Solitune by Rat King Entertainment is a short game about following your dreams and evolving. You control your character (whose nose has the same colour as her leggings) in 3rd person on her journey through a number of isometric offices. Each room offers another piece of the story told by the people you meet. I found it hard to dislike this game, but even if you do, it’s over before your coffee break is.
This game must either take place in the past or in a not so updated office possibly due to poor finances or a kind of Luddite view on things, because early in the game I heard the sound of what I could only identify as a matrix printer (possibly a dot matrix one). It’s a sound that evokes a few memories from growing up, although it’s probably not that important to the game other than for setting the scene, so, anyway, whatever that sound was, the sound design in this game gets the job done throughout — as well as the music.
You’ll get to the end in around 25 minutes — if you take it slow — so the game is pretty short. There are some very light clicking puzzles and they are mostly there to add to the storytelling — just like the visuals, which are well made and set the tone adequately like the rest of the game. It’s a game for when you want to get a bit of story and think about life a little, but not too hard or for too long.
The story is personal and sort of profound at the same time. The theme reminds me of (the much longer) The Search, but with a different approach (like saying “out of sight, out of mind” instead of “sequestration”). Solitune tells its story more like how a popularly minded professor might explain a complex theory to a layman. The finer details might get lost in the process, but at least the layman leaves the discussion feeling somewhat wiser.
The writing style is very informal, mimicking how people actually talk when running into each other doing the groceries or why not over a quick coffee at the office — sometimes to a fault, though. I’m guessing the writing was never properly proofread, supposedly because of time restraints¹.
The short tutorial at the beginning felt unnecessary: The mechanics aren’t that complicated and even the most inexperienced player would probably get it pretty soon. The time spent on that could have been spent on other things (like proofreading² 😛 ). The floor circles could have been replaced³ by actual objects to give the player more of a choice (or a better illusion of one) and let them feel more in charge.
If you want to escape the harsh reality of this world we live in for a short while, this game is there to let you have some low key fun.
¹I read on the developers’ website that many of their games were created for game jams.
²Yeah, now I’m doomed to repeat the same mistake, because every text complaining about proofreading will contain at least one typo. 😯
³Although I guess the circles do make some sense story-wise, but maybe the notion of the player “walking in circles” could have been conveyed some other way, like maybe having the carpet be worn down in a circular pattern or by letting the character walk in a circle until the player takes control and break them out of it.