A strange world flooded by the ocean opens before our eyes and the only place were keeping us safe is a small boat that illuminates the road. But we are not alone. Join us in this analysis of Sea of Solitude to discover the hidden message under the waters.
Even before starting the Sea of Solitude, the author already reveals to us what her work is about. “Sea of Solitude is a personal project about loneliness inspired by my own experiences and real stories that I’ve met, Kay’s journey symbolizes what it means to be human and experience the ups and downs of life.” It is a curious decision, this one presented by Cornelia Geppert, creator of the game, who at some moments of her promotion has also claimed to be inspired by the breakup of a relationship for the videogame.
I say curious because the less it is risky to send the message of blow before even having started the journey through the work of an author. Kay’s boat, the protagonist of this journey of introspection, has not yet appeared on the screen, but you know what the problem is and what the video game’s objective is. And before that maxim of “sample, do not count”, wanting to speed up the message and the answers can blur the final result.
Sea of Solitude sins a lot of this. To make his characters talk openly about their feelings instead of letting the subtlety of the narrative take over. That we, like Kay, are discovering these stories as they develop so that we draw our own conclusions about what has really happened in Kay’s life, with that necessary point of abstraction so that everyone can identify with the events of His own life.
The author is opening a door that not even your closest people usually open. But in Sea of Solitude, I think Geppert does not want your empathy, deep down. He seeks to write his personal diary, his own inner journey that serves as a catharsis and as answers to the questions and problems that have arisen in his life and that of his relatives. And making yourself a participant in this before the game begins, it is difficult not to see this Sea of Solitude more as a kind of documentary autobiography, than as an introspective journey of solitude. Kay travels this sea in your boat and you direct it at all times, knowing that the author is opening a door that even your closest people do not usually open.
A boat and a lantern
To travel this sea is, in general, an experience that seeks to mix calm and anguish. It is not that Sea of Solitude is a game deeply based on mechanics, but it is to be welcomed that it does not run away from them. Guided by light, we must make our way through the remains of a submerged city that hides the story of the people closest to the life of Kay, now turned into monsters, like the protagonist herself.
Sea of Solitude cannot be considered a challenge. The most critical moments come at the beginning when we have to flee from a sea monster and swim across the water before it catches us. We will also have to deal with some platforms to be able to advance through this half-submerged city or dodge some enemies that do not allow us to move forward. Although the game tries to vary these mechanics in each well-differentiated part to keep things interesting, the truth is that they never end up taking off or being the true center of attention, which monopolizes the story and the message it intends to convey at all times.
This city surrounded by an eternal ocean is very attractive and it is evident that we have made an effort that our movements, sailing in the small boat or on foot, are fluid. Knowing short, perhaps, has chosen to fill the scenarios of bottles with a message inside or pigeons that we have to scare, but they are still a small collection system more than any kind of expansion of the narrative of the game. Not even the messages inside the bottles really help to expand the story, which is always told in the main sequences.
There are moments in the Sea of Solitude with which I have really connected, and many of them have been the most subtle and least directed. During the development of our journey through this sea of solitude, we will see change the scene of a splendid day bathed by the sun to darkness that marks the monochrome image. But many times we can see in the game that this light or darkness is no more than a bubble, and when the camera is inserted inside it makes us see everything with positivity or negativity. Outside of that bubble, however, the outside world can be otherwise completely different. This, without needing words, I find a message much more powerful and universal than when Geppert tries to speak to us literally, telling step by step his emotional journey.
Sea of Solitude is, therefore, an introspective journey of its author and a test, if necessary, of the cathartic that art can be to deal with personal conflicts. The trip is so personal and concrete that, rather than finding a space to feel identified, it creates a kind of emotional voyeurism to the most private of a human being. But perhaps it is so, seeing it under a perspective completely external to us and without personal implications, the only way to understand the truth that lies behind the solitude of the soul.
Sea of Solitude is a journey through the conflicts and problems that the author has experienced throughout her life. It is a reflection on loneliness that, at times, can be too explicit without giving rise to subtlety or to the player participating in the experience. Its different chapters are made up of simple mechanics, but they try to vary everything possible, bringing the experience closer to exploration and platforms. Simple work and, above all, very personal.
- The beauty of the colors and some of the scenarios that we travel on the trip.
- A look without a filter to the emotions of the author.
- The game mechanics can become too simple.
- What we are told is sometimes too literal, with little involvement of the player.