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Islands of Insight

Online shared world puzzle game Islands of Insight is getting an offline mode

Released on PC this February, Behaviour Interactive and Lunarch Studios’ puzzle game, Islands of Insight, was built around one key premise: it’s set in an online, shared world, where players will solve puzzles together and alongside each other. It means that, as you wander around its beautiful, puzzle-filled landscapes, you’ll come across other players doing the same thing as you. The idea is you can team up with friends, or simply enjoy existing in a busy world alongside like-minded people.

I’m guessing, however, that the vision shared by Behaviour and Lunarch hasn’t quite panned out as they hoped. The studios have announced that they’re working on an offline mode for Islands of Insight, allowing players to engage with the game without other people around them.

It doesn’t sound like the original, online version of the game is going anywhere: in the press release, shared today, it repeatedly refers to this new update as an offline mode, which we assume will exist alongside the online mode.

For me, the joy of Islands of Insight is simply its puzzles; I don’t really care if other players are around or not. It doesn’t add anything to my experience. And so, an offline mode is definitely appealing, then, because I can simply focus on doing my thing without randos wandering in and out of my space.

In fact, when I reviewed Islands of Insight, one of my biggest complaints was that the shared world element felt “underbaked and unnecessary”. I clearly wasn’t alone, with Behaviour and Lunarch saying the move to an offline mode has come from “responding to player feedback”, and “the desire for a more flexible gaming experience,” according to the press release.

It’s an update I’m glad about, then, but I still can’t help feeling a little disappointed and sad that the developers feel the need to move away from their original goal. Still, if it makes Islands of Insight more appealing to more players, I’ll take it: the focus here should have always been on the puzzles, not on the social, multiplayer aspects. And the puzzles are excellent.

Island of Insight’s offline mode won’t be arriving immediately, however. The developers are keen to point out that turning a game designed to be a social experience into a solo-focused journey is no easy task, but we can expect it to be released “in the coming months”.

If you fancy trying out Islands of Insight for yourself, it’s available now on PC — and there’s a free demo to try out on Steam.

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