Sea of Solitude is an adventure video game that was developed by Jo-Mei Games and published by Electronic Arts, releasing in 2019. The player controls a young woman named Kay who suffers from such strong loneliness that her inner feelings of hopelessness, anger and worthlessness turn to the outside and she becomes a monster.
As Kay the player explores a seemingly empty, flooded city and its scaly red-eyed creatures in order to reveal why Kay herself has turned into a monster. The emotions of her manifest into giant monsters standing in her way, trying to help but also destroy her. Kay needs to interact with and understand their underlying intentions in order to overcome the negative effects of those emotions. The game is in the core an inner dialogue of a person trying to come to terms with their own shortcomings.Sea of Solitude explores mental health issues head on in a way that will be relatable to a lot of people. I found the story to be compelling as you listen to Kay’s thoughts and feelings develop as you progress. Be warned, this is a very linear video game. It’s far more interested in telling its tale then entertaining you with innovative gameplay.
You move around from one point to another in your boat or by swimming. You often get off at a designated area, do some platforming and possibly a simplistic puzzle and then get back to the sea. At times, it feels reminiscent of a walking simulator. You can explore to find collectibles but there’s nothing else out there. It’s an empty world by design.
Thankfully, the world itself is very nice to look at. The striking visuals really pop nicely due to the vibrancy of the colours used. Your main goal throughout is to dispel the darkness and bring light back to the world. Watching dark and depressing spaces transform into a dazzling paradises never got old to me.
Another strong aspect of Sea of Solitude is the voice acting. Miriam Jud does a wonderful job bringing Kay to life.
It’s just a shame that the gameplay is so lacking because had it been better we could be talking about an 8 or 9/10.
Overall, Sea of Solitude is a chilled experience in terms of its gameplay. If you’re looking for a video game that focuses heavily on story rather than complex puzzles you’ll have a good time. The issues that it tackles are important and it’s refreshing to see a game put such issues at the forefront. I felt it effectively handled them. It shows how mental illness can not only affect the person experiencing it but those around them as well.
Sea of Solitude
The Final Score - 7/10