Imagine this scenario. You work at a large corporation in the 1970’s. You are just a low level janitor as average as one could be. However, as you go about your average day you suddenly get promoted and then you find a trail a blood…strange. You eventually find a dying old man who seems crazy talking about the future and how you need to warn him. Oh, and he gives you a portable time machine. Sound exciting? Well that is the back story of The Silent Age Episode 1, a point and click adventure game all about time travel, government conspiracies, the 1970’s and the end of the world…
When reviewing a point and click adventure game I feel the most important aspect is the actual story trying to be told. Now, I kind of gave a basic background setting in my introduction paragraph but I’ll go in more detail without spoiling anything. So you play as Joe, who according to the developers, House on Fire, is literally your average Joe who has an average income, IQ, etc. The time period is the 1970’s with the Cold War is going on among all the other sort of movements. I must say that in terms of setting The Silent Age does a great job at adding the subtle details to make things believable and the game stand out as a whole. For instance the clothing the characters wear such as the bellbottom jeans and their crazy hairstyles. Plus you can inspect items and hear what Joe has to say about them (and most of the times he has two responses for each item) so you get to hear kind of a 1970’s viewpoint on things as well as see objects such as paintings of the current President at that time, etc. Also in general the detail graphically especially later on when you start time traveling is amazing. Little details that don’t mean anything to the overarching story but add depth is a huge plus for me.
Back to the Future
I’ve been beating around the bush for a while about the big gameplay dynamic but here it is…you can go into the future! That portable time travel device the old dying man gave you actually works and transports you 20 years into the future where the world has pretty much been wiped out. Buildings are crumbling, plants have grown up over everything, cars are just rusted shells, etc. But it is in this fairly generic time travel plot device that a good portion of the puzzling in The Silent Age comes from as since you can go back and forth from the present to future you can alter the future. A simple example of this is when a doorway is blocked by poison ivy in the future you can go into the present to destroy the plant at its baby stage. You then go back to the future and no more poison ivy. There are a lot of these types of puzzles in The Silent Age which for a point and click adventure title is pretty unique.
The World Needs You
You may have noticed that occasionally I’ll make the distinction that this is only episode 1 of The Silent Age series, which means that at least another one is planned and hopefully more as I really like the game dynamics and feel of it. However, I do say that more episodes are needed because as of now episode 1 of The Silent Age is very short. Great experience throughout with the story, graphics and puzzle dynamics but all in all I finished the game in less than 30 minutes. Compared to other point and click adventure games this is not even a drop in the bucket. But The Silent Age is free and well worth the time to play and get immersed in the storyline of the Cold War and the 1970’s.