Seers Isle – Review
Follow Genre: Visual Novel
Developer: Nova-box
Publisher: Nova-box
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Seers Isle – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Beautiful artwork
Bad: On the expensive side
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

With Seers Isle and Along the Edge, developer Nova-box is bringing an intriguing looking pair of visual novels to the Switch. We’re taking a look at Seers Isle today, with a review of sister title Along the Edge coming soon. Admittedly, Seers Isle looks like the more interesting title of the two, but should one judge a visual novel by its cover?

Story

As you’d expect from a visual novel, it is almost impossible to say anything about Seers Isle without giving away spoilers. We’ll avoid giving away major plot points here, but be aware that there are some minor spoilers in our review. Set in a fantasy world inspired by Viking-age Europe, Seers Isle tells the story of a group of seven adolescents as they embark on a journey to Seers Isle. Each of the seven characters has their own motivation but they all share the same goal: to complete the trials that await them on this mysterious island and become a shaman of their tribe. They are not alone on the island though: the island is inhabited by the child-like Seers. The enigmatic Rowan, a young girl with antlers, also watches the group from the shadows. Rowan and the group share a deeper connection than either of them realize. 

Seers Isle puts a heavy focus on the characters of the group and Rowan, although not every character receives an equal amount of attention. Depending on the choices you make throughout the story, you’ll delve deeper into two or three characters’ backstories, as well as experience their vision of what would happen should they fail their quest. The story focuses on four main party members, with each having a dedicated ending. The other three party members take on different roles, with one destined to die, one leaving the party and the last one revealing their true colors near the game’s final act. There is plenty of death in the game and no character is safe from an untimely demise. The story is built up in such a way that a restart makes sense. In this way, Seers Isle is structured like an infinite loop, with Rowan trying to break through a predetermined set of events. The character-heavy focus means that there isn’t a lot of time devoted to the eponymous Seers and the mysteries that surround the island itself. 

Graphics

The story is accompanied by a set of illustrations depicting the events encountered on the journey. For the most part, the artwork is top-notch, especially when it comes to the game’s environments. It’s obvious though, that these illustrations aren’t all from a single artist and there is a noticeable difference in styles throughout the game. Character portraits in dialogue scenes are less detailed than some of the more action-filled scenes. This is the result of these portraits making an appearance in a variety of settings and against a multitude of backgrounds. Fully illustrated scenes, on the other hand, can incorporate more elaborate lighting effects and background blending. Despite the game’s gorgeous visuals though, don’t expect to see any animated scenes. The entire story is told through still images. One thing we should point out here is that the game includes uncensored adult content so the game isn’t suitable for all ages. 

Sound

There isn’t a lot that can be said about Seers Isle’s soundscape. There is no narration or any form of voice acting present, nor are there sound effects. What you do get is a soundtrack filled with appropriate music that befits the fantasy setting of the game. The melodies are haunting and mysterious for the most part of the story, reflecting the bewildering nature of the island. The music also reflects the more intense action scenes of the story and does a good job of setting the overall atmosphere when necessary.

Gameplay

As Seers Isle is a visual novel, the gameplay is very limited. This is inherent to the genre, of course. Seers Isle’s level of player interaction is reduced to making choices throughout the story. There is a little more depth to these choices than what you see on the surface level and the game fails at explaining the impact of how your decisions alter the outcome of the story.

The foundation of decision-making is touched upon when starting a new playthrough, as each choice relates to one of four symbols. Whenever you make a choice, the corresponding symbol will light up. The sum of your choices will decide which one of the game’s four endings you will encounter. You’ll be able to see which parts of the story you’ve seen as every choice will also count as an achievement. Achievements can be viewed in a gallery accessible from the game’s menu screen. The game never really explains the significance of the symbols when it comes to determining the story’s end and instead expects you to figure this out on your own. 

This can be frustrating when playing through Seers Isle multiple times in a row, as the choices you make early in your playthrough seem to have very little impact on the flow of the story, especially during the first half. We’ll try to give an example without giving away any major spoilers: very early on in the game, Brandon, who resembles a young Mel Gibson in Braveheart, injures his leg. Shortly after that, the group has to choose between two routes: either climb a steep stairwell or patch up a boat and try to sail towards an easier path. Choosing the stairwell forces Brandon to stay behind on the beach, whereas the easier path allows him to tag along. However, no matter which route you choose, you’ll end up on the same path after clearing the obstacle you chose, the difference being whether Brandon is still in your party. Shortly after that, however, he leaves the group anyway and returns to the beach. Both choices end up having the same general outcome. The difference is in which symbols accumulate points towards the story’s end.

A playthrough of Seers Isle will take you about an hour, depending on how fast of a reader you are. With four different endings, as well as a few minor achievements, you’re looking at approximately six hours worth of content here. The game continuously autosaves, so you cannot go back after making a choice but as the game indicates, you cannot “lose” at playing Seers Isle. While this means that you’ll have to restart the game completely if you want to see other outcomes, the game does come with both a fast-forward feature, as well as a story log so you can reread any dialogue you accidentally skipped. 

Conclusion

Seers Isle delivers a character-driven story that is shrouded in mystery, with mixed results. Choices don’t always feel impactful and not every character is fleshed out to the same extent. The visual novel’s biggest flaw is perhaps its price, given the amount of content that is presented here. Seers Isle is definitely worth a look, if only for the gorgeous artwork, but we recommend waiting for a sale before you dive into this one. 

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Seers Isle - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


2 Comments

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Along the Edge – Review
    October 28, 2020, 11:01 pm

    […] the Edge is a visual novel game released on the Switch simultaneously with Seers Isle, a title we’ve looked at recently. Both novels come to us from developer Nova-box and although […]

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  2. 3rd-strike.com | Across the Grooves – Review
    November 23, 2020, 12:01 am

    […] seems like it was yesterday that we took a look at Nova-box’s visual novels Seers Isle and Along the Edge on the Switch, but the French studio is already offering up a new title. […]

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