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.