Playing with Reed: Chants of Sennaar

Launch Trailer for Chants of Sennaar, 
Created by RunDisc 
Published by Focus Entertainment

Due to being a curious child and fascinated with religion and philosophy, I'm fairly familiar with stories of the Old Testament (really, the Torah, as a person raised Jewish). In Genesis, there is a story about people gathering together to build a city. In this city, they build a tower. God, seeing this, decides that the people are attempting to save themselves from a potential second flood. He scatters the people across the world, making it so that no one could understand the other. This is the story of the Tower of Babel (even though I don't think that word was actually spoken in the reference material). 

Chants of Sennaar is a retelling of this parable. Your unnamed character travels upward, learning languages and solving puzzles that slowly piece together the story of the people around you. 

The game requires you to solve puzzles in order to piece together the different people's languages, then help those same people to connect and learn about the other. As you learn more about the story, you work your way upwards, through the strange labyrinth of this odd tower. I really enjoyed the twists towards the end, and the fact that if you put in the effort to help everyone connect (hint: the teleporters are important for this), you get a continuation after you have completed your final mission and gotten "The End". 

The game is relatively short, but that is a plus in my opinion. It tells its story beautifully, without the need for additional content to fill out the world. The artwork and music are absolutely gorgeous and unique, and every level has its own color scheme that let you know you are in a different area with a different language. 

Just look at those palm trees and golden streams. 

While I did find that it was sometimes hard to find my way around, there's a very convenient "hint" button that highlights interactable items, doors, and paths. Sneaking around can be a little difficult depending on the area, but it isn't so frustrating that you want to give up. The game gives you hints about where to hide, and even if you get caught, you can start over.

Another aspect of the game I'd like to highlight is the journal. When you collect a new sign, you can use your system to take a stab at the meaning of the word. After you've gotten certain sigils, you will get a journal page, where you can match the sign with the picture. If you've gotten it correct, you get the full meaning of the word, and it begins to be applies to the conversations, signs, and other areas as you continue on. 

Look at how gorgeous this is - and how effective it is at learning what the signs mean!

I really enjoyed this game. It was calming, it had excellent puzzles, and it ran very well on my Switch without having to be patched on the first day. 

Chants of Sennaar is available on several platforms, including the Switch. You can find RunDisc's website here. The publisher, Focus Entertainment, can be found here