It’s been over 25 years since Cyan revolutionized the puzzle gaming genre with Myst. At a time where point-and-click adventure titles were leading the market, Myst was a clever first-person exploration game that centered around unlocking and traversing new Ages solving puzzles in order to correct a wrong made many years ago. If you’ve never played Myst, check it out here:
The gaming industry has exploded since Myst came out (way back in 1993!), and games of its ilk that blend easy controls with complex puzzles are few and far between. If you know where to look, though, there’s the rare gem that might let you relive the mind-bending puzzle of this classic game. Check out our list!
Prominence is similar to Myst in that it’s a first-person puzzle game with compelling character arcs, a captivating narrative, and a rich atmosphere that keeps you excited to see what’s waiting around the next corner.
It’s a very different setting than Myst (Prominence is heavier sci-fi and takes place on an abandoned spaceship), and relies more on listening to messages and hacking terminals to progress and gather clues. There’s even a text-based interface that makes you feel like a La Forge from Star Trek.
Some of the puzzles in Prominence are more difficult than others, but they’re arranged in a satisfying way; none feel illogical or forced. They all fit appropriately within the context of the story as it unfurls around you, and you as the character rise to meet them.
The soundtrack is exceptional, breathing life into the walking back-and-forth that might otherwise seem tiresome. If you want a more claustrophobic, space-faring Myst experience, Prominence will not disappoint!
4. The Witness
The tagline for The Witness is “you wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you.” If that doesn’t sound like Myst nostalgia, nothing does! The moment you boot up the game and set foot on the gorgeous, expansive, island you’ll want to explore it fully. Thankfully there are over 500 puzzles to occupy your time, and bright, vivid colors to reward your travails.
The Witness differs from Myst in that in Myst the game was divided into separate Ages tied together with the theme of the island. The Ages of Myst all had their different quirks (using sound for Selenetic, or diverting water for Channelwood and Stoneship) that held the Age together and made it feel unique.
Conversely, The Witness is not a game where the player interacts with a puzzle per se. Rather you’re solving singular puzzles to make individual things work, kind of like Sudoku or crosswords. The game is still goal-oriented at its core, however, and you’ll still have plenty of incentive to explore new ground, discover new clues, regain your lost memory, and hopefully make your way back home.
3. The Room
Probably the most critically-acclaimed title in our list, The Room is simply a must-play, even for the less hardcore puzzle gamers. Why? It’s full of content, there’s a cohesive plot, the puzzles are delightful, the atmosphere is beautiful and dramatic, and we savored every moment of it.
The Room takes place in the steampunk-inspired attic of an abandoned house. A cast-iron safe looms ominously in the foreground and promises something wondrous and ancient concealed within. Can you figure out how to open it?
The Room won a BAFTA and also spawned two more games, The Room Two and The Room Three, both of which also received overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam. We’d say more about the game, but frankly, we don’t want to give anything away! Suffice it to say that all three games in the series are well worth your while, and we can’t wait for The Room Four!
Quern is one of our favorite games on this list because not only does it play like Myst (welcome back to an island full of unsolved puzzles!), it also looks and feels like it. The soundtrack and SFX are on point, and the UI is a step above and beyond the expectation.
As for its puzzles, Quern takes a different approach from most games. Rather than giving individual smaller puzzles like The Witness or wider, more macro puzzles like Myst sequels Riven or Exile, Quern teaches you mechanics that evolve and grow more complex as you explore further and further on the island.
Early on you’ll also receive an in-game notebook that you can write in and use to sketch. While this system isn’t completely revolutionary, it is polished to perfection. Simply point your mouse and press a button, and a drawing of what you’re looking at will appear in your notebook for you to reference later on. It saves a lot of needless running back and forth that other games of the genre suffer from. After playing Quern, this was a feature we definitely missed in other games!
If you’re looking for the experience closest to Myst, look no further than Obduction. Not only is it another expansive first-person puzzle game, it was even designed by the same company! As such you’ll see a lot of similarities to Myst, including a lot of world-hopping, extraterrestrial encounters, and heavy use of tracks and trolleys.
Obduction was even scored by the same composer (the outstanding Robyn Miller) which adds another layer to the nostalgia factor for any Myst fan.
Similar to Myst, many of Obduction’s puzzles involve transporting between worlds, and the core of the game is finding a way to connect them to each other. That means you’ll be exploring a variety of memorable, colorful landscapes and vistas as you solve puzzles, open new doors, and uncover the secrets of what makes each location tick. If you love Myst, your collection simply isn’t complete without Obduction.
Lastly, it goes without saying that if you enjoyed Myst you should definitely give the sequel games a shot. Myst grew into a six-game series and if you’re like us you’ll be happy to see similar themes (Atrus, linking books, Ages, and puzzles galore) as you go through. As for other games worth your while, you might also want to put Discolored and Memorrha on your Steam wishlist. They look to be similar games as well, and both are coming out later this year!
In the meantime, let us know in the comments below which of these games in our list is your favorite, and stick with Softonic for more Myst!