8 Games Like The Witness

Image credit: Thekla, Inc.

The Witness is a puzzle video game that was developed by Thekla, Inc. and released in 2016. You can play The Witness on Windows, PlayStation 4, macOS, and Xbox One. There are also versions of the game for iOS and Android devices.

There is a big open world in the game with countless locations you can explore. There is a lot of content in The Witness, with more than 500 puzzles to solve. You play an unnamed character who leaves an underground bunker and wanders alone around an island in hopes of regaining his memory.

The world in The Witness is divided into eleven different regions. You will have to solve numerous puzzles in each region. It takes the average player around 80 hours to solve all the puzzles in the game.

If you’re searching for video games like The Witness, you can find them in this list.

Quern – Undying Thoughts

Quern – Undying Thoughts is an adventure puzzle video game that was developed by a group of four Hungarian graduate students under the name Zadbox Entertainment. The game was released in 2016 and is available for Windows, macOS, Xbox One, and Linux.

Like in The Witness, the main character in the game wakes up on a strange island with no memory. You have no idea how you got to the island called Quern or what you should be doing. There are a lot of puzzles to solve in Quern – Undying Thoughts and most of them are quite interesting. Puzzles involve everything from simple mechanical contraptions to lightweight botany.

The gameplay doesn’t involve any combat or hostility. Your main mission is to find a way off the island. As you explore Quern, you’ll occasionally find some information about the island that was left behind by previous occupants. In the game, you will find many strange machines that don’t perform any function whatsoever.

The island is pretty mysterious and definitely adds a nice touch to the overall experience of solving puzzles. There’s an interesting Notebook feature in the gameplay. It allows you to sketch something that you think could be a clue to a puzzle. It’s something like an in-game screenshot feature.

The background music in Quern – Undying Thoughts is really good. It gives off a dreamy vibe that makes it easier to get lost in the game.

Fez

Fez is a puzzle-platform video game that was released in 2012 following a five-year development phase. The game was developed by solo dev Philippe Poisson. Philippe achieved a level of fame unusual for game developers after being featured in a documentary titled Indie Game: The Movie. The film was released the same year as Fez.

Philippe became famous because he was very outspoken in the movie and displayed his emotional investment in the game. After its release, Fez received very positive reviews from numerous publications. The game is available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, Nintendo Switch, and Windows. There’s also a version of the game developed for iOS devices.

The game is based on a very unique concept. The story follows a character named Gomez who lives a normal and peaceful life in the 2D realm. One day, Gomez receives a red fez and from that point on he can see the third dimension.

The world in Fez is huge and contains many puzzles, secrets, and hidden treasures. Sometimes, certain game elements serve as decipherable puzzles. However, they can also be false signals. When you explore the world, you have the freedom to rotate between four 2D views in Fez. This allows you to navigate 3D structures in an interesting way.

The puzzles vary a lot and can contain anything from invisible platforms to QR codes. The art style in Fez is an ode to 1980s video games.

Superliminal

Superliminal is a surreal puzzle game that was developed and published by Pillow Castle Games. It was released in 2019 and features both a single-player and multiplayer mode. You can play Superliminal on Windows, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.

The story is centered around a character who goes to a place called the Pierce Institute to help them test a new technology. The technology, referred to as SomnaSculp, promises to help patients through dream therapy. You enter the dream world but aren’t able to wake up at your appointed time, leaving you stuck in a recurring dream cycle.

You start exploring an incredibly strange dream world where you won’t know what to expect because things constantly get weirder. Dr. Glenn Pierce is guiding you through the dream and helping you find a way to wake up. Meanwhile, the AI controlling the therapy has other plans.

The gameplay is based on optical illusions and forced perspective. The use of forced perspective allows you to change the size of various objects. You can do this to manipulate any scalable object and use them to your advantage to leave the room you want to escape.

If you want to increase the difficulty, you can try the Challenge Mode. This mode was added to support the speedrunning community that plays Superliminal. In Challenge Mode, players get scores when they pass a level based on their time, jumps, and grabs.

The Talos Principle

In case you’re looking for a game that can be extremely challenging at times, your best bet is to check out The Talos Principle. Just like in The Witness, this game contains a lot of puzzles, some of which are really hard to solve.

The Talos Principle is a first-person puzzle game that was developed by independent studio Croteam, best known for the Serious Sam series. It was released in 2014 and can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Linux, OS X, and Windows. There are also iOS and Android versions of The Talos Principle.

In the game, you control a robot that seems to possess human consciousness. You explore a world that contains different environments. There are more than 120 puzzles to solve in The Talos Principle. The only way to solve the puzzles is to collect sigils in various enclosed areas. Players need to be careful of turrets and drones that can kill them if they’re not cautious. If you die during a puzzle, you’ll respawn at the beginning of it.

The strange world in The Talos Principle is not what you think it is. As you progress in the game, you’ll journey through a story that touches on topics like technology, humanity, and civilization. The ending to this story is something you’ll want to experience, so make sure you continue making progress even when it may seem like it’s impossible to solve certain puzzles.

Return of Obra Dinn

Are you searching for a modern puzzle game with a unique art style? If so, you definitely need to hear about Return of Obra Dinn. The story takes place in the early 19th century. Your character is an insurance inspector for the East India Company. One day, a ship called Obra Dinn that’s been missing for five years suddenly reappears with no one alive aboard.

You are given the mission to investigate the Obra Dinn and find out what happened to the crew. You are able to do this with the help of a special pocket watch that transports you to the moment of death of any person so long as you find their corpse.

The whole game serves as a giant logic puzzle and contains elements of adventure games. It’s played from a first-person perspective. Return of the Obra Dinn is a game that was created by designer Lucas Pope. It was published by Japanese studio 3909.

The art features a 1-bit monochromatic graphical style. It’s not often that you see a game that was released recently using this type of art style. The graphics were inspired by games you’d play on some of the first Macintosh computers.

The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews upon its release. It was mostly praised for its art, setting, story, and narrative. You can play Return of the Obra Dinn on Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Antichamber

Antichamber is a puzzle-platform video game that was developed and designed by one-man team Alexander Bruce. The game was released in 2013 and has since amassed a cult following and became a legendary title in the puzzle game genre. You can play Antichamber on Windows, OS X, and Linux.

The game is a deeply psychological experience that will provide you with something different than almost any other game ever developed. It is played from a first-person perspective and features an unnamed protagonist. You start the game in an antechamber with four walls. There is something different on each wall and it’s up to you to understand the messages given to you and advance to the next room.

The game heavily incorporates optical illusions where two-dimensional figures are naturally understood as being projections of three-dimensional objects. These illusions are commonly referred to as impossible objects. Most of the puzzles in Antichamber will occur within impossible objects that the game engine creates.

At one point in the game, players get access to a series of guns that can create, destroy, or manipulate matter. You start with a gun that allows you to pick up cubes and place them somewhere else. Later on, you’ll be able to wield guns that can grow new cubes or destroy them.

Antichamber features an enormous world that you’ll have to spend a lot of time exploring. The challenging puzzles and the ambient soundtrack make it a true joy to explore this weird world.

Obduction

Obduction is a single-player adventure and puzzle video game developed by Cyan Worlds. By the time of Obduction’s release, Cyan Worlds already established its name in the puzzle genre with titles like Myst and Riven. You can play this game on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, and Windows.

You control a character who gets abducted by aliens. You find yourself on an alien planet and your ultimate goal becomes to find a way to get back to Earth. The game is played from a first-person perspective. The environments in Obduction contain both familiar human settings and strange alien landscapes.

Players navigate the world through a point-and-click system, along with traditional navigation control used in first-person games. You have the ability to examine most objects in a full three-dimensional view.

The decisions you make in the game will have an impact on the outcome of the story. If you’re a fan of games like Myst, you already know how challenging puzzles made by Cyan Worlds can be. Obduction is no different in terms of puzzle difficulty. Some are relatively easy, but others will leave you scratching your head for a while.

Rime

Rime is a single-player adventure puzzle game that was released in 2017. It was developed by indie Spanish studio Tequila Works. You can play Rime on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

In Rime, players control a boy who washes ashore on a strange and abandoned island. The only thing you clearly see from the shore is that there’s a giant tower at the end of the island. You explore the area with guidance from a magic fox. You don’t have any memories that could tell you how you got to the island or what you should do.

As you make progress in Rime, you sporadically start remembering things. You have flashbacks to your life before coming to the island and you begin piecing the puzzle together. Speaking of puzzles, there are quite a few challenges you’ll encounter in Rime. The game features both easy and very difficult puzzles.

Your character has the ability to carry objects, run, and climb. If an object is too big for you to carry, you can push or pull it to different locations. You can also sing or shout, which in some cases triggers unpredictable events. The world in Rime is beautifully designed and contains a lot of wildlife.

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