Review: Silence (Nintendo Switch)
- Release Date (NA): April 11, 2019
- Release Date (EU): April 11, 2019
- Release Date (JP): April 11, 2019
- Publisher: Daedalic GmbH
- Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
- Genres: Adventure
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
- Also For: PlayStation 4
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Back in the very early 90's I discovered video games. Once I had a taste I couldn't get enough and everywhere I went I had to get my fix. My grandparents had a "personal computer" they used for email and playing solitaire, but digging deeper I found some other games lurking on their 20mb HDD (lol) and floppy disk drives. The one that always had me gripped whenever I went to their place was Who framed Roger Rabbit in Hare Raising Havoc!
This game was a point and click revolution to me, with full color graphics, voice samples, multiple interactive objects, and wacky cartoonish lateral thinking that straight up baffled me until I eventually learned its intricacies and patterns. Prior to this I had dabbled in basic "arcade" style games like Chase HQ and Double dragon; they were fantastic, but neither really told a creative tale and made you think. It was at this point I knew I would want lateral thinking and puzzle elements thrown into my future gaming experiences.
Fast forward to today, and playing Silence on my Nintendo Switch, I have found that it is a mixture of the nostalgic point and click puzzler genre's I grew up on but with an imaginative and enchanting fairy-tale to tell, and whats more it's truly fun to play.
From the harrowing war-torn introductory movie to the characters and environments this game has been beautifully crafted and lovingly lit to give you a warmth, depth, and empathy to draw you into the main protagonists playful and sometimes chilling minds. This game perfectly juxtaposes dark with light, evil with love, and brother with sister for maximum effect.
Silence tackles the themes of a country at war, bombs being dropped, uncontrollable violence, harsh realities which force these kids into hiding, trapped in a bunker waiting it out until its safe (if it's ever safe again). Their turmoil shapes their use of their imagination as a tool to transport them to a better place filled with adventure and mystery as a form of escapism. Unbeknownst to them this world "Silence" is enduring its own battles between the Rebels and the Seekers, the latter providing the scare elements and the feeling you're being followed or watched throughout. The themes and undertones in Silence mirror those of the lead characters realities, and often events or interactions in Silence can cleverly and subtly have multiple real world allegorical interpretations.
Renie's tasks are more explorative and cutesy with her oversized clothes and pint-sized stature, where as Noah's are a little more edgy, danger fraught, and grown up endeavors, even though in actual fact Renie is innocently fearless and Noah actually starts out an absolute wuss. Luckily Spot the caterpillar is on hand as a trusty and dependable sidekick to help Noah out where possible!
Effects, lighting, textures and atmosphere are all captured superbly and punctuated by spot on ambient sound effects and well scored music. Whether you are in a safe warm fuzzy sun kissed environment or a nightmare inducing dark dripping cave, everything about this game is so enthralling and inspired that its a pleasure to absorb with your senses. You share the sense of awe & wonder, and you too can escape from reality as the characters do, and that is what makes Silence so appealing.
Noah, Renie (and let's not forget Spot) along with the NPC's are all animated excellently and are all fully individualized with fine attention to detail and fleshed out design, but there is a little downer to come: the voice work is, at times, a mixture of zero enthusiasm quips and dead-pan "humor". For example, at one point you have Renie licking mushrooms and experiencing a psychotropic episode, yet she low-energy exclaims "weeeeee" and its over in seconds. More often than not she also glibly remarks about a task she is undertaking with a child-link rhyme but in a down trodden or brow beaten tone, that just doesn't quite mesh with the rest of the games style. This small flaw can often be overlooked though as the interactions and dialog are well written and endearing. Some sections also feel a little bit like you're in the Labyrinth movie as the characters breathe life into explaining what you have to do and hint towards how you should achieve it. It's very entertaining and builds up the identity of Silence.
Controlling the characters are as easy as using the analog stick to move and the A button to interact (Spot has some other other features like changing shape), you get scattered quick time events where you have to balance on an object or point and click to grab something before the event is over, and it's excellently intuitive to play. Although some of these choices and actions can lead to life or death scenarios, it is overall a very forgiving game and you're granted seemingly infinite attempts to right any wrongs you stumble over along the way. Later on into the adventure you can also swap back and forth between characters which is a nice feature if you get stuck or, after completing an area, you want to go back and continue playing out the next part of one character's story arc first.
There's nothing to collect and no real secrets to discover in this game which I found a smidge lacking in a generation where collect-a-thons are making a comeback, but perhaps that is to its credit, as it doesn't detract from the beauty and simplicity of the unfolding adventure.
Overall this game is very enjoyable and very much a casual game that won't stress you out or leave you thinking that it was far too simple. The time it takes to complete is a little short but a secondary play through will give you opportunity to chose alternate dialog options to see if you can catch any additional details you missed before. The vast array of styles of mini-games makes this game quite varied for its genre, and towards the end emotions run high and the intensity amplifies satisfactorily into quite the crescendo.
+ Endearing and captivating game-play.
+ Mysterious storyline and puzzles.
+ Great looking environments and characters.
+ Pro controller support.
- Lack of touch screen.
- Some repetitive back and forth-ing.
- Basic voice acting.
- Relatively short.
Overall a very superb looking game with well designed characters and beautifully rendered back grounds. A solid mixture of glowing cheerfulness and dark spook-factor.
Engaging puzzles and a foreboding feeling of being followed makes for a tantalizing experience. There is so much to take in and explore its a pleasure to navigate thanks to its easy to pick up controls.
Puzzles a plenty, featuring multiple choice, point and click, quick time events and lateral thinking: through out you wonder if the next time you play it will be slightly different based on your choices. Once the puzzles have been worked through once though, its a cakewalk on the second play through, and with roughly 4 and a half hours play time the first casual time around: it can be done in under 3 to find the alternate ending.
out of 10
(not an average)
A short yet intriguing adventure which delves into the wondrous and escapist imaginations of two children during a harrowing time, all the while dealing with life or death situations.