Some of the most enjoyable games you can buy are the simple ones, hence why the mobile gaming market is big, big business. You do not always need explosions every 10 seconds or deep character customisation. Sometimes all you need is a unique concept and an interesting story. With this in mind, developers Joint Custody have brought us Scéal, a mini Irish folklore game. Albeit a brief journey, it will certainly leave a big impression on you.
Scéal, which means “story” in Irish, is the tale about a little girl’s lost soul. Before you can pass to the afterlife, a Raven tasks you to find three feathers hidden throughout your old village, which is beautifully brought to life in the style of a watercoloured book. While searching for these feathers, you will start to uncover memories from when you were alive. You will meet your parents and the village healer who tried to save your life. Scéal’s story is simple yet captivating, and during your journey you will transform into an angel-like fairy and a shadow demon that all the villagers will run away from. Finding your lost memories is utterly heartbreaking and left a big impression on me after I had finished my adventure.
When you meet your parents and the village healer, you’ll be given tasks to complete, but they are not taxing or challenging in the slightest; however, it doesn’t matter one bit. Scéal’s gameplay is extremely basic. You move the mouse cursor in the direction you wish to travel, and that is it. There will be times when you will have to paint certain objects in the world, but you will spend most of your time exploring this beautifully painted world. There are no enemies to fight or puzzles to solve here. Scéal is more like a living book in terms of its art style and the way it is played.
While exploring the world, you will be treated to one of the most elegant and alluring soundtracks you will ever hear in a video game. The songs are sung in Gaelic and are made in collaboration with well-known Irish folk singers Florence Glen, Aislinn Duffy and Lorcan Mac Mathuna. Trying to describe these songs will not do them justice, so if you fancy a taste of what these songs sound like, then head on over to Scéal’s website.
The visuals and music complement each other perfectly during your playthrough of Scéal, which won’t be very long. I managed to finish the game and then go back to Chapter 3 two more times to see all three endings within one hour. This isn’t really a bad thing either, to be honest. An hour or so is the perfect playtime for Scéal, any more and the gameplay would become too repetitive and dull.
Developer: Joint Custody
Publisher: Joint Custody
Release Date: Out now