Sea of Solitude

Game image Sea of Solitude
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Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Platform

Released: July 2019. Added to this library 11 weeks ago.

Overview

Sea of Solitude is an adventure where you play a young woman, Kay, with such strong loneliness that her feelings turn her into a monster. As you explore a flooded city you discover dark creatures that you must deal with -- by uncovering their underlying emotional disorder -- to progress and, as you do, slowly unpick what happened to Kay.

While you do this, you encounter the audible inner dialogue of your character that tells a story of quarrelling parents, emotional isolation of a friend and the terrible experiences of her brother being bullied.

The game world mirrors each of these traumas with metaphorical creatures and obstacles to overcome. "All you care about is yourself, that's why you will fail," states the trailer, clearly signposting this is how you don't fail. But still, while the game can be overly literal at times and resolve longstanding issues relatively quickly, the deft combination of interaction, emotion and challenge create a unique space to step inside these challenges and character failings. Through this you can, to some extend, share the experience of what it feels like to be affected by loneliness, bullying, toxic relationships, depression and a troubling past.

 
This game is good if you want to play aging characters, reconsider your body, process loss or walk in someone else's shoes.

Commitment

Duration: This game will take between 3 hours and 4 hours to complete.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

Costs

Does not include in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

This game is free with Origin Access.

Ratings

Rated PEGI 12 for frequent moderate violence and use of offensive language. If your character steps into the sea, a giant swimming monster will come and attack, it will throw your character into the air and catch you in its teeth and eats you. You don’t see any detail, just the body disappearing into the monster’s mouth as you scream and the screen goes dark as it brings you back to the last checkpoint. There are also lots of hands that can drag you under the water as the screen goes dark. You can also be shoved backwards by some human-shaped monsters. The only sign of injury is the screen that changes colour and gets darker with each hit. Eventually the human-shaped monsters can overwhelm you and the screen will go dark as the game resets to the last checkpoint. The game features the use of the word “*!@?*”.

The game focuses on the loneliness and self-destructiveness of the character and her family members. The monsters can insult your character throughout the game. One particular chapter focuses on her brother and how he has had to deal with bullies. You can hear some of the insults they use against him, such as “Hah! Being ugly really does run in your family. Hahaha…”. There is also a scene where a male monster and female monster (representing the character’s parents) are arguing about how they had children too early and it ruined their careers. These themes may be distressing to some people.

This game has been rated ESRB TEEN.

Accessibility

System settings: Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a wide range of system features including some that can be used on all games, like the excellent co-pilot mode... read more.


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Sea of Solitude is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Sea of Solitude in the following lists:

Walk in Someone Else's Shoes

While many games include characters to interact with, some are specifically designed to make relationships a central element. Whether this is during the rounds of a puzzle game amidst a zombie outbreak or as we race cars around a circuit, they can offer a unique way to think deeply about how we relate to each other and to the games people play.
In contrast to films or books, characters and relationships in video games need to be discovered by the player. Some of my favourite relational moments in games happen amidst other action. Often these other actions – whether shooting, puzzle-solving, or fetching and carrying – serve to underline the difficult, awkward and snatched nature of interpersonal interactions.
 

Free With Origin Access

Origin Access is a subscription service for PC, smartphones and tablets, offering access to games include all those published by EA.
  • Basic (£3.99/Month) grants access to games but not other in-game purchases. Very new games are sometimes restricted to a demo.
  • Advance (£14.99/Month) grants access to even the newest EA games and includes in-game purchases.

 

Space For Grief

Games include interactions, narratives and characters dealing with all aspects of life (and death). This means that some care is necessary if players are sensitive to losing significant people. But also, games can provide a helpful space in which to process, consider and understand death and loss.

Image 162 I've come up with some games that explore this topic, along with help and suggestions from Gaming The Mind (Twitter), an organisation of UK-based mental health professionals who aim to promote positive mental health within the gaming community. By focusing on the intersection between gaming and mental health, they want to raise awareness of mental health challenges and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.

"We express grief in different ways depending on our age," they said. "To help children cope with loss, it is important that they receive honest explanations about death, appropriate to their level of understanding. With these games, players may find valuable space in which to acknowledge grief as a completely normal reaction to bereavement."

"The games we have selected don't necessarily offer an ideal way to cope with death but tackle the topic of death openly and with a positive attitude. They can help show the player that they are not alone in what they are going through. Playing these games with young people, and answering questions they might have along the way, can be a useful starting point for important conversations about grief."
 

Come To Terms With Ageing

In a culture that holds up youth as an ideal rather than a stage of life, it can be hard to embrace our ageing lives, bodies and dreams. The games in this list offer a chance to step into the shoes of older protagonists as well as spend time with people coming to terms with the ticking clock themselves.
 

Know Your Body

Video games offer an opportunity to inhabit another body. Whether we step into the powerful frame of a trained marksman or brave adventurer, while we play we have a different sense of our physicality.

This is not only an enjoyable way to escape the reality of daily life but a chance to reflect on and understand ourselves, and our bodies, better. Stepping into the shoes of a vulnerable, small or endangered character can help us understand for a short while some of what it is like to be someone else.

Whether this is into the awkward teenage years of Mord and Ben in Wide Ocean Big Jacket, the grandparent-escaping Tiger and Bee in Kissy Kissy, the fractured heartbroken body in Gris or the haphazard movement of Octodad we have a chance to reassess our own physicality and how we respond to and treat other people's physicality.

More specifically, to use body therapy language, games offer us a chance to discover the inviolability of our bodies, personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination. In travel, as Andrew Soloman says, we go somewhere else to see properly the place where we have come from. In video games, we step into other bodies so we can better understand our own and those of the people around us.
 
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