18 Games Like Dear Esther

Games Like Dear Esther These first person exploration games like Dear Esther feature fresh walking adventures that let you explore the game world and don’t hold you back with significant puzzles requirements.

Starting as a free mod of the popular Source game engine in 2008 Dear Esther is an exploration experience that features zero puzzles or direction and instead gives players free reign to explore the mystery island setting. Released as it's own stand alone game in 2012 for PC Dear Esther was later brought to the PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Opting for a minimalistic approach to mechanics and gameplay players only have a single objective on the Scottish island that the game is set.

As players explores this mysterious and unnamed island you’ll listen to a series of letters revealing the mystery behind a deceased women named Esther. With new locations you'll build the story within your own head with references to various other characters related to Esther and the island. Without puzzles or other objective checkpoints like other games players are free to focus on the story and become emotionally committed to each letter discovery.

The games like Dear Esther listed below have a similar focus on exploration and story telling that you can explore at your own pace without puzzles or multiple objectives.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable offers a meta-fictional interactive adventure that will mess with your mind as it takes you through a series of increasingly strange and wonderful events. While the game lacks traditional video game gameplay it more than makes up for with mind messing narration that will have you guessing video games and even your own existence in the real world. First born in 2011 as a free Half Life 2 modification this self reflecting experience saw a full release in 2013 which in turn adde...[Read Review]

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9.3 User Avg (15 votes)


Originally a PlayStation exclusive title Journey is a mysterious, moving and impressive video game that has a relaxing effect on players as they explore the endless sand dunes and ruins of the game world. Playing as a robed figure in the vast desert sands you’ll strive to reach the mountain far off in the distance while encountering other players on the same journey without a single piece of dialogue. Players can communicate with subtle chimes and their names are also completely hidden fro...[Read Review]

9.2 User Avg (8 votes)


Miasmata is a unique survival adventure that has you attempting to cure yourself from a deadly disease that has infected your body. The only thing that stands between you and your death is the scientific knowledge that you hold about the plant life that is scattered around your remote island location which requires you to explore and craft your way to a cure. Miasmata is one of the most unique and impressive adventure games released in recent years and even more impressive when you factor in the...[Read Review]

8.6 User Avg (14 votes)

Quern – Undying Thoughts

Quern – Undying Thoughts offers a story of mystery and unique puzzles as you attempt to unlock the story of Quern’s past after becoming trapped on the island. After stepping through a strange portal that quickly zaps closed after you take your last step forward you’ll be trapped on Quern island. With a strange blend of technology and almost magic littered across the island the game’s presentation offers a unique blend alongside it’s interesting world based approach ...[Read Review]

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8.4 User Avg (25 votes)


Explore the depths of an underwater research facility in SOMA, a game that balances science fiction, walking simulator and psychological horror into a single adventure from the same creators that brought gamers Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Released in 2015 for computers, PlayStation 4 and with a 2017 Xbox One release the dark depths of SOMA provide a wealth of horrific encounters for players to overcome. Referred to as PATHOS-II this group of underground stations that you’ll explore is on th...[Read Review]

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8.3 User Avg (11 votes)

The Wild Eternal

The Wild Eternal gives you the opportunity to reflect on reincarnation with a first person exploration based title that explores the early 1600’s with a title that encourages reflection and exploration rather than traditional video game gameplay. Out in the vast wilderness players will meet with a fox like demigod early on in their adventure who opts to help you in your journey provided you assist him. Your body for the experience ahead is that of an older woman named Ananta who after a li...[Read Review]

8.2 User Avg (18 votes)

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch combines a number of strange stories about a single family together into an adventure game of art and mystery. From the same development team that brought you The Unfinished Swan as their debut title you’ll find a highly unique and humbling experience that will take players several hours to uncover. Centre stage of the story in What Remains of Edith Finch is the 17 year old Edith Finch who is also the last surviving member of her family. Returning to her family ...[Read Review]

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8.2 User Avg (24 votes)

Lifeless Planet

Lifeless Planet involves the exploration of rocky planet with a few basic platform and puzzle features thrown in as you endeavour to find out more about your surroundings and survive. Originally available for Windows Lifeless Planet is now available on a range of console platforms allowing all gamers to explore the lifeless surroundings as you unlock the surprisingly hidden secret of this planet. Set on a distant planet that feels like it was inspired by Mars and Mars-like fiction Lifeless Plane...[Read Review]

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8.2 User Avg (6 votes)

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan offers a unique adventure and story experience where you chase an escaped swan through a strange magical world. Available as a PlayStation exclusive title (PS3, PS4 and PS Vita) originally (later releases on Windows and iOS) The Unfinished Swan takes place in a colourless game world with a focus on completing puzzles to progress by introducing colour into the game world. Your protagonist in this unique swan based adventure is 10 year old Monroe, an orphan who was allowed to o...[Read Review]

8.2 User Avg (4 votes)

Ether One

Designed as a first person adventure title with optional puzzles Ether One released on Windows in early 2014 with a PS4 release a year later. Your role in the adventure is that of the Restorer, a person who reconstructs the memories of an elderly lady with dementia through 3D simulations. With the rise of dementia related illnesses and research into the disease it’s a time appropriate adventure that many gamers will likely find relatable if they have grandparents currently battling dementi...[Read Review]

8 User Avg (16 votes)


Waking up in an abandoned building Homesick offers up a journey of clues, puzzles, exploration and self discovery. Homesick is a title that bleeds amazing atmosphere from start to finish with an adventure that will keep you entertained for approximately 3 hours if you take the time to search through the story that it hides. These hours start with players waking up in a run down building that has seemingly been abandoned for some time with no information provided as to how or why you’re in ...[Read Review]

7.9 User Avg (7 votes)

The Witness

The Witness combines the increasingly popular walking simulator genre with the most classic puzzle games of them, Myst. With a superb graphical experience The Witness will lure you in with it’s crisp and enticing visuals and then keep you engaged with delightful puzzles that tie into exploration of the island environment. The Witness builds on this further by offering visual and audio pieces of information that can be uncovered for additional context to the exploration of the large open wo...[Read Review]

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7.8 User Avg (6 votes)


Explore the subconscious of Howard Phillips, a young character who has a boring life but powerful lucid dreams that provide a unique world for players to explore in this video game adventure. By exploring these abstract dreams you’ll solve the unique challenge within each of them while discovering secrets that tie into your own future as you pace throughout a diverse number of challenging dream settings. We’ve all find ourselves lost at one point in our life needing direction and gui...[Read Review]

7.7 User Avg (7 votes)


Cradle mixes science fiction and walking simulation in an independent title that sees you exploring a strange world as you repair a mechanical companion and seek to also recover your lost memories. Playable on Windows and Linux Cradle offers a unique futuristic world with a range of weird science fiction components to the exploration based storyline and corresponding adventure. Amidst a neglected theme park in the year 2076 your story is set and the primary area for your exploration ahead. Playe...[Read Review]

7.7 User Avg (6 votes)


Proteus joins the ranks of other video games that aim to offer an artistic exploration experience rather than traditional gaming. Like others in this gaming niche though it still manages to offer an impressive, immersive and engaging adventure as you explore a randomly generated game world. With no other objective other than to take the time to enjoy your surroundings players can create their own stories from adventuring over hills or finding new unique biomes. If you enjoy going on exploration ...[Read Review]

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7.6 User Avg (26 votes)

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Taking place after a potential rapture level event, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture explores a small English village that has suddenly lost all if its population except for the player. Coined as a spiritual successor to Dear Esther the game has the same touch of exploration and discovery without any puzzles. Adopting similar mechanics as well Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture falls solidly in the walking simulator genre with a host of interactive objects along the way to tell the story...[Read Review]

7.4 User Avg (8 votes)


In the deep winter of Northern Canada in 1970 a number of vandalism attacks against a hunting manor have required that private investigator Carl Faubert be called in. Following these reports you’ll play as Carl as you attempt to uncover the true nature of this vandalism. As a highly rated private detective you have no doubt you’ll be able to uncover the heart of the vandalism in no time but this quickly becomes a second priority as you become trapped in the frigid north after a blizz...[Read Review]

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7.1 User Avg (18 votes)

Kentucky Route Zero

As far as indie episodic adventure games go Kentucky Route Zero has one of the most surreal settings on offer in the genre in years. From the independent studio of Cardboard Computer the game exists thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign for the project. Sold as an episodic adventure which released in parts the experience across the five acts is primarily a point and click adventure game. Split into these five acts with the first released in 2013 and the conclusion released in 2020 the seri...[Read Review]

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6.4 User Avg (16 votes)