Solo: Islands of the Heart | PS4 Review - Elle May

Breaking

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Solo: Islands of the Heart | PS4 Review


Publisher: Team Gotham
Developer: Team Gotham
PS4 Review


*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone. 

Relationships can often test us, a lot of the time they can be great but sometimes when there is an issue the best thing we can do is take a step back and see what the issue is and how it can be resolved, Solo: Islands of the Heart is based heavily around this topic and it drew me in and helped me have a different perspective on how I see my own relationship and the kind of questions I should ask myself about it. Love is a topic that people will all see differently, some people are too hurt to experience it again and others long to find their one true love no matter how long it takes which is totally understandable, in this game we take on the task of understanding love and what our loved one truly means to us.


As the protagonist, you go on a mini adventure across many different Islands but the catch is you must solve puzzles in order to get to a lighthouse. Whilst solving puzzles totems will ask you various questions about love, you have multiple choice and you can either answer these questions to reflect on you yourself or make it up as you go along, I chose to choose the honest answers that reflected my own opinions on love and how I felt. As I mentioned you solve puzzles, they look a lot simpler than they actually are and there is a mixture of things you need to do in order to reach the big lighthouse at the end of each level (I say level but they're more like sections).

Whilst trying to reach a mini lighthouse to get it to light up a totem you have to find a way across to them or merely need to find a way across to the next mini Island with the help of boxes. These boxes come in various different designs, some are just plain boxes you climb on top of to reach a ledge others can float which help raise your character higher to get to higher sections of the map. I was stumped more than once doing this as you're only given a select amount of boxes on each mini Island and you can't grab any from other Islands you have just passed through as they end up disappearing so it makes the game a little bit more challenging but also makes you think out of the box!


Once you reach the totem you're given a yellow cube, these are cubes you collect to take towards the larger lighthouse to turn it on and move on to the next level, this gave me such a sense of achievement as each cube appears on top of the other. I began to look forward to reaching the mini lighthouses and totems and working out the best way to place boxes. It's not just mini lighthouses and totems that you can solve puzzles for, there are also animals on the Island which you can feed and interact with, more often than not you come across them unable to reach the one they love and you can use the boxes to help them reach each other and be with one another. it's interesting because it helps open the narrative for mini love stories and shows how even animals can yearn for one another.


A big positive for me was how the puzzles got harder the more I progressed but they didn't get hard to the point where I never wanted to finish the game. A lot of the time I would find myself just exploring the Island and taking in the beauty around me, there is even a ghost version of myself that interacts with me, I liked to sit next to her and swing on the swinging seats and just looking at the beautiful worlds that surrounded us. There is an added bonus of being able to play the guitar and take pictures with your camera which made it feel really chilled out and like the character wants us to make the most of this journey they're on.



Even though Solo: Islands of the Heart looks like a kids game on the outside it does focus a lot on sex and relationships so I personally would say it's more for a mature age that can appreciate the story and the message, it's a huge part of the game. At times the questions asked focused on one persona in particular so there is a big vibe that my character is still loving and longing for someone who they may have messed things up with so I was hoping to maybe come across that person within the game which unfortunately wasn't the case.

For people looking for a slow-paced chilled out puzzle game, this is perfect, but if you wanted a game with more of a plot this won't be the game for you, it's more of a learning tool to open your eyes to different possibilities and how your action and words have consequences. I do feel there is a lot to learn when it comes to love and relationships, I've been in mine for 4 and a half years and I'm still learning and still working out what works best for us because life changes and you're met with obstacles at any time. It's important to work on relationships so when a game showed me and reminded me of the complexity of things in a relationship and that it was ok to take a step back and evaluate things. I smiled a lot whilst playing because I often think I'm being ridiculous evaluating my relationship and it made me feel at ease for having these worries.


Solo: Islands of the Heart is much more than a puzzle game, it's almost like a graphical story with the added bonus of puzzles, the customatisation makes it feel a bit more personal, especially because you can choose from male, female, non- binary or any. All in all I loved this game, it had a perfect pace and was able to get the messages about love and relationships across in a very clever and beautiful way. I give this game 5/5 stars because itspoke to me personally, the developers have made something very unique that stands out in a way other puzzle games haven't for me before. I would happily play this again on PC and Nintendo Switch and it only costs £15.99.


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