The Gold Dome in Riven
Image via Cyan Worlds Inc

Riven Hints and Tips Guide for Beginners

Here's a Riven Hints and Tips Guide for Beginners so you can enjoy the game!

The classic Riven was one of the first open-world games ever. The reimagined version expands upon that by providing free movement in a real-time 3D environment for you to solve puzzles. Here’s a Riven hints and tips guide for beginners that will prevent many headaches and frustrated moments so you can enjoy the game!

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Forget What You Know!

Unlocking the Secret Cave door in Riven
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The first tip I can’t stress enough is to forget what you know or expect from the game. This version of Riven is slightly different than the original, including the layout of the islands, puzzle solutions, amount of chapters, and the story. I’ve read a few forum posts from frustrated people getting stuck in Chapter 1, as they assumed everything would be the same, which it’s not. You can keep the original in your mind, but don’t let that influence you when trying to solve a puzzle. The door above is one of the first changes you’ll notice in Chapter 1.

Document Everything

The D'Ni number system in Riven.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Writing everything down is the second tip that will save you a world of headaches. I recommend writing notes, taking screenshots, and making sketches. The information you learn and some of the solutions to puzzles you figure out will be needed in future chapters, so you don’t want to forget things. When reviewing Riven and 100% completing it, I took close to 300 screenshots and eventually had to take notes using Notepad instead, as it got too hard to find everything. I also separated my notes by Chapter with easy headers so I could quickly reference back to them. For example, the screenshot above shows the D’Ni numbering system, which is something you’ll reference throughout the game until the end.

Pay Attention

Steam vent in Riven.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Everything that happens in Riven does so for a reason, and nothing happens by accident. If you see movement in the background, a puzzle solution works for a specific reason, or an object reacts in a certain way when interacted with, this will provide context to the story or is a clue to a puzzle you may be stuck on. Riven is genuinely a game that requires focus and full attention, so avoid playing when you might be distracted. For example, interacting with the steam vent shown in the above picture will change another part of the environment.

Read Everything

Reading Gehn's Journal in Riven.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Every journal or note you find in Riven will explain something about Riven, the Moiety, Gehn, how something works, provide a clue, or generally help with puzzles in some way. In addition, you’ll come across imager devices you will want to watch, as they will provide recordings about a specific topic. This information can help you progress in the game and earn achievements you could miss. For example, the above picture shows Gehn’s journal and provides a clue to unlocking a missable achievement in Riven during Chapter 10.

Don’t Get Stuck or Hyper Focused

A wooden totem in Riven
Screenshot by GameSkinny

What I mean by this is if you get stuck on a puzzle, don’t spend too much time on it. Many puzzles won’t lock your progress or prevent you from traveling to or leaving islands. Take a break from the puzzle you’re working on, read those journals, and explore more. More often than not, you’ll have that light bulb moment when you least expect it. Also, you won’t be able to solve a handful of the puzzles until later, or they will be a clue for another puzzle you’ll find later in the game. If it feels like you can’t solve a puzzle, don’t have all the necessary information to do so, or solving it doesn’t do anything, it most likely means it’ll be important later. Document what you found and move along. For example, the wooden totems, like the one in the above picture, will be used for a puzzle later in the game.

Now that you’ve used our Riven Hints and Tips Guide for Beginners, you can solve these tricky puzzles and finish the fantastic story! Check out our Riven hub for more guides like How to Get All Endings, which you can do in a single playthrough if you know the proper steps.

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Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Matthew Kevin Mitchell is a freelance writer for GameSkinny and has written in the game journalism industry for over two years. In his previous roles, Matthew primarily covered Manga, like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and asymmetrical horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play goalie in rec ice hockey, spoil his dog Nux, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.