Released in 2016, Firewatch is unique single-player, first-person mystery game that follows a fire lookout in a Wyoming national forest. After growing weary of his chaotic life, Henry, the main character, decides to start his life anew, and takes a job protecting the wilderness from wildfires.
The game, which is surprisingly action-packed, features beautiful artwork and an amazing soundtrack, so it isn’t surprising that it was a smash hit.
If you’re a fan of Firewatch, you’ve recently finished playing it, and you’re looking for another game that’s similar in nature, you’re in luck! There are actually several games that are great alternatives to Firewatch, and below, we’ve compiled the top 15 titles.
Firewatch Game Features
|Release Date:||February 9, 2016|
|Setting:||Procedurally Generated Viking Land|
| Game Modes:||Single-player|
- 1 1. Journey
- 2 2. Dear Esther
- 3 3. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
- 4 4. Tacoma
- 5 5. Gone Home
- 6 6. The Witness
- 7 7. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
- 8 8. Kona
- 9 9. What Remains of Edith Finch
- 10 10. The Long Dark
- 11 11. Ether One
- 12 12. Layers of Fear
- 13 13. Miasmata
- 14 14. Oxenfree
- 15 15. The Stanley Parable
- 16 Conclusion
First on our list of games that are similar to Firewatch is Journey. An indie adventure game, as the title suggests, it’s about, well, a journey.
You’ll play as a mysterious individual who is cloaked in a robe, as he or she (the identity isn’t really clear) sojourns across a wide-open, seemingly never-ending desert, with the goal of reaching a towering mountain in the distance.
Along the way, you’ll take in breathtaking scenery, and will meet other characters, too. While the other players that you meet can offer help, you cannot communicate with one another, and you can’t see each other’s names; a musical chime is the only mode of communication, and it turns lackluster pieces of cloth that are found on different levels, into a vivid red.
The transformation of the cloth affects the world that surrounds you, as it allows you to advance through the different levels.
The fact that Journey is a single-person adventure, self-discovery game is what it’s similar to Firewatch. It also features beautiful artwork and music, which is reminiscent of Firewatch, too. If you enjoyed playing Firewatch, Journey is definitely game that you’re going to want to check out.
2. Dear Esther
Next up on our list of games that are similar to Firewaatch is Esther. While it’s technically considered a horror game, it isn’t really very scary, at least in our opinion.
Rather, it’s eerie and unsettling, but it doesn’t feature any jump scares, monsters, or any other elements that will keep you up at night; well, at least not because you’re scared, but you may find that the game will keep your wheels spinning because of the storyline, which admittedly, is disturbing.
In Dear Esther, you’ll play as a wander. You’re stranded on a desolate island, and as you walk around on your own, exploring your surroundings and trying to figure out what’s going on, you’ll need to list to random clips of someone reading letters out loud to a woman named Esther.
You have absolutely no idea who Esther is, or what – if any – relationship you have with Esther, and that’s what you’re trying to figure out. The desolate island has an otherworldly vibe; there’s just something “off” about it that you can’t quite put your finger on.
As the story unfolds, you discover a dark, foreboding narrative that’s chalk-full of loss and grief. While it will only take a few hours to play through, Dear Esther is super-interactive, engaging, and captivating, and you’ll find that you have a deep desire to figure out what the heck is going on and who this Esther person is.
If you enjoyed Firewatch, you’ll be sure to enjoy this game.
3. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
If you’re a critical thinker and you like puzzles and trying to figure out mysteries, challenges, puzzles, and the like, then you’re definitely going to want to check out The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Advanced notice: you’re likely to find that even after you’ve finished the game, that the storyline will continue to perplex you.
While there aren’t any action sequences or physical confrontations in this game, it’s super-engaging, for sure. You’ll play as a detective who has become fascinated by the occult and is determined to learn as much about it as possible.
When you receive a letter from a Ethan Carter, a young boy, that describes an ancient malevolent force and the danger that it poses, your interest is piqued and you decide to investigate. Upon reaching Ethan’s house, you discover that he’s missing, and that he disappeared without a trace right after a brutal murder occurred.
You also find that Ethan’s house wasn’t the only murder that has occurred in the area; in fact, there are several mysterious murders that have taken place.
As you progress throughout the game, in order to solve this mystery, you’ll need to solve puzzles and use supernatural abilities in order to communicate with the spirits of the deceased.
This true crime, mysterious, and eerie game is sure to make the hair on your arms stand up and really get you thinking.
Tacoma is another adventure-packed adventure game that thrill-seekers who loved Firewatch will be sure to enjoy. Developed by Fullbright, the game offers a truly unique experience that no other game on this list offers. The story takes place in the year 2088 on board a space station that’s been abandoned.
In the game, you will play as the main character, named Amy, and really the only tool that she has available to her is an augmented reality headset.
This headset allows Amy – and you, the player – to see the activity and the discussions of the crew members who once inhabited the space station before it was abandoned it.
You’re able to rewind, fast-forward, and pause the actions and conversations you see on the headset, just as if you were watching a movie.
As you watch what the former crew members did on board the space station, you’ll gather clues that will allow you to figure out what happened on the ship.
You’ll also collect a variety of things, such as codes that will allow you to enter doors that will make it possible to explore various parts of the ship that have been blocked off.
The goal of the game, as you’ve probably guessed, is to figure out what happened to the former crew and why the abandoned the ship. The game ends with a twist, which we must admit, is pretty cool.
5. Gone Home
In Gone Home, you will play the part of a young lady who was traveling aboard for a long time and just returned to her home in rural Oregon.
When she gets home, she’s surprised to discover that everyone is gone, and she must gather and put together clues and search for evidence that will help her figure out what happened in the town and where everyone went while she was away.
Items that you’ll find that serve as clues that will help you solve the mystery of what happened in the main character’s hometown include books, diaries, closets, and other personal items and piece of memorabilia.
All of these items will give you hints about each of the main character’s family members and what they were doing while she was away and in the days that lead up to their disappearance.
The storyline is non-linear and you will be able to explore various parts of the character’s home at your own pace and go back to different areas as you please to make new discoveries that will help you solve the mystery.
6. The Witness
If you like puzzle games, then you will be sure to enjoy The Witness. At first glance, this game seems to be nothing more than a collection of issues in a maze that you will need to solve in order to advance through a plot (or should we say things that are considered a plot).
That said, however, as the game progresses, you will dive deeper and will see that it isn’t just about puzzles that you have to solve so that you can progress across the map.
The purpose of the game, and the narrative, is all hidden within the puzzles that you are trying to solve, which we think is really cool.
The setting is beautifully designed. It’s a vibrant, colorful, 3D island that’s full of all kinds of intriguing mountains and caves for you to explore.
The Witness is a quite unique take on a puzzle-style game. It’s not only a game that fans of Firewatch will enjoy, but it’s also a game that pushes the bar a bit higher than the aforementioned title, which is really cool.
7. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
The game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture takes place in a small village in the English countryside. It’s set in the 1980s, and the village is populated by people who are just going about their everyday lives; however, out of nowhere and unexpectedly, the people start to up and disappear, one by one, and they disappear in the same manner. Your mission is to discover what is going on and why these people are up and disappearing in this seemingly quaint English countryside.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a combination of a variety of games.
For one thing, it’s a walking simulator game, which means that you walk about and explore the environment and the story, which is really deep and vibrant. Add to that the fact that the environment has an eerie type of feeling that, at the same time, feels familiar.
There’s also a touch of science fiction tossed into it. The events that take place in this game unfold in a non-linear manner, so you can go back and forth and rediscover things as you go.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a unique game and one that you will definitely want to check out if you are a fan of Firewatch.
Kona is one of the most interactive story games featured on our list of games that are like Firewatch. In it, you will play the role of a detective who is exploring areas that are rundown and quite frequently, they’re also abandoned, in order to find clues that will tell you what happened in the town.
The story is set in the northern reaches of northern Canada in the 1970s in the midst of winter. More specifically, it takes place around a lake that is frozen solid after a massive blizzard has blown through.
In addition to investigating the strange things that have happened in the village near the lake, you also need to try to survive and stay alive in the frigid weather in the midst of a blizzard that threatens your life.
It a very engaging, interactive game that will leave you scratching your head and wanting to figure out what happened.
9. What Remains of Edith Finch
If you loved reading pop-up storybooks as a child, then you’re going to love playing What Remains as Edith Finch. The setting and artwork calls to mind those pop-up storybooks, as it feels really realistic, yet at the same time, it has a wonderfully magical feeling all at the same time.
In this game, you will play as the main character, named Edith Finch, who is the last surviving member of an unfortunate family. Every other family member before Edith has unexpectedly perished, and many in an untimely manner.
Edith visits the mansion of her now-deceased family in order to discover more about her backstory, including where she came from, what her family was about, etc.
The information that she acquires may also be able to help Edith avoid her own untimely demise.
The game has a very life-like feeling. Each piece of the mansion feels as if it is real, as if someone would really live in it.
So much attention to detail has been paid in the artwork and the graphics. The mansion, for example, features corridors and rooms that will draw you in and make you feel as if you could spend hours upon hours meandering around and exploring all of the things that you find, such as artifacts and memoirs.
Each of the items that you find unlock interactive cutscenes that will tell you more about each of the Edith’s family members that have perished.
Did the Finch family die untimely deaths because they were cursed? Is their untimely demise because they are just unfortunate? Will you be able to solve the mystery before you become the next victim? In order to answer these questions, well, you’ll have to just play What Remains of Edith Finch.
10. The Long Dark
The Long Dark is an open-world, first-person survival game, which makes it similar to Firewatch; however, at the same time, it’s quite different.
To begin, the game doesn’t offer the same type of graphical refinement and inspired artwork, features that make Firewatch so enjoyable and memorable.
That said, The Long Dark is more like a survival game than a mystery/thriller game that has deep branching storylines; however, the atmosphere and environment are reminiscent of Firewatch.
As you play the game, you feel a sense of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and desperation that you felt in Firewatch. The lush green forest in Firewatch is replaced by a barren, frigid, snow-covered wasteland in The Long Dark.
While the two games have their own unique elements, there are certainly a lot of elements between the two that are quite similar; hence why The Long Dark gets a spot on our list of games that are like Firewatch.
11. Ether One
Like many of the other titles on this list, Ether One is quite unique in its own right; however, that said, it has a feeling that is similar to Firewatch, and if you were a fan of the game, it will certainly feel familiar.
In Ether One, you play the role of someone who is like a shaman in that you are sort of like a doctor but who has special abilities; the game calls it a “restorer”. You will use your special abilities in order to reconstruct memories using the 3D recreations of thoughts and memories.
A 69 year old woman who has been diagnosed with dementia is your patient, and you are tasked with helping her regain her memories. In order to do that, you will have to use your special powers. All that your patient remembers are small little bits and pieces of her life while she was living in Pinwheel, a small little town.
You’ll have to solve a variety of riddles and puzzles to make sense of the broken piece of information that the patient presents. If you’d like, you can skip over the puzzles and progress through the narrative. There’s tons of exploring to do in the quaint, yet kind of eerie, town of Pinwheel.
The entire narrative of the game is focused on the difficulties that are linked with having dementia, and it really shows just how fragile the human mind is.
12. Layers of Fear
In the game Layers of Fear, you’ll play as a master painter who is attempting to create his magnum opus; a work of art that is so incredible that it will leave the whole world in awe. As he attempts to figure out and create his masterpiece, his own insanity consumes him gradually, as he begins to hear voices and see things that aren’t really there.
A psychedelic horror/thriller, yet you won’t experience any apparent danger as your hunting in the dark; however, your own home does seem as if it is alive and that it has a mind of its own.
The home in Layers of Fear is a mansion that was built during the Victorian age, and it’s filled with all of the elements that you would expect in a home from this era, such as fireplaces, paintings, and the sounds of a piano playing.
The interiors of the home seem as if they shift in their appearance, too, and the people on the paintings appear to be looking at you when your back is turned to them.
Layers of Fear will gradually haunt your mind, and as you play, you might find that it will wear you down as you continue to explore deeper and deeper.
Like a lot of other games that are similar in nature, Miasmata features a main character who is troubled and is exploring a desolate land.
The main character is a scientist who has been infected with the plague that is spreading throughout the world, and you are desperately trying to discover a cure to restore your health and the health of everyone around you, in effect, saving the world. The journey begins on a far-off island.
The island was once inhabited by a race of humans who were cu off from the rest of civilization completely. As the time the game takes place, there is a research base on the island, and something really bad has happened that has made everyone go missing.
As the game progresses, you will discover that you are being stalked by a deadly creature that is hiding in the shadows, hiding behind trees and following you for miles and miles as you travel across the island.
In order to protect yourself and avoid confrontations with the evil entity, you use stealth-mode, because if you come face-to-face with it, chances are, you’re going to lose.
Oxenfree is a horror/thriller/psychological game that will be sure to have you hanging on the edge of your seat – and that will most certainly hit you with quite a few jump scares. Accidentally, you and your friends open up a rift, which reveals a dark dimension.
Out of this dimension, ghosts, demons, and all other sorts of dark beings come through. You and your crew are stranded on an old military base on an island, and how you will make out is completely dependent on the choices that you make.
As the game progresses, you will gradually explore the island and learn about its past, all while you are trying to remain alive.
You and your friends have relationships, of course, and how you react and the decisions that you will make will shape the emotional bonds that you have with them. It really is quite an engaging and captivating game.
15. The Stanley Parable
Finally, we have The Stanley Parable, a game that’s not really a game. You’ll play as the main character, Stanley, but it isn’t really Stanley. Who is it? It’s a strange experience and one that you really have to play because it’s very difficult to describe.
Stanley works in an office and one day, he discovers that his co-workers have disappeared, and they’re replaced by a narrator that starts narrating instructions, which you must follow.
Sometimes, you’ll need to decide between two options, and your decisions will affect the outcome of the game.
If you’re a fan of Firewatch, we’re confident that you’re going to enjoy the 15 games that are spotlighted on this list. Many are indie titles, some are horrors/thrillers, some are interactive, and others are completely unique. Whether you play one or all 15, we’re sure that you will enjoy all of these alternatives to Firewatch.