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This puzzling PC game needs to be on your radar this February

A stone ring sits on a pedestal in Islands of Insight.
Behaviour Interactive

Islands of Insight, an open-world puzzle game by Behvaiour Interactive and Lunarch Studios, will launch on February 13. It’s coming exclusively to PC and will retail for $30. A public demo for it will be available from February 5 to February 12 on Steam.

Ahead of its release date reveal, I went hands-on with a build of the upcoming game. I’d be dropped into its sprawling sky islands and given free rein to solve puzzles around a walled-off space. Based on the 90 minutes I’ve spent with it so far, it’s looking like a creative approach to the genre with some surprising inspirations.

The best way I can describe Islands of Insight is it’s like The Talos Principle meets Myst, but with the slightest dash of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. When I begin my adventure, I’m thrown into a small tutorial island with some basic puzzles strewn about. Clicking on a floating box activates a grid puzzle where I need to fill in spaces with black and white squares while abiding by certain rules. When I tap on a pillar, I have to find five hidden relics within a circular range. As the world opens up, I discover more puzzles that have me walking through invisible archways, navigating a glass maze, and connecting boxes with matching symbols.

A grid puzzle appears in Islands of Insight.
Behaviour Interactive

The early puzzles I tried were all relatively easy to understand without much guidance. Most use a simple point-and-click control scheme, while others are simple navigation puzzles. One just has me walking through six orbs as fast as I can. Not every puzzle type is a winner here (like a confusing format that has me trying to look through several interlocking rings at once), but the joy here is that every corner of the island has some sort of discovery lying in wait. It’s like an open-world “map game” with all the combat removed.

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What I’m especially interested in is how it handles progression. Rather than just having players solve freeform puzzles, Islands of Insight seems to give players some solid guidance. My demo would have me playing until I solved enough puzzles to unlock a dungeon-like island. When I got there, I had to complete a connected gauntlet of grid puzzles. Doing so unlocked a pair of wings that would let me glide around the sky. Solving puzzles also grants me a currency that I can spend to gain new skills, including a double jump, and there are also bonus resource gains for completing specific puzzle types. That aspect makes puzzle-solving feel especially rewarding, as there are some mechanical twists along the way.

It seems like Islands of Insight is borrowing a few ideas from massively multiplayer online (MMO) games to keep players engaged. At one point, I found an NPC who doled out daily puzzle bounties I could complete to earn currency. It’s a small, but effective touch that I imagine will add another layer of reward.

A character flies through the air in Islands of Insight.
Behaviour Interactive

What I’m especially curious about here is how multiplayer factors into it all. My time with Islands of Insight felt solitary, in a good way, but its a game that can be played with others. The puzzles presented here don’t exactly feel like they’re well-suited for co-op solving, and I personally wouldn’t want someone else finding an answer in my world before I can get to it. I imagine I’ll be going it alone, but the idea is at least intriguing for the genre.

I could have spent plenty more time poking around the demo, but I’m saving some surprises for the full release. After 90 minutes, I’ve already seen a good chunk of puzzle types (a few too many revolve around grid puzzles so far) and gotten a sense of the vague mythology at its center. I’m not expecting something as groundbreaking as The Witness in the final release, nor something as impressively complex as The Talos Principle 2, but I’ll be thrilled to have a puzzle sandbox to dip into throughout 2024 between big releases.

Islands of Insights launches on February 13 for PC.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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