Silence, also known as Silence: The Whispered World 2, is the sequel to The Whispered World, a 2009 game that came out on PC and Mac. Silence is out now for PC, (including Mac and Linux, via Steam and GOG), PS4, and Xbox One. For review purposes the Xbox One version of the game was used.
Silence is about a boy called Noah, and his little sister Renie, traversing a strange and wonderful, albeit somewhat broken, world. You lead them through fantastical environments, solving puzzles to progress. The puzzles don’t seem unnaturally placed for the player though; they blend into the environments and the storyline rather than being just a method of progression. The game is most accurately an adventure game; point-and-click is merely the method.
The graphics are really nice; far superior to your typical point-and-click adventure games. The Whispered World was praised for its hand-drawn backgrounds, and these remain, however the game has progressed somewhat from the previous instalment: the main characters are now three-dimensional as well. The art is lovely to look at, and the music is lovely to listen to as well. Much of the time the music is not especially noteworthy; when it plays in the background you don’t really take note of it. However, on the occasions where it comes to the forefront the pieces are beautiful.
Humour runs through the entire game, but it doesn’t feel try-hard or forced. Renie, in particular, is a very funny character. She displays a childish nonchalance to the dangerous situations that would have others panicking, determination overtaking in other situations. Her candid statements and musings are often particularly funny, as well as moments of naivety.
Amusement isn’t the only thing you will feel though, as the game is rather emotive at times, and surprisingly touches on some darker notions. The game’s opening in particular is quite dark, but rest assured that the humour will follow. The darker themes do crop up throughout, and though sometimes they are treated lightly, they are never used simply for a joke.
One of the best things about this is that it is not predictable. The game diverges somewhat from your typical point-and-click adventure games, and this is to its benefit. Neither the story line or what will happen next are run-of-the-mill or obvious, which makes for a nice change of pace. Neither, however is it entirely nonsensical. Although some of the characters and interactions are unusual, they don’t come across as out-of-place, or random for the sake of being random.
One unusual choice which works well is Spot. Spot is your funny little caterpillar friend, and is an utterly adorable and infinitely useful companion. You can swap between controlling Noah or Renie and Spot. As well as having cute and funny interactions with the environment, he is also essential to solving some of the puzzles. The animations made for some of his interactions are delightful, and he shines as a bright spot in the game.
The gameplay overall is interesting, and a lot of fun. The puzzles are not quite your typical point-and-click adventure puzzles, and with Spot as an added gameplay mechanic there’s an extra layer of options to consider. Spot can swap between different shapes and sizes, as well as consume food to various effects. Sometimes it is clear that Spot is the best way to progress, but not all puzzles and interactions require Spot, so it is fun to try to work out exactly when he can be helpful, as it is not always apparent.
Spot will be familiar to those who played the original game, The Whispered World, and they therefore may have some benefit in understanding his powers and knowing when to use them. You get a brief explanation that Spot can change shape, but his other powers aren’t explained to you in full in Silence; you have to work out what happens when Spot consumes things as you play.
Silence is most likely generally improved by playing The Whispered World first, as there are many references to the original game, and the plot line can be very confusing at first without knowing the story of the original. There is a sequence at the beginning of Silence which gives a very brief overview of the events of The Whispered World, in the form of Noah trying to cheer up Renie with a story. However, it’s not until later that you realise the tale he is telling is any more than just that; a story to comfort his sister. This is the only negative of the game: having not had the opportunity to play the first one means many references were lost. Luckily, you can still enjoy the world without having visited it before.
Whether you are new to the series or not, Silence is worth your time. Silence: The Whispered World 2 is a whimsical fantasy game, with gorgeous art and music that draw you into its world, and funny dialogue that makes you want to stay. The odd cast of characters and unusual plot make for a compelling tale that is enjoyable and fun, with gameplay that suits.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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