Scéal Review
Scéal Review
Scéal taps into Irish folklore to create a memorable adventure game by utilizing novel watercolor visuals and an Irish folk soundtrack
Posted: 05/26/17 | Category: Review | Developer: Joint Custody | Platform: Iphone, Ipad, Windows, Mac, Android

Genre: Irish Folklore Adventure
Release date: October 27, 2016

Scéal is beautiful in its simplicity. Joint Custody, the developer, concisely describes Scéal (which means “story”) as being “steeped in Irish folklore.” The game puts you in the shoes — or rather the soul — of a little girl who has no memories of her previous life.

Story and Gameplay 
 

Since Scéal is a short game that can be completed in an hour or less, there’s very little I can divulge other than that traditional Irish folklore is well-represented through angels, banshees, and your guide: a mythical crow. In Scéal, wherever a heart goes, the soul must follow. This becomes your method of movement. Players pull an ethereal green heart around the map, and the floating soul chases it to the destination. It’s a simple mechanic that’s elevated by the symbolic notions within the narrative.

With this being the primary mode of movement, Scéal is a game that benefits from being played on a touchscreen instead of traditionally with a mouse. Joint Custody is wisely porting Scéal to both Android and Apple products.

Each individual you help along your journey reveals one more piece of information about the identity of the girl as well as her fate. And true to the fairytales it seeks to imitate, the narrative plays out in well-written rhyming verse.

While Scéal’s simplicity is primarily a benefit, I did find myself wishing that each of the Irish spirits (soul, banshee, angel) had some form of differentiating gameplay. Visually they’re each captivating, but I think the game could have benefited from something as simple as different touch-strokes, depending on the different forms of the soul.

Audio and Visual 
 

Sensually delicious, Scéal finds its greatest assets in everything the player sees and hears. Designed to resemble a storybook, Scéal’s pages are filled with beautiful watercolor artwork that you must interact with to continue the story. Upon opening the town map, ink spreads outward to complete the entire picture. Even the soul itself sets out to paint various buildings throughout town, and the banshee spreads darkness along the streets.

Complementing the visuals is the outstanding soundtrack featuring Irish folk singers Lorcan Mac Mathuna, Aislinn Duffy, and Florence Glen. Scéal’s haunting score can be credited with the potent emotional atmosphere of the little seaside village. If you have an interest in Irish folk music (which everyone should), I would heartily recommend checking out the Scéal soundtrack on SoundCloud.

Conclusion 
 

Scéal taps into Irish folklore to create a memorable adventure game by utilizing novel watercolor visuals and an Irish folk soundtrack. While the game is short and could have used one or two gameplay variations, Scéal still manages to provide a memorable and worthwhile experience. 

Grade: B+
 
Excellent use of Irish folklore 
+ Watercolor visuals and folk score 
 
- Lack of gameplay variation
 Logo 
 
Trailer:
 

System Requirements

MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows XP
Processor: Dual Core
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Storage: 1 GB available space
 
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