By Gabriel Jones 04.01.2017
Out in the real world, where a devastating war has made every day a struggle, Noah and his little sister Renie are hiding out in a bunker. They hoped that the bombing would stop, instead... In an instant, Noah is transported to the beautiful yet dangerous world of Silence, his sister is nowhere to be found. Under the command of the False Queen, a rapidly growing army of monsters known as Seekers is laying waste to the realm. With the help of a form-changing caterpillar and a few friends, perhaps the siblings can reunite and make their way home.
Silence, the world between life and death, is certainly beautiful. Every location that Noah and Renis visit is gorgeously rendered. This vivid realm is also populated by a number of interesting characters and bizarre creatures. However, there is always some sort of disconnect. The interactions between Noah and the people he meets come off as really distant. This could be attributed to the stilted dialogue. The English voicework is unevenly paced, so sometimes the actors will speak their lines, but not take the necessary breaks in between words and sentences.
It also becomes difficult for the player to grow attached to characters, because they tend to be unlikeable jerks that make terrible decisions. The relationship between Noah and the freedom fighter Kyra is especially aggravating. Every time they share the screen together, something has to go horribly wrong. Perhaps Noah is just bad with women? It's a world steeped in metaphors after all. Renie and the rest of the cast fare a bit better, but only in the sense that they're less likely to make their quest more difficult than it has to be. Spot is…well…Spot. The little bugger has a couple of amusing moments, but his antics mostly fall flat.
The story takes a number of turns, but the one big takeaway is that it feels unfinished. Certain character arcs go unresolved, plot threads are left hanging, and supposedly significant moments don't carry any weight. The issue of tone is never properly addressed either. There are many segments that are almost explicitly designed to appeal to small children, jokes aimed at teens, and a few moments that are too much for younger gamers. Granted, it's necessary for kids to learn about war and death, but the intro might have gone a bit too far, by leaving flecks of blood where a child used to be on the door of Noah's bunker. That's the one instance of blood in the entire game. It's either symbolism, or the director wanted a neat visual. In any case, it doesn't really work.
As for the game itself, the adventure portions involve the usual combination of collecting items and interacting with objects in order to solve puzzles. The solutions are generally very easy to figure out, since the user interface has a habit of spelling out exactly what needs to be done. Much of the replay value is in discovering optional interactions, or purposefully failing critical events just to see the results. A handful of dialogue options lend an illusion of choice, but they don't impact the story.
If an adventure game was only judged by its graphics and music, Silence would have been highly recommended. The world that Noah and Renis explores is stunning, with rich environments and a fantastic use of colour. The soundtrack is appropriate for every situation and quite good. However, the rest of the game suffers due to an uneven story and poorly written characters. There are a handful of charming and even brilliant moments, but they're sandwiched in between occurrences that will only confuse and frustrate the viewer. This is a game of peaks and valleys, and it ends after going over a cliff.