The best PC games for…the senses

Continuing our The best PC games for… series, we’ll go through some games that really make a mark on your emotions.

Much the same as going to the movies to see something to make you happy or sad, games can offer the same deep emotional connection you sometimes get from watching a movie.

In the episode in our series, we’ve rounded up five of the most impressive games on a sensory level, games that will leave you glued to your screen and make it hard to leave your chair for even a minute.

Solace: A shooter for the senses

Solace

Solace is one of the oldest video games in the shooter genre. Shooters are generally about overcoming levels and getting the highest score, but competition is not really what Solace is about.

In Solace, what counts is the experience caused by a hypnotic combination of image and sound, based on the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). With no ratings and no reloading, the important thing is to let yourself get carried away by the sensory feast that surrounds you.

Solace is amazing to look at

Antichamber: Addictive psychedelia

Antichamber

Being in a maze you can’t get out of is a recurring dream (or nightmare) we’ve all had. Antichamber, an award-winning indie game, recreates the disturbing feeling exactly.

You have to escape from a maze full of colors, traps, and twisted tests. Here, the laws of physics are suspended, and nothing seems to make sense until you figure out the rules and begin to understand what’s going on. Of course, when you’ve reached that point, you’ve probably already been seduced by this mix of optical illusions and psychedelia that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. You have to see it to believe it.

Are you ready for Antichamber?

Dear Esther: A love letter to videogames

Dear Esther

What if you suddenly found yourself on a deserted island? You might find out how you’d react by playing Dear Esther. In it, you explore an island while reading excerpts from letters written to someone called Esther.

The action and adventure typical of this kind of exploration game are substituted in Dear Esther by mystery, emotion and feeling. Nothing is what it seems, and the game really seems closer to Japanese visual novels than the Western concept of the video game.

Dear Esther takes a new approach to exploration adventure

Proteus: Sensory pleasure

ProteusDid the island experience of Dear Esther leave you wanting more? Then travel to another island, Proteus. Each part of this game is a unique visual experience in itself, since the scenery is randomly generated.

Move freely around the island, discover its corners and creatures, let yourself be inundated with colors, shapes and sounds, and don’t worry about dying. Proteus has a goal, but you won’t know what it is until you face it. Until that happens, relax and enjoy this unique experience.

Proteus' motivations aren't exactly clear

Shelter: An ode to nature

ShelterWhether or not you know the first thing about badgers, Shelter will move you. It’s impossible not to get emotionally involved with this story about a mother badger walking through the woods with her young, having to care for and protect them against all the setbacks and dangers that can appear in the wild.

With its cell-shading aesthetics, this game is absolutely captivating. Shelter is a work of art that will leave you breathless, mainly because it’s impossible not to empathize with this cute and furry family.

Will you keep the badger family safe?

The art of the non-games

The games in this article demonstrate one thing: the goal of a game doesn’t always have to be clear. As the saying goes, “sometimes the journey is more important than the destination”.That’s why, rather than calling these games “unconventional”, I prefer referring to these experimental works as “non-games”. On that note, enjoy the experience of playing these great non-games.

Check out the rest of our ‘The Best PC games for…’ series for games to play in any situation.

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