Dear Esther

Developer: thechineseroom

Platforms: PC

Release Date: February 14, 2012

Some might hesitate to call this a game, but that's part of what makes Dear Esther so damn interesting. More like a living painting than anything resembling a traditional genre experience, the game features some of the most gorgeous art direction we've ever seen from the indie community.

Recalling classics like Myst, this picturesque game of exploration invites you to feel clueless as you wander around its majestic world, interpreting what you will of it. With the only point of reference for anything going on in the game being the narrated letters to a vacant woman named Esther, but as things progress the identity of their creator becomes less clear, leaving the player to draw their own conclusions.

It's fitting that this love-letter of a game was released on Valentine's day this year because  romance is a driving theme of the game. While it's not tackled by any of the traditional methods we've seen in games that approach the topic, it is by no means any less potent.