"Dear Esther is a ghost story, told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional game-play the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, making every each journey a unique experience.
- Official Site
"Briscoe's achievement is partly technical - wringing the credible naturalism of these heaths, cliffs and caves from the aging Source engine is no mean feat - but it's an aesthetic triumph too, bending this depiction of an island wilderness into a scene of mesmerising psychodrama, where the wash of black waves beneath a full moon or the murky rush of an underground stream echo the increasing hysteria of the narrative. Jessica Curry's score, too, sombrely reflects the player's feelings without oppressively instructing them.
"…the process of seeking and sorting through the fragments of the island's past makes for something wholly engaging. Game or otherwise, this is not a passive pastime, but a journey whose meaning rests on the player's alert participation. Only on investigation do these spaces give up their imagery: business clothes folded in a neat pile inside a coastal cave; the wreck of a car clogging up a rocky gully by the shore; a photo of an ultrasound discarded in some tumbledown shepherd's shack.
- Marsh Davies for Eurogamer