Dear Esther is a Half Life 2 source mod turned retail and plays very similar to the free mod Stanley Parable, you awaken in a world all alone and walk forward as a narrator tells you a story.
“A deserted island… a lost man… memories of a fatal crash… a book written by a dying explorer.”
The focus is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are triggered by moving along the linear paths until you hit a dead end. At the dead end you simply turn around and you’ll find a new path that branches off and you can continue walking forward. There are also a few moments of well composed music that stand out against the simple environmental sounds that fill most of the game’s soundtrack.
Now if this sounds good to you so far I am sorry, this “game” is the most boring 80 minutes I’ve ever spent with this hobby.
I’m going to keep the spoilers below the page break. Before that however I want to say that this game is the worst aspects of “art games”. It is boring, almost to a criminal degree. You can only move at a slow walk, unable to interact with anything at all, the only thing you can effect is finding a trigger for the narrator, but his story is such a jumbled mess that I started wishing he would stop talking his nonsense. The story is poorly told, convoluted, and completely full of itself. I am glad that I played this “game” because now I know it’s hogwash that doesn’t deserve any of the praise it received.