20. Discworld Noir (1999)
Discworld Noir is not only for lovers of Terry Pratchett’s brilliant satirical Discworld franchise, but is also a must for fans of film noir and detective games. Set in the city of Ankh-Morpork, players take on the role of Lewton, the only private investigator on the whole planet.
Written by Chris Bateman, but with guidance from Terry Pratchett, a number of familiar faces from the franchise arise – most notably, Death and Commander Vimes. After being implicated in a murderous plot, Lewton sets out to find the true perpetrator through a series of interrogations and puzzle solving.
The perfect blend of humor, gameplay, and fantasy make Discworld Noir a must play and a definite contender for one the best PC detective games ever made, despite its age.
19. Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You (2016)
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You is a difficult game that is likely to test your morals. As the name implies, in true Big Brother style, the player is tasked with scrolling through masses of social media and surveillance sources in order to detect any impending threats to national security.
Orwell is an indie episodic series developed by Osmotic Studios and was released in 2016. You take on the role of an investigator for a secret surveillance operation codenamed Orwell. Working for a fictional authoritarian regime in the capital city of Bonton, this investigative puzzle game will keep you hooked in a unique way as you unravel the story bit by bit and try to pinpoint the root of a bomb threat.
Orwell provides a unique take on mystery gameplay and is easily one of the best PC detective games around.
18. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (2017)
Danganronpa V3 is the most recent addition of the Danganronpa series by Spike Chunsoft and, in many ways, it is also the best. The Japanese visual novel detective game follows the same style of previous instalments in the franchise – with School Life, Deadly Life, and Class Trials – but adds new elements to the gameplay, such as mass debates and a variety of mini-games.
The majority of V3 is played from the perspective of the reserved detective Shuichi Saihara, who is part of a large group of high school students that awoke different superpowers after being attacked by robotic bears. It sounds whacky, and it is, but that’s part of the char of this anime game.
It could be argued that the detective aspect of this game is quite limited but, nevertheless, Danganronpa V3 is still highly revered by many and is a great mystery game to add to your collection.
17. Her Story (2015)
Her Story is a detective game that takes the form of an interactive movie. It is a unique take on the detective genre and one that seems to hit the nail on the head.
In the game you take on the role of a private investigator who has access to the complete interview tapes from an interrogation of a fictional murder suspect, Hannah Smith, whose husband has disappeared.
Unfortunately, you don’t uncover the tapes in chronological order, and it is easy to draw multiple conclusions at varying points in the story. The narrative is layered and audible pieces of puzzles allow you to build a timeline of events.
Her Story is one that requires thinking. If you like that in your detective mystery games, this game is for you.
16. Gemini Rue (2011)
Keeping with the cyberpunk gameplay, Gemini Rue is a graphic adventure game that adds some more “high-tech, low-life” to the mystery game genre. As with many on this list, Gemini Rue utilizes the point and click format that lends itself so well to games of this ilk.
First released in 2011, Gemini Rue follows the stories of multiple characters in the futuristic planet of Barracus and the wider “Gemini” star system. Players must interact with various objects and people and solve puzzles of varying difficulty in order to progress in the game. Ultimately, the paths of two men on opposite sides of the galaxy intertwine, and their fates have an influence on the entire universe.
For lovers of the cyberpunk world, Gemini Rue is certainly one of the best PC detective games available right now.
15. The Darkside Detective (2017)
The Darkside Detective is an indie PC detective game that was developed by Spooky Doorway and released in 2017. Set in the rainy cyberpunk Twin Lakes City, players take on the role of Detective Francis McQueen in a point and click adventure that is both entertaining and satisfying.
Its best features are its quirky sense of humor and retro presentation, both of which provide a sense of 90s nostalgia that keep you hooked in the investigations. Behind this, there is also a plotline and some fun puzzles that add gameplay value to The Darkside Detective.
If you’re after something light and fun, this will be one of the best PC detective games for you.
14. Observer (2017)
In the cyberpunk horror game Observer, you play as detective Daniel Lazarski in the futuristic setting of Krakow.
As Lazarski, you must hack people’s minds as an “observer” for the police. Things start to take a turn when you receive a disturbing message from Lazarski’s son, and so begins a journey to find out the truth.
Observer is a gem and was one of the better detective games to come out of 2017. Detective work involves hacking into people’s mind and interrogating people via weird dystopian door cameras. If you can handle regular jump scares, Observer is a mystery horror game definitely worth checking out.
13. Heavy Rain (2010)
Heavy Rain is one of the better-known games in this list. Released in 2010, the game follows four playable characters who are investigating the mysterious disappearance of Jason Mars, shortly after his 10th birthday.
The choices you make in this interactive drama will influence how the story ends and, without giving too much away, expect regular plot twists and gripping drama. Heavy Rain is a game that simply has to be played to be appreciated fully.
12. Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders (2016)
In this gaming interpretation of Agatha Christie’s 1936 The Infernal Series, players take on the role of one of everybody’s favorite eccentric detectives, Hercule Poirot. As Poirot, you are responsible for solving numerous puzzles, investigating potential leads, and interrogating prime suspects as you attempt to uncover the truth.
The design is original and the point and click functionality is smooth. When you add this to an engaging plot with multiple twists, Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders easily becomes one of the best PC detective games around today.
11. Thimbleweed Park (2017)
Thimbleweed Park is a detective game that intentionally pays homage to The X-Files, Twin Peak, and True Detective. It does so in a light and entertaining way that, when coupled with the charming retro aesthetic, makes Thimbleweed Park one of the best detective games of recent times.
The game follows FBI agents Ray and Reyes as they profile several persons of interest as they investigate a mysterious murder in the town of Thimbleweed Park. There are five different playable characters and the gameplay requires the player to solve various puzzles before advancing to the next stage.
Whether you’re after that feeling of 90s nostalgia, or you just want a fun and entertaining mystery game, Thimbleweed Park is a great option to sate your detective appetite.