One Night in Sea of Solitude

I can’t tell you how many times I stopped and previewed this game in the Game Pass store. The art work is so beautiful, but I always had another game already in my queue. Once I realized I hadn’t been playing anything new recently, I decided it was finally time. The art work was too enticing to me. I’m a sucker for monsters and as soon as I loaded into the game, I was immediately intrigued by this imaginative world.

Sea of Solitude is a title that personifies mental health struggles and trauma so if this is a game you’re thinking about playing, it is possible that some of the themes may be upsetting. I’ll share my experience in the game, but if you don’t want to know what kinds of monsters you’ll encounter, you may want to stop scrolling here. I won’t be writing spoilers regarding the story, but I will show some of my favorite monsters.

This is a short game that you can finish in a night. Despite the short run time, the game is packed full of emotionally-charged topics, innovative creatures, and beautiful artwork that will make you stop to take in the scenery more often than not.

Within the 12 chapters of this game, you’ll encounter several monsters that each represent different people in your character, Kay’s, life. They each struggle with aspects of mental health and traumatic experiences. Bullying, family dynamics, abuse, and suicide are all represented by these different monsters. In addition to these creatures, there is one monster that will hunt you the entire time you are playing.

This game is not challenging, but it keeps things interesting because of the way the world changes as you progress. The battle between experiencing peace and facing your inner demons is fragile. Taking a single step outside of the light will transform your world immediately, but in order to progress, you have to face the storm.

I am finding the more I branch out and try different games that I am really drawn towards little indie projects with imaginative worlds and unsettling inhabitants. I am in love with the character design in this game and how people’s inner monsters come to life. I loved the monsters so much that when I accidentally died for the first time, I was happy. This monster is an unsettling creature that follows you throughout and it constantly puts you down verbally, trying to convince you to give up and climb into the water with it. The second you enter the water, she knows where you are. Avoid obstacles otherwise, you’ll find yourself in this situation:

Even though it was not particularly difficult, the game was not a drag to get through. I figured out pretty early on what was happening story-wise, but I still wanted to see how the game portrayed it. The gradual changes in landscape complemented the experiences being explored. And even when I knew a monster was around the corner, I was still looking forward to how they would be revealed and what they represented.

While I did enjoy the artwork and the creativity of the world, I found the voice acting and some of the dialogue to be off-putting because they didn’t quite fit with what was happening in the game. I think this is always tricky in games that want to take on topics as complex as mental health. In an attempt to try and accurately represent something as upsetting as abuse, it can feel contrived and forced. Despite these charged themes, it’s a game that doesn’t make the stakes feel too high. Even when it feels urgent, there is still time to stop and explore.

Please pardon my moment of immaturity, but I do have to point out there is a sign in the game that I read wrong more than once. Just me?

Overall, I’d say this game is worth playing. It’s beautiful, it’s different, and even though the voice acting would sometimes pull me out of a moment, I was able to overlook that and enjoy it anyway. While there are tasks you must complete to move forward, the game is heavily story-driven so the work you have to do isn’t too hard.

Honestly, it’s taking everything I have not just spam this post with videos and photos from the game, but I want to share another close call with the monster in the water.

With all of that in mind, is this a game you’d try? Have you already played it? Let me know your thoughts!

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