I have to start this off with saying that I love Daedalic games. They are so much fun and on top of that, they are original, even if they can tend to get bogged down with one or two details. Silence is no exception to this rule. This game is fun, full of smartly timed and placed humor, and is just an overall great point and click adventure game. This is a sequel to 2010's The Whispered World, which is definitely required playing before you buy this, but nevertheless they are both great games. With games like The Walking Dead from Telltale being prevalent in this genre, can a game still holding on to old school notions from games like Grim Fandango still be good in 2016. Well I guess you will just have to read to find out won't you. This is the world of SILENCE!
Silence release on Steam on 11/15/16.
The story in silence is fantastic. It is inviting and you just want to know more about the characters and world that the game is taking place. It's vibrant, alive, and it is just so darn inviting. The story is the same way. The game starts simply enough, with the older brother Noah and little sister Renie running away in what appears to be a 1940's Britain with bombs falling overhead. As you hide away in a bomb shelter the story begins. You see someone pounding on the outside only to suddenly be silenced by the deafening boom of a bomb and sudden realization on Noah's face that the man he did not open the door for is now most likely dead. The stories emotional resonance doesn't stop there though.
You are then tasked with making your sister happy in the most unlikely of times. For any of us that have had little siblings, we can all attest to the fact that this is much harder than it should be. Regardless, Noah starts to find ways to cheer her up and then he starts to tell a story, one of a magical land. This land where he was a jester in the past and the great and terrible things he had to endure during his lifetime. It all sounds made up, but it is actually the plot to 2010's The Whispered World, fair warning here, play this game first. It's only 5$ and trust me when I say all of the story details will suddenly make sense, because there were times when I was really lost with the overall plot.
My only gripe here is that I wished the original was bundled in, it's only 5$ and is a much different beast than Silence. The story is still great on it's own however. The world is explained to be a dream state very early on and as a result most of the game resembles this. With creatures, characters, and monsters seeming as varied as the stars in the sky. It will not be long before you see dragons, lumis, and an adorable little green blob, whose name is Spot and is freaking totes adorbes, as a normal everyday occurrence in the world of Silence. These characters and multiple NPC's are introduced and every single one of them is interesting and has some kind of story behind them.
The only complaint here is that I wish that some of the backstories were explained a little better. Such as Noah aka Sadwick, because the game does not really introduce his backstory very well and if you hadn't played the original you will be just a little lost. The other characters also similarly are missing a little bit of backstory as well, they all feel great in the world, but knowing a little more about them would have been greatly appreciated. The story as a whole though will feel great even if you haven't played The Whispered World, the story is familiar, evil ruler takes over a kingdom while heroes are gone, while they are gone there is an army amassed of little black goo things that look very much like Miyazaki's Spirited Away creatures, and now you have to take your rightful place as the ruler. The story is familiar, but the individual characters here definitely make it stand out as a winner and one that you will enjoy up until the final minutes of the game.
The gameplay that is present here is quite simple, but it is varied and intelligent enough to keep things moving smoothly. This is your typical point and click adventure flair. You have a type of 2d/3d art style background and then items present in the world that you can click on. Simple enough, however Silence likes to break up the monotony of this by throwing in some small things to do the entire time. For example there are quite a few instances where you have to balance your character, the first time this happened to me it really shocked me because point and click adventures really haven't done anything like this, to the best of my knowledge. This innovation alone made me really happy and made the experience that much better.
There are not a lot of other innovations added, but I felt like it is a step in the right direction, especially considering just how well everything else feels. These are also some of the most fair and innovative puzzles I have come across. The one thing I normally dislike about puzzle games is just how out of the box you have to think at times. Like why do I have to put all of these socks together to make a rope, why don't I just use the pile of rope on the side of the barn? That is one place that this game really shines, all of the puzzles make sense. I may have been stumped a time or two on what to do next, but the second I thought logically, it all made sense. For example in the puzzle pictured above, the group was being chased by a Seeker, I had to tie a rope around his leg and attach it to the boat, then release the boat over the waterfall to get rid of the obstacle. Every puzzle has a natural feel and flow to it, making the experience just that much greater.
These puzzles become even more innovative and fun however once Spot is introduced to the group. He is kind of a one size fits all puzzle solver. He can change his shape to either be flat, round, or a lumpy little caterpillar, (seriously devs If you read this, I want that plushy for my future daughter, like now….) and all of these different forms are used for different puzzles. In his flat form he can be a type of wedge to release other objects, or can be used as a type of curtain to cover up holes. In his round form he becomes weightless like a balloon and can be used to float over to certain objects. The coolest part about him though is his ability to absorb and make himself even more unique. If you are controlling him and click on fire he can suddenly burst into flames and you can use that ability in unique ways across the current level, he can also be chopped up and then make multiples of himself, he's kind of like Flubber in that way, what a great movie.
The biggest thing I can say here though is that everything is fair. I never felt like I got cheated or that one puzzle was way too hard. No matter who I was playing, or what decisions I was making, everything felt unique and fun. This is puzzle design at its most ingenious and it's something that they should be extremely applauded for, it was a total blast and I actually enjoyed most, if not all the puzzles.
This game is gorgeous. Just absolutely gorgeous. One thing that will stand out almost immediately is just how much ingenuity went into level design and the art style. One second you are in a beautiful field, the next you are in a dungeon with a pissed off wasp queen who wants to sting you with her tentacles. Lighting effects, sounds, and backdrops make the entire package one that you should absolutely enjoy, and one that I personally fell in love with. Every area feels unique, and in an adventure game that is hard to do. You want to make everything feel cohesive, but Silence shows us time and time again that beautiful backdrops can be done if you have some imagination.
When you enter a new area of the game you really do get this sense that this an entirely realized world. You will journey from swamps with bogs full of tar, underground sections with unimaginable creatures, cities full of strange creatures and baddies, as well as volcanic style mountains. Every area is unique and as a result the entire game never feels old at any point. The humor and types of areas just keep you invested the entire time and as a result it really does seem like this is the prettiest game I have played all year. Character models are all unique and feel particularly well polished.
Sound is the only place where I kind of have some issues though. The sound design for music is great, it is a mix of fantasy and mystery at times and really sells the overall world. The place where it falters though is in voice work. The voice work as a whole is good, but at times it really does sound like the voice actors are just reading from a script. It never quite pulls you out of the moment, but it can seem to be a little flat at times. It's not enough to put a damper on the experience however. Each voice is unique and you can't wait to see what the next words out of their mouth will be. The presentation in this game is just great, the levels fit the puzzles and the unique ways that they are used are perfect, this is one of the most perfect examples of presentation in a game this year.
I loved Silence, more than I ever thought that I honestly would. The game is just so fun for a point and click game. In fact I have to ask that the developers keep making games set in this universe, I will buy them….seriously. Every aspect of this world is just so inviting, the story is so well done, if not a little hidden at times, and the presentation is just so well done. Puzzles that feel smart and never made me feel stupid, sign me up! In fact I would say that if you are a fan of games such as Grim Fandango or Day of the Tentacle, you will love Silence. The game is just so full of character and life that you will not be able to get enough by the end of this game. So on behalf of Daedalic I say go buy this game, play it and enjoy the entirety of the experience. You will not regret it.
|+ Art Style is unique and inviting||– Should play the previous entry to understand some more of the complicated story elements|
|+ Gameplay is varied||– Voice work at times sounds a little flat|
|+ Puzzles are fun and fit every situation|
|+ Story and characters are fun and whimsical|
|+ Levels are all different and made me believe in the entirety of the world|