We all need a break from the carnage of warfare and high-speed pursuits every now and then. And, honestly, it’s okay to ditch the adrenaline rush and settle in for something a little more simplified. That can be exactly what the average gamer needs; some time away from the madness and just a few hours of well-scripted narrative without the pressure to impress.
Walking simulators have been roaming the outer circle of triple-A titles for decades now. Even amongst the thousands of powerhouse titles on the market; walking simulators are still seen as a breath of fresh air to millions who require the occasional break from the action. Whether they’re simply following a compass through the trenches of an old battlefield, or tiptoeing through the memories of an old family manor; every simulator has its own unique platform — and they can often go under the radar.
For those who just want a gripping tale with minimal challenge — this one is for you. Should you be on the hunt for something a little less amped up, then these five games are a must. Plus, with lockdown hovering above us — time definitely seems to be in our favour.
5. Gone Home
Digging through the roots of your old family home, you are tasked with uncovering the journals of your past as the darkness of the storm hangs over the winding hallways. With your family being absent and only the enormous manor remaining eerily present, you must journey through the past and uncover the secrets of your cryptic history. Although not a horror game by any means, Gone Home most definitely brings a spooky aura that leaves you wondering the crooked halls in anticipation of the next beckoning room. But, overall — Gone Home is a story-driven game that requires no actual skill — but more of a hunger for a strong narrative that can leave you completely satisfied.
4. The Stanley Parable
Drawing away from the emotional aspect of story exploration games, and you’re suddenly faced with an experience that leaves you scratching your head in confusion. Unlike many of the other rivals in the genre, The Stanley Parable uses a rather unpredictable nature as its main element, with the narrative being whatever you make of it. Instead of following the tracks of one emotional rollercoaster filled with intrigue; The Stanley Parable just sort of lets you run wild and make the decisions as you see fit. Of course, the narrator hovering over you may think otherwise. And yet, with the game entirely in your hands, it is you who forge the very conclusion to the story. Just don’t expect there to be anything remotely plausible.
Combining picturesque scenery with the wallowing ambience of isolation; Firewatch places you in the middle of a national forest where your entire purpose is to keep watch over the resort. However, when things start to take a turn for the worse and both you and your supervisor are cut off from the outside world, you are tasked with uncovering the mysteries of Shoshone National Forest. With a more well-rounded exploration element and only a single social lifeline on hand, you must face the obstacles of the resort in an attempt to reconnect the dots. Just be sure to buckle in before you repel down.
2. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Art direction is often the key ingredient to making any spectacular gaming experience, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a prime example of that. Everything that evolves around this beautiful exploration game speaks absolute volumes when it comes to well-crafted stories and compelling character development. Similar to a lot of walking simulators; Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture tends to let go of your hand from the very beginning in the hope you’ll find your own way without guidance. With a whole abandoned town to explore and an entire history to unravel — it is you who must walk the world as if you’re the only remaining piece left in the puzzle. Simply walk the streets and listen in to the sounds of the forgotten, and you’ll begin to decipher the story behind the Rapture.
1. What Remains of Edith Finch
Bringing some of the most emotional tales to fruition is, of course, What Remains of Edith Finch. Again, using only a wondrously-crafted backdrop as a centrepiece, this walking simulator strings together gripping stories with an elegantly-bleak setting with oceans of character. With an absolutely enormous home to explore with only an empty family tree to fill in; What Remains of Edith Finch takes you on a rollercoaster of a journey in search of your old family heirlooms. Whether you’re shovelling through the tunnels of the basement, or simply walking the skies near the old treehouse; every square inch of the old Finch estate tells a unique story like no other.