24 Games Like Dear Esther

Games Like Dear Esther These first person exploration games like Dear Esther feature more games that let you explore and don’t hold you back with significant puzzles or tasks.

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, instead giving the player free reign to explore the mystery island game setting. The game is now available on PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One as a paid experience.

As the player explores this mysterious and unnamed island you’ll listen to a series of letters revealing the mystery behind a deceased wife named Esther of an anonymous man,. Without the puzzles and other tasks of similar titles players are free to engage themselves with the story and become emotionally committed to each letter. All of this culminates at the island’s peak with the final monologue and unexpected ending.

The games like Dear Esther on our list below have a similar focus around exploration and story-telling. In these games you’ll find a limited number of puzzles and objectives or the absence of them entirely, allowing you to more thoroughly engage in the game world.
the-stanley-parable

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable offers a meta-fictional interactive adventure, what the game lacks in combat it 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 ...[Read More]

LinuxMacPC
9.2 User Avg (12 votes)
journey

Journey

Journey is a PlayStation exclusive title that is mysterious, moving and impressive. 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 without a single piece of dialogue. The game is all about the journey with a reasonable amo...[Read More]

PS3PS4
9.2 User Avg (6 votes)
quern-undying-thoughts

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 str...[Read More]

LinuxMacPC
8.7 User Avg (13 votes)
dr-langeskov

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is a short free adventure that has players participating in a heist with an unseen narrator. Dr. Langeskov is primarily a game around first person exploration although your path is mostly linear the hidden elements and environment interactions that...[Read More]

FreeMacPC
8.6 User Avg (5 votes)
miasmata

Miasmata

Miasmata is a unique survival adventure that has you attempting to cure yourself from a deadly disease. The only thing you have at your disposal is your scientific knowledge and the plant life around the island. Miasmata is one of the most unique and impressive adventure games released in recent years and is even more impre...[Read More]

PC
8.6 User Avg (14 votes)
kholat

Kholat

Blending the survival and walking simulator genres into an eerie realistic event Kholat promises not only a great atmosphere but also an interpretation to one of the worlds greatest unsolved mysteries. For those unfamiliar with the strange circumstances that the game is based on, in February 1959 a group of Russian students...[Read More]

PCPS4Xbox One
8.5 User Avg (14 votes)
the-park

The Park

Told through a first person perspective the horror adventure known as The Park combines a dark eerie setting with psychological elements. Originally for Windows only the game was subsequently released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Set in the Atlantic Island Park the story follows a single mother named Lorraine with a dark ...[Read More]

PCPS4Xbox One
8.3 User Avg (6 votes)
the-unfinished-swan

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan offers an adventure unlike others you’ve experience before. In this PlayStation exclusive title (PS3, PS4, Vita) you’ll chase a swan through an interesting game world that has escaped from your favourite painting. Your protagonist in this unique adventure is 10 year old Monroe, an orphan who ...[Read More]

PS VitaPS3PS4
8.2 User Avg (4 votes)
lifeless-planet

Lifeless Planet

Lifeless Planet involves the exploration of rocky planet with a few basic platform and puzzle features thrown in. Available for Windows, Mac and Xbox One your lifeless surroundings have a surprisingly hidden secret. Set on a distant planet that feels very Mars-like the game follows an astronaut after mission failure leaves ...[Read More]

MacPCXbox One
8.2 User Avg (6 votes)
drizzlepath

Drizzlepath

Walk your way to the heights of the Mountain of Fire in Drizzlepath, a title that sticks closely to the walking simulator genre opting for atmosphere and a relaxing experience over more traditional gameplay mechanics. Taking on the role of unnamed explorer you’ll set off from a deserted beach at dawn with the Mountain...[Read More]

PC
8.2 User Avg (14 votes)
the-wild-eternal

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. Out in the wilderness players will meet with a fox like demigod who opts to help you in your journey provided you assist him. Your body for the experience ahead is that of ...[Read More]

PC
8.2 User Avg (18 votes)
soma

SOMA

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. Referred to as PATHOS-II this group of stations that you’ll explore is on the verge of collapse after years of insufficient maintenance has landed it ...[Read More]

LinuxMacPCPS4
8.1 User Avg (10 votes)
gone-home

Gone Home

Imagine arriving home fresh from a year abroad to find your house empty, where is your family and what events have happened? These are the answers you’ll find as you explore your abandoned home. Pegged as interactive exploration experience Gone Home is set in a decade long past, 1995. Playing as the young Kaitlin Gree...[Read More]

LinuxMacPCPS4Xbox One
8 User Avg (6 votes)
ether-one

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 i...[Read More]

PCPS4
8 User Avg (16 votes)
what-remains-of-edith-finch

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch combines a number of strange stories about a single family together into a single game. From the same development team that brought you The Unfinished Swan you’ll find a very unique and humbling experience. Starting as Edith players explore the large mansion of the Finch where you’ll ...[Read More]

PCPS4Xbox One
8 User Avg (17 votes)
homesick

Homesick

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....[Read More]

PC
7.9 User Avg (7 votes)
the-witness

The Witness

The Witness combines the likes of walking simulators with the most classic puzzle games of them, Myst. The game involves players exploring a large open world setting (island) as they solve various puzzles scattered around the island, while learning more from the visual and audio pieces of information. The Witness is light o...[Read More]

PCPS4Xbox One
7.8 User Avg (5 votes)
cradle

Cradle

Cradle mixes science fiction and walking simulation in an independent title that sees you exploring a strange world as you repair a mechanical companion as you seek to also recover your memories. Played in first person Cradle is set in a futuristic Mongolia filled with the likes of robots and flying buses. Amidst a neglecte...[Read More]

LinuxPC
7.7 User Avg (6 votes)
dream

Dream

Explore the subconscious of Howard Phillips, a young character who has a boring life but powerful lucid dreams. By exploring these abstract dreams you’ll solve the unique challenge within each of them while discovering secrets that tie into your own future. We’ve all find ourselves lost at one point in our life ...[Read More]

PC
7.7 User Avg (7 votes)
proteus

Proteus

Proteus is more of an artistic exploration experience than a game but is still very impressive and enjoyable. In Proteus you will explore a randomly generated game world and simply spend time enjoying your surroundings. If you enjoy going on exploration adventures in other randomly generated games and get a kick out of the ...[Read More]

LinuxMacPC
7.6 User Avg (26 votes)
the-beginners-guide

The Beginner’s Guide

Following up the unique experience of The Stanley Parable is The Beginner’s Guide, a game with similar ideas around abstraction and game creation. Narrated by Davey Wreden in a similar fashion to his past game players are taken through a number of areas that feature incomplete games by a person called Coda. These crea...[Read More]

LinuxMacPC
7.5 User Avg (16 votes)
everybodys-gone-to-the-rapture

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 ...[Read More]

PCPS4
7.4 User Avg (8 votes)
kona

Kona

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...[Read More]

LinuxMacPCPS4SwitchXbox One
7 User Avg (17 votes)
kentucky-route-zero

Kentucky Route Zero

As far as indie episodic adventure games go Kentucky Route Zero has one of the most surreal settings in years. From the independent studio of Cardboard Computer the game exists thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign for the project. Split into five acts of which the first was released in early 2013 the series follows t...[Read More]

LinuxMacPC
6.3 User Avg (13 votes)