So straight off the bat, I think it’s probably necessary to make my position clear before getting into my experience with Silence - The Whispered World 2. Last time I played a point and click adventure game was back with Monkey Island when taking on the undead ragamuffin LeChuck. So my pointing and clicking is a little rusty I must admit. These games definitely use a part of your brain that can lay dormant for quite a long time. Of course the caterpillar has to be the right shape for the cannon mushroom, it makes sense now!
Ok, my position set, let’s try and summarise a bit what Silence is all about. If you’re like me, you probably have no clue what to expect. First off, this one confused me quite a lot early on considering “The Whispered World 2” isn’t actually part of the title of this game. This game is a sequel to, you guessed it, The Whispered World. A 2D, hand drawn, point and click adventure featuring Sadwick the jester and his pet caterpillar spot, and this game follows mostly in the same vein. As I said, this confused the hell out of me considering a lot of weird shiznit went down in the prequel which is referenced almost in its entirety in the early game. If you haven’t played the prequel and don’t want the reveal at the end ruined I suggest you skip the next paragraph by the way.
So What’s Silence Actually About?
OK, so now you know the whole prequel thing, if you were like me there’s quite a lot of info you have to pick up. The characters you play as most are these two kiddlywinks Noah and Renie. They live in a not so cheery WW2/Blitz -esque world where their hometown is being constantly bombarded by enemy planes and they are forced to hide in bunkers for large portions of time. Easy to grasp so far right? Ok, so what’s Silence? Silence is a world that exists in your subconscious when you are between life and death and your story in Silence dictates whether you grab life or accept death after a pretty big accident. I mean it is a lovely place, you could be tempted to stay when it's not filled with masked beasties that kind of remind me of Angels from Evangelion. So this game is about Noah and Rennie, ending up in the Silence through one way or another.
See what i mean about that Evangellion thing?
With that set out, what did I actually think of it?
So why I brought up Monkey Island at the start is because initially I didn’t instantly get on with this title. Whether this was because I was rusty and making silly mistakes, or whether I was expecting more humour I’m not sure. This was despite the gorgeous hand drawn set pieces and breathtaking cinematics. I got stuck a few time and ended up replaying the same cut scenes over and over again. That I think would be my first and probably only real criticism - you were unable to skip bits that you’ve seen before, so having to watch a bit of dialogue for the 15th time while you were trying to work something out did grate a little bit. But you could argue that’s maybe more my lack of clicking skills as there were some points where things were skippable.
Then, I’m not sure where about in the story line (probably after I stopped sucking) Silence really began to grow on me. Like, really grow on me. I would jump in the way of a car to save it at this point. Spot the caterpillar, whom I originally thought was just cute sidekick #6347, began to warm the cockles of my heart every time he flashed that gormless smile at you. And the characters (admittedly after understanding what the hell was going on) really got me caring about them. Their at first disjointed communication became their personality and their feelings and emotions became my prerogative. While also the companions you meet along the way and the decisions you have to make concerning them genuinely affected me on some level, making me feel uneasy.
Just look at this lovable little bastard
That kind of leads me into an aspect of the game I’m not sure about. Having played this through in about 7 hours, along the way there were decisions you had to make at certain points. Whether these were false decisions that have no effect, or ones that carry on through the rest of the game is where I’m not sure. I didn’t have a spare five hours to get back to them, but the ones I could replay did at least lead to different cut scenes, so maybe there’s more gameplay hidden somewhere? I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But that in no way takes away from this game, just something worth mentioning.
It's just gorgeous to look at
Nevertheless, Silence is a breathtakingly beautiful game. There are so many moments where I just stopped and stared at what was going on around me. You can tell that some people have poured a lot of themselves into this title and through that it's definitely a unique experience. I cared about the characters, I was excited to find out more of the world, at times just to see what they’d drawn, I was surprised with the variation of gameplay that kept coming up and the story line really struck a chord with me, the ending especially. This game is one that is going to stick with me for quite a while.