I am looking for a game engine where the user clicks buttons on a flat 2D image. That will be the main point of contact for the user and the main requirement of the game engine, anything else is gravy, it doesn't need fancy graphics just images and text. So there would be an explore button, a home button etc, perhaps over a fixed map.
I was looking at Visual Studio but it seems perhaps overkill for what I need. Google isn't being my friend today looking for options. Googling: Menu driven game engine, or button driven game engine etc.
Thanks for any suggestions.
try just googling:
2d game engine
button/listeners/action listeners/interface (the 'Java' programming language can do this stuff)
I don't really know of game engines myself... other than...
(VACE/ACE --- whatever: there most recent version engine)/RPG Maker
The best match I can think of is Belle, ostensibly a visual novel engine that's a lot more flexible than it sounds, but only exports to HTML5.
A more powerful solution is Ren'Py, another VN engine that exports desktop games for all major platforms, but it's not as easy to use in non-default ways; you'd have to learn some of its more advanced features first.
Last but not least, Twine should also be able to do it, with the same caveat. And then it also only exports to HTML5.
Other solutions exist, like the Wintermute engine that's supposedly designed for Myst-like games, but I haven't tried it. And Clickteam Fusion, the engine used for the first Five Nights at Freddy's, is supposedly intended for just the kind of game you're describing, but it's a commercial product...
YMMV, but I'd stay with Belle. Hope this helps.