Hello, welcome! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play a game that also kind of like feels like a therapy session? You have? Oh wonderful, because this is exactly what Solo: Islands of the Heart is all about! And trust me, that is not what I was expecting when I was about to start playing this one! Team Gotham must’ve thought something like “Okay, what would be an original idea when it comes down to gaming? … Hmm… Self-exploration? Alright, let’s do it”. And this is where our adventure begins! So are you ready for this wholesome little game? Then strap yourselves in! This is my review of Solo: Islands of the Heart!
What do you do? You play as, well basically yourself. During your adventure, you will be completing complex puzzles and get the occasional question about how you view love and what it means to you.
- Soundtrack: In a period where action-packed games are currently filling our ever-growing game collection? Games that break the mold are a truly welcome sight. Nothing is truer when it comes to Solo! This can be heard and seen all throughout your adventure, starting off with the soundtrack. This is a truly wholesome tracklist. With soft melodies that accompany you, you will surely start to calm down the moment you start the game up. But it’s not only the songs that are amazing! But the overall sound design is also superb. The soft rolling sound of the ocean, the cute reactions of the animals that live on each of these islands? They really all click together and bring this wonderful little game to life.
- Looks fabulous: With vibrant and fresh colors, Solo welcomes you into its world. Though everything looks very angular? It still doesn’t change the fact that the general theme is meant to put you in a relaxed state and forces you to just slow your pace so you can take in your surroundings. This can be either by puzzles that require you to stand still while crops get watered or by actually having you go sit on a bench, or on a swing and have a chat with your inner self. The animals, though not really realistic? Look really loveable! Just don’t go taking them back home after you’re done! These creatures go through food like there’s no tomorrow!
- Challenging puzzles: I have to admit that some of the lighthouse puzzles really put my brain to the test. Not only were they challenging, but they were also quite original as well. You have to play around with shadows in these and make is so that these shadows land on darkened patches on the ground. I truly liked these! Other puzzles consist of connecting water spouts so that they reach a sprinkler system. Or making a bridge for an animal so that it can cross over and reach its partner. They never felt “tacked-on” since this entire game is meant to be just wholesome and loveable. Just don’t underestimate the trickiness of some of these!
- Self-Exploration: What truly amazed me was the fact that throughout your entire adventure? Questions will pop up asking how you look at love, your partner, what you seek in someone, etc. And I actually have to admit that some of these really made me think about my answer. It really delves down deep and its best to answer as truthful as you can. Heck, if you’re like me? You’ll probably be surprised by some of your own answers! And that’s truly something that I didn’t expect. It sometimes didn’t feel like I was playing a game, but rather one of those online love tests. And I didn’t mind that at all! So kudos on this part Team Gotham! You made this reviewer think about love and everything that surrounds it!
- Graphical Glitching: Though the game in itself looks amazing, not all is perfect in this world. You’ve got the ability to take selfies. So, I tried to take a selfie with one of the floating guardians. Just to come to the conclusion that the moment my camera lens hit it? It started duplicating everything around it and it just became a jumbled mess, in the shape of the floating guardian-like thing. This broke my back, honestly. While I was playing, what is in my opinion, one of the cutest games of 2019? This fact slapped me back to reality to realize that perfection isn’t possible. While not game-breaking, it still didn’t feel good to experience, pity…
- Camera: My only real gripe with Solo? Has to be the god-awful camera control. First off its extremely cumbersome! When you use your wand to grab hold of a box? Be sure to have your camera at the right angle, or you’ll have a bad time getting the box to drop at the right position. I don’t know if you are supposed to be able to change your camera position during this interaction, but I couldn’t get it to work. Secondly, the main camera maneuvering is really dodgy. One moment you’ll be sliding across the map, for it to suddenly glitch out and place the camera under the map, forcing you to take a few steps back from, for instance? A wall, and then move around the camera a bit so it doesn’t clip inside of it. I mean… What? Didn’t this show up during the playtesting? I hope this gets fixed soon…
Solo: Islands of the heart truly is an amazing gem for all to experience. Though not your typical puzzle-style game. It delves into your soul on a level that I didn’t think I would ever feel when it came down to a game. It forces you to think about your choices and how you view love. And it actually will surprise you when it comes down to it. I felt that nearing the end, I was less playing a game, and moreover was playing “Psychiatric Evaluation – Love edition”. It’s a really beautiful and well put together game that I recommend to everyone that likes challenging puzzles!
Developer: Team Gotham Publisher: Merge Games
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PS4 – Switch and PC
I spent 5 hours discovering what love is
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: 10+ hours
Perfect for: Puzzle enthusiasts, anyone who likes self exploration.
Xbox Game Store link: Click here