Solo: Islands of the Heart promises to examine the way you view relationships. The majority of gameplay consists of solving platforming puzzles in order to make your way from island to island, then from archipelago to archipelago. Between puzzle sections you can explore the islands you’ve unlocked, feed animals, and interact with a ghostly partner. The meat of the action, however, revolves around solving puzzles to light up totems which will in turn ask you a question. Will your honest answers reveal that you’re better off solo?
Solo: Islands of the Heart begins, inclusively, by asking you your gender–whether that means male, female, or non-binary–and the gender of your supposed partner. Personally, it was a plus to see an option beyond the “norm” even if I don’t identify as such. After making your selection, you’re also able to choose the appearance of you and your supposed partner from a selection of three: a young man, an older man, and a young woman. It would have been nice to be able to customize your appearance, even if there had only been a handful of options. You’re also able to name your partner, though that name will only be displayed on your boat, which takes you between archipelagos. Being that there are only three archipelagos in total, it feels like there’s no real reason to do so. This unfortunate lack of customization permeates the game–particularly the line of questions.
The puzzles in Solo: Islands of the Heart are your standard platforming puzzles, requiring you to use boxes to create a path forward. The difficulty level, even for the most puzzle-challenged of gamers, isn’t particularly high. There’s also nothing that sets these aside from puzzles found in other games. You’ll receive a magic wand early on that allows you to grab far-off boxes and some boxes do things like extend further out and create currents that you can float on, but there’s nothing genre-breaking. On occasion, you’ll see your love loitering about the environment and he/she/they will make a remark based on the last question you answered.
The questions asked by the totems are also lacking. Generic to the max, they feel as though they’ve been pulled from some online quiz rather than something that will plumb the depths of your psyche. It’s a unique idea, to be sure, but the execution could use work. A personality quiz at the beginning, for example, and corresponding questions based on that profile would have led to a more in-depth analysis.
Solo: Islands of the Heart can be completed in a few short hours. Considering the $19.99 price tag, the experience as a whole is unsatisfactory. It’s appearances is vibrant and the music is soothing–befitting the atmosphere–but it does nothing to bring something new to the genre.
You can’t trust a video game to give you an accurate psychological evaluation. Solo: Island of the Heart, tries to encourage you to reflect on the way you look at relationships with some measure of success, but it does nothing to personalize its generic line of questions to the player. As a result, the adventure feels more like a puzzle game with some questions thrown in for kicks rather than a soul searching journey. On sale, Solo: Island of the Heart may provide a worthwhile afternoon of entertainment, but 19.99 is a steep price for what it has to offer overall.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Solo: Islands of the Heart Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
Will you sail on with your love or go solo in this vibrant puzzle adventure?
- Bright, vibrant appearance.
- LGBTQ friendly.
- Soothing atmosphere.
- May (or may not) inspire you to examine the way you look at relationships.
- The questions are generic online psychological quiz fodder.
- Short run time, especially considering the price tag.
- Uninspiring puzzles lack challenge.
- Tries, and fails, to be deeper than it actually is.