System: PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch | Publisher: Microids
Developer: Microids | Reviewed On: Switch
Is Syberia worth playing in 2020? - is the question I aim to answer in this review.
Syberia is very simple In style, charming in character and accessible but challenging in the puzzle department. The first two Syberia games act more like two parts of the same journey, not really to be played separately or out of order, this is why the review incorporates both. Released originally in 2002 (Syberia) and 2004 (Syberia 2). You control Kate, the young female protagonist starting out her journey in a little eerie village, it is here that you must secure the deeds of a somewhat forgotten factory. As with any adventure, you soon find yourself further required to journey onwards, stopping at weird and wonderful places whilst heading towards the mythical Syberia, not to be mistaken with Siberia.
The promise of the unknown holds intrigue throughout, feeling like your always on the cusp of reaching something great, with every new location a sense of disappointment but overwhelming happiness that you aren't just yet in Syberia. The game plays on this intrigue until the very last moment, and what you discover there.... what you discover is a realisation that the journey was even better than the goal.
This being the Switch release it corners itself a little. The updated touch screen option feels clunky and unresponsive at times leaving me wondering if traditional point and click games should remain on the mouse and keyboard. Using the analogue sticks to control Kate seemed to work better albeit far from perfect, especially when changing scenes somehow often going back the way you came by accident due to switching camera angles. The troublesome handling could be enough for some players to call it quits and give up, but I continued, I love point and click games.
The graphics are dated but that's expected, within its own boundaries it's still a nice looking game and the landscapes are often beautiful. It is, after all, a retro classic and it comes from an era of 3D point and clicks games that captured imagination without having to look like a film.
The puzzles as already mentioned are challenging at times but they are also not too hard, because of this Syberia never becomes tedious. There is a very sensible curve as you advance through it, just as you learn how to go about things the puzzles get a touch harder. Puzzle difficulty is something that a lot of games in this genre get wrong, but Syberia wins this one.
The music is for the most part well suited to the game as it plays out and only helps to support the mysterious yet often lonely experience that Kate endures. There are a few moments where the music is absent for long periods, however, this seems to fit. The longer silences appear to be a choice by the designers, perhaps to emphasise Kate's isolation from her life. Overall the sounds and music all fit the game well.
In conclusion, Syberia is a sort of mellow Sunday afternoon experience, it plays rather stubbornly but its landscapes, characters and puzzles are a pleasure to enjoy. Is Syberia worth playing in 2020? The answer is yes, if you are a fan of point and click games, sadly at this point, it's probably not going to convert any new players to the genre. As for the platform, the switch is fine but perhaps PC makes more sense on this one.