REVIEW / Islands of Insight (PC)

Sometimes I’m asked to review a game that I know I’ll have a lot of fun with, and sometimes I end up with something that I know won’t be my cup of tea. Islands of Insight, an open world puzzle-adventure game by Lunarch Studios and Behaviour Interactive, doesn’t fit into either of those categories. I was intrigued by its visuals and puzzle variety, but I had to dive in before I could tell if I’d find a home on this island.

From the beginning, the game looks amazing. The crystalline aesthetics and massive structures display a world that’s just begging to be explored. And while the lore explaining who they are and why they’re here didn’t really stick, I really fell in love with the player character designs. It’s definitely a game you should at least see, even if you’re not into puzzle solving. The trade-off for this splendor, though, is the hardware requirements. Despite my system easily clearing the minimum requirements listed on Steam, the game struggled to run even on low settings. There is something lost with the excellent visuals if you have to play on the lowest graphical settings. Still, my PC is on the low end of gaming, so you might have better luck.

Navigating this open world is surprisingly easy, too. Early on, you unlock a double jump and a glide to get around the large landmasses and structures. I was particularly impressed by how good locomotion feels because in my experience, games that aren’t focused on platforming tend not to be very good at it. Islands of Insight is a rare exception to that rule; it’s easier than I expected to reach all of the puzzles that are scattered across this open world. The Steam page boasts over 10,000 of them, and there is a ton of variety. Some puzzles are based on navigation or exploring the space, such as hidden archways and pairs of stones that have to be connected. Others are more like minigames, like pattern-matching and match-3 challenges. Some work better than others; the glass mazes are as frustrating as they sound, for example; but there’s enough variety that you’ll be able to find something fulfilling.

Glass mazes notwithstanding, I only have two complaints about the puzzles. First off, they get very hard. The logic puzzles in particular jump up significantly in difficulty between the first and second of the five difficulty levels. Players mostly have the freedom to decide which puzzles they solve in Islands of Insight, but there are some that must be completed to progress through the game, and they are unforgiving. The hint feature won’t save you either; it’s very limited both in when you can use it and how much it actually helps you. The other issue is that the sheer number of puzzles across the game world make it look over-crowded. It’s hard to balance visuals with having enough to do, but I feel that some of the puzzles could have been better integrated into the environment.

Before I wrap things up, I should note that Islands of Insight is actually an online, shared-world game. I didn’t bring it up before because it doesn’t really affect the game at all; I’m not sure why it’s a feature. Unless you specifically want to get on and solve puzzles with friends, you can ignore it. In any case, Islands of Insight has a lot to offer. The sheer variety of puzzles keeps things fresh, and as long as your system can handle them, the beautiful visuals will keep you coming back. For me, my weak PC and even weaker puzzle solving skills mean I have to pass on playing it further. But if you have a sharp mind, you will get a lot of fun out of this title.

Strong of mind, strong of GPU

  • Visuals 8/10
  • Gameplay 8/10



+ Excellent visuals

+ Variety of puzzles

+ Smooth locomotion

– System-intensive

– Difficult puzzles

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Microsoft UK IE

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