I came into writing this review expecting to tear this game apart and there are undoubtedly a lot of things wrong with it. For the first few hours I was not incredibly impressed by what I was seeing, however Cold Silence began working its spell on me. Slowly and surely it started growing on me as I went on, and eventually you’ll find that there’s an amazingly unique and tense action platformer hiding just beneath the surface. It just takes a little frustration to see it.
Cold Silence is set in an icy frozen tundra, giving little explanation of what’s going on, as you begin listening to the strange commands of a radio. It commands that you keep moving forward and push through the snow. That’s about the extent of the plot and, even though events do escalate from there, it’s not an incredibly complex storyline. It’s sufficiently creepy and works for pushing you forward, mind. There are some interesting twists, but it’s mostly pretty standard fare.
The gameplay is definitely above average and it is this which is easily the saving grace of this experience. There is some ingenious platforming going on throughout most of the game, all of which is genuinely challenging and fun. It mechanically evolves as you make it through the levels, with the most interesting addition being the radio. See, you get the radio early on and it allows you to activate temporary radio wave platforms, and it is this which is the crutch of a lot of the platforming challenges; many of them end up being these intense puzzles trying to time out the platforms. Near the end of the game, it starts getting really difficult, yet it always feels fair.
What doesn’t feel fair is the level pathing. There were several times where I had no clue where I was supposed to be going. This is particularly a problem near the final levels; the bare white art style can sometimes make it impossible to work out what direction you should be going in. This, in addition to having one life for each section, makes Cold Silence incredibly enraging, as you die in the confusion.
In addition to the levels that you move through, with some obstacles and occasional enemies to avoid, there are some bosses that you fight. These are really difficult and entertaining, however the way they are implemented is strange and seriously hurts the experience. Strangely they are mostly hidden and so you have to collect certain items in each level. The thing is that those items are often very hard to see or find, so the average player might never actually face a boss through most of their playthrough. And that would be a shame because they are generally pretty great and are some of the most engaging sections of the entire experience.
My biggest complaint with Cold Silence however is found within the art style. The stark white is cool and can go to some great places, but most of the time it’s so poorly done that it makes the game much harder than it needs to be. It’s often very hard to see a lot of platforms and paths that you have to take. If perhaps the game was given more time to become polished it could have been great. But right now? Well, it just looks a bit amateurish. The music however is of really high quality and gives off this creepy but energetic vibe that adds momentum to the gameplay.
Cold Silence on Xbox One has some great ideas, however in much of its execution it does not stick the landing; that is sad because you can see there is a truly great and new kind of experience in the seams of this game. If you’re interested, at the price you can’t really go wrong with trying it, but if you’re looking for a really high quality platformer then this might not be for you.