Dear Esther is an unforgettable experience of exploration, art, and scenery. It is a story-driven adventure that immerses the player in an island engulfed in the mists of time, where unscrambling the mystery of Esther Rushmer is the main objective. The game’s story is both captivating and unpredictable, and its open-endedness makes it unique. Since its release, many games have been inspired by the Dear Esther experience. Here are ten games like Dear Esther that offer a similar narrative and play-style.
Ten Games Like Dear Esther
Firewatch is a story-driven first-person mystery game where players take on the role of Henry, a fire lookout in the Wyoming forest of 1989. Players explore their surroundings and uncover the mystery of the strange occurrences in the area while communicating with their supervisor, Delilah. Just like Dear Esther, Firewatch is driven by its story and atmosphere, offering an intimate experience of unraveling the plot through interaction and exploration. However, Firewatch shines in its unique dialogue system and the player’s ability to make important decisions along the way.
2. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a story-driven exploration game, where the player takes on the role of Paul Prospero, a paranormal detective looking for clues about the disappearance of young Ethan Carter. Exploring the environment, players discover clues and clues to unravel the mystery of Ethan’s vanishing. While the game has a more action-packed focus than Dear Esther, it still retains the same sense of exploration and narrative-driven adventure. The gamer can also expect to find puzzles, secrets and supernatural elements hidden within the game’s mesmerizing atmosphere.
3. Gone Home
Gone Home is an indie, adventure game with an emphasis on storytelling and exploration. The player takes on the role of Kaitlin Greenbriar, a young woman who returns home after a year abroad, only to find the house seemingly empty. Players unravel the mystery of what happened to Kaitlin’s family by exploring the environment, uncovering clues and piecing together the narrative. The similarities between Gone Home and Dear Esther are in their respective stories and exploratory nature. Players can expect an intimate experience of exploration and discovery in both games.
Journey is an adventure game with an emphasis on exploration and story. Players take on the role of a mysterious robed figure, venturing through an expansive desert filled with ruins and artifacts. Along the way, they may encounter other players and communicate with them without words, as they struggle to figure out the meaning of the journey. Journey offers a similar atmosphere and storytelling as Dear Esther, though it also contains light puzzle and platform sections that Dear Esther lacks.
5. What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is an adventure game where players take control of the eponymous Edith Finch as she explores the mysterious Finch family home. Through exploration, Edith unravels the stories of her dead relatives, slowly piecing together the mysteries of her family’s past. Just like Dear Esther, What Remains of Edith Finch is a story driven exploration game, where the player is guided by the atmosphere and narrative with minimal puzzle-solving.
Abzu is an underwater adventure game where the player control the Diver on a journey of exploration and discovery. Players traverse through the beautiful and mysterious depths of the ocean, witnessing the breathtaking depths of the ocean’s environment. Just like Dear Esther, Abzu’s story is driven by exploration and atmosphere, as players uncover secrets and witness the beauty of the game’s stunning visuals.
7. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a first-person exploration game set in the countryside of the fictional Shropshire. The player takes on the role of an unknown visitor, exploring the small town and uncovering the fate of its missing inhabitants. Through exploration and interaction with objects, players unravel the mystery of the story. Just like Dear Esther, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture emphasizes exploration and atmosphere to tell the story, without any action or puzzles getting in the way.
Tacoma is a first-person exploration game set on a space station in the year 2088. Players explore the space station, uncovering the secrets of its recent events and the fate of its crew. By investigating the environment, interacting with objects and utilizing character logs, players unravel the story of the game. As with Dear Esther, Tacoma is focused more on the narrative than gameplay, as players uncover the secrets of the station through exploration and atmosphere.
9. The Long Dark
The Long Dark is a survival game set in the Canadian wilds. Players take on the role of a survivor of a geomagnetic disaster, struggling to survive the harsh winter of the cold wilderness. The game emphasizes survival and exploration, as players search for resources to survive in the snow-covered landscape. Unlike Dear Esther, The Long Dark offers an open-ended experience, with players able to explore the world and decide how to approach the game.
10. Journey to the Savage Planet
Journey to the Savage Planet is a first-person exploration and adventure game set in a distant corner of the galaxy. Players take control of intergalactic explorer as they explore the alien planet of AR-Y 26, searching for resources and uncovering secrets of the hostile world. Just like Dear Esther, Journey to the Savage Planet is narrative-driven exploration game that emphasizes atmosphere and storytelling to present the story. However, Journey to the Savage Planet also offers light puzzle and platforming sections, and an open-world map with areas to explore.
Dear Esther is an unforgettable experience of exploration and atmosphere. Since its release, many games have been inspired by its unique open-endedness, and many have come close to offering similar experiences. Ten of the most noteworthy examples, Firewatch, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Gone Home, Journey, What Remains of Edith Finch, Abzu, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Tacoma, The Long Dark, and Journey to the Savage Planet all offer similar narrative and atmospheres, though each hints at a unique flair of their own. From action-driven adventure to spooky mysteries, there is a game like Dear Esther to match every adventure seeker’s taste.