Light theme

Sea of Solitude review
by Laura

NOTE: I'm reviewing the Director's Cut of the game. Beware of spoilers! 

Sea of Solitude is advertised as a game about loneliness, but it's primarily a game about guilt, shame, and fear. Kay feels she hasn't been there for her family and has made their lives worse; the game is about exploring those feelings/learning to let go. 

The first act with her brother is genuinely intense and emotionally raw as Kay realizes just how badly her brother was bullied and how she needed to be more supportive of him. If the rest of the game was like that this would've gotten an exceptional rating. However, the game loses steam after the first act because I feel like Kay blames herself for things that either aren't her fault or she has no control over. Like her parents fighting/getting a divorce? There's literally nothing Kay could've done about that, and it's literally not her fault that them having her hurt their relationship. And even though her boyfriend was depressed and genuinely suffering he was also being emotionally abusive towards her; the best she could've done was help him get therapy, but there was no way their relationship was going to last. 

I feel like what would've made the game much stronger is if it was explicitly about Kay working through her guilt and realizing that some things really aren't her fault and that she can't (and shouldn't) fix everyone. I don't know why this is called a game about loneliness because I didn't get that vibe at all. 

This isn't a bad game, but it could've been a lot stronger. I give this a recommended rating because I did enjoy it, but anyone looking for a genuinely profound emotional journey should play GRIS or HELLBLADE or even CELESTE. Those games deal with things like grief, depression, and loneliness in mature, evocative ways and are genuinely well told stories with beautiful graphics and (for the most part) engaging gameplay.  

Other reviews3

A delicate and difficult theme to approach ruined by mediocre level design, annoying combat and constant trial and error jumping sections interrupted by insta-kill events triggered by the over-attentive monster following you.
It's a game with a very personal story. The story and the sea combined with the monsters made me try this one out and are the things that make me recommend it. The gameplay is very simple and gets repetitive towards the end, but the game is very short so it didn't bother me too much. The controls could be sharper also.