Inspired by the limited word count of social media and the quick-fire, unfiltered conversations that take place inside of them, Revved-Views is where I will attempt to review a game as concisely and as informal as possible. We’re all friends here, so rev your engines and come on this journey with me. I promise you, it’ll be a short one.
Solo: Islands of the Heart is a puzzle platformer about love. Go on a journey of self-discovery, self-worth, and what the subject of love means to you. You awake on an idyllic island and in your curiosity you activate a lighthouse, which in turn activates a totem pole. The totem pole asks you about love, and after realising you don’t know who you are or if you’ve ever experienced love you go on a short quest to find out.
Before the game starts you get to choose if you would like to be male, female or non-binary. Then you get to select an avatar that best represents your age. I chose the old man with the white bushy beard because I thought an old guy had more of a story to tell than a little kid would. Then you get to choose your sexual preference. I chose female, and named my one true love Kesha because that god-awful Tick Tock song was stuck in my head at the time.
And then the rest of the game is an unremarkable series of events in which you activate a lighthouse, wake a totem pole, answer its questions about love, and move onto the next island (of the heart, I presume) to do the same thing again… for approximately 2 or 3 hours.
The puzzle platforming is as basic as it gets. All you essentially do in Solo: Islands of the Heart is pick up boxes and move them to reach higher areas. Later on, you unlock a magical staff so that you can move boxes from a distance but personally this made the game even easier (if not more annoying). If it wasn’t for the deep, melancholic and nostalgic chase for love I would have definitely have thought this was designed for children.
There are two interesting puzzles that actually made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. On your journey you will find pairs of bee-dogs that have been separated by broken bridges and it is up to you to fix them so they can be reunited. There are also a handful of broken water fountains that need to be restored to water a turnip-man’s garden. These little puzzles filled me with compassion, and I think if Solo: Islands of the Heart focused more on this then it would have been more enjoyable. These aren’t the only opportunities to show compassion either; you can feed animals fruit so that they like you, and some characters will even ask you to find sheet music so you can play your guitar for them!
Overall though, Solo: Islands of the Heart is an unremarkable game that feels like a stepping stone between mobile games and a Mario game. It’s a short experience and one you can complete in an evening but honestly, it’s boring, and you’ll probably wish you had spent your time doing the dishes instead.
Should you play it? No
Why… It’s an uninteresting game that, at times, feels more like a proof-of-concept than a finished, polished product.
But… It’s clear that with the gender/sexual preference selection it has been designed for everyone, which is cool, I guess. Also it’s cute, and you get to play a guitar!
Quickly Reviewed on PlayStation 4. Review code supplied by Team Gotham.