Shared world puzzle adventure Islands of Insight promises no frustrations, just a real chill time

Puzzle games usually aren't chillout games. They're challenges, brainteasers, mindbenders, and frustrations. Islands of Insight is not that kind of puzzle game. There's no linear path forcing you to tackle every puzzle in a set order, banging your head against whatever you're stuck on until you break through. Heck, there isn't even fall damage, so you can safely leap and parkour across its floating islands to your heart's content.

"From enigmas of perspective to mazes, logic problems, environmental challenges, and more," says developer Lunarch Studios, "seek out and solve a rich variety of puzzles densely spread across the landscape. Each of them is carefully placed and thoughtfully crafted to be relaxing, challenging, and satisfying to solve. Puzzles also vary in difficulty, creating an experience that is both inviting to newcomers, and engaging for seasoned puzzle fans."

In September, Andy Chalk reported back from an open playtest of Islands of Insight, comparing it to The Talos Principle, The Witness, and Uru: Ages of Myst. "Along with the multiple types of puzzles—tetromino block-droppers, logic and perspective puzzles, memory tests, fractal-draggers, and more—there other types of activities to take on," he said, "like chasing floating orbs or discovering objects and gateways: Just simple stuff to do if you if you want switch your brain off and just knock around inside the game world. It really comes off as more of a digital playground than a straight-up puzzle game."

That playground can be explored with friends or strangers, or entirely on your own. "The shared world allows for seamless interactions with friends and other players," the developers say, "offering a sense of camaraderie and belonging inside the game without being intrusive to your solo journey."

While you're allowed to explore in a non-linear manner, solving some puzzles will unlock new areas, and finishing a particular sequence unlocks the wings you'll see shown off in the trailer that debuted as part of the PC Gaming Show: Most Wanted. Islands of Insight will be available on Steam in February, 2024, and there's a demo there you can try right now.

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, 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.