Chants of Sennaar was provided by Focus Entertainment for review. Thank you!
Chants of Sennaar is one of the games this year that I didn't expect to fall in love with, but because of its unique way of implementing puzzles and vibrant visuals, I was blown away. As the story goes, you are a lone wanderer who has been destined to reconnect the Peoples of the Tower and rediscover the language that has been lost, all while enjoying the fascinating universe that's inspired by the myth of Babel.
To do this, you will need to observe people, see what they are doing, and figure out what word relates to each symbol they use to explain what they are doing. As you speak to others and look at murals and paintings, you will catalog each symbol in your journal, which you will use to type in words that each could mean. The journal will have some drawings attached that will allow you to associate and try to match which symbols could mean what, but it's up to you to put them in yourself.
Chants of Sennaar does something magical with this gameplay. You have to walk around, observe what people are doing, and talk to them, manually type in the word that you think is associated with the symbol based on when and where it's used in the sequence, and try to create logical sentences that others could be using. You have to look at body language, actions, and the placement of each symbol in the sequence or sequences given. You can also try to figure it out from murals or paintings by figuring out what the picture could be about and then test it by finding someone using it.
All this is done in a gorgeous world that blew me away with its color and visual style. Pair this with a gameplay system that feels unique and engaging, and you have a wonderful game that feels as fresh as it does vibrant. It took me around 9-10 hours to beat, but that time was well spent and worth the price tag.
With how minimal the game is, I wasn't surprised to see that Chants of Sennaar didn't need any changes to be enjoyed at its fullest. In just booting up the game, I got a solid 60 FPS with around a 9W drain.
As far as accessibility goes, there are the standard options here. This includes controller selection, language changes, and audio adjustments. Some image settings allow you to change brightness and saturation, as well as an option called "Hatching." This will allow you to turn some background transparency on or off, making some backgrounds in menus easier to see:
There isn't any 16:10 resolution support, so there are black bars, but there is full controller and cloud save support. In some menus, text size can be a little on the small side, but nothing was unreadable to me. There are no options to increase the size either.
Chants of Sennaar is a fantastic puzzle game that tries something I haven't seen before and massively succeeds. With a gorgeous, colorful world, an addicting gameplay loop, and a short but sweet experience, I felt this was the perfect combination of a quality game I loved. It helps that the game runs flawlessly on the Steam Deck without any changes, making it a Best on Deck game. I can't recommend this game enough, so if you haven't yet, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Chants of Sennaar is a wonderfully crafted game that feels fresh, engaging, and is Best on Deck.