The 22 Best Mystery Games on Steam

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At one point in their lives, everyone wanted to be Sherlock Holmes, the master detective that can solve anything, and then there were those who became hooked on the world of solving mysteries.

For the latter, Steam has your cravings covered with numerous games to choose from. From classic detective-type games to heart-stopping horror mystery games, we have curated a list of the best mystery games on Steam you can play or add to your wishlist.

Most of the games listed can also be considered the best story-rich games on Steam because mystery games always have a riveting story to them. Once you get hooked on the plot, you can expect a truly memorable experience you will never forget.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter starts off with the following words: “This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand.” This one sentence accurately depicts the breathtaking world of Ethan Carter.

It is a single-player first-person exploration game developed by The Astronauts, which focuses on tone, freedom, and environmental storytelling and less on actual combat.

You play as a detective investigating the case of a missing boy in Wisconsin. You have the power to see the past and piece together memory fragments which are expressed in the great puzzles of the game.

Solving these rewards the player with additional lore of Ethan Carter’s mysterious disappearance. The innovative execution of these puzzles simultaneously provides interesting challenges, creative world-building, and a deeper understanding of the culprits behind Ethan’s disappearance.

Where this game shines the most is in its unforgettable environmental storytelling. Right from the first part of the game, you are given the freedom to explore the entirety of the game’s wilderness all you want.

The vast map is littered with clues and details that uncover little information about the central mystery of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Outside the main objective of solving the mystery, you can easily get lost in the game world’s gorgeous and graphically impressive view.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an unforgettable addition to the genre of mystery games. Its story is compelling, the freedom is refreshing, and the world is one of the most beautiful places you can get lost in. It definitely proves that the games which will not hold your hand can take you to experiences you couldn’t even imagine.

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us is a Fable Series Fan’s dream come true. Based on the Fable series by Vertigo Comics, this single-player mystery game lets you play Bigby, The Big Bad Wolf. For those unfamiliar with the series, Fables is a gritty and “realistic” take on the classic fairy tales we have all grown up in.

The world is basically a multiverse of all the characters from different tales who are trying to get by in the modern world. The Wolf Among Us is a choice-type game developed by Telltale Games, divided into five episodes. It is packaged in cel-shaded graphics that are very reminiscent of its original comic book art.

As the big bad sheriff of Fabletown, you start the game by investigating the mysterious murder of a fellow Fable, characters from fairy tales that are almost impossible to kill.

The answers to various conversations with the colorful and profanity-filled characters will determine how the story will progress and how you will be perceived by the other citizens. The gameplay also includes action sequences where you don’t have free control, but you must respond to buttoned events to survive.

A simple one to two-button prompts and directed reticule placement turn into dynamic sequences that can lead to game over with wrong button inputs or mistimed presses.

The bright and cartoonish face value of the game is quickly washed away as you progress into the story and uncover the dark and true-to-life politics of this classic adult graphic novel that has captured the imagination of young and old alike.

Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect is one of the most unique games you will ever play, and it shows this by starting off the story with your own death. Making use of supernatural and detective themes, this single-player game developed by Airtight Games revolves around Ronnan O’Connor, a now-deceased detective tasked with the most challenging and personal case: solving his own murder.

Set in the modern times of Salem town, you explore this sandbox-type world that is haunted by both the ghosts of buildings and its former inhabitants.

Ronan, being a ghost himself, seamlessly interacts with both the past and present Salem as he solves his personal mystery as the main quest.

Branching out of the main storyline, you can also assist the various remarkable side characters who have their own problems that need fixing before they can move on peacefully into the afterlife. Doing so reveals a deeper look into the dark and forgotten secrets of Salem as a reward.

Ronan makes use of various supernatural powers you would normally associate with ghosts. As a wandering spirit, he can possess living people to be able to access their thoughts and influence how they think. You also possess the ability to pass through walls, move objects telepathically, and teleport to short distances.

All these blend well into the thrilling combat mechanics as you battle against demon spirits that can only be killed by being positioned directly behind them. This simple yet crucial mechanic encourages the player to use both stealth and cunning to properly progress through certain areas.

Danganronpa V3

Breaking off from the usual and common mold of modern games is Danganronpa V3, the 3rd installment of visual novel games made by Spike Chunsoft.

Being of Japanese origin, you will definitely feel the large difference in the game’s structure and art from Western-made games. The graphics used is definitely a love it or hate it type as it transitions from 2D anime style to first-person 3D roaming sequences.

Danganronpa V3 offers a brand-new cast of characters but continues its previous game design and concept: a group of high school students are kidnaped by bizarre evil mascots and are forced to compete in a murderous game of finding the culprit and surviving until the end.

The gameplay of Danganronpa V3 is composed of three parts: School Life, Deadly Life, and Class Trial segments.

In School Life, players converse with the other character in order to progress the storyline up until someone is murdered. This then triggers the Deadly Life mode, where the player must explore in first-person view the 3D map to find and gather clues.

To say that Danganronpa V3 and all its previous iterations are unique is an understatement. The different mechanics of the three core gameplay types plus the mini-games are not only refreshing but are also effective mediums of storytelling and puzzle-solving.

This wacky and unconventional mix will leave you attached to the well fleshed out characters and then break your heart as the story concludes with a climax filled with a concoction of Japanese animated blood and your own tears.

Phasmophobia

Diving deeper into horror/mystery games, Phasmophobia is a 4-player online co-op game that has broken the usual mold of what a murder-solving game should be. Developed by Kinetic Games, this scary investigation game puts you into the first-person perspective of one of four investigators tasked with accomplishing certain objectives in a contract.

At the core of Phasmophobia’s innovative gameplay is the player’s ability to communicate with both the ghosts being investigated and the other players in your team. A microphone is a must for this game which refreshingly incorporates speech recognition technology to vocally interact with the ghosts and certain equipment through specific keywords.

As with most co-op games, playing Phasmophobia starts off with a player joining or creating a lobby wherein other players may join and set the parameters they want for one game session.

Accomplishing the main objectives and doing certain optional quests requires certain equipment to be purchased. Each game will reward you with specific dollar amounts depending on your success and difficulty, and you can use it to purchase equipment.

Phasmophobia is a true-blooded mystery investigation treat packaged as a bone-chilling horror game, and fans of the title include people who usually avoid scary games and or movies. This is a testament to its refreshing gameplay and immersive co-op experience that would make even the most fearful player enjoy and come back for more.

The Rewinder

The Rewinder is a point-and-click puzzle game styled in nostalgic pixel art graphics. Developed by Misty Mountain Studio, the game is based on Chinese folklore and is translated into the English medium. The old school art used does great visual justice to the world of ancient China and is sharp enough to illustrate the character’s appearance.

The game lets you play as Yun, the last remaining Rewinder, which are ancient Chinese supernatural detectives of sorts. They have the power to rewind time and change the past in order to alter the present.

You are tasked to investigate and assist the perished souls of an abandoned village called Reed. It appears that the dead villagers are encountering problems in passing over into the underworld, thus breaking their chances of reincarnation.

The gameplay revolves around you clicking and interacting with things and areas of the world. Clicking different items yield varying responses, from short text descriptions to triggering mini puzzles.

In order to progress in the story, Rewinder has you guessing which particular pixel item or character to click, and it follows a gameplay loop of investigating an area to find a certain memory or instance that had caused the person’s death.

This memory is brought to the shrine and has a puzzle-solving requirement before you can access it. Once inside the memory, you will have the power to alter the villager’s thoughts, and you will be tasked to pick the right combination of thoughts to change the entire memory. Doing this will result in saving the villager and ultimately change the village’s current situation.

The Rewinder is a short and nostalgic homage to classic pixel-type games while providing supple challenges for the mystery buff. The gameplay and storytelling go hand in hand to secure its place as a solid entry to the best mystery games on steam.

L.A. Noire

Faithful to its namesake, L.A. Noire is a single-player third-person action and investigation game that leans heavily into the film noir theme. Developed by sandbox gaming giant Rockstar Games, it is set in the stylishly gloomy world of late 1940s Los Angeles City. By using facial motion scanning technology, Rockstar was able to capture and deliver human emotions into the facial features and movements of the characters in the game.

This gives birth to a playable Hollywood crime-styled drama experience with game mechanics that are very familiar to Rockstar Games. Also, part of the Rockstar experience is the massive open world the player can explore via foot or vehicle.

L.A. Noire sets you in the shoes of detective Cole Phelps, a World War 2 veteran climbing the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department during the dark and cynical year of 1947. The main plotline follows the strings of cases you solve across the different bureaus Cole progresses to.

You are given the task of solving different kinds of crime scenes that would involve clue searching, following up leads, and interrogating non-player characters. Every case is rated according to how successful you fare in all these activities, and it will also determine how much information about the case is discovered by the player.

Detouring outside the case-to-case progression, the game is a treasure trove of side quests and discoveries that breathe more life into this noir world.

This game gives great homage to American classic crime fiction with gun-totting and car chasing action and rewards players with tremendous freedom to explore its gritty and unforgettable world.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Lucas Pope’s latest masterpiece, Return of the Obra Dinn, is a beautiful mystery game in 1-bit art form. The ancient-looking pixel art is ironically fresh and done masterfully to be able to render 3D static scenes made with only black and white pixels.

The story of the game revolves around the mysterious case of Obra Dinn, an East India Company ship that got lost in sea in the year 1803 while it was on its way to the Cape of Good Hope. Five years later, the ship reappeared off the coast of England without a single soul on board.

You play as a nameless inspector from the shipping company that is tasked to investigate what had happened to the ship and the 60 people aboard before it went missing. Playing the game is basically the same as piecing together a complex 60-piece jigsaw puzzle wherein the puzzle tiles are the details of the dead passengers aboard the ship.

Aside from determining who they are, the player must also determine how they die, and these are all recorded into a logbook. The player must use the Memento Mortem, a supernatural pocket watch, on a corpse that allows you to hear and see the person’s last moments before their death. With this, you have to use your powers of deduction to get all the necessary information in order to finish the logbook.

The strength of Return of the Obra Dinn can rightfully be attributed to the refreshing core gameplay loops that turn a monochromatic 1-bit game into something emotionally and mentally engaging while nonchalantly telling us a story through that loop without interrupting it.

This seamless combination of game mechanics and world-building is supplemented by a no-hand holding type of puzzle-solving that ultimately labels Return of the Obra Dinn as a must-play for mystery game fanatics.

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is an open-world third-person action-adventure game that any mystery game fan would appreciate. Developed by Frogwares, the game puts you into the legendary shoes of the world-famous Sherlock Holmes during his younger years.

Pegged as an origin story, Sherlock goes about his deducting business without his usual sidekick John Watson and instead, you are being assisted or annoyed by an imaginary friend named “Jon.” The main investigation you are tasked with revolves around the mystery surrounding his mother’s death in their own family home.

At its core, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is a fully-fledged detective game where you would use Sherlock’s superhuman abilities of perception to uncover clues needed to piece together and deduce the logical answer to various questions found throughout the game.

You are granted access to the beautiful Mediterranean Island of Cordona with its postcard quality landscapes and huge sprawling towns filled with bustling people. Eavesdropping on some conversations can open up certain side cases that you can solve.

Aside from being a great mystery game, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One also comes with action-packed gunfights over the course of his investigations. During the sequences, the player can use different environmental hazards to momentarily stun enemies that can allow you to rush in for close-quarter arrests.

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is an excellent detective game that offers interesting mysteries to solve and ultimately gives the player the satisfaction of playing the most famous detective in the world. Combine this with a massive open world; this game is definitely a fine addition to the list of best mystery games.

Strange Horticulture

Strange Horticulture is a single-player game that sets you up to be a detective of plants. While it sounds simple, the game has creatively designed its mechanics to turn the entire experience into an addicting mystery game filled with puzzles and intrigue.

Developed by Bad Viking, Strange horticulture welcomes you into the fascinating town of Undermere, where cults and various town folk give life to its mysteries and quaintness. You play the role of the Horticulturist, the local owner of the plant store, and you start off with only a growing collection of plants and an old unfinished botany book.

Adding your own critical thinking to the mix, you are given the satisfaction of solving a few small mysteries while unraveling larger ones that will determine how the game ends. The player spends most of the game behind the plant shop’s counter, where you would interact with different customers looking for different kinds of plants.

You would need to use your solving powers of observation and deduction to figure out the exact plant the customer requests. The player is limited to brief, incomplete descriptions of your plant collections in the botany book, or you can observe visually through a microscope the plants you have available.

Right answers will reward you with the unraveling hidden truths about Undermere residents while getting three wrong answers would cause you to turn mad. This triggers a mini-game where you must piece together the fragmented parts of your mind.

Strange horticulture is one of those games that are packaged as simple gems, but if you invest time playing it, you will see how deep and lasting its plant-based charm will leave a mark on you. The satisfying gameplay loop with subtle and effective yet subtle storytelling is more than enough to warrant its spot in the best mystery games.

Kairo

Kairo is a first-person 3D exploration game that is a must-try for fans of wordless puzzles. Developed by Richard Perrin, this is one of the most bare-looking games on this list, but like the others, its simplicity gives birth to the complex mysteries the player can uncover by spending time in the game.

The game is so bare, the entire world is wordless, and you have no instructions on exactly what to do. In essence, Kairo is a platform game that appears and feels much like Minecraft with its blocky aesthetic and large pixelated details.

You are set into a nameless world with no text anywhere except the menu. You solve puzzles through movement, such as staying in one area or jumping on a block.

There are no explanations for anything and everything that happens in the game, and this is a large part of the mystery-solving of Kairo. The game does hold your hand a bit by giving three tips that can be read from the menu prompt.

Most of what Kairo really is and what it’s about is completely up to the player’s imagination. It is simple, but it’s a well-designed puzzle game that would require both creativity and logical thinking. All these put it up there with all the best mystery games available on Steam.

Escape Simulator

Escape Simulator is a first-person puzzle game that is a virtual simulation of an escape room. For those unfamiliar, an escape room is a gaming activity where a group of people is locked inside a room, and their objective is to be able to leave the room before the time runs out.

In order to do this, they have to overcome a continuous stream of clues, puzzles, riddles, and games that are toned according to the escape room’s theme.

Escape Simulator’s rooms have four main themes, Egyptian, space, mansion, and a corporate office. The beautiful 3D renders of each area faithfully represent what an actual live escape room experience would be.

Developed by Pine Studio, Escape Simulator is a game that can be played solo or co-op with up to 8 maximum players per session. It is recommended to play with 2 to 3 of your friends in order to capture the real-life escape room experience fully. The game puts all of you in a small room, and its 10×10 feet size would fool you into thinking it would be easy.

Thankfully, the clever mechanics and sharp puzzle design of Escape Simulator will challenge both your wits and teamwork. This game’s greatness is in how it made it easy to cooperate with other people online despite the lack of voice chat.

Escape Simulator is able to recreate the experience of sharing a discovered clue by allowing the entire team to see what one player examines, and by moving closer, every player can see what the other is seeing. Adding all of these makes this game a fine addition to mystery games on steam and is one well-designed step into the virtualization of the escape room experience.

Core Keeper

Core Keeper’s mystery aspect of the game is unraveling the story behind the ancient Core, but the game heavily focuses on its sandbox-style crafting mechanics. Like some of the titles on our best open-world games on Steam, Core Keeper’s amount of content mirrors those of a big open-world RPG game and most survival-crafting simulators on Steam.

The game will test your survival skills, and you will have to mine resources, build your base, craft items and equipment, fight monsters, farm food for survival, and explore the vast underground world. Each activity mentioned has more depth to it than your regular survival-crafting games.

You can farm hundreds of crops while catching fish and cook them all in the cooking pot after discovering all the delicious recipes available in the game. The game features an online multiplayer of up to eight players, and you can work together to complete each task needed to create the perfect underground world.

Outer Wilds

Named as Game of the Year in 2019 by multiple websites like Polygon, Eurogamer, and The Guardian, Outer Wilds is one of the best open-world mystery games out on Steam. The setting is based on outer space, where a solar system is trapped in an endless time loop.

You will venture out in a space program searching for answers in a mysterious and evolving solar system. There are a ton of planets, moons, and asteroids to explore, and each one holds a secret that can change the passage of time. Most secrets are guarded by beautifully-made catastrophes you have to survive through.

Outer Wilds is one of those games that will keep you interested all the way through. It can be relaxing for some, but it can also be a scary and wonderful experience for others. The game is a must-try for those into space, mystery, story-rich, and adventure games. Outer Wilds is a masterpiece.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

The Phoenix Wright series is one of Capcom’s finest franchises. The whole trilogy was released on Steam and this timeless game ages like fine wine.

Experience the whole courtroom experience as you battle to save your innocent clients and bring justice. The game will always make you think as you solve all the mysteries on each case handed to you. Characters are abundant with their own unique backstories that can make you change your mind.

It is definitely a good exercise for your brain when you read through countless dialogues. It is also fun to watch back and forth banters between lawyers. This trilogy is a truly exhilarating experience.

The Dark Pictures Anthology

The Dark Picture Anthology features three different titles – House of Ashes, Little Hope, and Man of Medan. All of these games have an eerie atmosphere where it could be considered a subtle horror games.

The way each game works is similar to games like the Telltale series (The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead), where the story is told through cutscenes, and you have to choose your actions in real-time to let the game run its course.

However, the Dark Picture games give you more freedom to move, but the choices you make still matter. The story is nonlinear, and you can have multiple branching storylines depending on your choices. Each title has a riveting and bone-chilling story to tell, and the decisions you make add to the realism and make it more thrilling.

You can play the game in multiplayer or even share the story online with your friends so that you don’t go through this nightmarish game alone. Mysteries lurk in every corner, and you will surely play each game multiple times to experience different storylines.

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch can be considered one of the best story-rich games on Steam. The game is a collection of strange tales about the Finch family. You will explore the Finch’s estates in search of stories and learn more about your family history.

You will play as Edith Finch, and you also want to know why you are the last member of the family left alive. The game has a beautiful atmosphere and a wonderful pace of storytelling filled with emotions.

The gameplay and tone of the stories depend on each family member. After discovering a new family member, the setting can range from the distant past to the present day. The game has won multiple accolades, including “Best Game” for BAFTA’s Game Awards and “Best Narrative” at the GDC 2018 Choice Awards.

Clue/Cluedo: The Classic Mystery Game

Clue/Cluedo is a classic mystery board game where players take part in investigating a murder from a gathering of suspicious characters. You get to play different characters, weapons, and locations as you start the game.

Each player will go from room to room and eliminate people, places, and weapons. From there, the player who correctly accuses the murderer, what weapons were used, and where the crime was committed will win the game. Players will not be allowed to look at the three cards inside the solution cards envelope until they are out of the game.

The mechanics are easily learned on Steam instead of learning all the rules and set up through the rulebook. The game features a season pass where you get access to all the themes and character packs available.

Clue/Cluedo is fun for everyone, and you can play online to fill up a few spots and make the games more interesting. It is also one of the best board games on Steam you can try digitally.

Town of Salem

Town of Salem started off as a web browser game where the game is played with 7 to 15 players. The game was released on Steam offering better UI improvements and an easier matchmaking system.

A game is played where each player receives a role with a unique ability in the Town of Salem. The goal of the game is to finish your objective, and each faction has a different objective. There are usually three different factions in a game – Town, Mafia (replaces Coven roles), Neutral, and Coven (replaces Mafia roles). Neutral roles have unique objectives in order to win.

Once everyone gets their roles, players will be able to talk to each other and try to manipulate other players to complete their objectives. Each day, all the players can put on a vote on who to lynch, and keep in mind, that the Town always has the majority of the players.

The game’s enjoyability depends on the players playing and how they interact, and that is what makes every single game unique.

Town of Salem offers DLCs and introduces new ways to play the game by adding new factions and roles. As mentioned before, Mafia and Coven are interchangeable depending on the game mode since Coven is only available as a DLC. If there are Mafias in the game, there will be no Covens and vice versa.

The Room

The Room is a puzzle mystery game where you are stuck inside the attic of an abandoned house. You will fall into a world of bizarre contraptions and machinery and try to figure out a way to solve puzzles and read cryptic letters.

The game started as a mobile game, which won Apple’s 2012 iPad Game of the Year award. The gameplay is quite simple because it is more of a point & click game, but the puzzles will put your critical thinking and imagination to the test.

The creepy atmospheric noises might add some tension, but the game isn’t scary. It is only their art that is paired well with the setting of the game that creates this kind of atmosphere. The game would have multiple sequels if you enjoyed the puzzles. You can also check out our best puzzle games on Steam list to find other games like this.

Soma

From the creators of the popular horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Soma is a sci-fi horror game set under the Atlantic ocean. You will face the horrors beneath the ocean waves and delve through the remains of the ship.

The story revolves around saving the last remaining inhabitants of the ship. While the cast of characters might be small, SOMA takes its time to develop each one of them throughout the story. The environment is filled with deranged lunatics that will surprise you while in a completely isolated experience.

SOMA surely has one of the most memorable narratives in a game with decent gameplay. The game’s story really brings the game to life and enhances everything else, including the added tension of a horror game. The playtime is a bit short as you can finish the game in under 10 hours easily, but it is still worth the price as it is a lot cheaper than most AAA titles.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is a psychological thriller filled with plot twists as you look for the murderer known as the Origami Killer. There are four characters, and each will have its own story in an attempt to prevent the killer from claiming another victim.

The story provides four different perspectives as each story told will have its own storyline and connects everything into a stunning and innovative storyline. You will have different choices in certain parts of the story, and each decision can change the outcome of the story.

With these recurring themes in the “Choices Matter” genre, you get to play the game multiple times and experience a different ending each time as long as you choose different crucial decisions each time.

The game is quite old, but it has received several rewards in the 2011 BAFTA Game Awards, such as Best Story, Best Original Music, and Technical Innovation. Heavy Rain paved the way for a new way of telling a story through games and heavily influenced other titles to follow the genre of Choice Matters.

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