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The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (PC) artwork

The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (PC) review

"Embark on a magical adventure to save your kingdom and the beautiful fairy who has stolen your heart."

The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is a point and click adventure game that is set in a mystical land with fairies, knights, and magic. On paper it sounds like a lovely experience and indeed, I did enjoy playing it. However, it also has its fair share of faults including but not limited to a mediocre story and, at times, illogical solutions for puzzles. I feel if you enjoy point and click games of this nature you can find an enjoyable experience here but there are better games in this genre and newcomers would be better playing those. This title is in no way a bad game, I was able to get into it and enjoy playing it but I do feel itís a very middle-of-the-road game.

The story has players take control of the lead character named Geron. Geron is just an average boy who is training to be a bird catcher which is very convenient seeing that is town is becoming plagued with crows. This is a symptom of a much larger problem and after Geron meets Nuri, who is a fairy, they end up embroiled in a deadly plot. Because of her heritage as a fairy, an evil prophet needs Nuri to play a harp that will help him take over the world. Geron wants to protect her from this as well as save his kingdom from the evil prophet. The two travel far and wide to find a solution to their problem and a way to defeat the prophet once and for all.

While the story itself is a bit on the cliche side, I still wanted to learn about the world it took place in. I wanted to learn more about Nuri and fairies, I wanted to know why Geron had magic, I wanted to know more about the prophet as well. However, the game doesnít deliver on a lot of the topics it sets up. Geron has one spell that can destroy minor objects but we donít know why. Heís just a normal boy so why does he have that spell? Nuri is a fairy who doesnít want to return to her world and while we learn why from visiting it, we never hear this from Nuri or learn of her experiences there. Which is the biggest issue here, the characters arenít developed well.

Geron has little to no backstory and spends a large bit of the game having to babysit Nuri. Nuri is a vapid idiot with no sense of danger or her surroundings. She would probably walk off of a cliff if Geron wasnít there to tell her not to do so. She is sweet and innocent, but aside from her small bit of magic, totally useless. The game also throws in a moment where the two kiss which is out of place since there had been no romantic hints or interactions beforehand and Iím never given the impression they love each other. The prophetís motives are explained but his powers arenít nor his real connection to fairies. The game has so much potential to flesh these characters out very well so that players invest more in their struggles but it doesnít come to pass. In the end I found myself wanting to finish the story so Geron could just go home and live a normal life, with or without Nuri.

While the story could have been improved so too could the gameplay. The gameplay consists of a series of puzzles you have solve by finding items that may be of use to you at some point, knowing where to use these items and also when to combine items. You also have two spells, Geronís that destroys things and Nuriís that reconstructions them. Since itís a point and click game, you will be using your mouse for everything. You can interact with other characters, talk to them look at them, give them items and such. You can look at items as well, pick them up and use them when needed. The issue lies in solving the puzzles, sometimes theyíre pretty straightforward and other times the solution makes no sense at all. The latter happens a lot when you end up in the fairy world and while I admit a land of magic doesnít always make sense this doesnít help when Iím trying to play a game. I ended up needing a guide often because there arenít many in game clues to help you either. Nuri never has anything intelligent to say so sheís of no help and while you can check hotspots to see where you can interact with something there is an achievement that relies on you not using it often at all. If the main part of your gameplay is solving puzzles and a large portion of them do not make logical sense then there is an issue.

But before the story and gameplay, what you notice first is the artwork in the game. Yes, even with its other faults the gorgeous artwork helps support this game a great deal and helped me get through it. The atmosphere is lovely and everything looks hand painted. Every land Geron and Nuri travel to offer players a new visual experience and while the game leans towards a darker tone things still remain vibrant. Be it in a beautiful forest or a death-filled ogre camp, there is great attention to detail everywhere. What isnít that amazing, however, are animations especially when characters talk. This may be because the game is from Germany so perhaps the lips move to fit German better, but I donít think that it is the case. I just feel the mouth movements seemed very generic and donít match the English dialogue well. And the voice acting is also hit or miss, I was fine with it for the most part but it isnít anything to be remembered. The music fit the game and I liked it but the soundtrack is not memorable.

I hate to sound overly critical of The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav because it is not a bad game, I enjoyed myself as I played it. But I was hoping for more from it, especially with how gorgeous the artwork was, I was hoping the story at least matched it. What we end up with is a mediocre point and click game that looks beautiful. It has in game achievements that also translate to Steam achievements but many are annoying and at worst tedious, like breaking something one hundred times. One also requires you to play the game twice, pointless, as the game has no replay value. You can also enjoy the Steam trading cards if you fancy. If you see this game on sale then I recommend it but you may also want to grab the sequel as well because the ending is rather abrupt and leaves you with a few unanswered questions.


Usagi's avatar
Community review by Usagi (June 24, 2017)

Read my reviews here or via Lunar Productions

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