Seers Isle Review
An enigmatic and ever-evolving narrative experience.
Many games promise choice, but no game can offer truly limitless choice. Games can only attempt to create the illusion of choice. Many fail to do so effectively. I’m happy to say that Seers Isle is not one of those games.
Nova-box’s Seers Isle is an interactive graphic novel about an expedition of seven individuals who arrive on an island to complete a trial and become seers. Its story is remarkable for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it’s well-written. This shouldn’t still be remarkable, but it is. Seers Isle’s world-building is accomplished and concise, and its characters are memorable. Seers Isle chooses a distinctive Norse-inspired aesthetic that’s wonderfully woven into every aspect of the game, including its deep mythology, its character designs, and its sense of spirituality.
Seers Isle’s plot is incredibly complex and ever-evolving. It begins simply enough but expands and continues expanding until its very end. In this way, its story structure is reminiscent of the Zero Escape series, with similar themes of fate, reality, and perception that underline the choice-centered qualities unique to game storytelling.
This is perhaps the strongest aspect of Seers Isle. I never knew where its narrative was headed because it reveals its complexity so organically. When given the premise of Seers Isle, I assumed that my choices would result in a slowly dwindling cast until only one remained, and while that happened to an extent, I never felt like I was simply choosing who would live and die. Characters fell out of the narrative naturally, and the characters that happened to survive seemed to emerge as the natural protagonists of the tale.
Seers Isle’s weakest aspect is its rushed ending, at least the one I received on my first playthrough. This is perhaps inevitable in a game with the number of narrative branches that Seers Isle has – the more branches, the more likely it is that each branch will have less time devoted to it. And the end of Seers Isle is where its narrative does its most extensive branching. The breakneck pace throughout the game compounds the rushed nature of its ending. However, this is a small quibble, and it didn’t diminish my enjoyment; on the contrary, upon completing Seers Isle, I only wanted to dive in again to discover what endings I missed out on.
Lovely artistic direction also elevates Seers Isle. Every portrait and landscape is alive and vibrant, and that’s remarkable considering how much art is present in the game. I was especially surprised that the illustrations kept up during action scenes. I applaud how well the art compliments almost every scene.
Seers Isle is a brief, inventive tale. In an indie game landscape that’s overcrowded and unkind to narrative-focused games, I highly encourage IGW readers to check it out, along with Nova-box’s other work. We need more games like Seers Isle with complex narrative intentions to demonstrate gaming’s relevance as a storytelling medium. It doesn’t hurt that its innovative story structure also includes memorable characters and inviting art design.