Adventure,  Horror,  Indie,  Indie Dev,  Point and Click Adventure,  Psychological,  Reviews

Saint Kotar Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Saint Kotar

Developer: Red Martyr Entertainment
Publisher: Soedesco
Genre(s): Adventure, Mystery
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 4 and 5
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 11/11/2022
Price: £30.99

A code was provided for review purposes

Every now and then, you come across a game you want to love but just can’t. I love all things horror, and the bleak and densely ominous setting for Saint Kotar should have been right up my alley. However, sadly, everything in Saint Kotar just missed the mark. 

The premise was great, and the story that ran beneath the game was strong and detailed. However, ultimately, the weaknesses far outnumbered the strengths of the game and stripped away its redeeming qualities fairly early on.

Issues and annoyances strangled the creepy setting and high potential of the game. However, I can’t end a review there because there is more to it than a simple positive or negative statement. I didn’t hate the game, but I hated that I didn’t enjoy it how I hoped. 

Keep reading this rapid review to hear everything you need to know about my time traversing the dark world of Saint Kotar.

Dark From the Word Go

Saint Kotar tries hard to create a dark and ominous world from the very first scene. I won’t give away any of the real plot during this review, but I will say it starts with a flashback scene that also serves as a form of short tutorial. 

The controls for Saint Kotar were clunky at best, and the point-and-click mechanic, while useable, was not implemented in the most logical way, at least not in my eyes. However, I persevered.

The main opening to the game immediately puts out in the heart of the mystery, and the dark, gothic nature of the game hits with zero repentance. I really enjoyed what the dev team was aiming for in Saint Kotar. The atmosphere they created was, at times, spectacular. The world-building that goes on shows the skill and potential Red Martyr Entertainment clearly possess. The slow descent into insanity and the choice-driven nature of the game, which was, at times, well hidden so as to lull you into near complacency with the conversational choices you made, is commendable.

Men of the Cloth

Through the game, you control two characters simultaneously. Benedek and his brother-in-law Nicolay. Together you must navigate the occult-filled area of Coratia in search of your sister. Murders, mysteries, and witchcraft present quite the challenge for the two men whose deeply religious nature is put to the test. 

There is an interesting sanity mechanic in the game, and as madness descends, I did like the way viewpoints switched; however, as I was not drawn to playing the game beyond my initial run, I didn’t get to experience the full scope of the what the team tried to achieve. 

Saint Kotar offers multiple endings based on how you play and which of your two characters interact with NPCs at different times. Additionally, I did like the inclusion of side quests and the way the story unfolded. You were never in doubt about the darkness of the world, yet the pacing and storytelling showed outstanding potential – looking ahead to future games.

There was a lot you needed to click on just to leave this room

Weak Gameplay Ruins a Solid World

I enjoyed the world-building in Saint Kotar. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a very solid attempt. The dialogue, while stilted at times, was generally very good, and the voice acting – pre an American-accented patch – was very entertaining. There were moments when it felt a little pantomime-ish, but somehow, that worked. 

However, the gameplay let the game down and ultimately lessened what stood the chance of being an enjoyable indie experience. 

The controls were clumsy, and frequently the camera angles and the requirement for pointer positioning were frustrating beyond the point of enjoyment or explainable as difficulty. There were several times during the game when the direction was unclear, so trial and error seemed to be the only way to move forward.

The crows of Saint Kotar
Not all crows look like this!

Puzzled by the Lack of Puzzles 

I will put this out here now. I am not the biggest fan of point-and-click games, and I think they don’t really work well with the Switch. That being said, I do usually enjoy the puzzles these games offer. So I was saddened when the general puzzle structure within Saint Kotar felt light and, in parts, absent. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good story, but it felt as if there were too much time spent on dialogue and atmosphere and not enough on actual gameplay, which was a shame. 

The majority of the puzzle in the game were presented weakly and rarely proved to be taxing, which, coupled with their infrequency, again proved frustrating. Puzzles are great when done right, and sadly they left me feeling flat and overshadowed what was otherwise a strong offering.

External scene introducing conversation options
Your fate and your sanity is in your own hands

A Positive Future 

Despite the bleak and depressing setting of the game, there is a bright and positive future for Red Martyr Entertainment. From what I have seen, Saint Kotar is their first game, and as a small studio, they should take great heart from what they have created. 

There is a great premise in this game. Red Martyr has proven themselves adept at creating a detailed world and a solid story. With a few tweaks and some small adjustments, I have no doubt that the future will be very bright for them.

That being said, there has been some DLC for this game. I’m not sure if it’s sold as sub-titles or downloadable against the main game. In either case, it doesn’t seem to be out on Switch. I would definitely be interested in seeing what they have done with those, also. However, as it stands, this version of Saint Kotar, is a solid effort but ultimately too unbalanced in its execution.

One Comment

  • Marko

    Hey, Alex! Marko here, game director of Saint Kotar. Nice review and on point 🙂 The cons you mentioned are fair, we are aware of them, and they will definitely serve us moving forward to our next project (in pre-production currently). Anyway, I just wanted to confirm that The Ritual DLC will come out on Switch (and all other console platforms) very soon – on April 21st! The DLC will be released for free in the form of an update/patch to the main game, and it will also include The Void update (released for the PC platform a year ago) which fixes a lot of bugs, adds new cutscenes, some tweaks and improvements on the narrative design, and even additional endings. Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.