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sgf 2023
Island of Insight behaviour interactive puzzle open world multiplayer

Islands of Insight

Puzzle Paradise
by Wesley LeBlanc on Jun 11, 2023 at 01:03 PM

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Platform PC
Publisher Behaviour Interactive
Developer Lunarch Studios
Release

During the PC Gaming Show, Behaviour Interactive and Lunarch Studios revealed Islands of Insight today. I watched a 20-minute gameplay demo to learn more about this idyllic open-world puzzle game. While I still have many questions, especially concerning the game’s shared world cooperative multiplayer aspect, Islands of Insight is something I look forward to going hands-on with in the future.

Behaviour Interactive pitches Islands of Insight to me as an “epic open shared world, puzzle adventure game,” and I’m immediately intrigued. I didn’t get to see any of the shared world elements during my demo, but after seeing what players will be doing in the game, I’m even more interested to learn how this shared world will work. You play as a Seeker (of Knowledge) who wanders around a vibrant and diverse mass of floating islands. Each seems to be inspired by some aspect of the ancient world and a spokesperson for Behaviour Interactive said the ancient wonders of the world are some of the primary inspirations for Islands of Insight’s visual style.

On one island, a massive Egyptian pyramid floats above Egyptian ruins adorned with Anubis-like statues. Elsewhere, there’s an island that looks a lot like the floating gardens of Babylon, and in the distance, ancient Japanese pagodas stand tall on another.

To advance from island to island, you must solve puzzles and if what I saw in 20 minutes is any indication, it won’t be hard to find puzzles to solve. There are a staggering amount of puzzles scattered about this world. Walking 50 feet, I saw half a dozen and what’s most impressive is that there are many different types.

The first type I see is on a tutorial island called Seek 5. After interacting with a spire on the ground, it floats up into the air and forms a bubble-like shield around the area. I’m told this shield is the parameter of the puzzle and you have to find five hidden objects within it. It’s a straightforward puzzle, but I can see how more advanced versions of Seek 5 can be much more difficult.

Up next, I see a hidden archway – it’s translucent and blends into the scenery but walking through it reveals its true form and adds a completion to my puzzle count. The person demoing the game for me moseys on to the next puzzle, the Sentinel Stones. You must line up in front of several stones so that a laser-like line shooting forward out of each stone touches you, almost as if every stone can see you.

I’m told that there is no linear path through Islands of Insight; you only need to complete puzzles to move on to new game areas. I ask about a campaign briefly mentioned during my demo but the team doesn’t have more to share. Interestingly, a golden objective was on screen to head inside a pyramid.

After solving a few more puzzles, like the Pillar of Insight, which is actually multiple puzzles, each advancing in difficulty, Matchboxes, which tasks players with finding matching symbols on nearby architecture, and Match 3 puzzles, we head toward that objective. There’s a lot of verticality across the islands and it seems like you can climb up virtually anything that’d made logical sense. You can jump, double jump, sprint, and even glide using magical wings. And fortunately, there’s no fall damage, so you can parkour easily throughout Islands of Insight.

 

After this demo, I was especially curious about the shared world aspect of the game. The team wouldn’t tell me how many players are in a server, but they did say each instanced puzzle is solved on the player side, even if you’re playing on the same server with friends. If I solve a puzzle, it only counts in my game, but my friend can watch me solve a puzzle and then solve it in their game all the same.

If so, I’m curious why this game features a shared-world multiplayer aspect. Since the game can be played entirely single-player, and puzzle progress is only specific to individual players and not the entire server, what does playing with others bring to the table.

This is something I want to learn more about in the future. For now, Islands of Insight is due out on Steam one day.

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Islands of Insight

Platform:
PC
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