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Chants Of Sennaar Review: Connecting Languages In A Gorgeous Way

  • Beautiful color schemes
  • Fun puzzle concept
  • Soothing music
  • Quickly overwhelming
  • Lack of mini puzzles

A PC code was provided to SVG for this review. "Chants of Sennaar" is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC.

"Chants of Sennaar" shakes things up with a new puzzle concept that will have you teetering on the edge of frustration and excitement. Brought to us by Focus Entertainment, this game is slightly different than other works like "Aliens: Dark Descent." Here, you will work your way through five levels as you piece together a variety of different languages to reveal dialog, bits of story, instructions, and work your way through beautifully designed mazes. Due to the soothing sound and level of concentration, this game is ideal for your lazy days at home. Also, while it was tested on a PC and available for multiple consoles, this game fits perfectly with a lot of the other switch games launching this year if you prefer spending your cozy days on the couch. 


At times, this game feels like a cinematic journey, with moments that will have you running from one end of the screen to the other, as well as watching certain moments play out. However, for the most part, this game is all about making your way through the puzzles and unraveling the mystery within the different groups of characters. With a heavy focus on pattern recognition and attention to detail, "Chants of Sennaar" will keep you entertained for hours. 

Piecing together language

There are two major puzzle elements that are featured in "Chants of Sennaar." The main focus is piecing together glyphs to their definition. For example, when you first start the game, you will come across a closed door and a lever with two images. Quickly you realize that pulling the lever down will open the door, meaning the lower glyph means open, while the one above it means closed. However, to say the game is as simple as that would be highly misleading.


Each level begins with a new group of people and a new language to learn. This is where the second puzzle element comes in with each level being formatted into its own maze with multiple layers. As you progress through the levels, more and more of the glyphs are shown to you. These are found on signs, in conversations, and even shows performed by entertainers. So you are going to want to make sure you are clicking on everything. Plus, as you click to reveal new things, your journal is updated with new pages. These pages help finalize what certain things mean.

It is very easy to get overwhelmed if you are not staying on top of the glyphs as they are introduced. It's ok to not know it right away — that is a huge reason to keep exploring the mesmerizing world around you. However, there is a reason why the game has the ability to guess what the meanings are before those pages arrive.


Trial and error is key

Even if it feels at times you are drowning in translations, the overall flow of the game is smooth. As you unlock new images, you are able to write in what you think the meaning might be due to the context provided. It's ok if you don't have it perfect or even correct. The whole concept of figuring out the languages is a trial and error process. As you try to figure out the language, your guess will show up in a slight gray text. While at the same time if a word has been confirmed, it shows up as a bold white text.


The more you unlock as you progress, the easier it will be to figure out the words. It also helps that as you move on to new languages. There are even certain words that cross over. This is usually provided at the start of a new level and sometimes halfway through on some kind of sign you might have to piece together.

"Chants of Sennaar" embodies the concept of trusting the process. As you make your way through the maze, you might stop to think you are going the wrong way or you want to check that other door before you go too far. Even if you forgot to pick up an item, there is always a way back with most rooms reconnecting to the main area one way or the other.

Simply designed beautifully

You will be doing a lot of running around, even revisiting places multiple times as you try to solve a variety of puzzles. This is why the developer's focus on the surrounding areas including graphics, music, and smaller details is important.


For starters, the music and background noise provides a soothing environment that blends around you. Even the chimes that ring when you achieve a solution leaves a happy tickle in your brain. The best way to summarize the melodies is to compare it to what you might hear in a meditation track, which is a wonderful opposite when you are feeling the peak of pressure in this game.

The color palette also adds to the soothing nature with tones of yellow, reds, pinks, purples, and splashes of blues. This is probably the first thing your eyes will be drawn to when deciding if this game is worth trying, which is why it's also important that they found a great mix between when and how they use these colors. Every level provides simple, yet beautiful landscapes that draw you in — even if it's just a chain of stairs leading to an observatory.


Details are a great way to add a little fun to the environment, but in this game, they also tend to be clues. One of the ways you will start to figure out the glyphs is by noticing the patterns. For example, you might see a villager looking at themselves in the mirror and saying something you don't quite understand. That is, until you reach another area with a statue holding a mirror with a glyph underneath.

Needed a touch more

For the most part, this game is a lot of fun that keeps upping the antics as you make your way through. However, at times, even if rare, there are moments where it feels tedious. A great example of this is working your way through the sewers in the third level. Even if everything is properly in place, it can be utterly confusing.


The reason this feeling is rare is because, for the most part, the team has created a good balance by adding mini games throughout the maze. These might provide you a key to unlock a new area or even just lead to another door opening. The mini games are done well and offer a fresh view to the game by creating a break between all the running around.

The only issue is these mini games tend to be just barely sprinkled in, when in fact adding just a few more might have been what pushed this game to the next level. Ultimately, though, "Chants of Sennaar" does a great job at what it's trying to do, offering a beatiful, puzzle-laden experience.