Easily dismissible Dear Esther has been around in some form since 2008. Is it a story or is it a game? Its interactive visual storytelling with no puzzles or fighting is likely to be a disappointment for button bashers. As a castaway on a Hebredian island I explore the beautiful, if somewhat barren and windswept, Scottish landscape.
The narrative is delivered in the form of dodgy poetry and as it progresses things get strange and creepy. It reminds me of my summer holidays camping in Scotland as a child. I definitely think it's worth the two hours you need to invest in it and it might just change the way you look at gaming as a genre. It's subtle visual clues and an overarching sense of suspense and unease are something rarely experienced. Take in the view, it's magnificent.
More info Dear Esther
'2D steam punk puzzle platformer' could say it all about Vessel. Fluid dynamics is behind the creation of the Fluro: these automatons are used for everyday tasks but start to evolve and take over the workshop.
It's as frustrating as it is well executed. Indeed, this polished puzzler is worth a play even if it doesn't quite live up to the promise of its initial presentation. Overflowing with intelligence, this indie game can be messy with lots of plot holes but is nonetheless full of promise.
More info Strange Loop Games
Next page: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
But the more people ask... the more companies should realise that there's a market out there for non-Windows gamers...
Number 11 - Windows 8 with Metro
A late entry: Windows 8 with Metro!
Explore the colourful, childish landscape with your mouse and keyboard. Win bonus points for discovering where the mystic menus have vanished to, and claim a special prize for working out how to succeed without the fabled Orb of Startness to guide you. Play with the Tiles of Frustration until you can play no more. Fight the Dread Demon of Redmond who has changed your world without explaining why.
(Players' hint: charms are not what they seem, and may sap your life force prematurely.)
Free with every PC real soon now.
I'd be interested to know which ones run under WINE...
I really think most of that is just a load of pretentious bollocks to excuse the fact it's crap and dismiss negative criticism as "missing the point". Experimental film directors do the exact same thing to deflect criticism of their boring, shitty art films as well. It's true, you don't have to follow a cohesive linear narrative for a movie or a game, but the fact is most creators do and always have done for good reason.
The reason I disliked Dear Esther wasn't because it jarred with my preconceived ideas of what a videogame is, or challenged my expectations, or whatever other hackneyed phrases you might like to use; it was simply because it was boring and the letters were so badly written that I physically cringed at hearing them.
To be fair, I mainly meant atrocious in that it's as though the letters were written by a angsty 14 year old for their creative writing exercise homework for English class. The environment looks pleasant enough, and I suppose if you like dog-walking simulators then the gameplay is fine. Although personally that doesn't do much for me for the same reason that I don't play any of those bus driver/roadsweeper/farmer/etc simulation games either.