Written by Robert Glashutner
Communication through language opens doors to other people, cultures, and worlds. It can bind and enhance empathy as well as divide and deceive people. However, knowing new languages broadens your horizons and reveals differences and similarities between people, countries and peoples.
In our lives, learning foreign languages is as common as it is challenging. Not everyone has a talent for languages and many people find it difficult to cope with the unusual mixture of disciplined learning (grammar, phrases, etc.) on the one hand and fun, experiential learning (as much watching, reading and speaking) on the other. To be sure, the new linguistically influenced game is also a fun one, even though it has nothing to do with traditional translation tools and language apps.
Sprashpaw zu Babel
We enter “Sinnar Songs” As a traveler at the foot of a huge ancient tower, it amazes us with its high walls, long corridors, mighty porticoes and ancient gates. We soon meet other people, either dressed in robes like us or equipped with impressive head pieces and sometimes hideous looking swords. We still do not know the roles of these characters, nor do we understand their distinct personalities. But that soon changes as we better study the streets, squares and buildings with their signs and talk to the people here.
“Chants of Sennaar” is a language puzzle game in which – as in the classic point-and-click adventure – we carefully study all available locations and collect as much information as possible. This research is then automatically written into our notebook: glyphs as well as various documents. Little by little we get an idea of what one sign or another might mean. We write our guess into the game and from then on, the game translates almost everything we think we understand. The more we explore, the more we can assign specific characters to specific images. For example, if we correctly match the glyphs for “door”, “key”, “not”, and “warrior” in this way, they will unlock correctly from now on.
Switch and turn puzzles
“Sinnar Songs”developed by the two-person Rundisc team from France, and published by Focus Entertainment for Windows, PS4+5, Xbox One+Series, and Switch.
Brilliant puzzles intertwine with the world, which means: it’s not enough to look for clues and then translate characters, we also have to prove that we understand the connections. For example, doors are only opened or keys are found if we are attentive and correctly interpret gestures and sentences. If you make the right connections and get the necessary information from the right place, the corresponding switching and switching puzzles are no longer a big hurdle. Sometimes there are also hidden items, as we usually have to hide from or sneak up on the various guards.
Each level in this individual Tower of Babel has its own spoken language. Once we have unlocked all the glyphs for the first level, we move to a higher level and have to unpack our language learning techniques again. However, what we’ve learned so far is still useful – for example, when we come across translations of two languages or have indications of interfaces or similarities between one language and another.
Original puzzles with language in a wonderful appearance
Sennar Songs is a very clever and stimulating puzzle game that’s elegant and not overwhelming, but by no means trivial. Above all, the assumptions necessary to move forward make this game special. The game developers also recommend – as was common in computer games 30-40 years ago – that you put a pencil and paper next to your computer or console and take notes. In many respects, it’s like learning a real language: the more and more you imitate, the better it becomes for you. One of the first findings in the game is that there are types of characters – icons for buildings, for example, almost always have some kind of frame.
This game is one of the biggest surprises of this year’s indie games and is a must-play for anyone who has already appreciated 2019’s fantastic archaeological language game Heaven’s Vault (FM4 reported).
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