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Video Game / Sea of Solitude

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Sometimes, loneliness is the worst monster of them all...
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Sea of Solitude is a Video Game developed by German studio Jo-Mei Games and published by Electronic Arts as part of its EA Originals program. The game was released on July 15, 2019 for Playstation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.

The story follows Kay, a girl who awakens to find herself in the body of a monstrous humanoid creature. In order to discover why she has turned into a monster and how she can return to normal, she explores an abandoned city submerged in water while also avoiding other dangerous creatures that inhabit the city and lurk in the shadows.

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Sea of Solitude contains the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's never made entirely clear exactly what Jack is suffering from. All we do know is that he admits to Kay that he doesn't like being around people anymore and every time he wakes up in bed, he asks himself if he should get out of bed at all, heavily implying suicidal tendencies.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Exactly how did the people Kay meets during the game become monsters? Why do they not seem to care about the fact that they're no longer human? Also, exactly what is that island that Kay eventually finds?
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Kay's progress is often impeded by a giant woman with a shell, though she is more often hunted by the giant sea monster that lurks in the water whenever its raining.
  • Break the Cutie: To say that Kay goes through emotional hell would be putting it lightly. In order for her to understand exactly what caused people to turn into monsters in the first place, she has listen to events in their past, both the good and the bad.
  • Character Development: Kay and the woman in the shell both go through this as the game progresses.
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    • Originally, Kay was so caught up with her love life that she ultimately didn't pay attention to her little brother Sunny, who was being bullied relentlessly at school. This helps her realize how horrible she's been and does her best to fix her broken relationship, which also leads her to try and help the other monsters she runs into along the way.
    • The woman in the shell is a giant monster who constantly berates Kay when they first met, putting her down and calling her out for being so selfish. After Kay helps Sunny return to normal and decides to help the parents, she's still antagonistic but gives Kay a Jerkass Has a Point speech in trying to tell her that, while she is trying to help, there's a possibility she'll just make things worse. By the time Kay encounters Jack and tries to help him, the woman in the shell is desperately trying to tell Kay to stop and realize what she's doing to herself, having now realized that Kay has changed for the better, but she has to learn to Know When to Fold 'Em.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When trying to help the people who have become monsters or get the woman in the shell out of her way or free Glowy from the shadow-like things that capture it repeatedly, Kay has to absorb the shadows into her backpack like some kind of vacuum. The further she progresses in the story, the bigger it gets. The backpack eventually explodes and the shadows are now surrounding Kay and weighing her down near the end of the game, which leaves her at the mercy of the Sea Monster.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Kay, who looks quite adorable even as a demonic-looking monkey of some kind.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: With the exception of the woman in the shell and the sea monster, almost every monster you come across isn't necessarily malicious. This even extends to the woman in the shell herself, since she's only trying to stop Kay from hurting herself by trying to return everyone else to normal.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Kay almost crosses when she realizes what caused the parents to become so angry towards each other. Her mother Vivienne wanted to have kids to bring joy to her husband, but Adam wasn't ready despite having said on their first date that Vivienne was the woman he could imagine having children with, which makes Kay believe that her birth is the reason why their relationship fell apart. Thankfully, her parents do eventually manage to make up when she sees them back in their human form and with Sunny, now clearly happy.
    • Unlike the last time, Kay crosses it when Jack pushes her away. She's desperate to try and help Jack, but he refuses her help because he honestly believes she can't help him with his Ambiguous Disorder and instead thinks it would be better for the two of them to stay away from each other. Unfortunately for him Kay Hates Being Alone and hasn't been able to join her family on the boat, and him pushing her away, which was understandable, finally broke her and led to all of the pent-up negative emotions she had been collecting in her backpack to explode and weigh her down. Its only thanks to the woman in the shell and the Girl that she manages to pull herself out from the horizon.
  • Find the Cure!: Kay's major goal is to find a way to return her body to normal. Along the way, after having helped Sunny, she decides to return other monsters she meets back to normal also. With the exception of Jack, she succeeds in restoring her family to normal.
  • Hates Being Alone: This is Kay's absolute worst fear, and the reason why she became a monster. She ended up pushing both her boyfriend and family away from her because of her own insensitivity. Part of her motivation to restore everyone back to their human form is to try to fix her broken relationships and bring them back together, though she becomes distressed when after returning her family back to normal, she can't hear their voices anymore and can't get near the boat without being in severe pain.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Kay's done this on two occasions.
    • Sunny was being bullied at school by his "friends" simply because to them he looked and sounded like a girl and tried to tell her, but each time she was distracted with texts from her boyfriend. The worst possible moment was when Sunny tried to say it might have been better if he just died and let his friends kill him as they said they would and tried to get her input, only for her to laugh because Jack sent her a funny dog picture.
    • The tense moments between her and Jack are Played With in large part due to her not understanding what was going through Jack's mind and he actively trying to push her away out of fear he would hurt her.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids at Sunny's school are needlessly cruel, as they took practically every opportunity to torment him while pretending to be his "friends."
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: This becomes a major theme later on in the game. Even if you have the best intentions, you have to know when to stop. The woman in the shell tells Kay that, while trying to help mend the parents' broken relationship is all well and good, there's a good chance she'll just make things worse and would be better for her to stop. The problem is that Kay doesn't want to stop, not even when her boyfriend Jack tells her to because he wants to try and figure things out on his own and its better for them to stay apart.
  • Light Is Good: Glowy, The Girl and the children Kay encounters while trying to help the parents are incredibly helpful, with Glowy showing her the good and bad moments of the monsters she is trying to help and The Girl already becoming an incredibly fast friend of hers. The children also help Kay collect the pieces of memory Glowy scatters about and clearly enjoy being around her.
  • Literal Split Personality: The Girl, the woman in the shell and the Sea Monster are all parts of Kay. The Girl is her former vibrant and cheerful self, the woman in the shell is her feelings of self-loathing and the sea monster is the embodiment of her depression and loneliness. At the end of the game, Kay reunites with all three aspects of herself and regains her human form.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Zigzagged. The Girl (actually Kay's positive feelings) is also trying to help Jack, who she clearly cares deeply for. When Kay accidentally pushes him away in her attempt to try and figure out what caused him to become a monster, the Girl becomes angry and undergoes some very disturbing Body Horror. Her face loses its eyes and her mouth grows so wide she develops More Teeth than the Osmond Family and her raincoat turns purple. Thankfully, she gets better.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Kay quickly realizes just what a horrible person she was when she discovers that her brother was being bullied by his so-called "friends" and tried to tell her, only for realize that she didn't actually listen to him and was more focused on texting with her boyfriend. Needless to say, she was horrified.
    • The father is understandably horrified when he accidentally hurts Kay in a fit of anger. Not that you could blame him, since Kay is his daughter.
  • Parents as People: When Kay encounters her parents and sees what made them into the monsters they are now, it becomes clear that their relationship was strained after Kay was born, especially since the mother apparently rushed to have children to try and make her husband happy. While their relationship isn't exactly picture perfect, both do agree to keep their personal problems away from their children. Unfortunately, even that agreement doesn't last long when the father's job becomes so demanding he starts breaking the promises he made to his wife and children and heavily affects the children as well as the mother's mental health.
    Mother (Vivienne): I don't know! I don't know! I DON'T KNOW!
  • Please Don't Leave Me: When Jack asks Kay to leave him alone so he can try and work out his own problems, Kay refuses and begs him not to leave her, desperately trying to find a way to help him. He resorts to pushing her away, which ultimately leaves her at her lowest point and finally breaks down.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: With the exception of Jack, all monsters Kay encounters in the abandoned town have red eyes. The only ones that aren't dangerous are Kay herself, Sunny and the parents.
  • Scenery Porn: When its sunny, the city looks absolutely gorgeous in no small part to the game's artstyle.
  • Sea Monster: One of the dangers Kay faces while trying to progress is a monster fish that can and will gobble her if it catches her in the water.
  • Sequel Hook: A post-credit scene shows the boat Kay was on, stranded amid the middle of the sea during a storm when a black figure emerges from it. It's implied to be Jack, who is about to embark on his own journey to try and mend his own issues just as Kay did.
  • Sunken City: The setting. Its eventually revealed that the city is actually made of places that Kay's friends and family have all been to at some time or another. The water level also rises and drops at certain points, allowing Kay to explore the city.
  • Was Once a Man: With the exception of the shadows that Kay encounters, which are all manifestations of the respective traumas people have endured, the shadowy monsters she meets were all human once and decides to restore some of them back to their original forms. The only person she fails in restoring is her boyfriend.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The woman in the shell repeatedly attempts to stop Kay from trying to return the monsters back to their human forms, as the process to return them back to normal has her see each person's trauma that led to them becoming a monster in the first place. And some of those traumas are so gut-wrenching to hear that Kay says several times that she wishes she hadn't heard them. Considering the woman in the shell is actually Kay's feelings of self-loathing that realizes that Kay's literally risking her mental health trying to fix other people's problems and will utterly break if she continues down this path.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Well, more like an evil wolf in a noble wolf's clothing, but you get the gist. Its also Played With because the last monster Kay finds is a genuinely nice person. The problem is that he's suffering from an Ambiguous Disorder and realizes its hurting his relationship with Kay, so he purposely distances himself from her.
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