2011 showed that adventure games are alive and well across all of the platforms we cover here on Gamezebo, from iPhone and Facebook to PC and Mac. This was also a year that some new developers came onto the scene and surprised us with wonderful hidden gems. Here are our favorites among the dozens of adventure games that crossed our desks in 2011.

#5 – Blackwell Deception (PC/Mac)

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Blackwell Deception is the fourth game in the Blackwell series of retro-style point-and-click adventures, and is definitely the strongest yet. It continues the story of reluctant medium Rosangela Blackwell and her spirit guide, Joey Malone, as they work together to help wandering ghosts cross over to the “other side.” The puzzles place a heavy focus on dialog, and thankfully the writing is top-notch and the voice-acting is excellent. You can even play the game with a special “making-of” commentary track from developer Dave Gilbert.

#4 – Gemini Rue (PC)

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Set in a grim but compelling sci-fi universe, Gemini Rueis such a memorable game in large part because it sneaks up on you. At first glance, it looks like just another rough-edged retro adventure, but before long you start to notice the refinements and polish, like the public data terminals with drag-and-drop interfaces, or the melancholy music and oppressively realistic rainfall, or even the fact that despite the low-resolution graphics, some of the game’s hand-painted backgrounds are stunningly beautiful. One of the hidden gems of 2011, Gemini Rue is an excellent game that adventure fans shouldn’t let pass by.

#3 – Drawn: Trail of Shadows (PC/Mac)

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The third game in the Drawn series isn’t just one of our favorite sequels of the year, it’s also one of the best casual adventure games to come out in 2011. Its list of features reads like a checklist of what makes point-and-clicks great: gorgeous graphics, an immersive and unique world to explore, creative gameplay, and puzzles that are a joy to solve. Kudos to a series that continues to raise the bar for the entire genre.

#2 – The Tiny Bang Story (PC/Mac)

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Colibri Games was a studio we hadn’t heard of until the middle of 2011, when they burst onto the gaming scene with a clever and stunning little masterpiece called The Tiny Bang Story. The game is a carefully-crafted concoction of item-finding and puzzle-solving in a beautiful hand-drawn world where it pays to explore every nook and cranny. There’s no story or dialog, but that doesn’t stop the game from having tons of personality. In short: The Tiny Bang Story is a joy to play from start to finish.

#1 – Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP (iPhone/iPad)

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On the surface, Superbrothers seems like a common enough point-and-click adventure, but it’s all the little details and experiences coming together that make it such an exceptional game, from the funny and self-referential dialog and the stirring music to the non-frustrating puzzles and unique combat system that has you rotating the iPad horizontally to unsheathe your sword, block with your shield, and attack. We’re more than happy to sing the game’s praises as the top adventure game of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

Dark Meadow (iPhone/iPad)

Back to the Future: The Game (PC/iPhone/iPad)

Being Human (Facebook)

Azada: In Libro (PC/Mac)

The Binding of Isaac (PC/Mac)

Adventure World (Facebook)

LIMBO (PC) 4.5

The Secret of Chateau de Moreau (iPhone)

Gladelings (Facebook)

Dream Land (Facebook)

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure (iPad)

Munchies’ Lunch (PC)

Puzzle Agent 2 (PC/Mac/iPhone/iPad) 4.5

Spacework Red Edition (Mac)

Samorost 2 (PC/Mac)

Little Cave Hero (Facebook)

Avadon: The Black Fortress (PC/Mac/iPad)

The Next Big Thing (PC/Mac)

City of Secrets (Mac/iPhone/iPad)

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Facebook)

Magicka (PC)