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Sceal Review

Sceal Review

Going into this game I had absolutely no preconceptions toward it. Sceal is quite simply an interactive story. Made up almost entirely of narrative, it's one that sort of edges into the industry by technicality alone. The design was interesting, reflecting the historic aesthetic of the Celts, with just enough nostalgia to make me think of old, text based games. That being said, it was less pseudo-medieval and more historical. This was definitely a niche pick.

It seemed to me the key influencers in the design of this game were the artists and writers. At a first glance, it resembled a quaint patchwork of rural artistry; with the special effects of a pop-up book, there was something so harmless about the feel of this game. I was impressed with the clear underlying talent that produced the work, using a day and night cycle to experiment with palettes. All of the right ideas were there, and on paper, it probably would have stood far more impressive, but it was quite clear that there existed little experience with digital formats. Perhaps a few years of added practise and it would have left a proper impression. This was made evident through the clearly skilful illustrations and painted backdrops, yet lacklustre animated pieces. I found myself a little disappointed with the narrative; this game seemed to be boasting some sense of storytelling as its crowning jewel, yet I became indifferent to the progression and result of it. It was one of those: “I get what you were going for, but no.” types.

It is unfortunate that I have more to say about the artwork than the gameplay. In short: there was none. In detail, I spent about 10-20 minutes completing the game, your sole objective was to drag the protagonist around the island, paint a couple of buildings by flourishing your cursor rapidly across them, talk to a few people and find a few things, then choose an ending. Not choose as in, sculpt your consequences from your actions throughout the game, you literally chose an ending. You followed the linear instructions of the game and then chose an ending. Another indication that there was little to no experience here on the production end of things. I honestly wish I could say more about it. Perhaps this game could be viewed in an entirely different light if we assume it was designed for children. Or maybe my bar is just set too high.

My final thoughts are that I appreciate the effort and difficulty of breaking into such a new area. I did not enjoy playing the game, however, and were it not for my desire to support aspiring artists, I would not spend money on this game. With all of this in mind, I still believe the developers should keep trying, as I see some promise in their concepts, but if this was their first try, which I believe to be the case, then it's not that surprising that it didn't land.

3.00/10 3

Sceal (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is unenjoyable, but it works.

My final rating is solely for the art, I'd be generous to really call this a game, but it has its charm.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Jennifer Rose Richards

Jennifer Rose Richards

Staff Writer

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Nathan_908 - 11:15am, 27th January 2017

Sounds like it could be a decent title if they were to release a second game.. I agree that it's probably really difficult trying to break a game into an area like this though!