Deaf Game Review – Solo: Islands of the Heart

Reviewed on PS4, review copy provided courtesy of Merge Games.

Solo: Islands of the Heart Deaf Accessibility
6 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, subtitles are large and easy to read, music mechanic is presented visually
Cons
Not a single one!
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

I was not ready for this game, folks. Not ready at all. I started it up and aww, cute! I can be a round little cartoon person who struts around with their little backpack! AND just look at these gender options!

Player character gender selection screen, male, female, or non-binary.
Romance gender selection options, male, female, non-binary, and any.

They tell you from the start to make choices based on your real life experiences for the best experience. They ask you the name of your one true love. So I ended up with a boat named Susan and folks, I did not have my best experience. What I had was an experience of crying, and then more crying, and then more after that. I did enjoy petting the little dog that looked like a little bumble bee in his sweater though.

Don’t get me wrong, this game is phenomenal and I couldn’t put it down, but I would advise that you sort your shit out and make sure you’re not still dealing with the death of your one true love, before you, too, find yourself in a boat named Susan, just sitting on the swing in the game for an hour, doing nothing, just because Susan’s ghost is sitting there beside you while you sit and sob. I was not ready.

But I have gathered myself and I have here for you a Deaf/hoh accessibility review!

I will admit, after the title screen and the gender selection screens, I did not have high hopes about the subtitles being legible. The text on those first screens is impossible to read!

But I was wrong! The Deaf/hoh accessibility is fantastic in Solo. There’s no spoken dialogue and every presentation of dialogue in the game is nice and big and easy to read:

Player character talking to NPC, image illustrates large size of the subtitles.
Dialogue choice screen with clear, legible text on different colored backgrounds to indicate the speaker.

You also play music with your little guitar that you carry in your backpack and it’s presented visually as well! (And your dog friend digs it too.)

That’s about all there is to the game in terms of Deaf/hoh accessibility. Everything is presented visually and it’s super clear and easy to read (except for the starting screens).

This is a simple and lovely (albeit very sad for me, but that’s my problem) game that is wonderfully accessible to Deaf and hoh players.

See menu screenshots below:

Game options menu.
Controller layout
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Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com

Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com