twin-stick shooters need a new name where played on a system with precisely zero analogue nubbins, and button mashers can’t be called button mashers when there aren't any buttons to mash, you don’t really point, and you definitely don’t click, in these iPhone adventures.
Maybe ‘drag-and-tap’ or ‘poke-and-prod’ or ‘touch-and-nudge’. Whatever the name, the iPhone and iPad are pretty much the perfect homes for this once loved, once forgotten, and recently revived genre. A series of incredibly beloved games that are categorised by incredible storylines, hilarious gags, and brain-meltingly obtuse and illogical puzzles.
We’ve doubled up with both the pint-size iPhone (and iPod touch), and the luxurious tablet iPad to give you the full selection of the very best poke-and-prodders available on iDevices.
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge (iPhone and iPad)
A sequel to the wondrous Secret of Monkey Island, LeChuck's Revenge is funnier, longer, and slightly more logical than its predecessor. Apart from the ‘Monkey Wrench’ puzzle - pun based solutions? Really?
This time around, Guybrush needs a new story to tell as his whole “I beat LeChuck in a rad Amiga game” saga is getting a bit stale. So he charters a ship and heads off to Dinky Island to find the treasure of Big Whoop. The significantly less bouffant fringed hero just needs to find four map pieces first.
The remake packs in all the new visual and aural treats from the original Special Edition, but also kicks in some developer commentary, unlockable concept art, and different control methods. Oh, and the original 1991 game too.
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (iPhone)
“Hi! I’m Guybrush Threepwood and I want to be a pirate.”
Monkey Island was the game that put LucasArts on the map and let you scurvy sea dogs know that the house that Luke built could do more than Indiana Jones and Star Wars games. Because Ballblazer certainly wasn’t making a compelling argument.
The game has bouffant fringed wannabe Threepwood deciding, almost arbitrarily, that he wants to take to the high seas as a swashbuckling, fearsome pirate. All he has to do is save the Governor, get a crew, charter a ship, head to Monkey Island, and defeat LeChuck.
The iPhone controls aren’t top notch, but bonus points for including all the charms of the classic game alongside the new paint job, musical score, and voice acting.
Broken Sword: Director’s Cut (iPhone and iPad)
Let’s get this out of the way: in an attempt to make the game more than just a sparkly new version of the classic PC and PlayStation globe trotting adventure, Revolution made a few changes. Like changing the entire opening of the game, adding in rubbish sliding block puzzles and rewriting large swathes of the early dialogue.
But enough of this purist fanboy’s gripes. Broken Sword: Director’s Cut should be rewarded for taking one of the most revered and adored games in the entire genre and shoving it out there for a whole new generation of players, whether they're prodding DS fans, waggling Wii-ers, iPad fanatics, or iPhone tappers.
Broken Sword tells the story of Californian tourist George Stobbart, who gets dragged into a world of conspiracies, lies and murder, with events that snag on monuments around the world like a cotton reel. It’s epic incarnate, and deserves to be fondled by your stubby digits.
Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered (iPhone)
The ‘Remastered’ moniker doesn’t really mean too much here: the game doesn’t feature re-recorded dialogue or a sweeping orchestral score or high definition graphics. It does have Twitter support, though, so you can annoy all your friends when you go on a six hour Steel Sky marathon.
Still, this ancient sci-fi classic doesn’t need much altering to make it entirely playable on the iPhone. The game features Robert Foster (Trivia Time! The original British game said he was named after a discarded Fosters beer label, but for copyright reasons they dropped it for the iPhone edition) and his robot friend Joey.
BASS isn’t especially long, but it's a memorable point-and-click treat that you can get on your favourite device for next to nothing.
Flight of the Amazon Queen (iPhone and iPad)
Maybe not quite as famous as Monkey Island or as revered as Broken Sword, but Flight of the Amazon Queen played a pretty important role in this young adventurer’s life.
A slightly more wacky and campy Indiana Jones, Flight of the Amazon Queen puts you in the role of Joe King as his treasured, and totally eponymous, plane goes down in the rain forest swamps. What follows is a good few days of finding crystal skulls, vacuuming ancient relics, and thwarting evil neo-nazi world domination plans.
The iDevice controls leave a whole lot to be desired, but it’s worth fiddling with the dodgy interface to play this lovely little slice of classic point-and-click history once more.
Sam & Max Episode 1: The Penal Zone (iPad)
LucasArts did try and resurrect the Sam & Max series, a game about a freelance police team made up of a straight talking dog and a hyperactive, psychotic rabbit thingy. The proposed Sam & Max: Freelance Police was even shown off at E3 before it was canned by the powers that be.
So Telltale scooped up the rights and starting banging out episodic adventure games based on the dynamic crime solving duo at a lightning pace. The gang’s third season of adventures, The Devil’s Playhouse, started this year and debuted on everyone’s favourite ten-incher, the iPad.
The game isn’t without its issues, unfortunately. It’s prone to crashes, bugs, and ample glitches, and Telltale doesn’t seem to want to fix them. A shame, because they spoil an otherwise enjoyable game.
Plus, where are the rest of the episodes?
Wallace & Gromit The Last Resort (iPad)
Nabbing another cherished franchise, Telltale Games has given the West Wallaby Street duo plenty of point-and-click adventures on PC and Xbox.
For the iPad, though, Telltale has brought over the second Grand Adventure saga, The Last Resort, which has Wallace and Gromit constructing a makeshift seaside holiday home, complete with sand, candyfoss, and water slides, in their terraced home.
Is it more stable than Telltale’s wonky Sam & Max effort? We can't say for sure, as it only came out this morning. Our initial findings are that it hasn't crashed on us yet, but nor is it silky smooth. You can find out how this affects the game when we publish out full review.
1112 Episode 01 (iPhone) / 1112 Episode 02 (iPhone and iPad)
Agharta Studio gave Valve a run for its money when it came to most ridiculously long delay between game episodes, with almost two years between 1112 Episode 01 and 02.
Oh well - that’s the price you have to pay for a unique iPhone adventure that, like Hector, isn’t a port or enhanced remake. The curiously named 1112 has your Johnny Depp lookalike protagonist Louis get himself caught up in a sticky mystery, all drawn with rather luscious illustrations.
Episode 02, available for both iPhone and iPad, looks even better and features even more content than the first game. It got a pretty sobering review from us, but if you’ve played every other adventure on this list, it's worth a look.
Simon the Sorcerer / Simon the Sorcerer 2: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe (iPhone and iPad)
Proof that a strong British sense of humour makes everything funnier, Adventure Soft’s Simon the Sorcerer saga is one of the funniest, wackiest, and most memorable tales in the world of point-and-clickers.
Teenager Simon is teleported into the world of magic and sorcery when he finds a spell book in his bedroom closet. From here, the sarcastic whippersnapper must escape all the classic tropes and cliches of dungeons and dragons like trolls, dwarves, and sleeping giants - the lot.
Simon 2 takes it up a notch as it's filled with classic fairytale gags and parodies, and it's even more hilarious than the first game. Both games will run on the iPhone and iPad, so take that, Threepwood!
Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 1 (iPhone)
One of the few truly original releases on this list, Hector isn’t some creaky VGA Amiga game exhumed and resurrected for a few extra quid, or a sparkly new PC adventure chucked onto the iPad. This is an iPhone exclusive.
It’s also filthy, rude and extremely perverse, grabbing the ‘you must be 17 years old’ sticker for such gruesome feats as making you fish out a key from a blocked toilet with a used condom, or talking a fat prostitute into giving up her garter.
For obsessive adventure gamer nutters like myself, who have already beaten those old games 17 times over without a walkthrough or in-game hint system, it’s nice to have something entirely new to play. Give it a go, and maybe the developer will cough up episodes two and three.