Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering Chants of Sennaar by developer Rundisc:
Chants of Sennaar (The Explanation)
Chants of Sennaar is a unique walking-simulator-style game that incorporates puzzling language to uncover similar interpretations of hieroglyphs. The story of Chants of Sennaar is one of mystery where you, the traveler, must unravel the hidden nature of the tower’s language. The People of the Tower, as they are known, speak in a language unknown to you. Through their gestures and the world around you, you must figure out what is being said.
You start off waking from a slumber in a world that is vivid with hues of orange, red, and yellow. As you walk along the pathway, you come across a signpost showing you symbols. It is up to you, the traveler, to assign meaning to the symbols using the Switch’s keyboard to replace the icons with words. There is a level of puzzling when it comes to how you interpret the symbols, as well as how you interact with people in the world.
Your character also has a journal that keeps track of symbols. If you match the symbols with the illustrations correctly you unlock the ability to understand the words. For instance, early in the game I had to figure out a puzzle revolving around switches that were either open or closed, with water pouring through them. When I successfully completed the puzzle the water level dropped and I was able to move on through the castle.
As you meet others and learn more symbols your journal will fill up with more illustrations that you will need to map the correct symbol to. Along the way, you have conversations with people and they will also add symbols to your journal which you need to learn and understand. In the market, I met a young person who wanted to play hide and seek with me. Figuring out what they were trying to say to me allowed me to uncover a secret and unlock a new portion of the castle grounds where there was a temple, marketplace stores, and more.
Chants of Sennaar isn’t the only game like this that has you learning an ancient or secret language. It is the first of its kind that I have played. I really enjoy the minimalist world design with bright colors and hard lines. The design of the characters and the challenge of learning and figuring out what the glyphs mean is intriguing to me.
I will say that I found myself having to do a bit of backtracking and navigating the areas to do some sleuthing as it pertains to understanding what is going on and how to solve the puzzles. Overall, if you are someone like me who enjoys a good puzzle game and feels ‘smart’ by figuring out what the developers are trying to teach you, Chants of Sennaar, will surely scratch that inquisitive itch you have. This game gets a Jonlike seal of approval from the Miketendo64.com team.
Chants of Sennaar (The Gameplay)
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Puzzle, Adventure
No. of Players: 1 (Single System)
Release Date: NA/EU: September 5, 2023
File Size: 698 MB