Well, that’s what Silence sounds like!
Welcome to the game of Silence, a game about dealing with tragedy, acting as a reminder of what puzzle games used to be. It falls into the ‘Modern Adventure’ genre, focusing heavily on a narrative with touches of puzzle solving in between. It has a similar play style to a Telltale game, but with more interaction and puzzle solving, and no reliance on quick time events. The gameplay is more of the delivery system to help the story immerse you into the world, and what a story it is!
The game stars two individuals; a boy and his younger sister. You’re quickly thrust into the world of what one can only assume is WWII. An air raid siren goes off, and you are locked into a bomb shelter with 16 year old Noah, and the little sister, Renie. As Renie starts to cry from the realization that her friends are being reduced to specks of dust, you find a way to comfort her. You decide to tell her the story of Sadwick, having to find props for your production throughout the small bunker you’re hidden in.
This quickly unfolds as a strike against the bunker lands you within Silence, hunting Renie down as you try to bring her home, safely. Now, from there you must make your own decisions as you try to make your way to The Throne Room, the only known escape from Silence. The story has many parallels to the tale Noah tells at the start of the game, and it certainly doesn’t lack in character development.
If what you read above seems interesting, that’s because the game actually has a way of gripping you. Whether it be from the quirky aesthetics or the beautiful story that rivals that of the Grimm Brothers, you will see Silence through until the very end. Not just because the story is fantastic, but because the game is quite short, and the gameplay isn’t really there as a spotlight feature.
Now, shall we talk about the appearance of this game? It’s simple, a bit rough around the edges, but it’s got a certain character to it that you don’t see from very many studios. It’s like somebody took Tim Burton and infused his uneasing themes into a children’s story, with giant baby statues and all the things that go bump in the night. Mix in a wonderful saturation of colors, and you get what Daedalic Entertainment has sewn into the fabric of this game. The designs are a little rough, but it just adds to the chilling resemblance this game holds with older story books.
And seeing as Silence is so much like a fairy tale, might we just talk about how this game sets the bar for any interactive story? It’s so simple in the way of a plot, but it tells the story with subtle hints and even some elegant foreshadowing. Each character is well developed and has their own motives, whether it be Noah, Renie, or the group of rebels fighting a war for the survival of Silence. Add in a nice little parallel with the story of Sadwick, and you get a phenomenal tale that leaves you content. Now, I don’t want to spoil what happens, because it’s just that good of a story, but I certainly would say it could stand up to maybe two-three playthroughs, dependant on how much you care to find those multiple endings.
As is very often the case, Silence hasn’t quite hit that perfection mark. It is close, but the gameplay definitely doesn’t stand to support either of the previous points. It’s really clunky trying to solve the puzzle, for the targeting system doesn’t really play nice with an Xbox controller. Now, the puzzles are an unfortunate let down, for they’re easy and don’t really require much of logic or paying attention. You just have to click on each thing and hope you don’t hit a stone wall of dialogue. If the puzzles were harder, the game would be a bit more of an interactive story.
That being said, Silence is still a fantastic game. It has an emotional story, a fantastic art style, but unfortunately uninteresting gameplay. At least it’s two out of three, right? Sporting such a collection of traits, this is certainly a game to add to your library if you enjoy emotionally connecting stories.