10 Games Like Superliminal

Image credit: Pillow Castle Games

When you play Superliminal, the only thing to remember is that you should expect the unexpected.

This is a first-person puzzle game in which the gameplay relies on optical illusions and forced perspective. It was developed by Pillow Castle Games and released in 2019.

The story follows a person that participates in a dream therapy program. At one point, you get stuck in a recurring dream cycle and your ultimate goal becomes finding a way to escape that state.

You are not alone on your journey. The person overseeing the study, Dr. Glenn Pierce is guiding you. There are a lot of challenging puzzles you’ll have to solve to reach the end of the game.

If you’re looking for games that give off a similar vibe to Superliminal, here are 10 titles worth checking out.

Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds is a single-player action-adventure video game created by independent studio Mobius Digital. The team behind the game achieved tremendous success with this release. Multiple reputable publications listed Outer Wilds as one of the best games released in 2019.

The story follows an unnamed character that goes on their first solo flight in space. You soon find out that you are trapped in a time loop while exploring a solar system. It takes 22 minutes for the loop to reset, which is when the sun in the solar system goes supernova. The loop can also be reset if you die.

You start your journey to learn why the loop was triggered. Along the way, you find out many secrets behind an extinct race called the Nomai. This race was responsible for colonizing the entire solar system a very long time ago.

Almost as soon as you start the game, all areas in its world will be accessible. However, you’ll need to solve certain logic puzzles to access some areas. The only way to solve the puzzles is by speaking to other space explorers and learning more information about the Nomai.

To survive in Outer Wilds, you’ll need to have sufficient oxygen, health, and fuel. You can replenish these stats by finding refills and trees or returning to your spaceship.

Outer Wilds was published by Annapurna Interactive and is available for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

The Witness

The Witness is a challenging video game that contains more than 500 puzzles.

The game was released in 2016 after a development phase that lasted eight years. You can play The Witness on Windows, macOS, iOS, PlayStation 4, Nvidia Shield, and Xbox One.

The lead designer behind this puzzle game is Jonathan Blow, who was previously known for his work on a platformer called Braid. The team that created The Witness needed to make their own game engine to turn their idea into a working game.

The story is set on a strange island. You control a character who wakes up on the island alone and doesn’t remember how they got there or even who they are. You begin to explore the area around you in hopes of regaining your memory.

There are eleven regions that make up the island. When you solve the puzzles of a specific region, you’ll be able to activate turrets housed in yellow boxes. Once activated, the turrets will shine a beam of light to signalize you’ve completed the challenges in that region.

Although players are required to solve most of the puzzles in The Witness, there are some optional challenges you can take on. When Jonathan started development on the game, he wanted to create something that was truly challenging for players. The end result is a game that takes the average player around 80 hours to complete.

Antichamber

Antichamber is a puzzle-platform game made by Alexander Bruce, under the name Demruth. It was released in 2013 and received critical acclaim after it came out. You can play Antichamber on Windows, OS X, and Linux.

The initial concept behind Antichamber was conceived in 2016 when Bruce toyed around with the idea of turning a game like Snake into a multiplayer experience. The idea gradually morphed into this mind-bending single-player puzzle game.

You can never know what to expect when you’re playing Antichamber, as the world around you is insanely complex and features many bizarre geometrical tricks.

Aside from the many traditional puzzles you’ll have to solve, it’s fair to say that the entire game is one giant puzzle. At one point, you’ll be able to use different colored guns. Each gun has a certain ability that will allow you to manipulate objects.

As you solve puzzles, you’ll be able to leave behind hints for yourself. You shouldn’t overlook this opportunity as you might forget how you solved a certain puzzle later on. It’s always good to have somewhere to go back and find a hint that will save you a lot of time.

The main focus in Antichamber is puzzle-solving, which becomes evident when you pay attention to every other part of the game. The graphics and the level structure are minimalistic but just enough for the puzzles to be carried out flawlessly.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is a rather simple story-based game that will leave a lasting impression on you.

The game was developed and published by independent studio Galactic Cafe. In its initial form, the game was released as a free mod for Half-Life 2 in 2011. The creators decided to turn the idea into a full game and released The Stanley Parable in 2013. You can play it on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The actions you can perform in the game are extremely limited. You can essentially walk and interact with only certain elements of the environment. Don’t even think about jumping or dashing.

You take on the role of a silent protagonist who is known as Stanley. You work in a big office building and monitor data that comes from a computer screen. One day, you notice that all of your colleagues are gone. You start looking for answers but that’s when things really get weird.

The game features heavy narration performed by British actor Kevan Brighting. The narrator will comment on many of your actions and sometimes abruptly restart the game if something isn’t right.

The Stanley Parable features a lot of different endings. The choices you make in the game will have an impact on how the story branches out and which ending you’ll experience. The narrator will often guide you and tell you what to do, but it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll listen to him.

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch is categorized as an adventure video game. Upon its release, many critics called it a great example of games as an art form. It received near-perfect scores from several publications.

The game was developed by Giant Sparrow and released in 2017. It’s available for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. There’s also a version of the game made for iOS devices.

You play as a character whose identity is a mystery carrying the journal of a person named Edith Finch. The journal describes how Edith took a trip to Orcas Island to visit her ancestral home after being elsewhere for several years. This is when you start experiencing the story from the perspective of Edith.

Edith explains that she is the last surviving member of the family. She notes that a curse hangs over the Finch family and she’s the only one who avoided it.

What Remains of Edith Finch is essentially a collection of strange tales about the Finch family.

As you explore your ancestral home, you’ll experience the events leading to the death of each family member. You’ll also be on a mission to find out why you’re the only Finch that’s still alive.

The tone and the gameplay for the story of each family member are different. The only thing the gameplay in the stories has in common is a first-person perspective. You can experience stories by interacting with memorials to different family members.

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist

If you’re into unusual narratives that are incredibly amusing and full of surprises, this game is perfect for you.

Often referred to as only Dr. Langeskov, this is a short single-player exploration game that was developed by indie studio Crows Crows Crows. The studio was founded by video game designer William Pugh, who is best known for his contributions to The Stanley Parable. Dr. Langeskov was released in 2015 and is available for Windows and OS X.

The game is sort of what you would expect from a person who worked on The Stanley Parable. Players are initially given the impression that they’ll be playing a game involving a heist where they will take on the role of a master thief. But, that’s not what happens.

When you actually start the game, it will glitch out and you’ll find yourself in an area akin to the backstage of a theater show. You will soon after hear the narrator talking. He will tell you that someone else is currently playing the game and there can’t be more than one player, so you’ll have to wait your turn.

You also learn that most of the staff working on Dr. Langeskov are on strike. That’s why the narrator will suggest you help out behind the scenes until the player finishes with his gaming session. Once the player leaves, you can experience the main game. But once again, you’re in for a big surprise.

The Beginner’s Guide

The Beginner’s Guide is an interactive storytelling video game that was made by the mastermind behind The Stanley Parable.

Just like The Stanley Parable, this game was also made using the Source engine. It also features a lot of originality. The Beginner’s Guide was released in 2015 and is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

What’s really peculiar about this game is that it doesn’t have traditional mechanics, objectives, or goals. In The Beginner’s Guide, you will go through different abstract and incomplete game creations. Exploring these creations will bring you closer to understanding what type of person the developer behind the games is.

Taking inspiration from The Stanley Parable, this game also features a narrator who will comment on a variety of scenes in the game. Some game creations in The Beginner’s Guide feature conversation trees and puzzle solving.

There is no type of mistake that you can make when playing The Beginner’s Guide. Whatever you do, your character won’t lose the game or die. There are different ways to interpret what this game is. Some feel like it represents a commentary on the relationship between players and game developers.

The best theory so far is that it serves as an allegory for the success the creator of The Stanley Parable has had since the release of his first game. Whatever the point of the game may be, this is a truly unusual and unique experience that you shouldn’t overlook.

The Turing Test

The Turing Test is a single-player puzzle video game that was developed by Bulkhead Interactive. The game received positive reviews upon its release, with many critics comparing it to Portal and The Talos Principle. You can play The Turing Test on Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

This is a great game to play if you’re into challenging puzzles and unique game mechanics.

The story is set in the distant future. Your character is named Ava Turing and you get sent on an important mission by the International Space Agency. You’re part of a research team that has to excavate Europe, one of Jupiter’s moons.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi films and games about space exploration, it comes as no surprise that the whole research team is in cryogenic sleep chambers as they travel to Europa. Once the spacecraft reaches the moon, everybody on the team is woken up except you.

The rest of the team travels to Europa to set up the base and you’re scheduled to wake up when they finish the task. At one point, the artificial intelligence monitoring the project prematurely wakes you up and tells you that your team is in danger. You travel to the base and the story magnificently develops from there.

To progress the game, you’ll have to solve difficult puzzles. You’re able to use something called the Energy Manipulation Tool to transfer power between machines, which provides a unique twist on gameplay mechanics.

Manifold Garden

Manifold Garden is a puzzle video game that was developed by indie game developer and artist William Chyr. It was released for both mobile and PC at the same time. The game came out in 2019 and is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

The visuals in Manifold Garden are inspired by Escher, one of the most famous graphic artists of all time.

The game is set in a universe where a different set of physical laws applies. Geometry infinitely repeats in every direction, which makes it a unique and beautiful experience to watch how the world around you evolves. Players have the ability to manipulate gravity. This will allow you to see the world in new ways.

It’s not easy to find a video game that will provide you with the same surreal experience as Manifold Garden. The puzzles can be challenging, as you need to make sense of a bizarre world. It wasn’t easy designing the environment in the game, which is why Chyr spent around seven years working on it.

The gameplay is focused solely on exploration and puzzle-solving. There is no way for the player to take damage, die, or encounter enemies.

The environment in Manifold Garden is one you’ll remember for years. If you want to preserve memories of your journey in the game, you can take beautiful images with the Photo Mode feature.

Quantum Conundrum

The concept behind Quantum Conundrum was created by video game designer Kim Swift, who was one of the developers of the legendary Portal game.

Kim set out to make a game that would both be challenging even to experienced gamers and appeal to a wide audience. The result behind the idea is a charming video game with cute graphics and sci-fi elements like pocket dimensions and aliens.

Quantum Conundrum was released in 2012 and is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows.

The story follows a twelve-year-old boy who is sent to stay with his uncle, a brilliant and peculiar scientist named Professor Fitz Quadwrangle. As soon as you arrive at Quadwrangle’s house, you hear an explosion. You find out that your uncle did an experiment that went wrong and is now trapped in a pocket dimension.

Your uncle starts guiding you on how to help him escape the pocket dimension. But the experiment did more than just trap your uncle. It also left his house in flux between four different dimensions. Each dimension has different properties that you’ll shift between to solve puzzles.

At one point, you’ll be able to use a powerful tool named the Interdimensional Shift Device to switch between dimensions. You’ll also receive aid from an alien called IKE. The name IKE stands for Interdimensional Kinetic Entity.

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