Indie Exploration Games That Can Inspire Creativity

Video games are an art form. They blend together the visual arts, writing, sound, and the understanding of how humans interact with their environment to provide an experience entirely unlike anything else in the world. 

No matter whether you are a designer, writer, musician, or UX designer, videos games can inspire you to create. Here are a few select games that best capture all of these skills and may even inspire your creativity.


Inside begins with a boy sliding down a hill in a dark forest. Players immediately take control of the boy without any knowledge of what’s going on. As you move through the forest, you realize something strange is happening. There are guards, dogs, and spotlights looking for movement in the forest. Get spotted, and you are dead.

Except you will have to make noise and be noticed. From here, you must run to escape. This is a puzzle platforming, so it won’t be as easy simply jumping across a ledge – although you will be doing that. Players have to memorize sequences and time their movements, only making a break for it at the right time. 

The tension is heightened when you make your way into a seemingly abandoned city where humans are behaving like they aren’t in control of themselves. The deeper into the city you go, the more strange things become as you encounter more humans who are clearly working on something secret. 

Besides the mystery of the world and ending that can be interpreted in any number of ways, it is the aesthetic choices made by the developers that are stand out here. There is no dialogue in the game. All world-building is done from the perspective of the player who moves through dark rooms, vents, and witnesses strange occurrences. 

With our creative works, we often want to control the message and tell the person viewing our work what they should be seeing. What’s great about Inside is it shows that you communicate without revealing. Let’s the viewing sit and ponder what they just experienced and enjoy listening to their interpretation without interrupting or correcting them.

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch is an adventure and exploration game full of what developer Giant Sparrow describes as mini-experiences.

You play Edith, a character who returns to the Finch family home and discovers that all but one member from each generation of the Finch family is alive. The cause of the deaths is believed to be a curse. Explore the family home and replay a moment from each family member’s life to learn about the history of the family and each of their fates.

What remains of Edith Finch is a drama story centered around many characters. The developers had to tell a number of smaller stories within a larger world. They were successful, receiving critical praise, and winning several awards.

The idea of starting a journey in a tragedy, then following a narrative to uncover numerous truths is a style of storytelling that is gripping. Play this game, learn from it, and let it inspire your creativity. 

The Long Dark

A survival game that takes place in a forest full of rabid dogs, strange people, resources to collect, and monsters that come out at night. The Long Dark is a game that invites players to create their own stories. 

You wake up in a forest and don’t know how you got there. You don’t know what the end goal is – besides survival. The forest is a large place made up of several regions. As you explore, you will find resources, weapons, and quest items. This is a game where you don’t want to lose focus, and this is where products from Host Defense or Thorne Research may help to provide clarity and focus when it is needed the most.

The forest is also a place of secrets, strange characters who will make trades with you or will give you clues about where to find important locations and safe havens. 

While some things that lurk in the forest are your friend, others are not so kind. Fend off attackers, build a base, and survive the night with the little light you have. The Long Dark is an immersive game that can strike fear into the bravest of players. The great art style, an intriguing mystery, and secrets make this a game that can spur the creative side of the mind to start filling in the missing pieces.

Final Thoughts

Each of these games is an experience. They can’t offer the moment-to-moment thrill of Call of Duty, but you would be missing out if you disregarded any of these because they don’t feel like a game you typically play.

Give them a chance and see if they spur your creative side to action!