If what you’re about to read sounds a bit familiar it’s because it is. Last week I had written a review on a game classified as an “interactive graphic novel”. That game is called Along The Edge by game developer Nova-Box. Nova-Box appears to be on the way to becoming the developer king of narrative indie games. Originally released on PC in 2006, Along The Edge was just recently ported to the Nintendo Switch. Nova-Box has a more recent PC interactive graphic novel game in 2018’s Seers Isle. Seers Isle was recently ported to the Nintendo Switch as well. With both games coming from the same developer you’d think they’d both be a lot alike. Nova-Box has taken its formula used in 2006 and improved upon it to give us Seers Isle! Welcome to our review of Seers Isle for the Nintendo Switch!
Seers Isle is a visual, interactive novel set in a fantasy version of medieval northern Europe. In this “game”, if you can call it that, your choices slightly alter the mood and personality of the main character as well as her relationship with the rest of the group.
The story revolves around a group of young adults who travel to a remote island to undergo a series of trials set forth by “The Seers”. These Seers, who look like Fey, are purported to be mystical beings akin to nature spirits. The story revolves around the group’s journey, trek, trials, and group dynamics all within the context of passing the trials and becoming Shamans.
Being a true visual novel there isn’t a lot of traditional gameplay here. Your job is to read the text, select the “A” button to advance the story, and select a choice when prompted to. Your decisions affect the story’s outcome while having an effect on the main character. There are a few “improvements”, if you will, over Seers Isle‘s predecessor. For starters, you’ll end up making decisions for several members of the supporting cast, not just the main character. Additionally, the story text flows more like a traditional comic book. It’s a technique Nova-Box calls their “dynamic dialog system”.
In Seers Isle there are no wrong choices. However the sum of your choices leads to different scenarios, but there is no “losing” in this game. When you make a decision that affects the main character then one or more of the four symbols at the top of the screen will light up. These symbols have no clear meaning but they do help navigate in case you want to play more than once with different choices. As the total story lasts about four to five hours this might be an endeavor several people might enjoy trying.
Perfect For That Daily Commute
The game runs perfectly fine in handheld mode making this “novel” game a great companion on the train. Initially, in undocked mode, the text was smaller than I remembered from Along The Edge. After panicking I realized that there is an option under settings to enlarge the text, then I was a happy camper. The interface uses the “L” button to bring up a recap of the dialogue in the current chapter. There is also no manual saving, the game automatically saves so you can quit and re-enter at any point in the story.
Quibbles And Bits
There isn’t much to complain about in Seers Isle if you know what you’ve gotten yourself into. The biggest complaint is that you can’t go back in time and easily change a choice. You would need to replay the game from the start making all the same choices to get to the one you want to change. As mentioned earlier, the total story lasts about four to five hours so this might encourage you to go through it several times.
The story material won’t be everyone’s “goto novel” as it deals with some mystery, mysticism and fantasy that is certainly palatable for young adults. Even so, this interactive novel is one even non-gaming book readers should be able to enjoy if they can get their hands onto a Nintendo Switch!
Note: Our copy was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Along The Edge