Review – Chants Of Sennaar – The Duolingo of the Tower of Babel! | Xbox

Chants Of Sennaar is the first creation from the very young French studio Rundisc, published by Focus Entertainment, which turns out to be full of refreshing surprises. A look back at this game at the crossroads of styles and at the junction of the video game Journey and the film First Contact.

The Duolingo of the Tower of Babel


The basic proposition of Chants Of Sennaar is intriguing since we play here a mysterious pilgrim in full climbing of a Babel tower and whose mission will be both playful and linguistic. The prophecy of the People of the Tower is clear: one day, someone will reunite them, breaking down the walls and restoring balance.

Armed with our codex and our sense of observation, we will have to translate the different languages ​​spoken by the peoples evolving within this titanic structure, in order to restore mutual understanding within a fractured structure.

The very oriental universe and minimalist graphics are accompanied by simple and refined gameplay. Indeed, the interactions will be exclusively centered around dialogues with the NPCs that we will meet and the understanding of the symbols present in the environment. Initially, it will be a mixture of abstruse symbols that we will find on the walls and during conversations… The first deciphering will then be done by interpretation and exploration of our physical environment, with the translation of basic terms like “high”, “low”, “hello”… Then, as unknown terms are discovered, verbs and pronouns will be used to understand more sophisticated sentences and terms.

In addition to this translation adventure, we find a non-interactive inventory, access to the language codex to remember what we discovered in our adventure… and that will be all! Now all that remains is to use our brains to solve a few puzzles scattered along our path in order to move from floor to floor.


All in low-poly 3D, the game relies on textures with ample colors in isometric view settings, which will not fail to recall the work of the designer Moebius. Each people thus evolves in an environment visually consistent with its model of thought: the Artists stay in very colorful environments with fountains and parks, where the Warriors live in a dark building with martial tones.

The approach proposed by the French studio to reconcile translation and puzzle games strikes the right balance by giving them a playful aspect. Coupled with some clever puzzles, this allows you to explore the different areas while finding a bit of a challenge. We feel that Rundisc was able to find the perfect mix while avoiding the exercise becoming too redundant or too easy, because each new tribe leans its jargon on the one we have previously encountered. Thus, the player's job is above all to explore, to understand the meaning of the dialogues and inscriptions and thus find the key to each language, ultimately like a true linguist.

As an underlying theme of our journey, a thoughtful statement is also revealed around the universality of language and its unifying character, a statement reinforced by the biblical myth on which the entire game is based. The final act also offers a certain reversal of the situation which, although it might seem superfluous at first glance, complements the work as a whole wonderfully.

A sub-Journey…or not!

Mute and minimalist, Chants Of Sennaar reveals itself to have masterfully transcribed various influences that have become recurrences in the independent video game sector. The muteness of our character and the orientalizing touch (even in the original soundtrack composed by Thomas Brunet) will inevitably recall the legendary Journey, sprinkled with snatches of the sumptuous Ico here and there. The whole thing is also a more colorful revisitation of Monuments Valley and offers its share of environments pleasing to the eye, without scratching our retinas.