Fear can take your voice away, but Children of Silentown by Elf Games and Luna2 Studio is a game that does its best to encourage you to find your voice and sing. This dreamy point and click adventure will leave you satisfied yet wanting for more.
After a brief yet chilling opening cinematic, we find ourselves in control of Lucy; the cute and plucky twelve-year-old protagonist who lives within the eponymous Silentown. Lucy, like many of the children in the village, has been suffering nightmares. This is due to her being able to hear the many howls of monsters who live in the surrounding forest every night. The early chapters build suspense around the forest while painting a picture of distrust and skepticism between the adults and children of the town. This gulf of trust stems from the adults demanding unquestioning acceptance of the rules and status quo of the town.
Following a resident’s disappearance, the adults will resort to victim blaming, claiming that it is the person’s own fault. That it wouldn’t have happened if they had followed the rules. These adults would have the children keep their heads down and not talk or ask questions about their problems, fears, or why their society is the way it is. The central conflict here is whether one should maintain tradition and ignorance or walk off into the unknown in search of truth.
Children of Silentown rejects the adult’s line of thinking, with one of its core puzzle mechanics being the ability to sing. Through exploration of the world, Lucy finds music notes that form magical songs that she can use to interact with the world. There are four such songs, though only three are required to reach the end of the game, each of them having its own puzzle associated with its use. The fourth song, linked to a secret ending and locked behind notes that you’ll have to be extra clever to find.
The rest of the mechanics are standard for modern point and click adventure games. You use your mouse to move Lucy around and to interact with objects in the environment. Sometimes this will lead to you picking up an item for another part of the game, or even combining it with another that you’ve already collected. The game does a decent enough job of explaining how to perform these actions the first time they are required. The puzzles were harder than I expected in a few places, but the eventual answer would reveal that I had not been paying enough attention to my surroundings. My advice is that if you ever get stuck, re-examine your surroundings, carried items, and journal.
That said though, If you do happen to get stuck on a puzzle, it’s very likely you won’t mind, as the game is full of beautiful, and haunting imagery. I was especially struck by the nightmare sequences, which have become deeply burned into my waking subconscious even now, days after completion. The individual images aren’t disturbing by themselves, but how they interact with their context within the narrative, layered over the striking original score, go an especially long way to make an atmosphere that clings to you.
I enjoyed much of the title, but it felt short, I could have spent twice as long with its interesting story and affecting atmosphere. . I would have loved to learn more about this unique world, and the overall mystery surrounding Lucy,her friends, and families lives. I suppose I’ll just have to go collect another of the game’s four endings.
- Breathtaking Art
- Great Soundtrack
- Meaningful Narrative
- Narratively feels short
In his late twenties, JnAkers resides within the age bracket that grew up in the era before the 00's internet explosion, lived through it's wild wild west days and is now capable of sometimes being confused by the modern time of memes.