[Beyond PlayStation] Solo: Islands of the Heart Review
Heartwarming adventure Solo: Islands of the Heart is a charming and colorful release on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Solo: Islands of the Heart review!
Team Gotham and Merge Games have released Solo: Islands of the Heart on Nintendo Switch, a colorful, charming, and heartwarming introspective puzzle adventure about love. For a better experience, the game asks that you play the game based on what you have experienced in life. The first step will be selecting the gender for your avatar between female, male, or non-binary. After this, you must tell the game what gender you would like to love, female, male, non-binary, or any. The final step will be selecting between the available avatar bodies to start your journey.
In this 3D puzzle game, your character will move with the left analog stick, with the camera being set to the right analog stick. To run, be sure to press and hold the ZR button. The ZL button is for aiming with the magic staff you’ll gain, attracting objects towards you when you release the button. You can interact with things with the A button, and open your inventory – if needed – with the X button. You have a guitar you can pull out by pressing down on the D-Pad, playing it by holding down the ZR button and then pressing a direction on the left analog stick. You’ll have a parachute skill that you can use with the Y button while making sure you catch a hot air current to gain some extra height. Since you’ll be using blocks in this adventure to solve some puzzles, you’ll be able to rotate them with the Y and X buttons.
The world you’ll explore is divided into archipelagos, so after exploring the small island you start in, you’ll get on your boat and travel to a nearby island up north. Each island you visit will present you with its own puzzle for you to solve, and if you’re successful, you will be able to reach a Sleeping Totem you must first awaken, which will ask you a question about love and relationships. Puzzles will have more than one solution, so you’ll be able to use boxes – and the properties inherent to each one – to build your own path that will lead you closer to a Sleeping Totem.
The first island you visit will have a Sleeping Totem for you, which you can quickly awake by activating the glowing pillar before you. Getting to this first Sleeping Totem won’t be hard since you’ll only need to climb up a convenient set of natural stairs to get there. Reach the Sleeping Totem, and you will be presented with a question and three options to pick your potential answer. A ghost companion of sorts will then appear, aiding you to use the pair of wheels to the sides of the Sleeping Totem to make a new set of islands appear to the East.
These new islands will serve as the game’s short tutorial, teaching you the basics that you will employ during the rest of your adventure. A pair of boxes will magically appear, activating some pressure plates that will drop a bridge before you, and you will reach some additional boxes you can pick up and place elsewhere to help you climb closer to the pillar that will activate the next Sleeping Totem. Answer its question, and a new island will appear from beneath the ocean, presenting to you another short puzzle to solve, as well as the parachute for you to glide around!
One of the island’s inhabitants will tell you that as you explore each of the areas, you might end up finding a letter or two for you to read. These will be added to your inventory under the letters tab, and you can reread them as you please – these seem to be related to the answers you give to the Totems’ questions. Along with the letters, you can also take out your camera and use it to take pictures of the areas you visit, the creatures you meet, the Sleeping Totems… of anything! Oh, and you can also press down on the right analog stick to flip the camera around and take a selfie.
As you answer the questions from the Sleeping Totems, you will notice that the islands on which each one sits are revived, coming back to life with green grass and lively trees. There are other actions you can perform to restore each of the islands you visit, so be sure to pay attention to your surroundings and the creatures you meet so that you can help them. Once you’ve managed to complete all the puzzles in this first set of islands, you’ll unlock a new archipelago, using your boat to get to the next area.
Solo: Islands of the Heart is a relaxing 3D puzzle game with a charming art style, easy to understand gameplay mechanics, and several puzzles and side-quests to solve as you explore past and present relationships, attitudes, behaviors, and more. It’s a game that is not going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a calming 3D puzzle game that will not overwhelm you, you might want to give this one a shot. You’re looking at around 2-4 hours for completing this one based on your experience with puzzle games, and other than some slowdown when panning the camera around to show other islands, as well as some pop-in as you approach a new area, there is not much to complain about for this one.
This Solo: Islands of the Heart review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Merge Games.