Walking simulators is a genre that has sprung up in the last couple of years. The definition of the genre is a video game that lacks many of the traditional aspects of a game, such as a win/loss condition despite taking the form of a video game. It originated from the game DayZ, an Arma 2 mod where the main portion of the game had the player traverse a large world without actually doing much.
The Stanley Parable
This interactive walking where the player is narrated as they explore the rooms and corridors set out before them. It might be a sly dig at modern gaming with some of the topics it brings up, but the narration alone makes TSP the best walking simulator out there right now. With tons of different endings for the player to experience, you can even get plenty of hours out of this neat title.
Firewatch was one of my favorite games from 2016. Although it is fairly short and has a fairly weak story, I still found myself completely enthralled with the main characters. As you explore the beautiful lush forest environment, you also get to take in the fantastic voice acting provided by the two main characters in the game.
This first-person interactive game has the player explore a house and you will slowly uncover the origins of Sam, a resident of the house. The voice acting is nowhere near as good as the likes of Firewatch, but Gone Home has a story that is a written better and has interesting side plots for the player to follow. With plenty of interactable objects to find, you will never be short of story and lore to keep you going.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
I wasn’t sure whether to include Ethan Carter in this list, but it is widely considered as a walking simulator by the community so let’s talk about it. It comes very close to being a puzzle game rather than anything else, as you have to solve many physics and logic based puzzles throughout the playthrough. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game, and you really do need a fairly impressive rig to be able to get full graphics and 60 FPS. The exploration side of Ethan Carter is probably the best out of all the games on the list, as the world is huge and you’ll never fail to find something interesting to look at!
Dear Esther is the game that really started the genre as its own thing. Releasing in February 2012…god has it been that long? I feel old now…It really defines the genre nicely too. Coming in at around an hour and a half in length, but it’s not a game, its an experience, and one that can be completed in one sitting. The highly driven narrative experience immerses the player in the gorgeous detailed environments. Not only does Dear Esther look impressive, it also has an outstanding soundtrack too.
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist
Dr.Langeskov – a super short experience that had me laughing my arse off throughout my entire playthrough. What makes it even better is the voice acting and the fact it’s a free game! You have absolutely nothing to lose by playing through this game. I won’t give away too much because you have to experience it blind to be able to fully appreciate it, but take my word, it’s well worth the hour of your life.
That Dragon, Cancer
Dragon Cancer is an experience that really deserves more credit than it gets. I’ve only recently played it myself so the feelings and emotions are still quite raw for me. It’s a tale about a family who goes through the heartbreaking experience of cancer. Their son gets cancer and you follow their story right until the end, and to be quite honest, it’s the first game that ever really brought me close to tears.
So, did we miss any walking simulators off our list that you think should be on here? Let us know below!