Ether One is a first person adventure that deals with the fragility of the human mind. There are two paths in the world you can choose from. At it’s core is a story exploration path free from puzzles where you can unfold the story at your own pace.
User reviews: Very Positive (254 reviews) - 80% of the 254 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Mar 25, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"It has a melancholy to it, and a wistfulness that I rarely find in games. They kept it grounded, focusing on the loneliness of memories slipping away."
Read the full review here.


“The world of Ether One is a superbly detailed and well thought-out place.”
4/5 – Joystiq

“It’s been just two days since I last player Ether One and I’ve not stopped thinking about it since. I thought about it before I went to bed last night, and the night before. I thought about it when I woke up this morning. I thought about it when I had lunch. So far I’ve sunk 12 hours into a game easily completable in four. I’ve not nearly managed to restore all of the projectors. And I've hardly scratched the surface.”
9/10 – Strategy Informer

“Superb: A hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.”
9/10 – Destructoid

About This Game

Ether One is a first person adventure that deals with the fragility of the human mind.

There are two paths in the world you can choose from. At its core is a story exploration path free from puzzles where you can unfold the story at your own pace.

There is also a deeper, more adventurous path in which you can complete complex puzzles to restore life changing events of the patients history in order to help the validation of their life.

Parallel paths make Ether One accessible to a range of skilled players. Invite your friends and family around to pick their brains for help taking on challenging environmental puzzles, or soak in the atmosphere of Pinwheel at leisure. From a young age we enjoyed the first person puzzle games that required you to write cryptic notes on spare pieces of paper to unravel mysteries. Ether One aims to bring back pen and paper puzzle solving, whilst still being accessible and optional for people not wanting to get stuck and frustrated on the harder puzzles.


  • First Person Adventure Game.
  • Open narrative exploration in the town of Pinwheel.
  • Optional puzzle solving.
  • Accessible gameplay with additional controller support for players that aren’t as skilled with complex controls.
  • Challenging pen and paper puzzle design you can decrypt at your own pace.

Deluxe Edition

The Ether One Deluxe Edition comes with the Ether One OST, Game Script, & Comics along with a few more goodies. Please note that there is no additional in-game content.

The Ether One Original Soundtrack by Nathaniel-Jorden Apostol features more than 40 minutes of music created exclusively for Ether One. The soundtrack comes with MP3 & FLAC format along with custom artwork for the soundtrack.

MP3 & FLAC format files will be placed in the Ether One folder in the Steam Directory: ...Steam\steamapps\common\EtherOne\Soundtrack

The Ether One game scripts contain all of the spoken dialogue along with some things that got cut from the game. We hope you find it interesting to see how we developed the narrative for Ether One. Please note: These scripts contain spoilers for the game. You may wish to finish Ether One before reading these. We have noted down specifically which game script contain spoilers in the download.

PDF format files will be placed in the Ether One folder in the Steam Directory: ...Steam\steamapps\common\EtherOne\Scripts

The Strange Tale of Byron Spencer was created by Mark Penman & coloured by Andrew Tunney. It provides an alternative fiction for the world of Pinwheel.

PDF format files will be placed in the Ether One folder in the Steam Directory: ...Steam\steamapps\common\EtherOne\Comics

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista, 7 or 8
    • Processor: 2.2+ Ghz Dual-Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 460 or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Windows XP is not supported for Ether One. Laptop equivalent GPU's struggle in comparison to desktop GPU's. VR: Ether One currently only supports the DK1 Oculus developer kit. We're hopefully going to provide updated Oculus support in future updates.
    • OS: Windows Vista, 7 or 8
    • Processor: 2.6+ Ghz Dual-Core
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 560 or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Windows XP is not supported for Ether One. Laptop equivalent GPU's struggle in comparison to desktop GPU's. VR: Ether One currently only supports the DK1 Oculus developer kit. We're hopefully going to provide updated Oculus support in future updates.
Helpful customer reviews
58 of 89 people (65%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
15.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
--- SUMMARY ---
- The puzzles are moronically random and difficult. BUT you can completely ignore them (just find the ribbons) if you just want to finish the game and unlock one of the endings.

- Story: Confusing until you get to the end, which means you're just floundering for hours in a world that doesn't really make sense. For me, the pay-off didn't offset the frustration I felt while playing this game (or I wouldn't be writing this lengthy review).

--- "GAMEPLAY" ---

The "gameplay" in Ether One is an absolute game-design abomination, breaking many obvious game-design principles. As you've probably seen from many other reviews, the majority of the game mechanics is you walking around (similar to Gone Home) solving puzzles. This isn't bad by itself (and I really enjoyed Gone Home); it's just executed very poorly in Ether One.

The main complaint everyone has is the puzzles are EXTREMELY random and frustrating. As an example, one of the first puzzles you encounter has you free-form type out the answer. By free-form I mean you can type whatever you want, selecting letter or number character-by-character with zero guidance whether you're on the right path or not. TERRIBLE GAME DESIGN MECHANIC!!!!!!!! I have never, ever seen that in any other modern game. Maybe in games from the 80s, but modern game designers should know better. Now here's the kicker, you can't use your keyboard! Let me say that again: you have to TYPE the answer, on a COMPUTER, and you CAN'T USE THE KEYBOARD. WHAT. THE. F!!! Yes, you have to press up/down dozens or hundreds of times to sequentially type out a single word. If this game mechanic was submitted in a game design school, the teacher would probably smack this student up-side the head. Requiring the player to type out free-form answers to puzzles is *already* a Game Design 101 atrocity, but not being able to use a keyboard is idiocy to the absolute MAXIMUM. This kind of typing-puzzle mechanic occurs many times throughout the game and infuriated me every time I saw it.

Continuing on with this same puzzle, not only do you have to free-form type the answer by pressing up/down repeatedly, but there are not one, but TWO notes a few feet away saying that this item is a "shoe" or whatever (avoiding spoilers). I spent what seemed like ages trying variations on "shoe" or "dancing shoe" with capitalizations etc to no avail. Finally I looked it up and (minor spoiler) you have to find the item somewhere else, pick it up, and HOLD the inspect button to find out its true name. That should tell you right there how unforgiving this game really is, with nearby notes meant to confuse and lead you astray. The amount of rage I felt for having wasted so much time for following the clearly designed notes left nearby was indescribable.

This puzzle was when I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was in for a VERY frustrating experience. Another early puzzle has you use a wire in a place where it doesn't seem like the wire should fit at all, since the two wires are *completely* different. GRRRRRR!!! Another section leads you to a locker room where the combination is already in place. You can open/close the lockers freely but (and I'm hoping this is a bug) as soon as you change the combination by 1 number, and change it back, the combination no longer works. WHAT THE !??!??!?!?!?!?!?!

I decided to press on with the game instead of just quitting, purely because I didn't want to waste the money I paid. That being said, a few hours later I found out that you don't really need to solve the puzzles (just find the ribbons). So I ignored all the puzzles for the rest of the game, hunting for the ribbons hoping to get to the end as soon as possible.

--- CONTROLS ---

What makes all these puzzles incredibly insanely frustrating is that the game offers zero clue on what you can interact with and what you can't. There are no colored outlines on interactive items, no clues as to when an item needs to be inspected or used, no sounds, absolutely nothing at all. I'm not looking for an easy-mode, but the game is a flat world that expects you to basically just spam your mouse buttons for hours on end because the graphics do not do an adequate job of showing what items can be used. Even worse is that there are hundreds of items that you can pick up but are never used. Having unimportant items isn't bad by itself; but when 99% of them are useless, it makes puzzle solving even more frustrating. This is worsened again by the fact that you can only hold one item at a time. Frustrating beyond belief.

The controls themselves are another section where the game designer's drunkenness shows true. The controls clearly list that there are two buttons that basically do the same thing (use an item). I went into the controls area dozens of times not understanding what the heck I was doing wrong because some buttons did nothing. Little did I know that more than halfway into the game you find something and then understand why some of the buttons do nothing. Very poor game design. The controls section should either not have those buttons until after you find "X" or have a note that says "Some actions may not be available until later".

--- STORY ---

The main problem with the story is that you can't appreciate the story (and thus the entire reason for playing the game) until AFTER you finish the game. You are 100% lost and confused and wondering what in the heck is happening for 6-10 hours, and then the game explains it at the end. *** BUT *** that means you spend 6-10 hours in complete and utter frustration. The problem is a huge one: THAT ISN'T FUN!!! If it was a movie or a YouTube video, fine. But a game is supposed to be fun while you're playing it, or at the very least, avoid frustration. Look at Gone Home for an example of how exploration-focused gaming is done right. Things actually make sense and the story makes you want to keep playing.

The other problem is that the game, before you understand what is happening, is completely and utterly just plain old BOOOOORING. I had to stop playing many times simply because I was falling ASLEEP! No, I'm not kidding. This game literally put me to sleep with its boredom on numerous occasions.

Lastly, the way the game handles the ending is yet another game-design abomination. Here's a quote from the official PC Gamer review: "The ending sits in contrast to a game of impressive freedom. In the final half-hour, Ether One forgets its free-form puzzling. It worries that you've missed the story teased at on your journey and decides to rectify that. It sits you down, bids you be quiet, and lectures on the details in a fit of exposition to rival Bioshock Infinite. It's unnecessary; a blunt-force ending to a game which should have left us guessing." Yes that's right: the last half-hour of the game forces you to literally just sit and watch. Why not save yourself the money and just watch a YouTube video then?


A) Make sure you're ok with the frustrating puzzles (or will just hunt for the ribbons) and before buying this game.

B) If you're ok with the preceding point, make absolutely sure you buy this on sale please. Don't get it at full price.

C) I will admit that the story about dementia is somewhat of a tear-jerker and actually does make you think. That is by far the only positive redeeming quality the game has, in that it brings more attention to mental health issues.

This game is overly difficult to the point of frustration. Difficulty isn't bad by itself, but how it is handled. Dark Souls is incredibly difficult, but when you beat a boss, you feel a sense of accomplishment. This game is difficult, but when I finished a puzzle, I only marveled at how poorly designed the puzzle solution was and became even MORE frustrated.

I wanted to like this game, I really did. To the developer, PLEASE if you make another game, make it less frustrating. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from a frustrating experience.
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18 of 20 people (90%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
19.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
In this game, you play as a professional puzzle solver, who has travelled to a curious village to help a bunch of helpless villagers who have all conveniently lost the fourth slider wheel from their combination safes, broken all of their projectors, and rearranged their homes and workplaces into Myst-like puzzles. The game does a good job of capturing that classic Myst feeling of wandering around an expansive puzzle-filled area for 20 minutes, flipping a lever to test it out, flipping it back after wondering whether or not you were actually supposed to flip it yet or not, and then exploring for 20 more minutes until everything finally starts to come together.

The only problem is the strange inventory system, in which instead of having a typical inventory system, you can only carry one item at a time, and have to warp back to your "Case" (which acts as a hub between the different maps) and place items on the various shelves in the main room to store them. It's not as inconvenient as it sounds since the transition between the map and the case is mostly seamless and the shelves are right beside where you arrive in the Case, but it's also somewhat glitchy - at one point early on, one of the safe wheels found in the Case itself vanished after I put it on a shelf and went back to the map, and it never came back. It was presumably a spare wheel since I was able to fully complete the game without it, but if it were to happen to someone else to a more important item it could be game-breaking. But the inventory system also lends towards the "fun confusion" factor of the game, because since a somewhat large amount of items can be picked up and stored in the game you're never as sure whether you need to use a particular item as you would be in a game where you only had three items in your inventory. This was particularly relevant in my case, since on two separate occasions the instructor gave me a friendly reminder that I could store items after picking up an item, and in both cases, that item was a bottle of alchohol. This led me to believe that the bottles might end up somehow being important, and it wasn't until the credits began to roll that I realized that there was no great alcohol puzzle, and I didn't actually need a shelf full of 30 bottles of the village's finest cider for anything other than a good time.

Overall, if you like puzzle games, especially exploration-based ones, this is a pretty easy recommendation. The story is great, and the puzzles are challenging. It's worth noting that while almost all of the real puzzles are optional and completing them only fleshes out the backstory, you won't really get a good experience if you just wander around collecting the ribbons that are the only thing completely necessary to finish the game, but if you're looking for a reasonably challenging puzzle game then this is a great choice.
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
21.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 23
This game, has to be one of my all time favorites, amazing world, amazing story, and one of the few times I've really cried during a video game and to that I say, just play it for yourself. But before you do play it, just some words of advice for you to get the most out of this game. You can complete this game just by finding these ribbons throughout the game, which kind of trivializes the entire experiences. There are optional puzzles in this game and they provide a lot of the story along with notes that you find throughout the world and both make the world feel as though it’s living and breathing. I encourage you if you want to truly fully experience this game, complete the side puzzles and read the little bits of exposition, and if you get stuck do not hesitate to look up a guide, I repeat DO NOT HESITATE TO LOOK UP A GUIDE to 100% this game. You get so much more out of the story, and trust me the story is amazing, it may seem nebulous at the beginning, but once you have all the info you can scrap from the world it all comes together in a beautiful narrative, that is really, really worth the time and effort. Also if you do 100% this game there is a second ending, and it adds to story just that much more and really makes you understand everything. Sometimes the puzzles while they are really interesting are just really obtuse, and don’t feel bad if you don’t get it, just try it out for yourself, and if you aren’t figuring it out, use a guide. Also one big flaw with this game, there are some bugs in it, not game crashes or graphics bugs, but things that won’t let you progress and you can’t seem to figure out why. For this, again, LOOK UP A GUIDE, a video guide may help a bit more here, but most of the time, you won’t be able to realize the bug, but once you see how things were really supposed to go you’ll be able to see what went wrong and how to fix it in game no problem. All that said, if you like, say, old point and clicks, or games with really deep stories, than this game is a must, but even if you don’t like those kind of games but are still interested, than still try out this game, it may be an awesome experience for you.

TL;DR: This game is awesome, but take the time to 100% it, and DON’T BE AFRIAD TO LOOK UP A GUIDE, can’t stress this enough, but if you put in the time and effort the game will give back like no other.
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
17.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 25
You don't need to go into Pinwheel Village’s blacksmith forge and learn how, during the patient’s youth, blacksmithing within the village began to stray from indispensable function to obsolescence. Or how the smith slipped quietly into depression as he watched his chosen trade slowly die. You learn this if you do explore, though, from the narration offered by the doctor as well as from a voice more directly linked to the memories. One approach offers facts and the other insight, talking about how heartbreaking it was to see the smith retreat into himself over the years, despite still being able to produce items of immense beauty that he would sell to try and eke out a living. The tale of the smith is largely irrelevant to Ether One’s plot, but it’s absolutely vital to the world the game attempts to build.

Full Review //
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
10.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
A thoughtful, heartwrenching tale about a patient suffering from dementia, and the tragic events that took place in the seaside community they grew up in. Themes such as loss, love and the beauty of the mundane echo throughout the game, which on a full playthrough took me around 10 hours.

Visual and sound design come together beautifully in Ether One. Soft, melancholic tracks complement the watercolour aesthetic, and an attention to detail gives each area a vibrant, lived-in vibe.

The gameplay design is pretty intriguing. There are two main pillars. Exploration, and puzzle-solving. Exploration simply involves walking through each location, and finding all ribbons to progress the story. It's not as linear as it sounds though. These levels are sprawling. The environments tell additional stories, some self-contained, but most tied loosely with the main tale. Through scattered notes, diaries, and voice overs you learn about the inhabitants of this small, seaside town; a town that slowly lost its relevance as the decades wore on.

The puzzle sections are optional, but make up the bulk of your gameplay time. As you explore, you will stumble upon projectors, which can be restored by interacting with objects and buildings, in a similar vein to classic adventure games. These puzzles vary from stupidly easy, to obtusely hard, which can be problematic if you're aching to 100% the game. I know many people find the puzzles frustrating, however, they really aren't necessary to enjoy the game's story in full. They're really more like collectables. You do the ones you can, and puzzle the rest out later if you want.

It was a masterful stroke for the developers to do this. Instead of alienating players of either exploration or adventure games, both could experience the beautiful story while playing the game as either or.
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