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.