If you'd rather explore a multiplayer open world where you solve puzzles than fight, here's the game for you

Exploring fantastical spaces with your friends like a pack of digital tourists is one of the true joys of videogames. All too often the pleasure of stopping to gaze in wonder at some impossible world is interrupted by having to murder a pack of wolves or deal with a trash mob of gribblies, however. Not so in Islands of Insight, Lunarch Studios' multiplayer game being published by Behaviour Interactive, where the exploration is broken up by puzzles instead of battles.

As the trailer that debuted during the PC Gaming Show puts it, Islands of Insight presents "a world of fantasy, ancient wonders, and natural beauty, brimming with mysterious puzzles, secrets, and sublime landscapes for you and other players to discover alone or together, all at your own pace."

The puzzles seem quite varied, from interacting with ancient ruins Myst-style, to finding the right angle to view things so you can illuminate an obscured symbol like you're in The Witness. It looks like there will be a mix of challenges, from basic blocks to slide and cubes to shift to more brain-teasing things like traversing a transparent maze and something involving a map that transforms into a Mandelbrot set? I might leave that one to my friends to figure out.

Lunarch describes Island of Insight as a "shared world" puzzle game, which sounds very intriguing: You can take the game on solo, or "interact and collaborate to solve puzzles alongside friends and other online players." Perhaps that also means I can watch them solve a puzzle and then easily solve it myself, for some sweet DIY credit? A tactic to try once we can play it for ourselves.

When you're not solving puzzles you'll be crossing a landscape of floating islands by gliding on magical wings, leaping across shining arcs of light, and sprinting about with glowing feet. Those islands are covered in statuary and ancient architecture to explore, some of which looks Greek, Egyptian, Japanese, and Mesopotamian, as well as natural wonders like waterfalls, gigantic caves, and tree-lined cliffs. There's a definite "Windows wallpaper" vibe to it, with plenty of mystical orbs and cubes floating above the ruins.

"Savor the achievement of every solution as the world around you unlocks," the trailer goes on, "revealing new challenges to face, new areas to explore and fantastic rewards to collect. In Islands of Insight a beautiful realm of tranquility and adventure awaits you." Sounds delightful to me. Islands of Insight will be coming to Steam, and you can keep up with its development via the official Twitter feed.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.