Solo – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle adventure
Developer: Team Gotham
Publisher: Team Gotham
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Solo – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: Introspective approach, graphics
Bad: Not for everybody
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Solo is a puzzle adventure game about love and relationships, and is aimed at letting the player think critically about their personal convictions about love. The gameplay is mostly centered about puzzling your way through several beautiful and colorful islands, but the most exciting part about this game is the questions asked to the player. The questions are very personal, so this is not a game you should take lightly, despite it’s cute appearance. This approach to a game is very interesting, and asking questions like this game asks the player is something everybody should do for themselves every now and then. This game has been published and developed by Team Gotham. 

Solo logo

Story

This game is mostly about introspection, so it does not contain a story per se. You start out by creating an avatar that represents yourself, and an avatar that represents your lover. After that you’ll get a short introduction explaining the point of the game, and that the game is basically a representation of your mindscape, where you can ponder about difficult questions and the consequences of your answers, in a serene environment.

Graphics

The graphics are very simple and cartoonish, stylized and colored in a way the characters and environments look like toys. But don’t be fooled by the happy look, this is not a whimsical childish game! The environments give a serene look, which pairs beautifully with the music and environmental sounds. The islands you puzzle your way through change color when you’ve solved puzzles, which works well to see what the boundaries of your puzzle area are.

solo - screen 3

Sound

During your journey in Solo you are accompanied by constant beautiful and calming music, fitting to the graphics. The characters and conversations don’t have narration, but the animals make cute sounds as you approach them.

Gameplay

Solo is mostly a puzzle game, where you have to figure out how to place certain blocks and how to use the tools available to you to get around on the islands you explore. However, the center of the game is not the puzzles, but rather the theme: how do you reflect upon love and relationships in your life?

Answering these questions requires that you first activate and then reach mystical totems scattered around colorful islands. The totem will ask you a question, and a reflection of your lover will appear, working together with your avatar to reveal the next island. After that, a small scene will usually happen based on your answer. In this scene you see a reflection of your lover, reacting to your answer. You´ll also find letters of your lover addressing these topics, containing ponderings based on your answers.

solo - screen 2

The islands have many other inhabitants: bouncing trees which give you hints or tasks, cute animals you can feed or make happy by solving puzzles for them, or pet them. There are many small tasks like this to do, like watering flowers and building bridges for the animals. Other things you’ll encounter are the spirit of your lover, reacting critically to your answers, and camps with letters from your lover asking counter-questions to the questions you’ve answered.

On an island you’ll usually encounter a little lighthouse which should be activated to wake up the totem, and the big totem which asks you a question and requires you to answer it before you can proceed. If you have reached both the lighthouse used to activate a totem, and answered the question of the activated totem, you can raise up the next island of that archipelago.

solo - screen 4

There are many different puzzle mechanics: you can place boxes to climb on things, place boxes with a fan which make you or other objects float, place boxes which create bridges, or blocks which are sticky to all sides. You can simply lift boxes and you have a magic staff which lets you move boxes from a distance. You have a parachute which makes you glide distances. Each island has a number of boxes you need to get around on that island, and you won´t need any more to solve the puzzles for that island. Usually you need to use the boxes you are given on an island to reach all important spots on that island. Sometimes you’ll need the boxes to create a mechanism to water flowers, or to enable animals to cross ravines. There are also puzzles where you need to build shapes which match the shadow outlines on the floor. Each island has a bench used to save your game, which can also be used to reset the boxes you get per island. After you’ve solved the puzzles on one island and reached the totem, you answer the question about love and relationships, and after that you and the image of your lover will work together to raise up a new island from the seas, until you complete the archipelago. After you’ve finished a series of islands, you sail to the next archipelago, where you will be asked questions about a slightly different aspect of love and relationships.

Next to the boxes you have interesting mechanics like a camera where you can take pictures of the animals around you or even selfies, and this camera even has white balance and manual focus you can control. Sometimes an NPC will ask for a certain picture. There’s also a guitar you can play, and compose a song on using your keyboard or controller buttons. Sometimes you´ll encounter sheet music with the buttons you´ll need to press, and an NPC or puzzle which requires a specific song. Songs can do things like change the weather, or attract animals.

solo - screen 5

This game gets pretty up close and personal with the questions you are asked and the topics it tackles, so be prepared to seriously reflect on your ideas about love and relationships for this game. This might be pretty intimidating for a lot of people, but it´s probably for the best people do think seriously about these kind of topics.

Conclusion

Solo is a puzzle game, exploring what love and relationships means to the player. It gets pretty up close and personal, so this game is not recommended for people who get awkward thinking about things like that. The game is designed to confront the player with their most inner convictions and believes about love, which is a really interesting concept for a game. The puzzles you’ll play through are fun and challenging, while the graphics and music are soothing and cute. Solving problems for the adorable animals on the islands adds a lighthearted and cheerful aspect to the game, which is nice to contrast the more serious issues the questions of the totems tackle.

solo - screen 6

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Solo - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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