I did really end up enjoying it even if I can’t recommend it. On the surface this has a lot going against it. Dear Esther feels like less of a game, more of an experience. You awaken on an island at one end under a lighthouse and you walk your way to a red beacon on a radio tower in the sky. The whole thing takes an hour or less to complete the experience. The controls are simple, walk and zoom. There is no jump or sprint.
You will experience the morbid and yet gorgeous island in all of its glory. I say experience more than explore. As much as you can walk around and think you’re doing your own thing, you’re really just on a set path that is highly detailed and winds through coastal beaches, caves and cliff sides. It is a beautiful game and might be one of the most beautiful games ever visually.
The day turning into night was a nice touch, even if at night you can end up completely blind by the dark. It seemed like the day and night wasn’t random as the game claims, but if I died, it did become darker until I was unable to see.
The whole thing is very immerse with only 3 loading ‘screens’ once the game begins. The game is short and sweet, it doesn’t overstay its welcome for what is basically a glorified tech demo of the Source engine. Supposedly no play through is the same with different audio for each run, but when I played a second time everything felt the same even if I didn’t hear the audio at the exact same spot. I explored a lot more, but everything was the same.
You can also find it in a few bundles for less than $10 which then the price is worth it, but for 1 hour of an experience, I can’t recommend it.