The genre of audio games isn't well-known, mostly because the games are created with a specific audience in mind: the visually impaired community. While in traditional games resources such as images or videos are used to represent game scenes, in audio games the situations and environments are portrayed almost exclusively through sound, not wholly unlike a Dungeon Master describing scenarios in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. In most cases audio games lack any kind of graphics, and when they do have them, they're not really that important.
But audio games can be played and enjoyed by everyone, and there are a lot to choose from once you start exploring. There are currently more than 1000 audio games from all imaginable genres, from elaborate adventure games to in-depth simulations. As an introduction to the form, I've highlighted seven of the best audio games in different genres below.
Best audio games
Most of these games are popular today, and many even have their own online servers and communities. These are far from the only audio games available, though, so in the end, the most important thing is to dare to try the genre and choose the ones you like best yourself.
Undead Assault by Manuel Cortez (in collaboration with Tiflo Host and the Blind Games community)
Undead Assault is an online audio game based on the popular Zombie mode from Call Of Duty: World at War and the Black Ops series.
Here you'll have to face increasing waves of zombies, using various weapons such as the popular AK47 sniper assault rifle and the classic American M14 battle rifle. You can also team up with your friends by playing on an online server, which gives a lot of room for strategy and makes the game much more interesting. This game features 3D sounds, and since it's based on killing zombies, it ends up being quite easy to play even if you've never played an audio game before.
Crazy Party by BlackScreenGaming
Crazy Party is not one but two games at the same time, and they're totally different from each other. On the one hand, there's the adventure mode, which consists of a series of worlds with different environments that must be overcome by playing arcade-style mini-games. There are a lot of different worlds, from a city to a factory, and all the mini-games are related to the context of the world you're in. One involve s rowing a boat across a lake, while another has you listening out for a quack in order to find and grab a duck. If you unlock more than 10 mini-games you also have the ability to play in online competitions with the rest of the community.
In addition to the mini-games, you have the battle mode, which is almost entirely inspired by Pokémon cards. To play this mode you'll have to unlock cards, create decks with different skills and defeat all the enemies until you unlock all the gyms. If you unlock four offline gyms, you'll be able to create online battles with other players.
This game is regularly updated, and its popularity is such that online tournaments are often held. Crazy Party could be the perfect game to introduce you to the world of audio games, as the mini-games it offers will lay the foundation for playing other, more complex games.
Eurofly by Kissoft
In this realistic flight sim you take the role of a pilot for one of the most important airlines in Europe, operating flights to and from all over the world. Based on real GPS maps, Eurofly allows you to fly to almost any country in the world carrying passengers, while facing multiple related challenges - from landing problems to incidents with those selfsame passengers. The simulation is so realistic, in fact, that flights in the game take as long as they would in real life, and the game's dialogues - translated into multiple languages - take realism to another level. In addition to being able to choose from dozens of different planes, you can also create your own and share them with the community.
This audio game is one of the most complete in terms of simulation, so, at least at the beginning, it isn't as simple to play compared to others on this list. However, it also has a complete game manual with which to learn the necessary commandsb. If you enjoy realistic settings and complex controls, Eurofly is perfect for you.
Paladin Of The Sky by VGStorm
I couldn't get away with this list if I didn't have at least one RPG on it. Paladin Of The Sky is an action-adventure with a deep story and a magical world, complete with stuff like dragons, humans and semi-dragons. Humans and dragons waged a bloody war that established humans as superior. But dragons also had the ability to take on a human form, so humans and dragons could do the dirty and have half-dragon children. After the war, the humans decided to kill all the half-dragons they could find... and that's when your adventure begins.
You follow the story of Ross Myres, a half-dragon who (along with many half-dragons) is trying to reach safety on the planet Paladin. The game takes place almost entirely in the spaceship taking you there, but it's huge, and you have dozens of floors to explore. Throughout the game you face many bosses, and discover secrets that draw you deeper into the plot. The navigation system of the game is quite simple, and the sounds are not only top-notch, but also in 3D. One of Paladin Of The Sky's strongest points is its soundtrack and ambience.
Top Speed by Playing In The Dark
Top Speed is an audio game that seeks to simulate races with real vehicles. Players can choose from an exhaustive list of vehicles - from old motorcycles to modern cars - as well as the track you want to race on. But, just like many racing games, you can also create your own tracks and vehicles in this game and exchange them with the community.
This is one of the easiest audio games to pick up, even for those who are not yet initiated in the world of the genre. Its controls, which consist of centering the sound in the headphones to avoid the curves, are quite simple. Top Speed also offers an interesting variety of game modes: the timed mode allows you to play against yourself, breaking time records, with the second and third remaining modes allowing you to race against other players, either online or offline.
Survive The Wild by Sam Tupy
This is an online multiplayer audio game where your goal is simply to survive in an open world, taking a lot of elements from Minecraft. In addition to interacting (and fighting) with other players, in Survive The Wild you have to craft objects, search for food and water, take out a host of animals that are ready to attack you, and generally make extensive use of the environment to accomplish your goals.
Survive The Wild is actually still in development, so new features and crafting possibilities are added with each update, and while the object construction system can be a little confusing at first, it's worth persevering with.
Manamon by VGStorm
Manamon is a turn-based RPG by the same developers as Paladin Of The Sky. Here you play as a young man from a small town who, along with his friend, has decided to leave everything behind to become a Manamon tamer. If this sounds similar to the Pokémon franchise, that's because it is.
Not only will you have to explore cities, capture Manamons and form a team to fight, as in Ash and Pikachu's saga, but Manamon's branching story also leaves a lot of room for strategy and allows you to get different results even after playing the game several times. There's also an experimental online system that allows you to fight and trade Manamons with other users. Since the navigation system in this game is very simple, players new to audio games needn't be at all daunted.
As I said, this list isn't exhaustive, but hopefully I've highlight some of the best audio games in a wide range of genres. And as you can see, there are audio games of all kinds, including many successfully in emulating well-known traditional games. In a world where visuals dominate everything, going into other worlds using only your hearing to guide you is an excellent experience no matter your situation.