Serania – Path of the Scion is a roleplaying and a choose-your-own-adventure text-based game set in a Nordic medieval fantasy world by Danish solo developer Peter Ravnholt. Initially soft-launching on the iOS App Store, the game is getting an international release for both iOS and Android devices with an English translation by Niels-Martin Ström Josefsen.
Developer: Fable Tree Productions
Released: 4 February 2021
Price: First part free, remainder $4
Playing as a villager (you can play as either a man or a woman), you awake to your home village getting burned by the Blackblades, King Juri’s military corps and the most feared in all the land. Worse still, you quickly find out they’re after you specifically. Fleeing the scene, you go on a journey to figure out why would the Blackblades even want you in the first place.
Serania sports a simple interface, with narration, dialogue, and choices being delivered through colored bubbles on the screen. These bubbles dictate what your character is seeing, the people you run into, or what actions you can do in a specific situation. In most cases, you are either put in a tense situation where you have a few life-or-death choices to make or left in the wilderness to explore at your own pace.
As you discover the world, you run into many a situation as you would in a regular RPG game. For example, you can take sidequests from people to obtain items or gold, or engage in battle with various enemies, both humans and monsters. Each successful action you take gives you experience points, which in turn allow you to level up, giving you a skill point which you can spend by training with another character, earning you skills and abilities.
While the game’s more action-oriented sections were thrilling and kept me on the edge of my seat in the faint hope my character wasn’t harmed, navigating around the forests felt awkward and non-intuitive – which I believe could be mitigated by using visual indicators such as arrows or illustrations within the buttons.
Narrative, Visuals, and Audio
I appreciated the pacing and urgency of the events that unfolded in Serania. The beginning of the game gets you to grips with the world around you and employs both showing present affairs and telling past events to get everything you need to know across. The characters you run into are varied, which include quiet saviors, scummy traitors, talkative merchants, and more, and this extends to the monsters you fight as well, which include giant rats and spiders, and a monkey-like creature, among other beings. The only thing that holds back the narrative experience are some common English mistakes, such as “a a leather vest,” which you will see quite a lot when viewing your inventory.
The artwork of Serania also adds a lot of depth to the world. The backgrounds by Peter Ravnholt excellently show the medieval world whilst also making it feel like part of a mobile game. This is supplemented by character, item, and monster line-art illustrations by Teju Sandhu, Olha Volkova, and Angelo Quintero respectively, which give you an idea of what a person or thing looks like while leaving the rest up to your imagination. The music, composed by Peter, also adds a nice touch to the game, though they don’t loop, so they fade out into eerie silence, even in areas where there should be sound like rivers or lakes.
Serania – Path of the Scion excels as an engaging narrative experience that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere, with a streamlined interface that seamlessly integrates all aspects of the game naturally. With an enigmatic story, fast-paced action, plenty of exploration and combat to do, and a cast of characters to meet and fight, there’s a lot of quality to be experienced with just $3.99!