There has been a resurgence of first-person adventure games in this medium. What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the best ones in this genre. This game had one of the best writing in video game history. After playing this game, you might want another one to play.
Walking Simulators are what people call these games to disparage them, and invalidate their value. However, these games claimed this originally derogatory term and walked away brandishing it.
Below is a list of games that are walking simulators that will hit you hard emotionally or challenge you with puzzles, whatever your need may be.
What Remains of Edith Finch Game Features
|Release Date:||April 25, 2017|
|Platforms:|| Microsoft Windows|
Xbox Series X/S
| Game Modes:||Single-player|
1. Escape Simulator
Playing first-person adventure games gets extremely lonely. After the emotional upheaval you might have experienced after playing What Remains of Edith Finch, you probably need somebody to play with. Escape Simulator is a first-person adventure with a heavy emphasis on puzzle solving, especially with friends.
Escape Simulator is one of the best puzzle games you could play today. The game has a co-op mode and can be played with up to eight players but the developers recommend two to three players. The gameplay is fairly simple, requiring you to search for items in a room and solve puzzles in order to escape.
This game is community-supported with mods. There are hundreds of rooms created by the community, the content is virtually limitless. This fixes the one glaring issue with What Remains of Edith Finch, that is, that game is short. Escape Simulator’s official levels are also a few but because of the mapmaker, you can use the levels other players made.
- Developer: Pine Studio
- Publisher: Pine Studio
- Release Date: October 19, 2021
- Platform: PC
What Remains of Edith Finch deals with the mysterious deaths of the Finch Family. You do have a sense of what is going on as the narration keeps you on a tab about the entire ordeal. Homesick, on the other hand, does put you in a position where you have no idea what is happening, where you are going, or what you ought to do. As soon as you progress and solve some puzzles you will be rewarded with discovery and clarity of the game’s story.
Homesick is also not an easy game, unlike its brethren. Walking Simulators have the reputation of being unchallenging. This game has enough gameplay and it is pretty stimulating due to the unique puzzles.
The main game loop of this game is to gain access to previously locked locations on one level of an abandoned apartment building and eventually piece together the events before finding your way out.
The graphics are gorgeous, the music is amazing, and the atmosphere is immersive. It will almost make you forgive Homesick for being too short of a game.
- Developer: Lucky Pause
- Publisher: Lucky Pause
- Release Date: May 28, 2015
- Platform: PC
3. The Music Machine
These atmospheric and immersive first-person adventure games do have a habit of using girls as an emotional anchor. Just like What Remains of Edith Finch, the Music Machine utilizes a teenage girl as the emotional anchor. Here, you control Haley who is possessed by an old man who tries to kill her. If you do not want horror elements in your first-person adventure games, then skip this game.
The Music Machine is a stylized visual fest. This employs monochromatic visuals that are aimed to enhance the mystique surrounding the game. This is a conscious decision and not a cheap trick as it proves fitting and even necessary.
You should also remember that this game came out before What Remains of Edith Finch, so this is not a class B imitation of that game of a developer strapped with cash. Although, it was obvious that this game is inspired by The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
Most of the first-person interactive adventure games are almost shooters in rails as they guide you from interest point to interest point. The Music Box is non-linear in all its aspects, be it narrative or puzzle placements.
- Developer: David Szymanski
- Publisher: David Szymanski
- Release Date: May 6, 2015
- Platform: PC
4. Drizzlepath: Glass
Drizzlepath: Glass is the third game of the Drizzlepath franchise. This particular entry of the series is the closest to What Remains of Edith Finch. Female protagonist? You got it. Dealing with death? It is also here. The disembodied narration of events? There is that too.
You control a grieving widow unto her husband’s grave. Drizzlepath: Glass is a walking simulator and the mechanic, aside from exploration, is interaction with the environment and things peppered around it. . This game surprisingly introduces a fresh mechanic that is rare in the genre.
There is a chapter structure. Each chapter delivers a distinct and distinct experience, and will not be similar or repeated in the other chapters. There may be somber moments and there may be an intense atmosphere, all dependent on what the chapter is all about.
The widow shares story bits as you walk around. The anecdotes start as lighthearted recall of past events and later morph into something suspicious. Experience the game to find out the mystery behind the husband’s death.
- Developer: Tonguç Bodur
- Publisher: Tonguç Bodur
- Release Date: February 14, 2017
- Platform: PC
5. The Suicide of Rachel Foster
This game tackles themes that are not for children. So, if you are not an adult, skip this entry and play another game instead. If you have discernment of a mature person, then The Suicide of Rachel Foster is a harrowing rendition of a walking simulator.
First off, you control Nicole, who, with her mother left their family hotel after finding out that her father had an affair with Rachel. At that time Rachel was the same age as Nicole. On top of that, Rachel was pregnant. To further extend the tragedy, as already expressed in the game’s title, she committed suicide.
Nicole returns to the hotel after both her parents died to amend the sins of his father’s past. But the storm struck and she is stuck in the hotel. With the help of a voice from the radio, you will have to control Nicole and discover the deep dark secrets of the hotel.
The game utilizes binaural audio to set the mood. This further magnifies the disturbing premise of the game. While What Remains of Edith Finch sways into a somber bittersweet experience, The Suicide of Rachel Foster will make you a misanthrope. Some people, for the lack of a better description, are plain monsters.
- Developer: One-O-One Games
- Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
- Release Date: February 19, 2020 (PC) / September 9, 2020 (PS4, Xbox One) / October 21, 2021 (Nintendo Switch)
- Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
6. The Cursed Forest
- Developer: KPy3O, Noostyche
- Publisher: Noostyche, Pleasant Rain Ltd
- Release Date: February 27, 2019
- Platform: PC
Virginia is a unique single-player first-person adventure game because you play as an FBI agent, not some teenage girl, bereaved widow, or some other helpless civilian. This game also had you in company with another person. Other than Escape Simulator, you are usually isolated on your own with most of these walking simulators. Virginia, most of the times, allows you to have a companion.
This is a missing person investigation set in Burgess County, Virginia. A young boy vanished into thin air and you and your partner are tasked to find him. There are a lot of mysteries to uncover. As you get to know the idyllic town, it also gets more ominous.
If you are fans of great detective TV series like the all-time classic Twin Peaks and True Detective (the first series is the only one worth watching, to be honest), then you are going to like Virginia a lot.
- Developer: Variable State
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: September 22, 2016
- Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
8. Marie’s Room
Female protagonists and walking simulators go hand and hand. In Marie’s Room, you control Kelsey who gets thrown into a trip down memory lane every time she picks an item that is significant to her friendship with the titular character Marie.
This is a pretty short game and seems like a one-act play as the setting is just that, Marie’s Room. It also helps that the game is totally free including its soundtrack. If you want to support the makers of the game, an artbook and the anniversary soundtrack are available for purchase. The game can be finished in one sitting as it is only one setting.
Every interaction you have with interactive items will give you a glimpse of the relationship between the two leads. Although the game is short, it did not stop the makers of this game to make a great soundtrack, a common feature of this earnest game.
- Developer: like Charlie
- Publisher: like Charlie
- Release Date: April 13, 2018
- Platform: PC
Draugen is a Fjord Noir story of suspense, intrigue, and deception set in 1920s Norway. What is Fjord Noir? You have to experience it yourself.
Unlike the two previous recommendations, Draugen features a companion that is both independent and not just a foil character. You play as Edward Charles Harden an American who narrates the story.
He arrives in Norway to look for his missing sister. Lissie, as previously mentioned, has a mind of his own. Together, you and Liossie must explore and be beholden by the dark fjord and mountains. Prepare for some twists and turns as you start distrusting Edward and his (probable) lies.
The dynamics between Lissie and Edward are one of the most intriguing aspects of the game. Lissie is a person who is always peppy as she sprints about all of these places, does a handstand, climbs the trees, and constantly makes fun of Edward. She is constantly taunting him about his age, his snobbishness, and how he tries to be quiet and vigilant all the time, almost becoming terrified of everything.
- Developer: RedThread Games
- Publisher: RedThread Games
- Release Date: May 29, 2019 (PC), February 21, 2020 (PS4, Xbox)
- Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox
10. Dear Esther: Landmark Edition
If by the small chance that you never played Dear Esther, this is the game that launched a thousand walking simulators. Dear Esther: Landmark Edition literally walked so every first-person mystery-filled adventure game could run.
Dear Esther endured so much criticism when it first came to light in the mainstream arena. Many virile gamers found it very emasculating as this game tries to solicit emotions from them. It is not seen as a valid game as it lacks “game” characteristics.
You basically walk around. The truth is always in the middle, Dear Esther is often bordering on the pretentious. It is not like games like these did not exist back then. What separates a video game from other mediums is its interactivity, there is player input. The input might not result in a bombastic effect or an actual stake, it can be subtle as the gyrating of the player’s own heart.
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is a first-person game that opens with the player on the shores of an abandoned Hebridean island, with no backstory or obvious goal. As you walk around the island, a mysterious narrator begins to read parts of letters he wrote to Esther from the island.
The narration reveals two things: the island itself, and the characters. Then a choir sings to provide ambiance or atmosphere, but some people might find the soundtrack off-putting as it seems like emotional blackmail.
- Developer: The Chinese Room, Robert Briscoe
- Publisher: Secret Mode
- Release Date: September 20, 2016 (PS4, Xbox) / February 15, 2017 (PC)
- Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox
11. Gone Home
Even at the time of its release, neither of Gone Home’s story or mechanics are innovative. It is a common pattern that the music or sound effects of walking simulators was the source of the atmospheric vibes. Gone Home had its voice acting as its greatest feature thanks to Sarah Grayson.
You are Katie, the 21-year-old member of the Greenbriar family who has recently returned from a long backpacking journey in Europe. However, no one appears to be waiting to greet you. A letter on the inside door from Sam, your 17-year-old sister, says she’s left the house for an unknown reason. The lynchpin in Gone Home’s story is not so much where Sam’s gone as it is why she’s not home.
Gone Home is the kind of sweet story that games, even in the same genre, usually avoid. It’s insightful, intelligent, and well-written. Katie’s return is brimming with emotion and grounded it seemed real. This game is short and slow, but it packs a lot of punch to the gut.
- Developer: The Fullbright Company, Bitworks
- Publisher: The Fullbright Company, Majesco Entertainment, Annapurna Interactive
- Release Date: August 15, 2013 (PC, Mac) / January 12, 2016 (PS4, Xbox One) / Septemeber 6, 2018 (Nintendo Switch), December 11, 2018 (iOS)
- Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox, Switch, iOS
In Firewatch, You are Henry and the year is 1989. Another truism in a walking simulator is that they are almost always set in a particular year other than the present or near future. Maybe it is a conscious effort from the developers to tap into the nostalgia of all the historical artifacts they can put in the set pieces.
Back at the game, Henry is a man who has left his chaotic life to serve as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. It is his responsibility, sitting high atop a mountain, to search for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. Delilah, the companion in spirit, is with Henry through the entire hellscape via handheld radio.
Be forewarned, that there are adult themes in this game that are highly suggestive, and mostly expressed. Other than that, this and Escape Simulator are the only games in this list that even the hardcore hater of walking simulators will find at least tolerable, or they might even enjoy them.
- Developer: Campo Santo
- Publisher: Campo Santo, Panic
- Release Date: February 9, 2016 (PC, Mac, PS4) / September 21, 2016 (Xbox One) / December 27, 2018 (Nintendo Switch)
- Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox, Switch
The place that has yet to be corrupted by the walking simulator agenda was space until Tacoma launched. Interestingy, this game is set in the far future, 2088 to be exact.
Those two are rarely the setting of a first-person interactive adventure game. Both are in this game.
Tacoma’s narrative technique will astonish players leaving their mouths agape.
You are going to rummage through the space station finding clues from notes and audio logs for the background story of not just the characters involved but what is the state of that world (or universe) by the year 2088.
- Developer: Fullbright
- Publisher: Fullbright
- Release Date: August 2, 2017 (PC, Mac, Xbox One) / May 8, 2018 (PS4)
- Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox
14. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a fully-fleshed-out detective game. There is almost always someone missing with these games. This time around, it is Ethan Carter who sends a letter to Paul Prospero.
Upon arriving at Ethan’s home, there is a brutal murder, and there might be more. And there will be more. You can piece what happened in the murders by communicating with the dead about how they died. Paul is an occult detective anyway.
The core mechanics of the game are straightforward: you go about reading notes, collecting stuff, and occasionally solving puzzles. Some puzzles need you to discover an item and apply or use it on something in the game.
Other puzzles call for the protagonist’s supernatural skills by requiring you to arrange scenes from the past in chronological sequence. There are no hints about where and how to go about it, yet the ways of progressing are not obtuse or incomprehensible., so getting stuck is difficult.
- Developer: The Astronauts
- Publisher: The Astronauts
- Release Date: September 26, 2017 (PC) / January 19, 2018 (Xbox One) / August 15, 2019 (Nintendo Switch)
- Platform: PC, Xbox, Switch
15. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
From the makers of Dear Esther comes another walking simulator in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. This game is set in Yaughton, Shropshire at 6:37 in the morning on June 6, 1984.
At first, the people display some flu-like symptoms and then they vanish into thin air. You can control the protagonist and pick up people’s memories. By then you uncover what is happening, and what happened to the goners.
Graphics-wise, it is a step up from the Dear Esther days. The sound department is also astonishing specifically the voice acting. The soundtrack of this game is also ambient.
Good thing the game lets you walk so slowly, you have all the time to absorb all of the great things in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture even those which are gone.
- Developer: The Chinese Room
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Date: August 11, 2015 (PS4) / April 14, 2016 (PC)
- Platform: PS4, PC
What Remains of Edith Finch may not be the beginning of it all, it is a product of what comes before it and the inspiration of what comes after it. You can be certain that the games on this list will satisfy your touchy feelings. The genre has a lot more to offer in future titles, so also watch out for them.