Sometimes it’s nice to sit down and play something to unwind and relax. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite exploration games that include beautiful scenery, calming atmospheres, intriguing stories, and amazing soundtracks! They’re all first-person simulators and are all available now on consoles and PC.

Eastshade

You are a traveling painter, exploring the island of Eastshade. Capture the world on canvas using your artist’s easel. Talk to the inhabitants to learn about their lives. Make friends and help those in need. Visit cities, scale summits, unearth mysteries, and discover forgotten places! Developed by Eastshade Studios, this indie gem is available on Steam and the PS4.

What I loved about it:

It’s very unique when it comes to its photography mechanics, as whatever you shoot, becomes a painted canvas right before your very eyes. It’s a really fun way to see your photos displayed. You can take pictures whenever you want, or you can even sign up for job postings and find the referring locations. Furthermore, you can interact with interesting fantasy characters, warm up by a fire at nigh-time, and discover the lore of the land.

Firewatch

Firewatch is a single-player first-person mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. Developed by Campo Santo, this tranquil yet mysterious game is available on Steam, PS4, Nintendo Switch, XBOX.

What I loved about it:

There’s just something interesting about forming a relationship with someone you haven’t met in person and speaking to them only on a radio. Couple that with some mysteries out in the woods, and some good old fashion exploration gear to climb mountains, this game is quite a journey!

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she’s the last one in her family left alive. Developed by Giant Sparrow and published by Annapurna Interactive, this creepy and unsettling game is available on PlayStation, XBOX, Switch, Steam, GOG.com, Epic.

What I loved about it:

This game is the only time I appreciated some ambiguity in my story because it was so well thought out. Are the stories being told what really happened or are they embellishments of a very unfortunate family. Sometimes believing in curses can bring about such events. Also, the house is super weird and fun to explore.



Dear Esther

Dear Esther immerses you in a stunningly realized world, a remote and desolate island somewhere in the outer Hebrides. As you step forwards, a voice begins to read fragments of a letter. Developed by The Chinese Room, Dear Esther is a first-person game about love, loss, guilt and redemption. It’s available on iOS, PS4, Xbox One, and Steam.

What I loved about it:

What is a confusing adventure at first, becomes clear as some things seem very out of place. The game draws a parallel between the place you are exploring and what a heartbreaking incident the narrator is trying to move on from. It was great looking at every detail and spotting objects that piece together what really happened.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game that focuses entirely on exploration and discovery. It contains no combat or explosions of any kind. Developed by The Astronauts, this disturbingly tragic game is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

What I loved about it:

I was intrigued by the murder mystery aspect of the game and the ability to see ghosts, or rather echoes of the past, in certain locations. You play as a detective and witness the game develop into a physiological exploration of childhood trauma. There’s a lot of symbolism in this game, so if you’re paying attention, get ready for some tears.

If you prefer the crime mystery aspect of these games, you should check out this article here: Games Full of Snooping and Investigative Work, Ranked.

Co-owner of Mojoverse, formally a Canadian retail store selling video game, anime and sci-fi related merchandise, now a website for news and reviews regarding my favorite video games. Aside from my passion for gaming, I also love my partner Mo, my 2 cats, pizza and unicorns.

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