You open a book, and stare through a portal into another world. You fall inside, and get lost for hours, exploring and solving puzzles, trying to piece together a mystery that has led to two brothers being held captive in their own books. Myst was an absorbing adventure series on the PC, but now that you can carry around these worlds on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, they become downright magical.
The first-person adventure game that started it all, Myst is a 1993 CD-Rom classic reborn on the iOS’s touchscreen. Now instead of navigating through detailed, pre-rendered worlds with a mouse, you can use your actual finger to walk around, flip switches, and discover new portals. Windowed video clips and half-burned texts tell the story of two feuding brothers who learned from their father how to create new worlds inside of books. Your decision of who to rescue will alter the ending of the game, and it’s a great setup to a deeper universe explored in the later games.
Key Quote: Myst is an excellent revival of the classic, but as with the original, it requires the patience of a saint and a shrewd eye for detail.
If Myst’s flawless port to iOS wasn’t exciting enough, realMyst hit the App Store in 2012 with an even more impressive technical achievement. Now, instead of navigating through a stack of static images, the worlds of Myst were fully rendered in real-time, letting you move and look wherever you like. Our only complaint was that you needed a newer iPad to run the game without any technical hiccups, but as a new way to discover an old game, RealMyst is fantastic.
Key Quote: RealMyst is an amazing game, a love letter to one of the pioneers of the graphical puzzle genre, and Cyan did an exemplary job of porting it to the iPad.
Riven: The Sequel to Myst
Some games bill themselves as a “rollercoaster ride”, but Riven is one of the few games featuring an actual rollercoaster. When you travel between certain areas, the screen fills with a beautifully rendered landscape, which streams by as you ride in a clanky mechanical transporter. Everything about Riven is bigger than Myst– the puzzles are tougher, the worlds are more complex, and even the video is full-screen instead of windowed. On the downside, the amount of memory required is larger too, but that didn’t keep us from giving Riven our highest recommendation.
Key Quote: The game’s beautiful graphics, mysterious puzzles, and soothing ambiance will quickly pull you into its immersive world, and you won’t regret it.
On Monday, we’ll revisit one of iOS’s most exhilarating racing series, Need for Speed.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.