Sea of Solitude is a tale about dealing with loneliness, told through the journey of a young woman named Kay. After awakening in the middle of a sea, storm clouds gathering all around and finding herself possessing the form of a monster, she sets out to find out why she is in this place, and to try to find a way out.
She is quickly met by the first of several denizens of this fugue plane who helps to light the way on for her boat. This initial introduction to one of the more important mechanics of the game quickly leads on to the basic platforming and puzzle-solving that you will be doing throughout, the light on your boat providing a safe beacon in the storms of the world - with the world darkening and the storms crashing in soon after leaving the safe haven it's light provides.
In this way, the game explores having that safe place that we all go back to when we are in difficult places, showing how things can change depending on our perspective of things. This is further explored as you slowly start meeting more and more of the other denizens of the strange city that you find yourself in. Each represents someone else or some stage within Kay’s life, each with their own approaches to Kay. These shift as you learn more about them or about Kay herself.
Sea of Solitude is naturally split up into different chapters that deal with different parts of loneliness, and the very many different ways that it can be expressed and handled. While all of these instances are handled well, each one following some very real examples of what that manifests as, the game can be a little on-the-nose with the symbolism and solutions to these problems. This is never anything done in poor taste (and the game does go out of its way to let the player know it should not be used for dealing with the issues, rather that if you are suffering from it to seek the appropriate help), but it would have been nice to see some more subtlety being used like other games touching on this subject matter have managed to pull off (Gris comes to mind as a contrasting take on the matter).
...the game can be a little on-the-nose with the symbolism...
Gameplay-wise, Sea of Solitude has some great and clever reuses of the areas below the waves.
Features include: Knowledge of all things geeky. “Over 9000!” achievement points in World of Warcraft. Groantastic Puns. Marking out for canadian heels.
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5 July 2019
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