Published on July 18th, 2013 | by James Maxwell1
The Silent Age: Episode 1 Review
The Silent Age: Episode 1 is the beginning of what is expected to be a series of solid point-and-click adventure games. Has the developer (House On Fire) crafted an adventure that is worthy of a multi-episode release?
In The Silent Age you take control of Joe, a maintenance worker for a high tech government facility. He finds himself living an ordinary life, but one day he gets called up to the big boss and is given a promotion within the company. This sounds like a time for celebration, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, just shortly after receiving his promotion Joe comes across some weird things happening in the building. I wont spoil the story for you, but Joe eventually comes into possession of a small device that allows him to travel through time. You will use this device to move between the modern times (1972) and the future (2011) which is now a wasteland. Joe must make proper use of his time machine if he plans to figure out what has caused civilization to collapse, and he’s going to have to work hard if he’s going to prevent the fate of man-kind.
Gameplay & Controls
The Silent Age plays just like any traditional point-and-click adventure game out there. You tap on the screen to get Joe to move to that location. If you click on an item that is required to solve a puzzle Joe will pick them up and you will carry them in your inventory. The items you pick up will all have a definite purpose, so you’ll have to find everything if you plan to get further into the game (which I’m assuming you will). Most of the time the puzzles are fairly straight forward, but a few times the objectives were a bit obscure, and took a little bit more thinking to figure out. I wouldn’t say the puzzles were very challenging, which is good and bad I suppose. Personally I liked that the game wasn’t a huge challenge as it alleviates the frustration I usually associate with point-and-click games, and it also helps to move the story along at a nice pace.
One of my favorite aspects of the The Silent Age is the time travel mechanics that become available to you fairly early into the game. You will come into possession of a module that allows you to flip back and forth between the present (1972) and the future (2011). Swapping between the two time periods is essential as often you will find an item in one that you’re going to need in the other. It’s a fun mechanic that adds a lot to the game’s personality.
I have to admit that I am not normally a fan of point-and-click adventure games, but The Silent Age has managed to change my view on the genre. I have always found myself getting stuck on overly complicated puzzle, or missing a necessary item in order to move on, but I didn’t have that problem with The Silent Age. The puzzles are fairly easy to solve, and it keeps the game moving at a really nice pace. I feel that with the puzzles being less obscure it should open up the game to a wider audience too.
The gameplay in The Silent Age is as close to perfection as I can imagine a point-and-click game can be. All of the different aspects flow so well together, and it makes the game just so much fun to play. There is no reason for any gamer to not download and give this game a play through.
Just by looking at any of this game’s screenshots (or videos I suppose) you will immediately be amazed by the fantastic minimalistic art design that is used throughout the entirety of The Silent Age. The developers use of color is spot on, and it really helps to convey the atmosphere that has been developed. When you’re in the 1970’s you will see bright, crisp, and clean colours, while when you move into the future you will be met with a dark and drab palette that shows the how dilapidated the world actually is. Some of the coolest moments in the game come when you put your time machine to use. You might find yourself in a bustling police station at one moment, but after the flick of the switch you’ll find yourself in a place that is as far away from bustling as you can get. The contrast between the two time periods is very cool to see, and these changes really add a lot to the game’s unique atmosphere.
The Silent Age: Episode 1 has some of the nicest graphics you’re likely to find on a mobile device. The color palette chosen really creates a sense of beauty while in the 1970’s, and the whole feel of the game turns to that of terror and disbelief once you switch over to the future.
The sound design in The Silent Age is something that I feel was very well done. The game isn’t filled with any sort of licensed music, but rather it takes a more minimalistic approach to the sound. This is great, as it really helps to build the atmosphe that has been put forward through the game’s excellent visuals. The auditory and visual aesthetics flow together perfectly, which will really draw any gamer deeper into this unique world that the developer has created. I highly recommend wearing headphones while playing The Silent Age as the sound design really helps to complete this wonderful gaming experience.
The replayability of this game is the one downfall you’ll find here. This is the case with most point and click games, as whatt’s the point of going back through the game if you already know the solution to every puzzle? It is true that some P&C games come with multiple endings, but The Silent Age is completely linear and only has one possible path to follow. This isn’t a bad thing in regards to the story or how the game progresses, but it really takes away the likelihood of you playing through the game multiple times.
The other aspect that kills the game’s replayability factor is the games overall length. I knew that since this was just the first episode of the game that it was likely going to be short, but the experience seemed to end far quicker than I would have liked. I managed to breeze through the game in one sitting, and it took around 2 hours (maybe) to see the credits rolling. Two hours is still a decent amount of gameplay, but it leaves you aching for more.
Upon completion of Episode 1 the you will be asked whether you’d like to make an IAP donation towards the production of Episode 2. The next episode being completely funded through Crowdfunding, so if you want to donate a bit to the developer you can, but if you don’t want to that’s totally fine too. It’s an interesting option to have, and hopefully the developers will earn some money through this small piece of self promotion.
The Silent Age is a game that really shocked me. With my general aversion to playing point-and-click games I was stunned by how gripped I got by this game. The story, the graphics, and the sound design are truly brilliant, and I really can’t give this game a higher recommendation. The Silent Age is a real work of art, and something that everyone with a mobile phone or tablet needs to experience. My only complaint is that I wished the game was a bit longer, but I guess I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope that The Silent Age: Episode 2 comes out soon.
If you haven’t already downloaded The Silent Age: Episode 1 you need to do yourself a favor and click on the link below. You’re not going to regret it.
Summary: The Silent Age: Episode 1 is without a doubt the best point-and-click game I have ever experienced. The developer has done a masterful job of creating a compelling story that is portrayed brilliantly through a fantastic minimalistic art style and an atmospheric sound design. My only complaint with Episode 1 is that it felt far too short and left me aching for more. This in in part to the length of the game, but also due to the fact that you really get drawn into this beautiful yet terrifying world.