Islands of Insight review: open-world puzzler has infinite potential

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An land afloat of puzzles appears successful Islands of Insight.

“Islands of Insight is nan modern reinvention nan puzzle genre needs.”


  • Tons of nosy puzzles
  • Near infinite challenges
  • Smart progression hooks
  • Great co-op integration


  • Some dud formats
  • Repetitive grid puzzles
  • Meandering lore

When I was a kid, my astir prized possession was my subscription to World of Puzzles magazine. Every month, I’d get a beingness rumor filled to nan brim pinch puzzles that would support maine occupied until my adjacent delivery. I’d go obsessed pinch definite puzzle formats, for illustration its unsocial rotation connected cryptograms and crosswords. Others were full duds that I’d skip complete each time, but that was fine. All that mattered was that I had a accordant measurement to workout my brain.

Islands of Insight captures that nonstop emotion successful a measurement fewer games ever have. The unsocial task from Dead by Daylight patient Behaviour Interactive takes nan conception of a newspaper puzzle page and spreads it crossed an unfastened world filled pinch thousands of puzzles. As soon arsenic I jumped in, I recovered myself successful a acquainted flow. Some puzzle had maine exploring each extremity of a monolithic entity land to find much problems to solve, conscionable for illustration I’d flip done each caller World of Puzzles rumor to find nan fewer formats I liked. And a fewer others had maine groaning each clip I came crossed them.

That mixed acquisition mightiness beryllium off-putting to those who consciousness compelled to lick each problem they see, but Islands of Insight offers an tremendous open-world puzzle book that’ll support your encephalon crisp for a very agelong time.

Open-world deconstruction

Islands of Insight is champion described arsenic an open-world genre deconstruction. Imagine a crippled for illustration Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but pinch each its communicative and combat removed. Instead, image what it would look for illustration if you were simply near pinch its monolithic explorable representation filled pinch small world activities to solve. That’s precisely what Islands of Insight delivers, and it almost plays for illustration a modern type of Myst.

Taking clear cues from The Witness, Islands of Insight tosses players into an atmospheric unfastened world densely dotted pinch puzzles. Though alternatively than riffing connected 1 azygous puzzle type, it delivers a wide scope of formats that are often bite-sized successful nature. Some of those are very traditional, for illustration grid problems that person players correctly filling successful achromatic and achromatic boxes utilizing varying norm sets. Others are mini observational challenges that are people integrated into nan world. In nan first area alone, I’d hunt down 5 objects successful a domed-off area, find and link 2 symbols wrong position of 1 another, and locomotion done an invisible archway.

A grid puzzle appears successful Islands Insight.Behaviour Interactive

What useful truthful good present is conscionable really speedy and densely packed successful a batch of these puzzles are. No matter wherever I americium connected nan island, I’m ever surrounded by a fistful of puzzles that I tin quickly ping-pong between. Some only return a fewer seconds to solve, for illustration lining up a hidden shape painted connected nan situation aliases looking done interlocked rings and clicking connected nan constituent wherever they each intersect. Even if I only person a fewer minutes to popular in, I tin usually lick a twelve puzzles successful that time.

Developer Lunarch Studios seems to beryllium going for amount complete value here, packing successful what feels for illustration an infinite number of puzzles. That attack has its upsides and downsides. While location are plentifulness of formats present that I enjoy, location are respective duds successful nan batch. One irritating type has maine trying to statement a photograph of nan situation up pinch nan existent world correctly, while different has maine struggling to realign a psychedelic mosaic to recreate a circumstantial pattern. Others aren’t truthful overmuch puzzles arsenic elemental traversal challenges that inquire maine to touch a bunch of bluish orbs wrong a clip limit.

I consciousness for illustration I person a near-infinite number of problems to tackle.

Though I do bask that location are truthful galore bite-sized challenges, location is simply a deficiency of much accepted puzzles that escalate successful difficulty. That’s mostly conscionable recovered successful grid puzzles, which commencement to get repetitive moreover pinch immoderate cleverly shifting rules. More imaginative variants person maine recreating sounds by decently filling successful squares for illustration I’m sequencing a hit pad. Another has maine looking astatine nan situation to find a hidden solution successful nan world. Twists for illustration that thief diversify nan puzzle offering, but filling successful achromatic and achromatic boxes does commencement to consciousness aged aft doing it hundreds of times.

That’s wherever nan sheer number of puzzles helps matters. The world is truthful tightly packed pinch small challenges that I tin disregard 3 aliases 4 formats wholly (aside from a fewer challenges that request to beryllium completed to advancement nan “story”) and still consciousness for illustration I person a near-infinite number of problems to tackle. Islands of Insight reminds maine of a modern World of Puzzles successful that respect; it’s a integer mag pinch capable pages that I don’t consciousness bad skipping a fewer present and there.

Progression successful puzzles

A monolithic unfastened world loaded pinch puzzles is simply a caller concept, but nan existent instrumentality is uncovering a measurement to make that problem-solving consciousness meaningful. Islands of Insight takes respective stabs astatine that situation pinch varying degrees of success. What doesn’t activity is its loose story, which boils down to a batch of philosophical meandering successful vague lore logs. Think The Talos Principle 2 with little actual worldbuilding.

More enticing is its attack to progression, which keeps loose puzzle-solving rewarding throughout. The halfway hook is that I request to cod items called Mirabalis to unlock much parts of nan island. Those are gained done circumstantial challenges dotted astir nan world, arsenic good arsenic connected self-contained islands that almost enactment arsenic “dungeons.” That postulation loop is capable to get players done complete a twelve hours of playtime conscionable to spot nan full world, though it’ll besides unit them to complete definite puzzle types they detest to advancement nan game.

I’m ever unlocking thing aliases progressing my characteristic successful immoderate measurement …

What’s much effective are its RPG-adjacent hooks. The much puzzles players solve, nan much rate they get that tin beryllium spent connected a accomplishment tree. That unlocks much traversal options that fto players glide astir nan islands, arsenic good arsenic prize rewards for completing circumstantial puzzle types. Players level up passim nan escapade too, netting them cosmetic rewards that tin beryllium utilized to customize their character. Each of those systems travel together to make maine consciousness for illustration I’m ever unlocking thing aliases progressing my characteristic successful immoderate measurement moreover erstwhile I’m completing random puzzles disconnected nan mainline path.

Its biggest ace successful nan hole, though, is simply a co-op hook that really makes Islands of Insight special. Friends tin research nan land together, solving puzzles aliases splitting up and tackling challenges connected their own. At first, I worried astir really that would work. Why would I want personification other solving my puzzles? But that’s different area wherever nan sheer wide and diverseness of challenges goes a agelong way. If there’s 1 puzzle format I hate, possibly I person a friend who’d beryllium consenting to tackle that. And erstwhile late-game grid puzzles get really tough, it tin thief to person a buddy astir for their encephalon power.

A characteristic flies done nan aerial successful Islands of Insight.Behaviour Interactive

It each makes Islands of Insight consciousness for illustration nan benignant of forward-thinking attack to nan genre that gaming needs. While nan indie puzzle segment is engaged and vibrant, it’s a genre that awesome studios person mostly abandoned complete nan years. The genre has progressively go retired of measurement pinch modern trends for illustration open-world design, RPG progression, multiplayer, and MMO-like hooks meant to support players engaged longer. Islands of Insight proves that those ideas aren’t wholly incompatible pinch a puzzle game, and that’s possibly its astir important solution.

Islands of Insight was tested connected PC.

Editors' Recommendations

  • Islands of Insight is Zelda: Tears of nan Kingdom meets The Witness
  • The champion open-world games connected PC