Deaf Game Review – Sea of Solitude

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Sea of Solitude Deaf Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 10
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 10
  • Visual Cues - 9.2
  • Controller Vibration - 10
Above scores were automatically converted from 0-6 scale to a 0-10 scale.

I’m not going to tell you a thing about Sea of Solitude. It’s such a good game that I don’t want to spoil any part of this gem. The story it tells is one I can relate to more than I’d really care to admit and if you were a fan of the emotional story of Gris, Sea of Solitude may well be right up your alley.

On the mobility side of things, it’s a fairly simple game to play with your standard movement controls (on console) but unfortunately the controls aren’t remappable and you’ll be required to press and hold X to keep track of monsters and press and hold RT at several points throughout the game.

Controller options and layout menu

Fortunately the Deaf/hoh accessibility is much better!

Audio options menu

Players can adjust various volume settings and there are three subtitle text sizes to choose from, each showing a sample of the text right in the menu.

Game scene illustrating subtitle appearance

Shown above is the large subtitle setting and you can see that there’s a nice background so contrast is never a problem, and the speaker name is always included. The only issue (and it’s a very rare issue throughout the game) are instances of too much text (i.e. more than 2 lines) appearing on screen at once.

Game scene illustrating the lore text shown on screen

Throughout the game, you’ll come upon messages in a bottle to collect and unlike the subtitles, this text, though not spoken, can at times be difficult to read.

One of the brilliant features of this game is that nearly every important sound is replicated in controller vibration. Even the creepy water hands in the image above, while not loud, were paired with a subtle controller vibration.

The other very Deaf-friendly feature is that while you do have to keep track of monsters so as to not be eaten by them, you don’t do so by listening, you simply hold X and the camera will track the monster, leaving it for you to decide what is a safe distance for you to carry on.

Sea of Solitude is a fabulous game that tells a meaningful story in a short and interesting game and it was designed in a very Deaf/hoh accessible manner. This is one you won’t want to miss if you’re a fan of games that touch on the subject of mental health.

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Courtney Craven

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

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