Islands of Insight review

by on February 13, 2024
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Release Date

February 13, 2024


Usually when I’m recommended a puzzle game I go in expecting something pretty basic. Maybe I’ll be faced with a grid of coloured blocks to get rid of, or have to solve a logic puzzle or two. Don’t get me wrong though, I really enjoy pondering over a puzzle as I relax and often this is just what I’m craving when I game. Islands of Insight isn’t like other puzzle games. Islands of Insight is a puzzle game that takes place in a massive open world full of other players, and is one of the most ambitious takes on the genre I’ve ever played.

Your role in Islands of Insight is that of a Seeker, who is tasked with exploring the titular islands and solving their many mysteries. There’s a whole lot of backstory to this bizarre and beautiful world, which can be uncovered by finding magic swirls that spew lore at you. If that’s your jam then Islands of Insight has you covered, but for those of us with less interest in finding out more you’re more than welcome to simply wander around clicking on things.

There are all sorts of puzzles to solve in Islands of Insight, but early on I spent most of my time with the logic grids. These boards of black and white tiles have specific rules you must follow, and unsurprisingly you need to use your logic to fill them in. Some grids feature numbers that dictate how many squares must be filled of a specific colour and boxed off, others are full of letters that need connecting with tiles. The rules get more complex as you go, and if you’ve ever enjoyed Sudoku or Picross you’ll be in puzzle heaven with them.

A screenshot of Islands of Insight

That’s only one of twenty four puzzle types that litter the landscape of the Islands of Insight, and they’re all completely different. Highlights of these include match three puzzles which require you to empty a familiar board of coloured tiles, cube rolling puzzles which involve rolling different shaped boxes around grids full of obstacles, and collections of pillars which can only be activated if you can see them all from where you’re standing.

Although there are plenty of puzzles which will exercise your logical thinking muscles, Islands of Insight also features a whole host of perspective puzzles to solve too. Perhaps you’ll notice a symbol drawn on some ruins that can only be seen in full if you look at it from a certain direction, or you’ll spot some floating orbs that could form a circle if you stood in the right location. The ability to switch from third to first person is key with these puzzles, and there’s nothing better than that moment when the lines match up and you realise you’re standing in the right place.

Maybe you’re the kind of gamer who just likes to scour every inch of an open world for collectables though. Well don’t worry, Islands of Insight has you covered too. Translucent cubes and arches are spread across every inch of the otherworldly environment, and finding them will reward you just as much as solving a puzzle. If blindly searching isn’t your idea of a good time then maybe you’d prefer to activate pillars that task you with finding five hidden objects in a small area, which sort of functions like a 3d hidden object game.

A screenshot of Islands of Insight

So at this point in the review you probably understand that Islands of Insight is full of different puzzles, but what’s the point of solving them? Well for the most part it’s to level up your character and gain sparks to unlock new abilities. The first of these you unlock is the ability to glide, which is essential for exploring hard to reach places. There are also upgrades that grant you bonus sparks for solving specific types of puzzles, or help recharge your hints faster if you find yourself waiting around for too long on the tougher puzzles. The idea of a skill tree full of upgrades in a puzzle game is pretty wild, and I loved the extra layer of progression it added.

There’s also a main quest in Islands of Insight, which sees you going to separate islands called enclaves full of specially curated puzzles (unlike the ones on the main island that refresh over time). Completing the puzzles in the enclaves reward you with the most important collectable of all, Mirabilis. Mirabilis are needed to unlock new sections of the map and activate all the puzzles within, so it’s essential to gather as much of it as you can.

There are loads of thoughtful puzzles and clever systems packed into Islands of Insight, but the open world is probably what I love most about the game. I’m not normally someone who cares much about exploring a huge (and I mean huge) environment, but when you can fly around and find puzzles in every nook and cranny that’s an entirely different story.

A screenshot of Islands of Insight

I also really appreciated how much help Islands of Insight is willing to give you when a puzzle stumps you. The hint system is incredibly kind, and you’re not punished for using it at all. Alongside this you can also get help from other players who are exploring the world too. I didn’t actually get much chance to test this out pre release, but even without anyone to lend a helping hand I always felt supported when faced with a particularly tricky logic grid.

Islands of Insight is a hugely ambitious open world puzzle game, packed full of different types of puzzle to solve. The world is a joy to explore, and gaining sparks and levelling up makes every minute you spend solving a tough perspective puzzle incredibly worthwhile. With over ten thousand puzzles to solve and the ability to do so with friends, Islands of Insight is a game I can’t imagine stopping playing any time soon.


So many different types of puzzle to solve
A massive world to explore that's a joy to navigate
Loads of meaningful skills to unlock
Plenty of options for assistance if you get stuck


The lore and backstory of the world is a bit dry
Some of the puzzles might not appeal to you

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Islands of Insight is one of the most ambitious puzzle games I've played, with a huge open world and progression hooks that make it essential.