Explore a richly detailed ruin in Gothic-inspired freebie Esothe

Created by one person in just a month, Esothe is a beautiful fantasy adventure set in a painstakingly detailed three-dimensional environment. It's a 3D platformer, essentially, and a decidedly minimalist one at that, inviting you to roam around its wide overworld, and to stick your head into its dimly lit caverns and abandoned houses in search of glowing orbs.

There's no combat and no quests, no other characters to chatter to, and nothing else to collect. The focus is squarely on the world, which is a rather stunning collection of ruined buildings and other structures poking out of a pleasantly rural landscape. Developer mort-art cites Gothic, Ico, Tomb Raider and The Legend of Zelda as inspirations, and I can definitely see echoes of the detailed fantasy worlds of Piranha Bytes, Nintendo, and Team Ico here.

There's no saving, but only about half-an-hour of world to explore, so that's no big deal. mort-art may expand the game with combat, quests or puzzles further down the line, but even if that doesn't happen, Esothe stands out thanks to its atmosphere, and its richly detailed 3D environment. (Thanks, Alpha Beta Gamer.)

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.