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There are many developers who've made games similar to and to some degree inspired by in some way, but not connected to, the Myst series.  (I myself am doing some game dev stuff sort of like that - I am making game content that is Myst-fan stuff, sure - but I also do a wide range of other stuff unrelated to the Myst series, which is why my fan art is so slow to go anywhere.  It's simply a tiny fragment of my life, and other things are often going on!)

Here are some notable examples of Myst-resembling puzzlers in recent memory, in no particular order, plus some brief nods to assorted outstanding games of other genres:


PORTAL, PORTAL 2 and a range of other puzzle platformers worth mentioning - Combine Kim Swift's skillful and capable puzzle design with a really mind-bendingly cool conceptual - and I mean absolutely genius in many ways - set of puzzle mechanics, and add on top of all of that the goofy, sometimes witty and sarcastic humor and solid characters, plotting, and storytelling that Valve does at their best.  Absolutely, undoubtedly recommended.  [Trivia: Portal and Portal 2 have music tracks composed by Jack Wall - who also composed the soundtracks for Myst III and IV] In Portal, you're stuck in a giant research lab - performing a series of tests under the direction of an artificial intelligence named Glados.  To say much more would be to spoil things if you've never played this, but the spatial puzzle mechanics are fantastically innovative, the art direction and sound design is great, tons of personality and dripping with atmosphere, and when I first saw the portal systems working I couldn't help but be awed, and ask myself 'how did they do that' - and I kinda had to work out in my head, the tricks they used in the game engine to even make it possible.  While the game has 3D platforming elements, true, it's at its heart a very smart first person puzzle game and these two games, the meme-spawning original and the epic, sprawling sequel, absolutely deserve a top spot on this list even if they're not strictly 'Myst like'.  Phenomenal games, on every level, and very popular even in mainstream circles; there are an estimated 10-15 million people who've played these titles!

And since we're including artful puzzle-platformers on this list, I'd be remiss not to mention indie sensation 'Braid' which has a very vague and nebulous narrative, and simple painterly visuals, but has brilliantly concieved puzzle mechanics of its own that are almost as mind-bending at times as 'Portal' only Braid uses time instead of space - throttling it at different rates, forwards and backwards, and using that to ingeniously solve seemingly unsolvable puzzles. 'Braid' deserves ample credit as well for the way its time-reversal mechanics blend seamlessly with its aesthetics and story, which ultimately is all about regret, the impossibility of acheiving perfection, and broken relationships. The main character who turns back time even is named Tim, which is Time being unwritten. It's a contemplative game which argues that even if you could turn back time, you still might not be able to fix every mistake you've made.   Other games of the smart platformer category include the cheerfully colorful 'Fez' which uses spatial 2d-3d compression very inventively, and to a lesser degree so-so platformers such as the hand-drawn-styled and sometimes trippy gravity-rotating and Escher-esque 'The Bridge' and the programming-logic inspired 'Recursed' which has really ugly graphics but it uses the concept of recursion cleverly for some number of smart puzzles.  BTW, if you really liked Portal's puzzle design, Kim Swift also designed puzzles for Airtight Games'  'Quantum Conundrum' but its gravity-altering and time-slowing mechanics, while they can sometimes be fun puzzle mechanics, are marred by a lame, incoherent story with humor that mostly falls flat, plus cartoony repetitive graphics and a length that drags on a bit too long given the actual number of included puzzle mechanics.  But hey, fun main title music track.]

PORTAL 2 animated gifs:
Portal 2 titlePortal Humor
Portal series has a great sense of humor

Other notable puzzlers that are also platformers:
Assorted puzzle platformer games


The Witness - 87% positive on MetaCritic, but somewhat less liked by actual ordinary players at around 6/10 or 7/10, this artful yet infuriating puzzler from Jonathan Blow (the creator of Braid) deliberately echoes Myst in the design of its island world, while also being way, way more repetitive, if consistent, in puzzle structure than Myst, and way more abstract and pretentious.  There are many puzzles here, maybe too many [over 500], and they're consistently maze-based, line based, and symbol based, with symbols the meanings of which are learned through experimentation and build on each other in increasingly complex intersecting ways.  The gameworld is sort of stylized and every area of it serves to teach something.  When you step back from the panels, and think about what the gameworld is telling you, you will occasionally have the sort of insight that any puzzle gamer craves, but the entire game's Zen Buddhist thematic content and its insightful but hardly profound ideas often get in the way of it being fun, and it goes on too long for what it is.   The game's message, in the end, seems to be a subversive and somewhat ironic one; one which undercuts the game itself and all game grinding, and maybe all real life accomplishment as well.  The game is telling us, throughout, that we already have what we're looking for - if only we can see it.  The striving and solving all, in the end, is cyclic, it leads us back to the starting point, to something hidden right there in the early areas of the game that we didn't know how to access or solve when we were there at first.  The effort is all in the end for naught, it all fades away once it's over... as a metaphor for our lives, how we will spend them making illusory 'progress' and making things but eventually we and our work will be forgotten, it'll all vanish, is poignant, but the attempts to bring that difficult truth to the fore in the game design instead of using the game as pure escapism, can leave a negative reaction from players who don't understand the ideas presented, or do understand them but don't believe they have merit.   The game's message also seems to be about microcosms, smaller parts representing a larger thing, as these appear in a few places.  The idea of seeing beyond the obvious and gaining new perspective - insights for panel puzzle solutions from the meticulously designed surroundings, is interesting and expressed in a few varied ways.  The symbols outside and around the panels, plus what's on them, matter.  And the game also seems to suggest perhaps that our electronic 'panels' - our phones and our computers - are incomplete and that our work done on them is useless and meaningless unless it draws from the tangible and real world, unless we step back from the box, detach from the grind, don't spend our whole lives in the box of our homes, staring at the box of our computers and work areas... and enjoy our surroundings and our lives mindfully in the natural here and now, just enjoying being alive and experiencing nature.  We're happiest in The Witness when we aren't stuck just looking at panels and grids.  We're happiest wandering around and seeing beauty and insight in the game's open world... and when that world unlocks the solutions to the panels, and the panels in turn elegantly unlock bits of the world.  There's a healthy balance we must strike - not too much time in a digital landscape, going out to the real one, real places, fresh air - and a healthy, not overly stressful balance of work and life, and that matters.  The Witness, for all its stifling qualities - and by the end, it DOES get dull, repetitive, too logical, too mechanical, too many grids, mazes, lines - actually uses its design flaws to reinforce its central message.  That's not a mind-blowing or brilliant thing, but it's still insightful and sort of wise, and maybe that's good enough.  

And while it's perhaps slightly hypocritical and disingenuous on Blow's part to focus on such a message (would he have been able to actually develop this game if he believed in always being observant, mindful and spending his time in nature and not working towards a focused logical goal using a computer?) that is perhaps just another koan.  I can't say it's an amazing game, it has a beautiful stylized, if sterile, world, flashes of insight and a handful of cool wow moments, and the conceptual material is (or tries to be, at least) heady, but the core mechanic is simply dull compared to his earlier work [Braid] and his many variations on it, while inventive, don't do quite enough to sustain the game's lengthy structure.  There was a span ranging from the halfway point to near the end, that often left me irritated and bored, it was largely an aggravating, tedious grind that had too few new elements and too few true insights.  And that's coming from a guy who completed all of the Myst games and has a lot of patience in solving difficult puzzles.  There are only a dozen or so really substantial realizations and twists on the central game mechanic, and that's hardly sufficient to justify stretching that out to 500+ puzzles!

Giant wallpaper image for 'The Witness''The Witness' game gif, animation of starting area'The Witness' PC game, roaming around island GIF
The first image here can be downloaded, as a 2MB wallpaper of larger resolution, with a right click/save as.  It depicts the dense world of The Witness, which is about 20-25 times the area of Myst Island in 'Myst'; nearly a million square feet of explorable area.  A good thing, too, given the immense volume of puzzles that are crammed onto it.  There are also two little low resolution looping .GIF animations here, one of the starting area and one of the earliest, easiest puzzles in the game, and one with a bunch of clips of wandering around parts of the island.
[Trivia: Eric A. Anderson, was a 3D artist who worked on this, one of the core team of seven people developing the title, during its seven years of development after Braid was released in 2008... he worked on this for years between his work with Cyan - on Myst Online and later Obduction.]
I also noticed several nods to Myst - not just the island, with its one mountain, but the falling human figure from Myst's intro, or something very like it, appears in game, and the use of endogenous sound only in The Witness - the idea that music only plays when it has a logical music-player as a source - was a novel and unconventional concept the Myst devs actually seriously considered way back in '91 and eventually abandoned once they played that playing Myst with Robyn Miller's score running in the background and found that the presence of an ambient music soundtrack running in the background of various areas didn't break immersion but actually enhanced it. The Witness is usually $39.99 on PC but it goes lower when on sale, and the iPad port is only $9.99 - and the two versions are almost identical in practice.  

THE TALOS PRINCIPLE - A really solid puzzler set in the aftermath of a viral outbreak that laid waste to human civilization and killed everyone, the Talos Principle draws its concept both from the myth of Talos, a statue brought to animate life and the question of whether such artificial life can really be conscious or free to make its own decisions, and the Biblical Garden of Eden myth. The idea is that a computer program left by the humans, called Elohim - i.e. a stand-in for God - has built a series of virtual worlds for a bunch of AIs to inhabit, and offers them a series of challenges which, ultimately, lead up to a choice between 'eternity in virtual paradise' and 'act of rebellion' - which would mirror the humans rebelling against God and being cast out of their walled garden into the rest of the world. The game so far seems to suggest that the rebellion might be the entire point of this Eden; that Elohim is actually looking for AIs that will reject their programmed purpose and rebel. This 'God', maybe, is looking for an AI that's capable of a human sort of free will. My main gripe so far with the Talos Principle is not with the story, or the puzzle mechanics [which are often fairly rote exercises in placing boxes, bouncing beams of light, opening/closing barriers, evading or trapping sentry turrets, etc, but at times do involve real lateral thinking and genuine moments of clever insight in cases where different components can be made to interact in surprising ways] but the core issue with the Talos Principle is that the puzzles and story don't integrate in anything close to a seamless way. Still, it's a beautiful game and all the aspects of it are well executed even if they don't fit together flawlessly. Oddly, it remains $39.99 on PC when not on sale, despite the fact that it was released seven years ago. The standard price on iPad, however, is just $4.99 and the difference between the PC and iOS versions is rather minimal, so if you've got an iDevice that might be your best option.  Deserves a look, definitely, as it's very well regarded and solidly reviewed all around.   Haven Moon is a very obviously Myst-like 3D game with a familiarly steampunk style and a decent mix of puzzles set across an archipelago of small islands on a moon covered with water, that orbits a planet where a civilization had developed. You're teleported to that moon, and left with a series of notes from the teleportation system's inventor and creator of the structures on that moon, and given a choice at the end that's rather underwhelming actually. Fairly short game, graphics are decent, puzzles decent, nothing about it stands out though as especially impressive, save for the fact that most of the work on the project was done by just one indie dev using Unity and Blender. The price isn't bad either; I've seen it on sale for 99 cents from time to time on a few digital PC-game stores.  I also thought the mind-bendingly unpredictable and rather bizarre game 'Antichamber' was a highly inventive, if visually minimalist, indie puzzler and well worth a look.
Talos Principle

MIND: PATH TO THALAMUS  and other games that are all in your head?  - Made by some guy named Carlos Coronado, it's a decent but not exceptional, very pretty and VR-enabled dreamscape, of a regretful guilt-wracked man in a coma, trying to wake up.  It hits on all the poignant-game cliches, but the visual design of the varied environments is so chill and pretty you probably will enjoy it just for that if nothing else.  The puzzles tend to be fairly easy & simple to move past.  Another game of the 'mental world' category that's also decent but not great, would be Dream, a game with a wide range of pretty locales, tricky puzzles, and in between some short 'nightmare' sequences at the end of each of the three acts, which are more creepy and weird than truly scary.  Also, XING: The Land Beyond, which is set in the afterlife or something, it looks absolutely beautiful from what I have seen, and the puzzles are apparently really easy.  Oh yeah, and there's also 'Ether One' also deserves a look as it falls into this subcategory and is pretty well made. I'll also advise looking up 'The Gallery' and 'Zed' as both are quite promising. Zed is the brainchild of Chuck Carter, one of several 3d artists who worked on Myst way back in '93.
Mind, Dream, and Xing

QUERN - Very clearly Myst inspired.  Quern looks great graphically, good graphics and sound design, nice open world that extends further than you'd think at first, and the puzzles are generally solidly designed if not terribly original. The devs behind Quern are a four-person team from Hungary who I've conversed with briefly during development.    
Myst Like games Quern and Haven Moon

There are also some titles that have captured some of the worldbuilding and atmosphere, that games like Myst acheived, sans puzzles.  These 'walking simulators' may or may not be classifiable as games, if the definition of a game demands the presence of challenges or obstacles, walking simulators don't deserve the status of game in the same way that a title such as 'Myst' does.  Nonetheless, some of them are truly beautiful aesthetically and have impressive atmosphere and sound design, and beginning with 'Dear Esther' this sub-category of games has slowly gained momentum.  

Some other notable examples of pure walking simulator include the cleverly deconstructionist 'The Stanley Parable' which asks significant questions about linearity and choice in game design with a great sense of witty humor, 'The Old City: Leviathan' which pretentiously chooses to examine the philosophy of existentialism in the form of virtual tour, but does have beautiful environments regardless and is worth walking through for that alone, and 'Everybody's Gone to the Rapture' which focuses on the aftermath of an alien entity invading a rural British town, as a result of an experiment conducted there.  
Then there's other recent stuff like the acclaimed 'Firewatch',(set in a national park, you're communicating by radio with, and trying to locate, someone who's in trouble and needs help) 'Tacoma' (by the creators of 'Gone Home' and set on a glossy art-deco spaceship), 'What Remains of Edith Finch' [beautiful work in this one, BTW], 'Virginia', 'Proteus', and a few others.

Some examples of these blur the lines between 'walking simulator' or 'visual novel/digital story' and 'really easy puzzle/adventure game' and this has been the case with Telltale's recent stuff [basically they're the old-school third-person adventures but with all the puzzles made really simple or stripped out completely] or titles like 'Gone Home' (it's a small, personal story uncovered through exploration of an empty house, and it's mostly walking simulator save for the presence of a few really simple puzzles.)  And then with 'Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs' you've got the weird hodgepodge of the easy puzzle adventure blended into walking simulator and a growing amount of stealth horror, as you're wandering around a creepy Victorian mansion and factory setting, at the end of the 19th century, and you're some crazy guy who has suffered a great psychological toll, gone mad and done a string of horrific things including making surgically altered human/pig creatures.  I suspect these - the games which mash up the two categories - are the titles most responsible for confusion and, in the minds of some people, blurring of lines between 'graphic adventure game' - a game genre which has been around since the 1970s, with explorable worlds containing puzzles as an obstacle to overcome in order to complete the story and access new areas  - and 'walking simulators' which traditionally do not have any real challenges to get past.  


A FEW MOBILE TITLES like highly polished and horror-themed 'The Room' series and the beautifully charming and colorful 'Monument Valley' also deserve credit as beautifully executed, if easy, puzzle games.  I'd also recommend taking a quick glance at 'Broken Age', 'Lost Echo', 'Lumino City', and others if you want to dig deeper.  I personally enjoyed other games too, available on mobile, from the Amanita Design stuff (Samorost series, and the beautifully art-directed and wordless story of Machinarium) and ported PC adventure genre classics like Grim Fandango [an artful, critically acclaimed comedic classic in the genre that deserved sequels but never got any], Syberia[Syberia 1 and 2 by Benoit Sokal are solid traditional adventure games with a somewhat cold and often somber setting - too bad the 3rd game in the series was a disappointment to most everyone, and The Longest Journey.  (The Longest Journey and its sequels 'Dreamfall' and 'Dreamfall Chapters' are absolutely fantastic.  The writing is sharp, the characters engaging, the story sprawlingly epic.  As third person adventure titles go, these titles are masterful but only the original is on mobile.  For the sequels, you'll want to play on Windows.)  Also, I've got to point out that both "Myst" and "Riven" can actually be played on iOS... and in the original Myst's case there are many choices - the realtime 3D version for iPad and the old-school pre-rendered one for iPhone/iPod Touch, the new Android release, the higher-end realtime 'RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition' on Windows/Mac OS X... Oh, and there are some recent releases I've got to add now: the 'GO' series of board-game themed puzzlers are pretty good [Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, Deus Ex GO] and 'Euclidean Lands' is pretty well-designed, as is 'Causality'. I also have to give a shout-out to the amazing game 'Gorogoa' which is an absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn puzzler with some strange but beautifully intuitive mechanics I haven't seen before. The atmosphere of Gorogoa is phenomenal and it, like a number of the works mentioned here, was a labor of love by a solo developer.


Although these categories are a good chunk of my gaming experience, there are so many good simulation and management games I'm excited about lately like 'Planet Coaster', 'Tropico 5', 'Cities: Skylines', etc, strategy titles (turn based like the superb Civilization series or real time 'Age of Empires' series, Anno series, 'Cossacks' series, C&C, Homeworld, Rise of Nations, etc), board games (love Catan, and Carcassonne and many other great modern-era board games) and then there are the more reflex-based, and sometimes less strategic but still well made types of games. (CS:GO, is a great tactical FPS, I loved the Half-Life series, I played all the Bioshock games and they are not only well made in gameplay, they have good storytelling and lavishly impressive art direction beyond what most FPS games acheive, thought they were beautiful, some stealth and horror themed actioners too (Alan Wake, for example) and some RPGs of course, like the awesome Fallout series, etc - and even non-puzzle platformers can be interesting and very creative like 'Psychonauts' or 'Alice: Madness Returns'.  I also like the Assassin's Creed games; the historical settings are superbly realized.)

So don't presume I'm totally stuck on one type of game, or that I don't enjoy action gaming or other genres from time to time.  I absolutely do - but that belongs somewhere else and isn't the topic of this website.  This is a website I have made focused on the Myst series and the farther out a topic goes from that, the less space it gets on this particular website.


But I must point out that the puzzle-platformers, adventure games, and walking simulators probably only account for maybe 35% of the time I've spent gaming over the last 20 years.  I've sunk so much time into city-builders and strategy games, and so on, it's crazy.

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