Structured Exploration Games

Sep 25, 2014 in ,
I love exploration in games! I like platforming, and I like puzzles, and I can deal with a little combat, but the biggest reason I play games at all is to experience and explore strange, beautiful, mystical places, and unravel the secrets they contain.

Secrets and mystery awaits.

Though many games have elements of exploration, there's not that many I know of that has it as a major focus and really get it right. It doesn't help that some otherwise good exploration games are also very difficult. Being stuck at the same hardcore challenge for ages can get in the way of the joy of exploration.

In order to bring more focus on games where exploration is a major element, I created this Steam curated group:

Exploration Games curated group on Steam

Great games where exploration is a major focus, taking place in worlds that are non-linear yet structured. Also: Secrets and mystery!

Games in this group may have limited but not excessively challenging puzzles, combat, and platforming. They will often have maps.

They may have gated progress based on ability upgrades ("MetroidVania" games), collected items, completed goals, or similar, as long as the progress is not mainly linear.

The word "structured" is also important. The group is not for games that allow you to dig or build anywhere, since it's at odds with structured level and world design. MineCraft, Terraria, and similar are great games that arguably have strong exploration elements, but not of the type this group promotes. 

Also, although the group welcomes easy games with practically no challenging elements, it's not for what some would call "non-games" that contain no gameplay at all (not that there's anything wrong with that).

The best exploration games not only let you explore interesting places, but also let you uncover secrets and gradually gain a better understanding of the mystical world around you.

Yes, yes, this is exactly the types of games I love too!

Are you among the niche that are thinking that? If you are, follow the Exploration Games curated group on Steam!

If you know some great games on Steam in this genre, let me know in the comments. And if you like, get in contact with me about becoming a member of the curated group who can add new recommendations to it.
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