Children of Silentown






Genre:  Adventure     

Developer & Publisher:  Elf Games/Daedelic Entertainment             

Released:  January 11, 2023               

Requirements:  Windows 7 and above

Processor:  SSE2 instruction set support; Recommended, 2.4 GHtz with

SSE2 instruction set support

Memory:  2 GB RAM; Recommended, 4 GB RAM

Graphics:  Any graphics card with DX10 (shader model 4.0)

DirectX:  Version 10

Storage:  7 GB available space










By flotsam

Children of Silentown

Elf Games/Daedelic Entertainment

If darkish animation adventures are your thing, then head on over to Silentown. Location, a dark monster filled forest. Population, not as many as there once were.

Children of Silentown tells the story of Lucy, a girl growing up in a town surrounded by a monster-filled forest, and from which people regularly disappear. The roars from the forest fill Lucy's dreams as well as her drawings, but she is determined to get to the bottom of whatever is haunting the town.

But not just yet. First there are chores to do, and fun to be had, and clues to be gathered, all within the town.

The town isn’t a big place, and you will likely go back and forth in the normal course of completing your current task. Being required to do so multiple times for different purposes could be considered a tad tedious, but I thought both the particular circumstances for doing so and the information garnered for the bigger storyline kept the compulsory revisits to the different town locations reasonably ‘fresh.’ True it is that e.g., finding people to talk to about the monsters, and looking for your friends as part of a game of hide-and-seek, plays out in the same environment, but the ‘vibe’ of your endeavours prevents it feeling stale or forced. And while the environment might be the same, the goings on are not.

Plus, the game knows when enough is enough. The makers have a good sense of balance, evident in other aspects of the game. Right about the time I was thinking “we need to get to the forest soon,” we got to the forest. And while Lucy went back to the town, it wasn’t the same as when she left.

It is all point and click, hot spots generating a single icon (look, talk or take) and which might lead to the generation of a different one (looking at something for instance might mean you can then take it). A little set of gears will accompany the capacity to deploy an inventory item. You can't reveal hot spots so explore carefully. Scenes will slide in various directions as you walk around and arrows will indicate exits. The 2D animation style is particularly appealing; it has a Tim Burton tinge I liked a lot, and it suits (and adds to) the overall feel.

The intricacies of the story you can discover for yourself, but suffice to say I enjoyed playing Lucy. She was determined to understand, and was not going to be deterred. The weirdness of the events outside the town was just another task to be completed. She wasn’t foolhardy, but nor was she cowed. Monsters be damned.

Ambient sound and a musical score provide the auditory palette, there being no spoken word apart from a short voice over at the start and at the end. Talking to people generates little speech bubbles that you click to advance once you are ready.

Through the course of the game you can be awarded stickers for doing certain things, which to my knowledge serve no purpose other than to be collected and then viewed in your journal which is where you can also view the musical notes that you ‘find.’ Unlike the stickers, these are fundamental to making progress. Find sufficient notes and you will be able to sing a little four note melody, which when successfully deployed will trigger a self-contained puzzle.

There were three different puzzles, each unique to one of the tunes. When a tune is required, only one of them will work. I mention that only to be clear that you can’t choose which puzzle to generate by choosing which tune to use. You will get a sense of which tune works where (one on people for instance, another on places) and in what circumstances (is the person reluctant to share their thoughts perhaps). If the tune can be utilised, Lucy will give it a melodious trill and the relevant puzzle will pop-up.

You can back out of the puzzle, but solve it you must. One involves gears and rotating tiles, another a thread and buttons (and later on portals), the last a series of eyes generating light across a grid. Each had their own peccadilloes and rules, each getting harder as you progress in the game. That doesn’t do them justice, and puzzle wise they do much of the heavy lifting.

They did give me pause to … well, pause. Only one is remotely connected to the game, and if you can’t solve them you are stuck. You can say that about any puzzle, but you might be tempted to be less generous towards these given their largely ‘stuck on’ nature. They can’t be skipped, and if you can’t do them (random clicking will likely only get you so far), you can’t move on.

Having said that, there is a logicalness to each of them that worked for me, one that I like a whole lot better than e.g., a convoluted inventory solve that you couldn’t possibly fathom. Sure you can try everything with everything in the latter, but give me logical over fanciful any day. Further, everything you need is right there, and even the one that I groaned about each time I had to do it (and then gritted my teeth and determinedly solved) could be broken down and nutted out.

Which isn’t to say I wasn’t frustrated by my inability to nut at times; they can be difficult, the gear one more than the others in my opinion.

By contrast, the inventory puzzle solving is less problematic, unless of course you haven’t found the item you need or can’t quite fathom how you might deploy it. Only once or twice did I resort to trying things just out of hope. Usually I had a good idea of what to do and how I might go about doing it. Which didn’t always work, but then after a bit of pondering something else generally came to mind. I did need two prods along the way, one the result of my own impatience and the other a ‘duh’ moment when I realised what I hadn’t done.

I mentioned balance before. There was a segment towards the end where I began to think the game was leaning a bit too heavily on the pop-up puzzles. I would do one, move on a little and then have to do another. But just before I got a little antsy, the game served up a rather large multi-faceted environmental puzzle that soothed any beast that might have been tempted to stir. Whilst it might just have been me, I rather think the makers appreciated how far to go before you need to go somewhere else, or offer a point of difference. Well done, them.

The Steam page talks about playing mini-games against the other children. The pop-up puzzles I referred to aren’t played against anyone apart from yourself, but there was one occasion on which I had to win twice while racing different animals against other children. If there are other such games, I missed them and they therefore aren’t obligatory.

The mechanics of the game will be familiar to most, but the game itself does an excellent job of providing feedback on what to do. The tunes, the pop-up puzzles, even the first time I had two inventory items that could be combined, all came with a little tutorial about what and how to do it. It should ensure that the considerable enjoyment experienced thus far is accessible to all.

Your inventory is a little pouch top left, and just click an item to try and use it in the game world. Right click it on another item to try and combine. The journal is top right, and the tunes available to you are bottom right, each with their own icon. Use them like an inventory item.

There are no manual saves in Silentown, but the game autosaves incessantly so that shouldn't be an issue. It does mean though that you can’t reset the world to what it was before, which I quite like, but which could impact e.g., how you go about the large environmental puzzle near the end. As well, the tunes operate a little differently in the forest, and then completely differently towards the end of the game, and you also have to pick one to sing right at the very end of the game - so make sure to remember which icon is which. I assume the endings are different depending which one you pick, but as you can’t load an earlier save I couldn’t go back and see. Which is about the only thing that I would change.

It ended a little suddenly, but I thought rather satisfyingly based on the ending I got. It clocked in at just over 10 hours and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB



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