Developed By : Daedalic Entertainment
Published By : Daedalic Entertainment
Category : Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Narrative
Release : Apr 10, 2019
Silence on the Nintendo Switch brings players a unique mix of beautiful story, stunning visuals, and a gameplay experience that might leave some more unsatisfied than fulfilled. As bombs of war rain down, brother and sister Noah and Renie seek safety inside a bomb shelter. As Renie falls apart with the sounds of the world outside, Noah looks for a story to tell his sister, to distract her. A story of the world Silence, a world that is the crossroads between life and death. When a bomb from the air raid hits extremely close to the shelter, their world is literally rocked and they find themselves thrust into this world of Silence, and Renie has gone missing. Noah pushes himself into this strange, unknown land that show’s its own markings of war and hard times.
As you play the game, you’ll encounter three different styles of playstyle while Silence tells it’s story. There are areas of puzzles that feel very point-and-clicky while being able to maneuver one of the characters around an area, there’s quick-time-event styled conversation choices you’ll have to make, and then there are cutscenes where the narrative simply drives itself. No matter which experience you’re in the middle of, you’ll be controlling one of three characters in the game : Noah, Renie, or their cute little dragon friend Spot.
The puzzle sections are where you’ll be doing the most work. Here, you’ll be restricted to an area that fills the screen, and in some cases may even extend to a second screen-area. There will be some sort of task to complete, and scattered around are all the pieces that will build and build toward your ultimate solution. Things won’t be as easy as Noah needing to climb up a rock wall to an elevated surface and just pushing a rock over. You’ll end up actually solving a series of small almost mini-puzzles, all of which will incrementally move you towards what you ultimately need to do. These areas are extremely linear and entirely fixed, meaning you can’t skip around, you’ll need to solve each step in the right order.
Conversations and cutscenes will make up the rest of your time in Silence. They are the least interactive, but they are also what will make up the majority of what you’ll be doing in this game. Periodically, while two characters are conversing, you’ll be able to interject on one side of things. Whether the other character is sad, or has directly asked you a question, you’ll get a couple of options to choose from for a response.
Visually the game is extremely impressive. Whether it’s in the cutscenes or if you’re actually getting your hands dirty solving the puzzles, it’ll be hard to keep your jaw from dropping. Character models are done in a really great 3D rendering, while the backgrounds are all two-dimensional, yet often you’ll find that you can feel the depth. The story is strong, emotional and involving, with just the right amount of light humor sprinkled here and there to keep you wanting more.
It’s at this point where I wish I could wrap a pretty little bow on the review and tell you to go and get this game. However, it’s what Silence doesn’t deliver on which make it hard to be a must-play title. For one part, the actual gameplay feels minimal and broken up. And when I say minimal, it’s more that the game as a whole is short, easily beatable in around six hours, give or take.
Here is where the big red flag comes for me, or rather two of them. In a game this quick, you expect multiple routes, tons of different paths for you to take letting you experience numerous outcomes. Unfortunately, that is not this game. Everything about Silence is extremely linear and narrow-minded as far as options. Even the conversation responses you’re given as choices aren’t that different, they’re just slight variations on the same option. For instance, in the opening portion, there is a point where Renie asks Noah to tell a story, and the two options Noah has to respond with are whether or not Renie would actually rather hear a song made by farts or a story told in burps.
Ultimately though, the hardest hitting point about this game is the price. For a game this short, with such low to non-existant replayability, to carry such a hefty price tag feels almost ridiculous, and it makes me so torn on Silence. It’s a truly beautiful game, visually and narratively, but it’s such a short journey it’s hard to recommend unless the game is coming your way on a sale or as a gift.