Imagine if Zelda dungeons looked like Geometry Wars and sounded like Rez and you’d have at least some idea of what it’s like to play SOLAS 128, the new synthwave puzzle game from Edinburgh-based indie developer Amicable Animal OUT NOW for PC and Nintendo Switch.
In SOLAS 128, players explore the complicated, interconnected circuitry of a mysterious machine by redirecting beams of light in an effort to get it up and running again. What the machine does or why it’s powered down we don’t know, but we do know that something alien and hostile has found its way inside and is intent on causing chaos.
Like all great puzzle games, SOLAS 128 takes a simple idea and gradually adds layers of complexity until it becomes something that’s still easy to understand but deviously tricky to solve. As players journey deeper inside the machine, they’ll encounter various tools to manipulate the light beams, like mirrors, filters and prisms.
In the soothingly-narrated trailer, we see the game’s creator Tom Methven use mirrors to combine a red and green beam together, creating a yellow beam that then activates a corresponding yellow-coloured switch. Later, we see him use prisms to break the beam back down to its separate colours, Dark Side of the Moon-style.
Where the Zelda aspect comes in is the way that SOLAS’s puzzles are connected. Like a classic Zelda dungeon, SOLAS’s machine is split into rooms which the player views one at a time. Solving the puzzle in one room unlocks the door to a new one.
However – also like Zelda – puzzles can often carry over between rooms, and your actions on one screen might be essential to finding the solution on the following one. There’s even a world map to help trace your journey through the machine’s many neon corridors, suggesting there’ll be some good old Zelda backtracking on the cards and plenty of secrets areas to discover.
While colour clearly plays a central role in SOLAS 128, Amicable Animal has designed the game to be colour-blind friendly from day one, using distinctive icons to ensure the game is legible to all. They’ve also included a hint system, which should help prevent too many shattered mice or joy-cons.
Whether you’re an enigma efficianado, love exploring or just want hype beats to puzzle to, Amicable Animal’s got your back. So, turn on your brain, turn up your sub-woofer and download SOLAS 128, OUT NOW on Steam and Nintendo Switch.