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Best Kid-Friendly: Minecraft Story Mode at Amazon
"A perfect addition to any game library shared with little ones."
Best Franchise: The Walking Dead Definitive Edition at Amazon
"Telltale’s most famous and popular franchise."
Best Spin-Off: Tales from the Borderlands at Amazon
"This wonderful supplement to the Borderlands series and universe builds upon the existing lore."
Best Party Game: Jackbox Party Pack at Amazon
"An enjoyable party game for your next family or friend gathering, Jackbox Party Pack has plenty to keep both adults and kids interested and having hours of fun."
Best Mystery: The Wolf Among Us at Amazon
"A dark and gritty reimagining of everyone’s favorite childhood storybook characters woven into a gripping murder-mystery narrative."
Best Survival: 7 Days to Die at Amazon
"Combines elements of survival horror, tower defense, role-playing, and first-person shooting for a unique game experience."
Best Nostalgia Trip: Sam & Max Save the World at Amazon
"Filled with the kind of slapstick humor and snappy dialogue audiences fell in love with during the LucasArts era."
Best Splurge: Tales of Monkey Island at Amazon
"Designed to prevent players from meeting frustrating dead ends or character deaths in order to provide a more fluid and fun game."
Minecraft Story Mode: The Complete Adventure is a spin-off of Mojang’s wildly popular Minecraft, which was originally released in 2011 for PC. It’s available on Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC and follows a new character, Jesse, and their group of friends as they search for The Order of the Stone and save the world from a terrible turn of events. The disc contains the 5 main episodes from Season 1 as well as the three DLC episodes that were previously only available via a season pass.
The game blends Telltale’s signature choice-based and story-driven gameplay as well as core elements from the original Minecraft, such as building and crafting. Minecraft Story Mode stands out from Telltale’s other titles in that it is geared towards children rather than a much more adult audience like The Walking Dead. This makes it a perfect addition to any game library shared with little ones who maybe aren’t ready for mature themes and intense gameplay but still want a fun, and even compelling, story.
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The Walking Dead is perhaps Telltale’s most famous and popular franchise and likely the first introduction a lot of folks had to the studio’s work. The Walking Dead Definitive Edition, meanwhile, is a collection of the four core games (Seasons 1 and 2, A New Frontier, and The Final Season) plus the 400 Days DLC and the Michonne miniseries. The games are based on the Eisner Award-winning graphic novels by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore.
Available on both Xbox One and Playstation 4, this collection follows the stories of Lee Everett and Clementine, as well as a large cast of supporting characters, as they navigate a post-zombie apocalyptic American South. The Definitive Edition has a whole host of extra features such as a music player to enjoy the games’ scores, enhanced UI and character modeling, “making of” featurettes, and a 3D model viewer. The biggest change for this collection is what it calls a “Graphic Black” art style that closely mimics the original graphic novels for the ultimate fan experience.
Tales from the Borderlands is a spin-off of Gearbox’s Borderlands first-person shooter series. Telltale’s signature cel-shaded art style lends itself well to Gearbox's bright-and-bonkers world of Pandora and complements the humor-laden dialogue with its cartoon-like appearance. Like almost every other Telltale title, Tales is an episodic game divided into five parts.
It focuses on two playable characters, Rhys and Fiona, as they trade off the narrative to navigate familiar and new landscapes on a quest for cash and vengeance. The physical edition is available for Playstation 4 and Xbox One and contains all five episodes in one convenient place. Tales is radically different than its namesake. Rather than being a fast-paced and frantic first-person shooter, it leans into the choose-your-own-adventure style that Telltale is known for. This wonderful supplement to the Borderlands series and universe builds upon the existing lore to create a rich experience.
In 2015, Telltale partnered with Jackbox Games to turn its attention to publishing and brought the Jackbox Party Pack to consoles. This disc contains five games (You Don’t Know Jack, Fibbage XL, Drawful, Word Spud, and Lie Swatter) which can be played with one to 100 players. Single-player games utilize the console’s own gamepad while the local multiplayer setups use smartphones and private room codes for gameplay.
This game series has been popular among casual players and streamers alike for its fun and irreverent play style and content and collaborative structure. If you’re looking for an enjoyable party game for your next family or friend gathering, Jackbox Party Pack has plenty to keep both adults and kids engaged for hours of fun. The disc versions of You Don’t Know Jack and Fibbage XL boast hundreds of new trivia questions never before seen in previous releases. That way, even party game vets can find something to love about this set.
The Wolf Among Us is yet another episodic game based on the graphic novels by Bill Willingham. It follows the story of Bigby Wolf, a fairy tale character who fled his homeland after The Adversary came to power and now works as a police detective. The game is set up as a prequel to the graphic novels and explains in more detail of how fairy tale characters came to live in the real world and how they adjust to living alongside mortal humans.
The Wolf Among Us has players unravel the mystery of a murdered woman and uncover the dark secrets of the government of Fabletown along the way. This game is a dark and gritty reimagining of everyone’s favorite childhood storybook characters woven into a gripping murder-mystery narrative.
Originally developed by The Fun Pimps, 7 Days to Die was released for PC in 2013. Three years later, Telltale Publishing ported it to the Xbox One and Playstation 4. This game combines elements of survival horror, tower defense, role-playing, and first-person shooting for a unique game experience. Players search for supplies and build strongholds in a post-nuclear war landscape in order to survive as long as possible in the face of the zombie horde populating the fictional town of Navezgane, Arizona.
In addition to its single-player survival mode, 7 Days to Die offers local, split-screen multiplayer for two and supports four-player co-op survival and creation online. The world in which the player must survive is randomly generated, so no two play sessions are alike. It also has a day/night cycle that affects the zombie horde. During the day, zombies are slow and sluggish, making them easier to kill or avoid, but at night, they become feral; posing a real challenge to the player.
The Sam & Max games are based on Steve Purcell’s comics of the same name. They follow the story of the titular characters as they haphazardly solve crimes as The Freelance Police. Much like its predecessor, Hit the Road, Save the World is a point-and-click adventure game that has players collect context-sensitive objects in order to solve puzzles and unlock new areas or conversation trees.
The game is filled with the kind of slapstick humor and snappy dialogue audiences fell in love with during the LucasArts era. Save the World is often credited as the first successful application of the episodic release form that Telltale would become known for. The art style in this game does a wonderful job of trying to convey the same feel in 3D as the characters have in the comics. A physical copy may be a bit more difficult to come by, but it’s worth it to fans of the Sam & Max franchise.
Courtesy of Amazon
This is perhaps the most expensive and difficult-to-find entry on this list, but fans of old-school LucasArts adventure games will find it well worth it to pick up Telltale’s Tales of Monkey Island. The game was developed alongside the special edition of LucasArts’ 1990 game, Secrets of Monkey Island, and LucasArts helped oversee the production of both games to ensure they matched in art direction and writing style. Unlike previous episodic Telltale games like Sam & Max Save the World, Monkey Island’s episodes were all part of a larger narrative rather than a series of vignettes.
This shaped the way Telltale made games for the rest of its existence. Tales of Monkey Island utilizes a lot of familiar LucasArts gameplay mechanics such as environmental puzzles and combining inventory items. A big change in Tales from previous Monkey Island games is that it was designed to prevent players from meeting frustrating dead ends or character deaths in order to provide a more fluid and fun game. New and used copies may be difficult to come by, but they are a great addition to any collection or library.