Sea of ​​Solitude: The Director’s Cut brings a vulnerable narrative that affects the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, the gameplay is not that strong.

Often times, the best conversations about social topics in games come from independent development. Games like Light blue It combines genuine messaging with incredible gameplay, making a bigger and more important statement than most of the featured AAA titles. But not all games can find that balance. Sea of ​​Solitude: The Director’s Cut Jo-Mei Games is one of those. Play is a deeply vulnerable and important meditation on mental health and personal struggle. It’s also mechanically confusing, throwing countless game ideas to the wall, but not many stick around. For as moving as Sea of ​​loneliness may be, its gameplay disappoints the experience.

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Sea of ​​loneliness is an adventure game in which the player takes control of a girl named Kay. Set in a flooded and decaying world, Kay has to navigate her own past and the physical manifestations of her trauma. These heavy beasts stalk Kay and set the stage for both the narrative and the game. While the title can be completed in about three hours, Jo-Mei can extract a lot from a short runtime. Each sequence feels deliberate and pushes Kay further on her path towards reconciling with her past and herself.

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Narrative success

An official Sea of ​​Solitude screenshot

As the player travels this path with Kay, Sea of ​​loneliness the narrative will drive the experience. This is absolutely the highlight of the game. He’s vulnerable and raw, not shying away from his descriptions of his triggering theme. Sea of ​​loneliness openly addresses serious issues. That honesty is what makes every measure of the plot feel shocking. For those who can relate to even a single vignette within Sea of ​​loneliness, the game is a severe and resonant journey. Sea of ​​loneliness weave hope throughout the journey and end on a note of empowerment. His darkness meets the light, which he feels necessary after the emotional exhaustion that precedes it.

This narrative is especially compelling because it unfolds through environmental narrative that informs the world. Sea of ​​loneliness The world is surreal, combining Kay’s memories and fears into a stunning landscape. The story informs the level design, which in turn strengthens the story. It is a very effective and inventive design that sells the allegorical nature of the game. Of course, this is reinforced by the game’s strong art style and use of color. Sea of ​​loneliness it fluctuates between full color and grayscale, both of which are visually stunning. They are made even louder thanks to the elegant sound design, which brings the player even closer to Kay’s story. Sea of ​​loneliness The visual design and presentation really bring the narrative to life.

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Disappointing gameplay

An official Sea of ​​Solitude screenshot

With the success of the storytelling and the world, it’s disappointing that Sea of ​​loneliness the game cannot reach the same level of quality. The game doesn’t feel bad to play. The controls are tight and the game explains each new concept well. Sea of ​​loneliness The problem is that his game lacks progression and focus. Sometimes the game leans towards stealth. Sometimes the game leans towards platforming. Sometimes the game leans toward exploration. But the game never leans far enough toward any of these ideas.

Each section of the game is mechanically felt at surface level. Sea of ​​loneliness the game sacrifices cohesion for variety. However, since the game is only a few hours long, there is no time to develop contrasting game ideas. Each concept is entered and removed minutes later. The result is a series of linked sequences that feel pretty basic.

With what cuts Sea of ​​loneliness I mean, mastering the gameplay with just one style would have been a good idea. If the game had chosen to focus on just platforming or just stealth it would have felt a lot tighter. Sea of ​​loneliness strongholds, its narrative and its world, could have had a simpler game. The experience probably would have been strengthened by cutting back on its mechanics. There is simply no time to create three different playstyles in a couple of hours. Going from a paper-thin idea to a paper-thin idea feels monotonous and takes away Sea of ​​loneliness merit.

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Nintendo Switch additions

After all, Sea of ​​loneliness it is an important game. His handling of serious issues is disarming and affecting. The game deserves a lot of praise for its concepts, but mechanically it does not meet the rating. It is especially disappointing because Sea of ​​Solitude: The Director’s Cut It is the second release of the game. The game originally released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC as part of the EA Originals program in 2019. The director’s cut brings the game to the Switch, but doesn’t address the game’s glitches.

This Nintendo Switch release reinforces the game’s existing strengths. The director’s cut features a rewritten script and a new voice cast, as well as updated cutscenes along with better animations. There is also a robust photography mode similar to Super mario odyssey and some superfluous gyro aiming options. Without first-hand knowledge of the original release, it’s unclear how comprehensive the changes were. As engaging as the narrative is, the developer was smart to duplicate this part of the game.

Ultimate, the biggest problem is that Sea of ​​lonelinessThe gameplay cannot resist its incredible storytelling. Through the lens of narrative, Sea of ​​loneliness It’s a must-have game, but its mechanics are lacking, making it a tenuous recommendation. There is an attractive game here, but it could have been so much more.

Sea of ​​Solitude: The Director’s Cut is available on Nintendo Switch. The publisher provided a review copy.

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