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Saint Kotar Video Game Review

Written by Ryan Noble

Released by SOEDESCO

Developed by Red Martyr Entertainment.
Game released on 28 October 2021.
Platforms: PC (reviewed). Coming soon to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox.

article-cover

Review:

Saint Kotar is Red Martyr Entertainment’s psychological horror point-and-click game, set in rural Croatia and revolving around the cursed, occult-obsessed town of Sveti Kotar. What begins as a shared night away with a brother, sister, and her husband soon spirals into a mystery involving multiple deaths, an age-old curse, and tests of faith for two godly men.

Uncover the story hiding in Sveti Kotar

Saint Kotar wastes no time jumping straight into the story at the heart of the game, with Benedek and Nikolay, two men of god, waking up in a cottage they’d rented for the night without any real memory of what happened the night before. To make matters worse, Benedek’s sister, who happens to be married to Nikolay, is nowhere to be found, and there are weird markings and beheaded crows waiting to be found just outside.

This immediacy is incredibly appealing to me, as I've always believed point-and-click games to be somewhat slower than I’d like them to be. That’s certainly not the case here, and as you begin to unravel the mysteries of Sveti Kotar, you’ll soon find yourself filled with as many questions as Benedek and Nikolay.

You see, there’s so much more going on in this town than the disappearance of one woman, and everything you discover points to this current mystery being centuries in the making. Travelling deeper and deeper into the town’s past, its troubled or troubling inhabitants, and the foreboding forest, lake, or mountains that surround this valley will have you coming face to face with more than a few strange and shocking experiences that'll make you question Benedek and Nikolay’s sanity while they’re questioning their own faith.

Well-paced point-and-click gameplay

Another aspect that keeps the pace of Saint Kotar moving is the ability to switch between Benedek and Nikolay at certain points in the game, with each going their own way to understand the mystery they have somehow become entangled within.

In this respect, it feels like playing through an intriguing Netflix thriller like Midnight Mass—a show you should absolutely watch if you haven’t already—where you see how characters react to the ups and downs of surprising and gruesome drama and you can’t wait to switch back to another character to see how their story is playing out.

In addition to this character switching, you can also reveal “evidence” in an area, meaning that clickable areas or items are shown. For a game that’s quite dark in a visual sense alongside its dark themes, I was incredibly grateful for this as it kept me moving without missing out on a key item for a puzzle that might be hidden in the gloom.

The puzzles are relatively simple, too, with most revolving around finding or combining a couple of items, but since my normal complaint is that point-and-click games are too slow, I consider this to be a positive thing. As the game’s story is what makes it so compelling, I’m happy to keep it moving, but I could see hardcore point-and-click gamers wishing for puzzles with a bit more of a challenge.

Maybe it’s time to shake their faith a little? That’s what Saint Kotar is all about, after all.

Setting a scene worth slowing down for

Even with my desire to keep the narrative unfolding, there were a couple of things in the game that made me want to slow down and enjoy the experience.

Firstly, the game is visually very pleasing, whether it’s the soft glow of a lantern in the window of a mute neighbour, the gloomy beauty of the town and its traditional, rural setting, or the occasional gore that brings the horror elements of the game to the forefront. No matter where you go, the atmosphere is oppressive and the visual style really sells this.

Secondly, every character is fully voice acted, and although not every person you speak to is born equal, this adds a real depth to the characters and the story as it plays out. If you can’t already tell, I’m a serial dialogue speed-reader as I like to keep the action going (I know, I’m the worst), and this had me slowing down to listen to the characters and allow the story to take its time.

Any missing pieces to the puzzle?

In the end, the story at the heart of Saint Kotar feels like a story worth telling, and although the point-and-click genre still isn’t my go-to method of playing games, this game does a good job of keeping the gameplay and the narrative moving with relative ease, even if the visuals and voice acting tempt you to slow down.

Perhaps this game won’t be much of a challenge for the true pointers and clickers amongst us, and Benedek isn’t particularly likeable as a protagonist, but an oppressive, gloomy vibe is captured here which I can’t help but think horror fans will enjoy over a quiet weekend.

Amen.

Saint Kotar is available on Steam for PC (reviewed), and will also be coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox in the near future, so if you prefer your point-and-click games on consoles, you’re in luck. Try it out for yourself and see if your sense of faith and reality will be tested in Sveti Kotar.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy Steam
Graphics: threeandahalfstars
Gameplay: fourstars
Sound: four stars
Replayability: four stars
Overall: 2.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Ryan Noble
Staff Reviewer - UK
If Ryan isn't watching, reading or playing some form of horror, he's probably writing about it. He used to be an Editor at Indie Game Magazine so he has a soft spot for independent creators, especially when they're creating fear. Whether you're one such creator, or a fellow horror fan, let's speak about spooks on Twitter or email.
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