Chants of Sennaar

released on Sep 05, 2023

In this game of adventure and enigmas where ancient languages are both the lock and the key, travel the endless steps of a prodigious labyrinth, multiply unexpected encounters and unveil the mysteries of a fantastic world inspired by the myth of Babel.

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Very impressed by this one. It's a fun puzzle adventure, but the way it all works as social commentary with pretty profound ideas on colonization, native land, and coexistence is a huge part of why this is so successful. It's a beautiful experience from top to bottom.
Deciphering all the glyphs to form a handful of different languages in different environments kept me fully enraptured the entire time. I will say that some environments were more challenging than others–that third area with the Bards who spoke like Yoda was actually pretty infuriating–but they were all equally fun to explore.
Easily one of my top indie games of 2023.
[Played on PlayStation 5]

That info would've saved at least an two hours, probably three, and would've had me rate the game a whole star better. It is really easy to miss interactable items, and it is misery to try and backtrack in this game because movement is just so slow.
The first language is easily the best one, so if you don't like that, the rest of the game won't help with that. The third language was misery for me because I missed some key interactables, but in general the languages themselves are fine. I'm not fond of their use of the Obra Dinn style confirmations because they make it too easy to guess at most words & enable brute force, but the only better system I can think of would've taken a lot more work, so it ends up a passable compromise. There are also mandatory stealth sections that do not belong in this game and only serve to make it worse.
The story in the background of the game is neat, not groundbreaking, but I've seen plenty worse in puzzle games.
There was a decent point in the middle there where I got pretty close to dropping it. The only thing that kept me from doing so was my brother's praise for the game. In the end though, I'm happy I got through it. Just remember to always be middle clicking and you'll have a much better time

One of the best games I've played this year. The art is beautiful, the puzzles are fun - not too hard and not too easy - and rely heavily on logic. Think Return of the Obra Dinn but with different languages. The story was intriguing - I always wanted to go on and find out what this cryptic world was all about. Great music as well.
I am not the biggest fan of the stealth sections but this is only a very minuscule complaint about this otherwise superb game.

A beautiful puzzle game about the importance of a unity of humanity through the language barrier.
You cannot say that the puzzle part is easy - it always makes you think and to pay attention. Some learning puzzles gave me the same dopamine hit comparable to what Outer Wilds once did. The game wants you to see the clues and analyse them, rather than hiding them from you. Chants of Sennaar feels.. friendly.
When you first arrive in a new region, you feel like a soggy wet stray kitten. But after studying just a couple of hieroglyphics through associative method, your confidence boosts you realise that this whole new place is not that scary as you thought at first..and youre eager to learn more about it and it's inhabitants and their language. And that is what makes core gameplay so great.
The visual style and the graphic design of fictional languages is gorgeous. Getting to know each region, it's people and their way of thinking, diving into their culture was a very fascinating and refreshing adventure.
Oh, and it warmed my heart so much to act as a translator between people who desperately needed to reach person at the other side of a screen... Hits differently for those who have friends speaking a foreign language much different than your own.
Minuses: the lack of a map, clumsy control of the main character and a bit too much of a slow backtracking, but to be honest even the sound of footsteps here is relaxing.
Loved it.

Nails the execution of its interesting concept. It’s legitimately cool meeting the different cultures and unraveling their stories as you learn to translate. I love the visuals.