Explore some excellent open-world puzzling in Isles of Sea and Sky

Lovers of exploration-based puzzlers and clever twists on old game styles should do themselves a favor and check out the recently-released Isles of Sea and Sky. In it, you explore an oceanic world of magical islands, all of which are jam-packed with classic sokoban (block-pushing) puzzles to solve. 

As you progress in the world you unlock new powers that push boxes and blocks, or let you move around, in new ways, giving you insight on older unsolved puzzles or access to new areas you'd yet to see. Perhaps you'll summon a little whirlwind person that can be pushed around like a block by wind, but can also grab and throw you a distance in certain directions to let you bypass obstacles. A later series of puzzles mirrors your character.

Isles of Sea and Sky is wrapped up in a colorful world reminiscent of old Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color games. The palette of colors aries region to region, but the soundtrack and sound effects really remind me of that era by using simple noises to clearly signal game events and repeated effects for things like series of explosions.

Some early reviewers are comparing it to classic Zelda games like Link's Awakening,  except rather than be focused on exploring and combat, with a side of puzzles, it's  composed entirely of brain scratching, block-pushing puzzles with a side of exploration and no combat.

You can find Isles of Sea and Sky on itch and on Steam, and you can check out website islesofseaandsky.com.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.