There’s always one game at an event like PAX East that ends up being the port of calm in the chaotic storm that is the expo hall, a welcome rest for my inner introvert that just can’t anymore with the number of people in the Boston Convention Center.
This year, that game was Sole, a calming and beautifully realized adventure game about bringing light into a world of darkness.
Sole is an abstract adventure game where you play as the only source of light in a world shrouded in darkness. Wander through uninhabited environments, painting the land with light as you uncover its mysterious past. Explore the remnants of great cities and discover the history of an ancient civilization on your journey to restore life to an abandoned world.
First and foremost, Sole is absolutely gorgeous. much of the environment may be shrouded in darkness as you explore, but the glimpse you get are beautifully realized, created in a abstract, painterly aethetic that feels like it is always coming into focus, but never quite getting there.
Sole also does an amazing job of making you feel lost and small, without making that overwhelming. You play as a small globe of light, let out into a massive world, shrouded all in darkness, and the experience can feel a bit intimidating. Then, the amazing soundtrack starts to build with its soaring strings and gentle piano, becoming a point of calm to cling to.
There’s little bits of storytelling scattered throughout the world as you go to: a mural here, an abandoned camp there, and multiple ruins to float your way through, and i get the distinct sense that you’ll be unable to uncover some semblance of explanation of what plunged this world into darkness as you progress.
It certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but fans of Journey and Abzu should absolutely put Sole on their ‘Must Play’ list. It’s meditative, calming, and reflective, and from the brief preview I saw at PAX, looks to be hiding a bit of mystery in it’s inky darkness as well.