Scéal: An Irish Folklore Adventure – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure game
Developer: Joint Custody
Publisher: Joint Custody
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Scéal: An Irish Folklore Adventure – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: Gorgeous game and music
Bad: I wish it was longer!
User Score
8.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Scéal: An Irish Folklore Adventure is a beautiful interactive story, which reveals the happenings around the death of a little girl as you play through the game. The game is story-driven and looks absolutely gorgeous, with great animations giving the impression that you play through a pop-up storybook come to life. The game is developed and published by indy developer Joint Custody. Scéal is available in seven different languages, one of which is Gaelic. 

Sceal logo

Story

Scéal is an interactive Celtic story. You play the ghost of a little girl on an island. You died, but you can’t remember how. During the game you try to reconstruct what happened. The game introduces a raven named Branna, who gives you the quest to search for three lost feathers. Branna is the guide of lost souls, and while searching for the feathers you will discover your name, uncover the story of your death, and finally be able to enter the afterlife.

Sceal screen 2

Graphics

The graphics of Scéal are very pretty: they look painted in watercolor, and get more detailed when your character gets near an object. The objects and characters in the game are two dimensional watercolor paintings and look like they are cut out of the pages of a storybook, but they are layered and moving in a three dimensional world. Houses and other objects around your character rise whenever you get close to them, and fall if you leave them behind. This is a great way of conveying the impression of a pop-up book in a three dimensional game world.

Sceal screen 1

Scéal has a day/night cycle and different seasons, well-illustrated by coloration which changes the whole feel of the setting. The storybook which you fill with the little girl’s memories and experiences during your gameplay is beautifully illustrated, with the illustrations slowly filling the pages each time you view a new page.

Music

The game has beautiful traditional Celtic music with song, which is sometimes happy, sometimes sad. The music fits the game very well, and really conveys the mood of the scene. The game is not narrated, but all narration you’ll need appears as text on the pages of the storybook.

Sceal book 1

Gameplay

Scéal: An Irish Folklore Adventure is classified as an adventure game, but basically it’s an interactive story. The gameplay of Scéal is pretty simple: you first need to paint buildings, then solve a puzzle or complete a task, and afterwards you collect your reward and then you’ll get a part of the story.

You move the girl’s ghost through the world by dragging her heart with the mouse, directing where she goes. At the beginning of each chapter you’ll travel around the island and encounter some locations you need to fill in with a paintbrush to make them detailed, and gaining a bit a memory and a page in the storybook. After you found all locations (marked on the map) the world around you will gain its details and the villagers appear. Most don’t see the ghost, but some you can interact with. Those are the ones you need to go to, to finish a task for them, earn a feather and gain a bit of memory back. The ghost of the girl transforms into different creatures with different skills to complete the tasks. The gameplay stays basically the same, but with a fresh new twist which fits the stage the story is in.

Sceal screen 3

The story has three endings you can discover, by choosing which memory you want to pursue. Each memory fills in a page in the storybook, and completing the storybook will not only grant you the complete story with all alternate endings in a book you can leaf through, but also a steam achievement.

Conclusion

Scéal is a beautiful game, which is perfect to relax. It only takes about an hour for one playthrough, and to get all endings you need to play through the game three times. It’s a simple story, told in a beautiful way, backed up by gorgeous graphics and music. Scéal shows that gaming can be a great medium for telling a classic fairytale in an interactive way.

Sceal map

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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Scéal: An Irish Folklore Adventure - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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