Religion is rarely seen as a big part of any game, occasionally thrown loosely into RPGs and huge epic adventures and only a little inspired by real theologies. When actual religions are placed into the video game world – such as in the Assassin Creed franchise or something like A Plague Tale: Innocence – they focus on corrupt institutions, or fronts for some other devious deeds that go on behind the scenes.
I don’t think I can remember playing a game like Seduction: A Monk’s Fate; a game in which praying has an allocated button and is capable of taking the form of an attack. But what else does this game have to teach us?
Seduction: A Monk’s Fate is a side-scrolling adventure puzzler that puts you in the shoes of a Buddhist monk who is trying to clear out an evil presence from his monastery. You see, our hero monk has some special powers which allow him to see what others cannot, and that means he is the only one capable of saving everything. The story and world-building are highly original and the monk’s journey that is told is interesting, one full of magic, religious iconography, and ultimately, a spiritual journey.
This is essentially an exploration experience that has an almost point-and-click adventure feel to it. The power of prayer is your main attack, so if you see a strange demon appear you can press the B button and start to pray. This creates a force field of light that banishes demons from this world into the real world. So a demon woman hanging will turn into a skeleton, or a deadly snake will turn into a rope.
The rest of the game consists of you exploring in an open world kind of way, but certain areas are locked off in the early stages. You have to try and get certain items, storing them in your inventory. You might then need to use these on something else, combining things to get stuff working; you know the drill – it’s nothing new and it all works satisfactorily. The puzzle solving works too and I like the challenges that Seduction delivers, testing the old grey matter a few times.
The other part of the game involves a host of QTE-like events. For example, a huge claw will come down from the ceiling at random points in the game, instantly killing you. What you have to do in this instance is work through the prompts you are given, moving in slow motion and ensuring you stay safe. There are many moments like this throughout and in one area you’ll need to keep still as a creature moves around you, only fleeing as it goes in to feast. These moments are okay, but rarely fun and it does all get a bit tiresome after a while. Thankfully, controlling the character is good, decently responsive whilst the level design is interesting even though you’ll probably find yourself getting lost quite a bit.
Seduction: A Monk’s Fate does have an intense claustrophobic atmosphere found throughout its 2D world. The cutscenes in the real world provide some nice comic book vibes, whilst the creature designs are interesting and well realised, even though not entirely original. I do think it’s a bit tricky to spot some of the interactable elements, and easy to miss, but it’s all helped by the fact that the sound design is clever, adding to the horror of the piece.
You’ll like the puzzle solving and overall theme of Seduction: A Monk’s Fate, but may find that the QTE sections get a tad annoying. It’s all too easy to get lost as you navigate through the world too, especially with the way that the levels are designed when mixed with the intense claustrophobic environments of the world. That said, it’s certainly intriguing to be able to use a prayer attack – and maybe this is the beginning of a whole new batch of monk games that will let us do battle with the supernatural. That wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Seduction: A Monk’s Fate is available from the Xbox Store