Review: Seer’s Isle
‘Seers Isle’ is a narrative game, set in a fantasy version of medieval Northern Europe, where your choices impact the fate of a group of characters and your ultimate freedom. The game begins with a group of shaman apprentices setting foot on the shores of a sacred island to be initiated to magic. As they progress through the wilderness, looking for the “Seers,” their spirit-guides, they realize they’re not alone. Who is this strange horned woman they are seeing in their dreams?
In ‘Seers Isle’ your decisions are neither “good” nor “bad”. However, the sum of your choices always leads to different scenarios: it’s impossible to “lose” in ‘Seers Isle.’ The branching of the story opens different narrative hypothesis, shaping your adventure according to your choice. It’s important to note that ‘Seers Isle’ has multiple endings and achievements to unlock, I only played one complete story path, so your experience of the game may be different to mine and should be taken into consideration.
When playing the game and making your decisions, there are four symbols at the top centre of the screen: The Eye, The Hand, The Man and The Deer. With every decision you make, one or two of these symbols will glow and they each represent a different thing. For example, when The Deer lights up it means you’ve made the choice a good person would make, whereas The Hand represents more questionable decisions. Remember though, these decisions don’t lead to a “bad” or “good” ending, but they do affect your relationship with the characters and who becomes the natural protagonist, which ultimately effects the ending of the game.
Whereas other narrative games don’t do such a great job of making your choices seem important and natural, ‘Seers Island’ did an amazing job of this. No decision stood out as the “right” choice, which made decision making more genuine and exciting as I wouldn’t have a clue as to what the outcome of a situation would be. Usually I am the type of person who plays narrative game by picking all the “good” choices, however since they choices were presented in such a way that I didn’t know if it was the naturally “good” option, I ended up actually mostly choosing the more questionable decisions. For me personally, this made the game even more intriguing as it was new to me to make the questionable choices.
The plot itself was actually very well written! It left enough mystery for me to want to discover the answers, and unlike my review of ‘Along the Edge,’ at no point did I feel like random information was dumped onto me. I felt like I was discovering more of the storyline naturally and on my own, and at the end of the game I wasn’t left with any dying questions, or any massive plot holes. The only thing I wish I had learnt more of on my particular story path was about the Seers themselves, but at the same time I also like they are still shrouded in mystery to me, just like they are to the characters. Perhaps you learn more about them on a different path, but even if you don’t it’s not important that you do learn about them.
The background noises and music played throughout the game were so immersive and matched the tone of the particular scene so well, that it made the gameplay that much more enjoyable. I don’t know whether the story paths themselves are quite short, or if the game was so immersive that I seemed to finish the game quickly, but I finished my entire gameplay in a day. The music matches the fantasy theme of the game without being too in your face with it. It’s very melodic and enchanting that I would sometimes find myself just sat there listening to the melody.
The art style of all of the characters was very impressive. All of the characters were very diverse in race, gender and stature and all of the art styles matched the characters personality so well, without being stereotypical. Having such diverse characters in appearance and personalities made it easier to differentiate between them and which characters I “liked” but also helped with presenting the idea of what each of their particular clans are like and what they prioritise. Talking about the different clans, each of the characters backstories and clans were all unique and fleshed out, that when we didn’t get little snippets of information about someone’s clan or got a flashback, it felt like I was travelling between them all and seeing different ways of life.
An aspect that I enjoyed about the game was the fact you didn’t play as any of the shaman apprentices, but as the spirit trapped on the island. Although the travellers are the central focus of the story, they’re fates are not the end goal, it’s yours, but their decisions effect your final outcome so you intervene and make decisions for them, regardless if that is a choice that that character would make. It was nice to play a game as an ‘outsider’ but still being a huge player in the integral plotline.
Although I am not one for fantasy in general, (anyone I know will tell you this) and I didn’t expect much from ‘Seers Isle,’ the game thoroughly surprised me and I’m glad it did as I enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely be playing again to try and get a different ending and unlock more of the achievements. If you haven’t played this I highly recommend that you do.
5 out of 5 stars from me.
Review by Megan.