Sea of Solitude: Director's Cut
Top Critic Average
A heartfelt confession, but an otherwise boring experience, Sea of Solitude fails both as a game, as well as an exploration of mental health. At times too symbolic and abstract to decode, and at other times very straightforward with its message, most will find it hard to feel the struggles of its cute, feathery protagonist and connect with her. This is basically like reading the diary of a high school kid. What is said within its pages is true and all, but that doesn't make it a good read. Even worse? The simplistic platforming/exploring/puzzle-solving that needs to be done here can even put an elephant to sleep.
Sea of Solitude: The Director's Cut comes to Nintendo Switch with an improved version compared to the original of 2019. An adventure where we will accompany Kay through the confrontation of her problems. Very real problems of everyday life such as loneliness, rejection, disappointments, frustration, school abuse, depression, obsessions, or toxic relationships. Very hard issues - and surely some close ones - that we will have to face with Kay throughout her journey. A work of author that without being perfect, everyone should try.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
I think we all struggle to talk about mental health, whether it be our own or other people’s. We tend to shy away from it, bottle it up and are then surprised when anybody speaks out about it. This is the beauty of Sea of Solitude, it puts you right in front of those issues to deal with them head-on.
Despite a somewhat lacking narrative and a fairly short length – we saw the (beautiful) credits in less than four hours – Sea of Solitude is fun to play while it lasts. It looks superb and there's plenty of variety in the locales even in its brief running time. Sadly, though, it's not a standout – it wasn't on its original release and it still isn't here on the Switch. It's no walking simulator, but in trying to marry its story with somewhat rudimentary platforming gameplay, neither are entirely satisfactory. Of course, your mileage may vary in what the various heavier themes mean to you, but we found them pretty leaden and uninteresting takes on what are admittedly quite universal issues.
Sea of Solitude does an incredible and masterful job of expressing what it means to suffer from depression, so much so that should you be interested in jumping in and have your own mental health issues I would suggest playing only in short bursts and when you are feeling quite strong. Many of these segments are far too relatable and quite vivid in their depictions of mental distress. The changes made to the Director’s Cut offers subtle enhancements to the game with new voice work that makes it hit home a little harder for American audiences and a photo mode that – while enticing – feels more likely to break the immersion. This is every bit as powerful as it was in 2019, and if you are looking for an emotional story to be fully enveloped in, I can’t imagine something being more passionately and beautifully put together than this game.
If you enjoy narrative adventures that are accompanied with laid-back gameplay, then you might want to give Sea of Solitude: The Director’s Cut a go. However, those who like their experiences more complex, both in terms of gameplay and narrative, might want to think otherwise. Sea of Solitude: The Director’s Cut pulls on the heartstrings but does so like a blunt instrument, while the actions you perform getting from A to B rarely entertain like they should.
I'm aware that parts of this review may sound negative, but I'm glad to have played Sea of Solitude: Director's Cut on the Switch. It felt fresh and had an important message that it mostly succeeded in conveying. It's good if taken as an interactive experience, but it falters when taken as a video game. That's not necessarily bad, but it limits the potential a bit and may not sit well with everyone. Given how well this port turned out, it's worth a look if it piqued your interest and you haven't had a chance to try it elsewhere. This Switch iteration may be the best version of the game that you can currently play.
The technical side of Sea of Solitude: The Director's Cut is far from perfect. Along with the repetitive gameplay, it doesn't make this title a game to play for anything other than original and great story.
Review in Czech | Read full review