Solo (PC) Review

Developer/Publisher: Team Gotham || Overall: 7.8/10

One part 3D puzzle game and the other part online personality test, Solo asks a lot from you.  It asks you to bear your soul about Love.  It also asks you to arrange a lot of boxes so you can solve puzzles, which I suppose is another metaphor for love, especially after you move in together.  There’s a lot of boxes.  There’s also a lot of strange alien-like fauna, like elephants that eat cheese, cat-things that eat bananas, and some other cute creatures that you can pet.  You can also play guitar.

The most obvious thing you’ll notice about Solo is its elaborate art style.  While it has that disgusting Unity “marshmallow” look, it makes it its own by creating a unique atmosphere.  Each puzzle takes place on a little island in a greater archipelago; solve the puzzle on the island and a new one will pop up from under the water.  Interacting with the myriad of inanimate objects, cutesy creatures, and ghostly characters adds to the experience.  The fauna and the general aesthetic of the world feels very “not Earth-like” which leads to the feeling you are either in some sort of dream or on an alien planet of some kind.  You’re referred to as a “sailor” but there is very little actual sailing going on other than moving from one archipelago to the next.  Additionally, the name you put in as “your love” ends up being the name of the ship…  QUITE EMBARRASSING!

As far as the puzzle aspects go, it uses a system in which you re-use a set of blocks in continually different configurations, rather than using said blocks one time and leaving them there.  You’ll have to design your solution to a puzzle, of which there are multiple solutions (depending on your ingenuity), and then you get to answer an overly personal question about your love life.  Rinse and repeat, and you’ve essentially got the whole experience.  The types of boxes you’ll encounter are normal boxes, boxes with fans in them (that allow you to glide in your parachute), boxes that stick to walls, and boxes that extend a platform from them.  Using the boxes to create platforms is your primary pursuit; you can use these boxes in different configurations as you can rotate them and whatever works, works.  You also use terrain (no jumping), your guitar (occasionally), and other elements in the immediate area to solve puzzles.  They also let you take pictures with a camera, but considering your character looks like a horrendous sack of potatoes, no thanks.  And there doesn’t seem to be a functional reason to making animals happy other than to get them to shut up.

The theme of Love is pretty heavy-handed.  The first thing you do in the game is choose your gender, including giving you a non-binary option.  They also ask what gender you are romantically attracted to, which non-binary is also an option.  At this point they give you a choice of avatar to represent yourself in-game, which is only three white characters.  It’s odd that the game seems to strive for some sort of inclusivity, but only so far as it matters directly to “love.”  I suppose race wouldn’t fall into that category per se, but it seems out of place that these options are presented and then you can only choose white characters.

The writing itself is pretty good and gives a feeling that there was a lot of care for what is being said so that it doesn’t sound too sappy or too ridiculous.  In theory, there seems to be different writing depending on your choices regarding your relationship status and the like.  Interestingly, despite the game looking like it is “for kids,” the subject matter of love, relationships, and even sex, is definitely not for kids.  This is just my paranoid side speaking, but you have to wonder if there is some sort of collection of data with the answers to these love questions — it seems generally out of place in the manner they present it since they make it about “you,” the player, rather than an in-game character.  They say to get the most out of it, you should answer truthfully as much as possible.  It also wouldn’t surprise me if this was all a disguised recruitment tool for some box-fetish cult.  “Only the ones who can solve these box puzzles need apply.  10 Inch dicks or DD+ boobies only.”

So, while the game is generally a positive experience, it’s really not that engaging.  The puzzles can be fun to figure out, but they can also be fairly frustrating considering the controls.  You’re also constantly fighting against the camera which doesn’t seem to allow you to zoom out at all.  Placing the boxes in a 3D space depends on the angle of your camera, and even though there is an “aim assist” for placing the blocks, sometimes the cursor will disappear and is fifty miles away.  Holding the left trigger and clicking it over and over can also be a bit taxing on your finger and it feels like there should have been an easier way to do all of the stuff you’re doing without having to constantly hold it or trigger it.  Otherwise, the performance of the game had no issues outside of random frame drops, and the sound/music is quite good.

Giving a score to this game was hard to do.  It’s definitely an enjoyable game, and I’d recommend it if you are into 3D puzzle games, or at least interested in having your privacy violated by unknown data gatherers.  If it weren’t for the controls and camera frustration, I’d probably score it in the higher 8 range, but when a game makes my fingers hurt for no good reason, it’s getting docked.  It is perhaps a bit pretentious as well, given the subject matter being matched with it’s cutesy art style, so it makes me question possible ulterior motives of Solo.

 

You Know You’re a Mom When…

You know you’re a mom when…

– Your feet stick to grape jelly on the kitchen floor — and you don’t care.

– When the kids are fighting, you threaten to lock them in a room together and not let them out until someone’s bleeding.

– You can’t find your cordless phone, so you ask a friend to call you, and you run around the house madly, following the sound until you locate the phone downstairs in the laundry basket.

– Your idea of a good day is making it through without a child leaking bodily fluids on you.

– Popsicle’s become a food staple.

– Your favorite television show is a cartoon.

– You’re willing to kiss your child’s boo-boo, regardless of what body part it happens to be on.

– You’re so desperate for adult conversation that you spill your guts to the telemarketer that calls and HE hangs up on YOU!

– You buy cereal with marshmallows in it.

– You count the sprinkles on each kid’s cupcake to make sure they’re equal.

– You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

– You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

– Your kid throws up and you catch it.

– You get up at 5:30 AM and you have no time to eat, sleep, drink or go to the bathroom, and yet… you still managed to gain 10 pounds.

 

Marshmellows: The Cure to Anthrax

Marshmellows are the cure to anthrax. “But surely, that can’t be possible!” you say. But yes it is! And don’t call me Shirley. Anyways, any time it snows its anthrax falling from the sky. When little kids eat it they get anthrax. Then they go inside and drink their hot cocoa with marshmellows and they’re better. Coinsidence? I think not…

 

You Know You’re Sick When…

You know you’re sick when…

– you vomit and the vomit mysteriously spells, “fart.”

– you are butt-fucking a goat in the backyard while your mom and the whole neighborhood is watching you, regularly.

– you watch, “I Love Lucy” and fall in love with Ricky and the way he bongs on his bongos and can’t stop thinking how he’d bong your bongos.

– you think the Home Alone Series is intellectual and educational, and your favorite part is when Kevin’s mom screams.

– you have the game “Shaq-Fu” for SEGA Genesis

– you say “cheek cheeky boom boom” when you get arrested when they say, “whatever you say can and will be used in a court of law.”

– you get up in the morning and feel like reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica from A-Z with all the special issues and add-ons for the 5th time in 3 days.

– you throw marshmallows at someone you have a crush on

– you play Bingo with yourself and shout, “BINGO!!” when you get it, you also live with 4 friends that now think your crazy.

– you think a cool thing to do is to dangle a cap from a string and hypnotize people.

– you think walking into a church naked is a funny prank, but even better, is walking into a nudist’s church with clothes on.

– you eat your intestine as a bedtime snack.

– you stick pencils up every hole in your body and run through town, naked, with the pencils in your holes, screaming, “I’m a walrus!”

– you get bees up your pants regularly.

– you pelt yourself, and other people, with pudding every Sunday.

– you use “what is the name of your telephone number” for a pickup line.

– you beat dogs, just cause they show their butthole to the whole world and still “smile.”

You know someone in your family is really sick when…

– the telephone rings and your teenaged daughter doesn’t feel well enough to run and answer it.

– you offer to take your wife shopping for a new dress and she doesn’t feel well enough to get of bed.

– you visit your mother-in-law and she’s too sick to even talk.

– you give away your tickets to the Super Bowl because you feel too ill to go to the game.

– your seven-year-old stays in the house all day and is good as gold.

– your teenaged son gives you back the keys to the car and tells you he’s going to bed instead of to the drive-in on Saturday night.