Seaberry Keep

Seaberry Keep

Seaberry Keep is a short and colorful visual novel with quirky characters and a strong positive vibe. While it wasn’t created especially for younger audiences, it certainly seems that children might enjoy it more than adults because of its storybook-like narration.

Seaberry Keep is a mansion full of rooms that you will get to explore together with the main character of the story, Strawberry Sorbet – a fairy with a body shaped as an ice cream cone, accompanied by Spooky, a friendly ghost. Behind each door awaits either a minigame or some other fun activity, both of these being replayable yet very basic. Among the things to do, you’ll get to find hidden ghosts, click on bunnies to wake them up or plant flowers. Some of the scenes have draggable elements, and for example you can decorate your room by dragging the available sprites as stickers on the wall or as plushies on shelves, as you see fit.

While the game is created in Ren’Py, it has quite a unique navigation system that doesn’t necessitate a branching spot for it to trigger changing the scene. You will be able to move freely between the mansion’s rooms by clicking the directional buttons on the screen and this will change the active scene (or room) you’re in. There is no map available, but the mansion is not big enough to get completely lost in.

Seaberry Keep is fully voiced and it appears that all characters are voiced by the same person. This makes the game feel even more like a bedtime story, as if you were a kid and one of your parents was reading the lines with a different voice and tonality depending on the character impersonated.

As a one-person project, I think it’s a good start into the indie world. It’s overall a warm and positive game that might not be enjoyable for everyone because of its childish thematic and execution, but it’s still a cozy experience, with an ending promising future sequels, first of which will be Chippy’s Escape from Seaberry Keep. When considering whether you want to buy it or not, please keep in mind that a full playthrough (including the 5 easily-obtainable achievements) lasts around ~45 minutes, thus buying it at full price might be a bit of a stretch. If you’re unsure about the gameplay you can try the free Christmas-theme side-story Seaberry Holiday planned to be released on Steam on 7 Dec, 2022.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a press preview copy of the game, kindly provided by Cozy Strawberry via The Indie Game Collective.

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