Kate Walker is a lawyer who has been entrusted by the Universal Toy Company to negotiate the takeover of an old luxury toy and automaton factory. Over the centuries, the factory has been developing clockwork devices, specializing in perpetual mechanical movement. The factory's ambitions, however, are ill-suited to the contemporary economic climate, and the elderly Anna Voralberg, at the helm of the Valadilene factory for more than half a century, has decided to sell up.
It turns out that the takeover might not be as straightforward as expected. The day that Kate Walker arrives, Anna Voralberg is being buried. What is more is that she has left an heir – her brother Hans. But Hans had left the valley at the end of the thirties and never returned, and was actually believed to be dead. However, a letter written by Anna in the days leading up to her death reveals that Hans is well and truly alive and living somewhere in Siberia. Valadilene's elderly notary entrusted to take care of Anna's affairs suggests that Kate find Hans Voralberg as he is now the only person in a position to ratify the sale of the family business.
Syberia is a traditional puzzle-solving adventure. The player navigates a 3D model of the protagonist over pre-rendered backgrounds with fixed camera angles. Puzzles are mostly inventory-based, though some involve manipulating the environment (such as mechanical devices). The interface features a single cursor; only highlighted objects can be interacted with, and there are no verb choice commands.