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The 10 best mystery games that'll make you feel like a true detective

Return of the Obra Dinn
(Image credit: Lucas Pope)

The best mystery games take you on a true adventure. Whether you're charged with solving a murder or putting a life back together, the best detective games ask you to put on your thinking cap and get to work analyzing the world around you. 

That's what you'll find here. Ten awesome games that'll have you chewing over clues, interrogating witnesses, and using your powers of deduction to help you through a case. Whether you're looking for a game that is narrative-focused or an experience full of puzzles – or maybe something between the both – you'll find something something to pique your interest here. So keep reading to find our ranking of the best mystery games you can play right now. 

10. The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us

(Image credit: Telltale)

Developer: Telltale
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

Telltale's signature formula of pairing deeply thoughtful stories to consequential decision-making is perfectly suited to the mystery genre, and The Wolf Among Us is ample proof of concept. Here you're tasked with a fairly singular goal: solving a captivating murder case in a fairytale version of New York City, meanwhile keeping fairytale characters and their hidden community a secret from the outside world.

A prequel set in the world of the Fables comics, The Wolf Among might surprise you with its grittiness. This very noir murder mystery kicks off with a decapitated prostitute setting into motion the events of the game. Decision-making and the resulting consequences can be agonizing, as often-times it's nigh impossible to determine the outcomes of your choices. But The Wolf Among us manages to surprise at every turn, making it a worthwhile adventure no matter where your decisions take you.

9. Paradise Killer

Paradise Killer

(Image credit: Kaizen Game Works)

Developer: Kaizen Game Works
Platform(s): Multi

Paradise Killer is a unique mystery game that's worth your time and attention. You're charged with trying to uncover the culprit behind a murder on Paradise Island, a pocket universe wherein a group of immortal beings – the Syndicate – are trying to create a perfect society. When the entire Syndicate Council is slaughtered, detective Lady Love Dies is brought out of exile to put an end to the carnage. 

What's great about Paradise Killer is that nearly everyone within the game world has something to hide and could, therefore, be the killer. You can bring any character to trial at any time, but you'll probably want to spend a bit of time properly gathering evidence and following up on any info before dragging somebody in front of a jury. Paradise Killer is a must-play, if you can avoid the temptation to use Google for clues!

8. Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain

(Image credit: Quantic Dream)

Developer: Quantic Dream
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS3

Heavy Rain is what solidified Quantic Dreams as a pioneer of the narrative-driven, interactive game experience. What would follow from the studio ranges from forgettable (Beyond: Two Souls) to genre-defining (Detroit: Become Human), but the since-remastered Heavy Rain remains a must-play for fans of dramatic storytelling and mystery-solving.

In Heavy Rain, the stakes couldn't be higher for protagonist Ethan Mars, who had just lost a son before having another taken from him by the mysterious "Origami Killer." With a fast-moving clock on his son's life, Ethan is forced to endure exhausting, increasingly horrific "tests" to prove his fatherly determination. Heavy Rain feels very real - one of my playthroughs resulted in an ending about as wretched as I've seen in a game. Needless to say, I've played through Heavy Rain more than a few times, and you likely will too.

7. L.A. Noire

Two characters pointing at the camera in LA Noire

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Developer: Team Bondi
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

When you think of mysteries and detective stories specifically, there's almost no better setting than L.A. Noire (opens in new tab)'s sepia-toned 1940s Los Angeles. A technical marvel for its time (2011), L.A. Noire still looks good today, but more importantly, it's also just as engrossing to investigate murders and climb the ranks of the L.A.P.D. Groundbreaking facial animations considered, L.A. Noire's greatest achievement is making you truly feel like an up-jumped cop in a moody film noir. 

The 2017 remaster on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch features updated textures and a few convenience updates that make L.A. Noire an essential crime-drama mystery for aspiring detectives. Though, it's best to forget the precedent set by Rockstar's mainstay series, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. While it's technically an open-world game, L.A. Noire tells a laser-focused story without a lot of room for distraction. And believe me, that's a good thing, because you'll be too absorbed in rooting out the scum of L.A.'s underbelly to care about anything else.

6. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

Sherlock Holmes

(Image credit: Frogwares)

Developer: Frogwares
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

How could a list of the best mystery games exist without the man himself, the prolific Dr. Sherlock Holmes? Though, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments earns its spot on this list without relying on the famous name of its titular detective. Like the best detective games, this one will have you second-guessing yourself, as well as everyone you interrogate, as you work through the complex moral bargaining at its center.

Exploring the detailed environments, picking out clues, and piecing together conclusions is surgical in a way you might expect from a Sherlock Holmes game, but Crimes and Punishments adds a challenging ethical question to your choices that elevates it beyond its piers. This is Sherlock Holmes with a conscious, and Crimes and Punishments is a detective game that more than lives up to its legend.

5. Her Story

Her Story

(Image credit: Sam Barlow)

Developer: Sam Barlow
Platform(s): PC, iOS, Android

Her Story is an interactive movie. There is no "gameplay" in the traditional sense, and even the visuals are live-action shots of actual actors through an actual camera. Now that that's out of the way, the reason Her Story qualifies as a game is that it's up to you to sort through various clues and decipher their meaning.

Clues exist in the form of archived clips from a police interview with a woman whose husband has gone missing and is later found murdered. The character and her relationship with her husband are fascinating to learn about, each new revelation a source of multiple new theories about whether Hannah Smith is culpable for her husband's murder.

4. What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch

(Image credit: Giant Sparrow)

Developer: Giant Sparrow
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

For a stylish, lighthearted mystery or distraction, look elsewhere. But if you're in a mood to reflect, empathize, and become entirely absorbed in a touching, often heart-wrenching dive into loss and mortality, don't sleep on What Remains of Edith Finch. Giant Sparrow unleashed a mystery game that skirts so close to being a masterpiece, which is certainly one of the best games of the last generation

The story of a possible curse that leaves only one family member of each generation alive, is exactly that; a story. Some very light puzzling is all that hinders your pursuit of the mystery behind your relatives' deaths, and it'll only take a couple of hours for you to learn the truth of What Remains of Edith Finch. Like it or not, it'll probably take far longer for you escape its emotional grip.

3. Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds alien

(Image credit: Mobius Digital)

Developer: Mobius Digital
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

While most mystery games are content with identifying the culprit in a small town crime, Outer Wilds seeks to solve mysteries on a much larger scale: the universe, or at least the solar system you're tasked with exploring and the infinite time loop in which it lives.

On its surface, Outer Wilds is a space exploration game about looking for clues and solving mysterious phenomena on diverse planets, but just beneath the crust lies an experience unlike anything I've ever played. Learning more about the extinct, intelligent species called Nomai compels your adventure, but the ways in which you uncover their secrets is what makes Outer Wilds so special, and I'd never forgive myself for spoiling anything.

2. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium

(Image credit: ZA/UM)

Developer: ZA/UM
Platform(s): Multi

If its numerous accolades, not to mention three BAFTAs, aren't enough to convince you to try out Disco Elysium, hopefully this humble little list of best mystery games will. A murder mystery and black comedy, the story kicks off with the player-character blurrily waking from a drunken stupor, only to be told he's in charge of investigating a grizzly murder. 

From an isometric perspective, you'll guide your detective through his booze-induced amnesia and toward the answer to the game's mystery by leveling up and upgrading his deductive skills and navigating different personality traits that develop based on character choice. It's an immensely complex, innovative ride that never fails to elicit both laughs and suspense.

1. Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn

(Image credit: 3909)

Developer: 3909 LLC
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Return of the Obra Dinn's story of a ship that returns to port five years after having gone missing, now a mass grave for its occupants, is enthralling throughout its fairly brief run-time. Your job as an insurance adjuster is to figure out what happened to the ship's crew and passengers, who all died mysteriously or went missing en route.

The distinct monochromatic art style and wistful score offer the perfect setting to wrack your brain for clues to the Obra Dinn's ill-fated voyage, and you'll want to use every tool in your cerebral shed to find whodunnit. Return of the Obra Dinn never holds your hand, which only makes piecing together its many secrets that much more rewarding. It's undoubtedly one of the best mystery and detective games ever made, but you can really only play through it once – so do yourself a favor and go in blind, as it'll greatly enhance the experience. 

Jordan Gerblick
Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.

With contributions from