24/10/2018

🌄 Review: Seers Isle "An interactive novel with a westernised, Celtic bent" 🌄 #GameDev #IndieGame

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Game Title: Seers Isle
Developer: Nova-Box
Platform Reviewed: PC (Steam)
Seers Isle follows the story of a group of travellers attempting to work their way to the top of a mysterious island in order to gain the assistance of the strange beings that reside there to aid them in their various personal predicaments. 
As they work their way through the story, the player can, at certain points direct the action one way or another to various extents which shapes the direction of the tale and dictates the fates of those involved.

As an interactive visual novel, Seers Isle gets a lot right, the visuals are well-realised and engaging, the music is lilting and the pacing and overall length feels balanced. However, the story, whilst being a solid, if simple tale of a group of adventurers thrown together and forced to work as a team through clashing personalities as they get closer to their goal, didn’t engage me enough to want to play through multiple times in order to see every possible permutation of the story.
Split over seven chapters, the focus flips between characters, including an initially unseen narrator who guides the story. My issue with interactive visual novels is always the same, I make the choices that I feel suit the current situation, so when I work through the game again, it feels unnatural to make the opposite choices, just to see what happens. 
It’s even worse when I play games with a character that I’m familiar with, such as the Tell Tales Batman series as then I make the decisions that I feel the character would, pretty much taking out my personal choices completely! The reason I’m mentioning this is that when I was playing through Seers Isle, whilst I was immersed enough to complete the game, I don’t think that I would spent several more hours going through every choice, although there is the ability to do so if you are a completionist.
The translation and localisation of the text is well-done with no typos or spelling errors throughout as far as I could see, which really helps as bad localisation can completely take any inflection or nuance out of games in this genre, reliant as they are on story-telling and text. The story is told without voice actors, which allows the player to imagine how each character sounds, which I personally prefer. I did however feel that the story quite often pushes you in one specific direction quite a lot with the lead-up to the choice in the narrative feeling weighted towards one side. The characters, whilst all having different backgrounds and personalities also felt somewhat one-dimensional in some instances, although the relatively tame nature and pacing of the game felt well-designed as it meant that each chapter felt like a separate scene as opposed to bleeding into one block of meandering text filled with artificial padding.
Summary
In summary, Seers Isle is a fun story to play through and only takes a few hours. The great graphics, solid tempo and enjoyable (if straightforward) story go well with the gentle sound track and would perfectly suit a glass of wine to casually pass the evening away.
However, the story isn’t one that will particularly stick with you for long afterwards and the characters aren’t vivid enough to really warrant multiple playthroughs. 
I enjoyed my few hours with Seers Isle and preferred its more casual approach to more dense fayre but I can’t imagine the game would appeal to seasoned veterans of these sorts of games.

💧❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️💧
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)