An abandoned house. A group of teenagers. It’s almost a given that when these two combine, something is sure to go horribly wrong. So naturally, the horror visual novel Silenced: The House features this combination as the foundation of its tale in a bid to provide a unique experience full of despair. Should you prepare to venture into the house of nightmares, or is it best to flee from Silenced: The House while you still can?
The story begins in the forest as five students are making their way towards a derelict old house. There’s Ashley, Grace, Kate, Lloyd, and Martin, who mostly appear to be typical teens in search of a good time while getting up to mischief. It’s Grace’s birthday, the most popular and famous girl at school, and they are going to celebrate. Little do they know that this house is haunted by spirits hellbent on vengeance. Well, Ashley knew, because she orchestrated the whole ordeal and is being guided by a mysterious evil spirit. The plan is for them all to suffer, but seeing it through could be her own downfall.
On paper, the concept is intriguing as you’re exploring the narrative from the perspective of the rather disturbed character of Ashley. Getting you to rally behind someone so devious is a potentially difficult task, however that’s an aspect in which it succeeds. You see, these other teens are detestable humans with more skeletons in their closet than is possibly imaginable. Discovering what these folks have done prior is the key to investing in the goings on and caring about them getting their comeuppance.
Unfortunately, Silenced: The House is badly written, which I believe is a product of the text dialogue having been translated from Russian. There’s something quite off-putting about reading certain sentences multiple times to try and make sense of what it’s really trying to convey. Many of the idioms present seem out of place too, thus failing to deliver effective storytelling and create real immersion. It ensures your interest levels wane the further in you delve.
As such, when you’re advancing through the text and a choice pops up for you to influence the direction the tale takes next, chances are you won’t give a hoot. It’s not littered with decision making moments either, but the few present do actually alter the route and lead towards different endings. I do enjoy seeing multiple endings in a game, although one here ends the story very prematurely upon picking the wrong option from the first choice presented.
Even with the opportunity to replay Silenced: The House to achieve every single ending, the longevity is still minimal. You can be done and dusted in just over an hour, which is quite short even after factoring in the low price point. Will it at least deliver a few scares to get the adrenaline pumping? Well, that all depends on what kind of horror you’re after.
The sepia tone visuals definitely help to create a spooky atmosphere and go hand in hand with the abandoned house background environment. It may strike fear into you through the gruesome and freakish mutilated corpses brought to life in CGs. They’re cool in terms of design, fitting well in the deathly scenes being described to the reader and amplifying the grisly maiming that’s occurring. As far as horrors go though, it’s on the tame side and won’t have you hiding behind a pillow.
To summarise then, Silenced: The House rushes through a story of revenge involving a whole load of scumbag teens but fails to captivate with its below par writing quality. While the initial idea is neat, it gets lost in translation and it’s easy to lose interest, which is no easy feat for such a short game. If you just want to witness creative deaths and bask in a spooky vibe, Silenced: The House has you covered, but I personally don’t think it’s worth the fee as either a visual novel or a horror experience.
Run away, before it’s too late.
Silenced: The House is on the Xbox Store
- Freakish creatures
- Spooky vibes
- Badly written
- Limited interaction
- Not scary
- Too short
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Sometimes You
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch
- Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
- Release date - 28 October 2022
- Launch price from - £4.19