Releasing this week, Children of Silentown was developed by Elf Games and Luna2 Studio and is coming to all major systems. Here’s our review of this brand new adventure game.
Children of Silentown marks the return of publisher Daedalic to adventure games, a genre they were kind of known for about a decade ago. With the Deponia series, The Whispered World and Silence they had a couple of well-received titles, but after State of Mind in 2018 a few legal/financial issues caused the publisher to change hands and refocus their portfolio. Their lineup has been diverse these past two years, so it’s nice to see them return to a genre they had success with in the past.
And while Children of Silentown is clearly reminiscent of classic adventure games in its formula, there are a few refreshing aspects to it, starting with its overall look and feel. Clearly inspired by the dark fairytale-like visuals of Tim Burton’s work, the game embraces the weird and shadowy side of storytelling. The narrative is set inside a village that borders a mysterious and foreboding forest, which is said to house monsters that cause people to disappear. Because of this, people aren’t allowed outside after dark, and have to keep the noises they make down to a bare minimum during the day.
Easier said than done for protagonist Lucy, who loves singing. People, including her own father, aren’t too fond of that fact, which ultimately prompts Lucy to head out and do a bit of investigating. A mystery ensues, but with a gloomy atmosphere surrounding it – characters have blank expressions with strange white circles for eyes, and the music fits that mood as well. It’s certainly striking, and doesn’t go back to the classic pixel art look and feel we see in other adventure games.
Gameplay-wise you’ll notice familiar elements though, like the ability to pick up and combine stuff to overcome puzzles – sometimes of the obtuse kind, as per the tradition. Quite a few puzzles also involve Lucy’s singing voice though, which is a novel touch – you’ll gradually learn songs that, as if by magic, help you pass obstacles or progress the story. This ties into logic puzzles, which do a nice job of mixing up the puzzle gameplay beyond the usual inventory-based kind even though you’ll probably end up wishing there were more puzzle variations here.
Children of Silentown has a narrative that runs for about 10 hours, which is a decent length for an adventure game, with a intriguing premise and art style doing more than enough to keep you engaged for its entire runtime. With a few exceptions there aren’t too many adventure games that embrace the darker side of things, so this is a nice exception with a look and feel that creates an impact.