Solo: Islands of the Heart Review

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Solo: Islands of the Heart is a new and adorable Nintendo Switch game. Filled with puzzles, pondering questions, and a romance vibe, the game hits you on a sort-of contemplative level.

Solo: Islands of the Heart

As a gamer, the one major reason I was drawn to Solo: Islands of the Heart were the graphics. Being the first thing you can see, it us definitely a selling-point for the game. It draws you further into a game that has much more depth to it. Publisher Merge Games considers it to be a “a contemplative puzzler set on a gorgeous and surreal archipelago. Reflect on your loving relationships by exploring contemplative, dream-like islands” and I couldn’t agree more.

When starting the game, it gives you some interesting questions on how you want to be represented. In the form of character design, your orientation preference, and your loved one’s name. I think this makes the game more fluid for everyone, no matter who you are and who you love.

Gameplay – Puzzles & Questions

The main idea behind Solo: Islands of the Heart is solving puzzles on an archipelago, and then answer a very contemplative question on love and relationships. The game gives you the puzzle itself, and then provides an additional one in the form of a question. The only way to get to the question is by completing the puzzle on the mini-island, and then awaken a totem.

The questions themselves are very decisive, and make you really look inside to find your answer. As an example:

I do think the questions add more depth to the game and make it more contemplative. They’re the reward after finishing the puzzles.

I really enjoyed the puzzles in the game. They aren’t too difficult, but they also aren’t easy. A major mechanic is using blocks and moving them around to then jump on them, jump across, or using air to lift you. There are intractable objects and beings along the way. They aren’t required necessarily to get through the puzzle, but they do have things to say or cuteness to show.

Graphics

The graphics are by-far one of the best elements in Solo: Islands of the Heart. It captured me at first with the graphics, and won me over with how mellow and laid-back the game really is. The game is extremely colorful, and the graphics complement the aesthetic of the game. Having the uplifting graphics makes the contemplating questions and thought-process all the easier.

Sound

The music is very sweet-sounding, and is distinctly made for background noise. It doesn’t take-away from the gameplay, but adds to it. The add-ons are interacting with totems and the sound of waves. These effects give more to the game, and show distinct environmental changes and progression. It’s helpful to know that you’re on the right path and when you make a totem awaken, then you’re doing it and hear a reward sound.

Mechanics & Console

Playing Solo: Islands of the Heart on the Nintendo Switch I found to be very enjoyable. The game performs well on the Switch, the controls are very straight forward; and you can play it on the go. Docked or not, the game performs at the same standard. In fact, I enjoyed playing the game in hand-held mode. My only thought on this matter would be how difficult it is to read the smaller text in hand-held mode.

Final Thoughts

Solo: Islands of the Heart I found to be a great game for obvious solo play, and that it does ask you hard questions in life on love and relationships. In the form of a puzzle game they don’t necessarily go extremely well together, but I find the questions to be a reward for completing the puzzle. That being said, there is really no plot or clear reasoning for being on the archipelago, and the replayability isn’t as strong in this type of game. Sure, you could go back and ensure you’ve gotten all the achievements and answered the questions differently, but it’s unclear how this will impact the ending.

This review for Solo: Islands of the Heart was on the Nintendo Switch. You can purchase your copy here on the Nintendo eShop, or get the game on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Good

  • Bright and Beautiful Graphics
  • Soundtrack and Effects Spot-On
  • Puzzles are Perfect Difficulty
  • Contemplative Theme is Pleasant to Play
  • Works Very Good on the Switch Docked & Handheld

Bad

  • Low Replayability
  • No Real Game 'Story'
  • Some May Not Love the Theme
8

Great

Story - 5
Game Theme - 8
Puzzles & Questions - 10
Graphics - 10
Soundtrack & Sound Effects - 9.4
Replayability - 7
Game Mechanics - 6.8
Value - 8
An avid gamer, journalist, literary reviewer, and lover of all things Marvel; wrapped in a colorful hair-do.
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