Prepare to enter a world "torn asunder" by timeless, unresolved conflicts--a world of incomparable beauty, intrigue, and betrayal. Prepare to go to Riven. Journey through vast, awe-inspiring landscapes, where clouds sit nestled in a deep blue sky and the rolling sea waters shimmer from bright morning sunlight.
User reviews:
Mixed (226 reviews) - 69% of the 226 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 29, 1997

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Notice: Riven: The Sequel to MYST is not compatible with Windows XP.

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Packages that include this game

Buy Cyan Complete Pack

Includes 8 items: Cosmic Osmo and the Worlds Beyond the Mackerel, Myst V, Myst: Masterpiece Edition, realMYST, Riven: The Sequel to MYST, Spelunx and the Caves of Mr. Seudo, The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition, URU: Complete Chronicles


About This Game

Prepare to enter a world "torn asunder" by timeless, unresolved conflicts--a world of incomparable beauty, intrigue, and betrayal. Prepare to go to Riven. Journey through vast, awe-inspiring landscapes, where clouds sit nestled in a deep blue sky and the rolling sea waters shimmer from bright morning sunlight. But be forewarned: nothing is quite as it seems.

Reclusive beings and mysterious creatures populate the land. Deep, dark secrets lay hidden at every turn. Your utmost powers of observation and reason are required to complete a most elusive task. You must let Riven become your world. Only then may the truth be discovered and a world saved. Riven stands as a story for all time, a story that evokes a sense of awe, wonder, and profound purpose. Prepare to go to Riven--a world unlike any you've ever known.

System Requirements

    • OS: Vista / Windows 7 (unofficially supported)
    • Processor: 800mhz Pentium 3 or greater
    • Memory: 256MB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 3+ GB available HD space
    • Video: DirectX 9.0c compatible or better
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0 compatible
    • DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c or greater
Customer reviews
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Mixed (226 reviews)
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197 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
34.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
This game might not work in some operative systems. I had issues in Win8 and Win7 but it’s working fine in Win10.

No, you don’t have to play Myst before this one. The vast majority of what you see in Riven is new or was just mentioned in the previous game of the series.


With that out of the way, you’re probably still wondering what this game exactly offers. Gameplay wise, it’s Myst. You point and click, solve puzzles, see small cutscenes, have people talk at you, and interact with them, leading you to the good ending, or one of the 9 or so branch offs.

Scenario wise, I loved it a LOT. More than Myst. Riven reminds me of my childhood (I grew up in a very green island in the middle of the Atlantic so there’s that). The cutscenes for the trams are amazing, if you can handle the low resolution. With headphones and in my dark room, I felt like I was really there, a pseudo rollercoaster over (and sometimes under) the sea. Spying the villagers from afar was a nice touch, a distancing from the emptiness of the Ages in the previous Myst.

The lore and background story is given mostly by notebooks and the like that you occasionally find. Even the small things in the scenarios tell you small stories of their own.

I didn’t like the way puzzles were structured. Riven is more of an open world, while Myst was quite linear. Some clues seemed so scattered around and senseless I had a hard time connecting the dots.

Also, beware unskippable cutscenes. Many of them. They are small and you repeat them often. Any cutscene where the animation is off-screen, welp you can’t skip it. Also, that long speech from Gehn. Ya, you can’t skip the longest part of it. Oh and the game pauses when you alt+tab, so you really have to watch it.


Overall I liked it. The premise is simple but enjoyable. Having real people talk to you in this surreal but photorealistic place really helps with the immersion, as well as the simple soft soundtrack and the ambient sounds.

I wish I could visit Riven in it’s former glory.

PS: Fans were making a realRiven of sorts, it’s called The Starry Expanse Project. It still has a long way to go but it does look great.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
92 of 93 people (99%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2015
IMPORTANT: If Riven is crashing for you, make sure to do the following:

1. Start the game
2. Alt+tab out and open up the Task Manager
3. Under the 'Processes' tab, find Riven and right click it
4. Select 'Go to details' on the right click menu
5. Right click Riven again
6. Select 'Set affinity'
7. Set it to run on only one core by unchecking all of the boxes except for one

This should solve the problem of it crashing after a few minutes of play, but you will have to do this every time you start up the game.

Besides that, there's not much else to say. Riven is a great game, there's a reason it's considered a classic.
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118 of 133 people (89%) found this review helpful
105.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 4, 2014
Riven is a sequel to Myst, an old school click adventure game that revolves solving intricate puzzles and exploring surreal worlds created from linking books.

First off let me tell you that Riven is not revised for modern hardware, as such, some feature set is very archaic. The save menu operates like a word document save menu. The resolution is stuck at a piddly 640x480 resolution, this makes playing the game on modern monitors an absolutely awful visual experience. To makes matter worst, the game cannot be set to windowed mode without some major .exe hex coding voodoo. That set aside, the game is still worth playing. After all with the limitation of Riven’s game engine, which is essentially one huge powerpoint slide, it’s not too strange that the game is limited in resolution. The game is a little over 3 gigabytes and it’s 33% of 1080p. Keep in mind that this game was created in 1997, which equates to a 5 CD game. Had this game release at 1080p, it would’ve been around 15 CD’s. Have fun switching and keeping track of that many disk while playing!

Low resolution doesn’t necessarily mean the graphics in Riven are at all bad. In fact, Riven’s pre-rendered graphic looks awesome! It doesn’t look plastic like you would expect from a game from this era, but fairly photorealistic. The graphic looks crisp, and the surreal architecture of the buildings and environment in game brings a sense of wonder and mystery. Very few games in 1997 can blow you away graphically, Riven is one of those games that will leave you in awe at the beauty of 1997 technology.

The music and ambient track in Riven is absolutely amazing on a beefy surround sound system. Visually I was put off by the gigantic black bounding box on screen but the sound immersed me enough for me to overlook the huge dark void surrounding the game. The sounds from a water creek would fade in and out as I get closer or farther away from the source. The sound of machinery is so crisp I could believe I have such machinery in my house.

Riven isn’t for casuals or the easily frustrated. The puzzles in this game are one of the most mind bending and complicated in any game I have ever played. This is probably the first game ever that I got lost even with the assistance of a walkthrough. It’s not that the puzzles are too obscure to figure out, it’s because the logic behind them and the reference to them is sometimes hard to pick up. The map and locale of Riven is also massive so backtracking for clues can become a headache. With the limited screenshot capabilities of the game, it’s even harder to remember specific details about clues without jotting down rough notes to what you see. For casuals and unclean masses who have never played an adventure game before, this game is a deathwish. Veterans of the point and click genre will definitely be challenged.

Riven regardless of it’s age is still well worth playing for veterans of point and clicks. It aged relatively well even with it’s hideous resolution. If you’re itching for a masochistic slideshow adventure game, you won’t find a better one anywhere on steam.
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41 of 44 people (93%) found this review helpful
9.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
Anyone else remember this game? Riven was the sequel to the massively popular game Myst which launched in 1993. It was famously one of the first games to be released on a CD and helped to popularize the CD-ROM drive. I can't even believe Myst is more than 20 years old now. I can still remember playing Myst on Windows 3.1 and how frustratingly often it used to crash. Then Riven was released in 1997 and came on 5 CDs. You had to annoyingly keep swapping the CDs out as you explored different parts of the island. There's a lot of stuff like this about Riven that requires the player to have a lot of patience. Patience that I had as a kid, but has long since left me as an adult. It's kind of a shame because I'm pretty sure that if I played a game like Riven today, I'd push it aside after 15 minutes or so and move on to something else. While there are some technical limitations and some game mechanics in Riven that have not aged well over the years, there's also a lot this game does really smartly. It's a "slow burn" type of game. If you give Riven your time and patience, it will reward you with some amazingly clever puzzles and an unusual and immersive fantasy story.

For those not familiar with the Myst games, they are point & click style adventure games. But not quite in the same way as the old King's Quest or Monkey Island games. They're no puzzles that involve combining items together through some absurd logic that allows you to progress further or whatever. In Riven, you're gated only by how much you've explored and how deep your understanding is about the island and its inhabitants. It's a game that does a beautiful job of communicating a complex story with few words and minimal cutscenes. The only cutscene you're given for quite a while is the game's initial opening cutscene, which really gives you more questions than answers. During this cryptic scene, a man teleports you to an island called Riven after giving you nothing but two books. You arrive in a jail cell on Riven where one of the books you were given is promptly stolen by a man who does not speak your language. The thief is then quickly killed by another mysterious person who sets you free, but not before taking the stolen book for himself. You're then free to explore the island and unravel the mystery of Riven. An intriguing open, no? What's in that book that's worth killing for? And who are these people who are so desperate to get it?

Riven's story is told through exploring the island, discovering its secrets and understanding the meaning and purpose behind them. Riven doesn't tell its story through dialogue or cutscenes as in most games. When you do watch a cutscene in the game, it usually only serves to confirm what you've figured out about the island already. It's never directly or clearly communicated to you what any of the character's motivations are or even why you were sent to the island in the first place. It's really up to the player to discover and understand the deep story in Riven for themselves, and this may have been the most satisfying part of the game for me. I think the best way to go about doing this is to always ask the question "Why?" when something doesn't make sense. A lot of the fun in this game is trying to form the answers to all of the questions the game gives based on what you know about the island so far. The developers did a fantastic job of being very deliberate with their world design. Nothing is there by accident or coincidence, nearly every object or structure in the game is meant to communicate something important to you. As you explore Riven, you'll encounter many mysterious machines and contraptions. Ask "What do they do?". "Who would have put them here?". If you think on these questions, eventually the details of the story will come in to focus.

The puzzles in Riven are given to you in a similar fashion as the story. The objective or elements of the puzzle aren't given to you explicitly, but rather communicated to you subtly through the environment and world design. It's definitely a game where you have to keep a sheet or two of handwritten notes while you're playing, which is something not many games do anymore. Some of the puzzles in Riven are downright brilliant. There's one amazing puzzle in particular where I can remember feeling so impressed with myself after I had figured it out. The solutions to these puzzles are really so satisfying when you finally figure them out. I'd challenge you to play through this game without looking any of them up.

Riven is not without its faults though and some of them are unfortunately due to this game's age. The game is first person, but it's not full 3D. It's essentially a bunch of still images that have been linked together. This, to me, really makes the game feel aged. A full 3D engine would do this game a lot of good. The game's pace is also incredibly slow and it can be very frustrating to be stuck in one place for a while and feel like you're not progressing. This will likely happen a lot in Riven which can be discouraging to players if they don't have a deep well of patience. There are certain puzzles in the game where Riven may have been to clever for its own good. The puzzle solutions are fair, but they're hidden so deeply in the game's world that they're not easily discovered without a very keen eye and extremely sharp mind.

If you've got the time and patience and love puzzle games, mysteries or unusual stories, Riven would probably be a good fit for you. Just keep in mind that this game will probably show its age and you may also get stuck frequently while playing it. If you've never played a game in the Myst series and are curious, Riven is a great place to start. It's a refinement and improvement on everything that the first game was. While subsequent games in the series improved their audiovisual fidelity, they never quite recaptured the sublime story or brilliant puzzles that made Riven a great game. Also steer clear of Myst 5. That game is terrible. Rand Miller, one of the lead creative minds behind Myst and Riven recently launched a successful kickstarter for his new game, Obduction. It sounds like Obduction will play similarly to Riven and I'd love to try another game like this to see if I still have the patience for it. I'll be interested to monitor the development of Obduction and hopefully play it soon.

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40 of 44 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2014
This is one of the best games you will ever play, and it will take a bit to explain why.

First of all, there is little in the way of 'gameplay': it is a point-and-click adventure game, with no reward given to reflexes or hand-eye coordination. That's not the kind of game this is. The controls are there; they do what they need to do and nothing else. It won't detract from your enjoyment, simply because you'll never feel the need to shoot at something or jump over a pit of lava.

Second of all, you need to play Myst first, and Myst isn't the best game ever made. Myst will do two things for you: it will start you off with the story and the concept of linking books, and it will warm up the parts of your brain that you'll need to solve Riven. Unlike Myst, there is so much lore and eyecandy in Riven that you won't know what notes to take and what you need to remember, and you won't know a puzzle even when it's staring you in the face. Yes, sometimes you'll find a combination lock or something traditional like that, but you'll also encounter obstacles that you won't even know are solvable. It is one of the hardest puzzle games ever made, but it does it the right way: No pixel hunting and no subversive ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t.

Third of all, the Steam version and the GoG version are both broken. Get yourself a copy of the DVD version.

With that all in mind, go fiddle your way through your favorite Myst remake, and then sit down with a pencil and paper and have your mind blown. Right here is where the universe blossoms, right here is where the blunt story of a peculiar family suddenly shows it's true depth, right here is where you disover that there is thousands of years of history behind you, right here is where you discover that the Miller brothers are two brilliant and crazy motherfrakkers.

And if you look up the solution to a puzzle online, you'll ruin the whole thing. Reach out and poke someone on Steam for a hint. Don't spoil the greatest ocean of atmosphere and intrigue ever made.
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53 of 65 people (82%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 11, 2014
I was really excited to play this game, and for such a cheap price I was sold. The product however, does NOT run properly on windows 7 despite the steam store, and I did not realise until afterward. The game will inconsistantly freeze up when changing screens or saving, averaging 5-20 minutes of play between crashes. It is really disappointing to be unable to play such a great game, but I cannot reccomend it in the state it is sold.
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31 of 32 people (97%) found this review helpful
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2014
A classic game, I’m very glad I invested the small amount to purchase it on Steam. Riven is and forever will be my favorite of the Myst games, and while I would dearly like to see it lovingly restored as Myst has been, it is still a pleasure to play in its original form.

Having completed the game, I will say once again that it is not without its bugs, but the workarounds are acceptable if done properly and in advance (I did them once before I started gameplay and did not have to do them again). I completed this game using Windows 7 64bit and was able to avoid freeze-ups, major glitches (there was some minor screen clipping during videos and sound clipping during minor interactions which did not affect gameplay), or deleted saves. I used the following fixes…
  1. Make sure the game is up to date.
  2. Set the game to play in compatibility mode (in this instance I chose Windows 98/ME with all the boxes checked including ‘run as administrator’)
  3. Set you launch option to ‘/affinity 1’
  4. Make certain you use multiple save
This should give you smooth gameplay with a minimum of bugs save for one:
After entering the cell in the Rivenese village, you will walk down a dark tunnel. If you go to the very end of the tunnel and turn around, the game will glitch and land you back at the swinging chair. To avoid this, light the first lamp, glitch, run the tunnel again, but this time stop the first time you see light, turn around and light the lamp, work your way back from there. This was the only frustrating glitch I encountered.

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22 of 23 people (96%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
The game worked for me on Windows XP, I just had to set the compatibility mode for the Riven.exe and then start the game as usual via Steam. On Windows 7 onwards it seems to start without that trick.

However this version is quite messed up. The files are taken from the 10th Anniversary DVD Edition, but the Riven.exe is from the CD Version. Additionally the file t_Data.MHK (all the files for Temple Island) from the CD Version is included. This leads to the following problems:
  • The CD Version basically only works fine on Windows 9x/Me. On newer systems, the
    videos are placed one pixel too low
    which totally breaks the immersion. I have never seen the CD Version work correctly on Windows XP, Windows 7 and so on.
  • Because of the engine of the CD version, the
    additional graphics (stills) and videos from the DVD version cannot be accessed
    within the game.
  • This is also why the
    button "Start saved game" on the main screen doesn't work.
    This screen is from the DVD version and the mentioned button doesn't exist in the CD version, so the Riven.exe won't do anything when clicking on the button.
  • The game uses the t_Data.MHK from the CD version, which means that
    all the graphics, sounds and videos on Temple Island as well as all the intro videos are from the CD version.
    If you take the Maglev from Temple Island to Jungle Island, the lower quality video is used. If you take the same route backwards, the higher quality video from the DVD version is used as it belongs to the Jungle Island data files. This is ridiculous. Also you can see that the Red Orb Intro is shown, not the UbiSoft Intro that is still contained in the t_Data1.MHK. It seems that the t_Data1.MHK and the t_Data2.MHK (almost 700 MB in total) from the DVD version are ignored.
  • To top it all,
    some (tiny) videos are not being played
    in this version, for example all the buttons that call the Maglevs and the button that rotates the dome (at the beginning of the game). I have no idea why they cut that.

Maybe they had problems with the DVD version (Riven.exe) of the game, concerning QuickTime or whatever, so they had to use the engine of the CD version. This is already a dealbreaker because of the videos showing one pixel too low unless you're using Windows 9x/Me, but Steam only supports Windows XP and newer versions.

Maybe they couldn't get the t_Data1.MHK and the t_Data2.MHK to work with the CD version so they added the t_Data.MHK from CD 2. This leads to this strange mixture of CD and DVD videos and sounds in-game. And why did they keep the t_Data1.MHK and the t_Data2.MHK then? I think they are never used in the game. Not only is this a waste of space and bandwidth, of course we don't expect one island to look worse than the others.
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32 of 41 people (78%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
8.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 6, 2014
Beautiful older game that needs more work for fair playability on newer platforms.
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19 of 20 people (95%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2013
Riven is a point-and-click adventure title containing some of the most fiendishly difficult puzzles gamers can experience.

This beautiful game is set on a fractured cluster of isles, presided over by a calculating madman, Gehn, who holds the power to create entire worlds - or destroy them. Sent to Riven by his son, Atrus, your mission is to investigate the shattered land, find Atrus's wife Catherine and stop Gehn before he can devise a means of escape.

One of the most atmospheric PC adventure titles ever created, Riven will test your powers of observation, tease your brain and immerse you in a landscape filled with wonders. Solve puzzles at your leisure or simply enjoy hours of exploration. Just remember to bring paper and pens.
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Recently Posted
57.0 hrs
Posted: September 16
Brilliant Myst game set in a very real world. Get yourself totally immersed in the ultimate myst experience.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
8.0 hrs
Posted: September 8
love riven wish you had a REAL RIVEN game. any chanse of getting one
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.5 hrs
Posted: August 24
I really wanted to like this game but the constant compatibility issues killed it for me. I would not recommend buying this unless Cyan decides to release an updated version of it that works on modern OS's like they did with the original Myst.
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4.8 hrs
Posted: August 15
AMAZING game, but god-awful Steam version. Save files get corrupted, screen is too small and game crashes WAY too often. Also, the game data of this game is ♥♥♥♥ed up. Some files are from the original CD version, some from the 10th anniversary version and some from the DVD one.

Just don't buy old games from Steam anymore.

10/10 Game
0/10 Steam version
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0.3 hrs
Posted: July 28
i love these series of games but revisting riven after all these years was a let down. i dont mind the dated graphics, but the screen is tiny on my new equipment. almost large smart phone size. i would have at least expected them to tweak screen resolutions a bit for newer tech. im dropping this version for now and hoping for them to do what they did with myst materpeice and re tweak the whole game in graphics and movement.
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1.0 hrs
Posted: July 3
What a piece of garbage. The program hangs up in the same place. What a waste of money. The original game is great. Steam really screwed it up. Have you seen their support files? What a joke. I'm outta here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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9.8 hrs
Posted: July 1
There's a bug to watch out for in one of the caves that never got fixed, but this sure beats breaking out 6 or so CDs to play this game.
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23.6 hrs
Posted: June 24
By far my favorite puzzle/point-and-click game that I have ever played. The story and setting are beautiful and the puzzles themselves feel organic rather than just added in for content. Not an easy game though, and will take logic to progress.
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