16th Apr2019

‘Silence’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

silence-header

War rages on. During an air raid, 16 year old Noah and his little sister Renie seek shelter in a bunker. There, not only are they protected from the deadly bombardment, but are also at the crossroads of a world between life and death: Silence. When Noah’s sister gets lost in Silence, he is forced to venture into this idyllic yet threatening world to find her. Silence, however, bears its own scars of war and suffering. Dark creatures haunt towns and cities and ravage this once serene place between worlds. Only a small band of rebels stands against the looming menace. Now it is up to the siblings to save Silence and its fantastic inhabitants from impending doom and thus also save their own lives.

A Switch port of a game originally released in 2016, Silence is a solid game with gentle puzzles and surprisingly endearing characters.

Noah is a teenage boy who dotes on his younger sister, Renie. Orphaned at a young age the game starts with the two of them just making it to a bomb shelter before a seemingly catastrophic bombing run decimates their outside world. In the ensuing chaos, Renie goes missing and Noah sets out to find her.

Following on from the previous game, the majority of Silence is set in the fantasy world (or is it?) of the same name. Game play flits between the two main characters as they explore the world of Silence. Originally a point and click title, on the Switch the controls are adjusted slightly to utilise the game pad and it works well. Interactable objects and characters can be clicked on to solve the puzzles that flesh out the game play. The visuals are quite robust with strong voice acting and the approach is one of more simple enjoyment, the puzzles are never head-scratchers and can usually be solved in a few minutes and often in charming way which gives the game a nice pace.

The way in which the story was told and the background of the characters location all drew me in, some of the insinuations and situations are quite dark but never feel morbid and add to the mystery of the real world which we only glimpse at here. The events of the first game are covered early on so that newcomers to the series can catch up, as was the case with myself. There’s also a pretty through Wikipedia article if a player wanted to have a fuller understanding of the setting.

Full of memorable characters and with a real sense of charm, Silence is game I really enjoyed my time with, although it isn’t a game that gives a heavy challenge, it’s more laid back approach is perfect for those more interested in the narrative than difficulty and at a few hours’ long, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. I will say that the loading times can be a nuisance and it can sometimes be unclear where you can and can’t walk onscreen due to occasional viewpoint issues but these are minor detractions in an overall enjoyable and accessible game.

Silence is available on the Nintendo Switch now.

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