Silence

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Silence Game Poster Image
Short, beautiful tale has somber message of grief, loss.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Melancholy message about self-sacrifice, giving up dreams to face reality isn't very uplifting.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One of the two heroes is brave, pure; the other is crabby, selfish.

Ease of Play

Puzzle solutions mostly make sense; hint system helps when you get stuck.

Violence

References to children being "blown to pieces," blood on a window implies death of a child.

Sex
Language

Occasional profanity like "crap," "s--t," "bastards," "goddammit."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One sequence shows heroine getting loopy after licking mushrooms.

What parents need to know

Parents should know that Silence is the downloadable sequel to the point-and-click adventure game, The Whispered World. It references children being “blown to pieces,” and implies the bombing death of one child by blood on a window. The story features occasional profanity like “bastard,” “crap,” “s--t,” and “goddammit,” as well as crude toilet humor. Characters are shown licking mushrooms and having hallucinatory drug trips.

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What's it about?

SILENCE tells the story of Noah and Renie, two orphans caught in the midst of an apocalyptic war. While hiding in a bunker, they're swept to the world of Silence, a dream world created by Noah. There, they discover Silence is still feeling the effects of Noah's bumbling alter-ego (a clown named Sadwick) and is suffering under an evil False Queen. Co-heroes Noah and Renie are both playable, and gameplay often separates them and shifts back and forth between the two. Progress depends on exploration, dialog choices, and puzzle solving.

Is it any good?

Though shorter than it could be and more depressing than its predecessor, this adventure is still a worthy sequel to 2010's The Whispered World. Developer Daedalic makes the jump to 3D with this one, to great aesthetic effect. With gorgeously-illustrated backgrounds, cool character models, and great music and voice acting, the game enchants you with its delicate, dreamlike beauty, then keeps you spellbound with its clever, emotionally-charged gameplay. Silence is, in many ways, a traditional adventure, but breaks new ground in the way it handles interactivity. Rather than simple clicks, actions -- like balancing, climbing, or lifting -- are completed through directional mouse movements. This adds an element of skill to the mix, making exploration more interesting. Like its predecessor, Silence has an often wicked sense of humor that's more sophisticated (despite the fart jokes) than its kids' book illustration style might suggest, and exhibits a surprising degree of emotional depth. Though that's definitely a plus, its language, drug references, and realistic depiction of grief and loss could be too much for younger players. Still, even with its depressing message, it easily claims its spot among the best, most tightly-constructed adventure games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how dreams reflect reality. Have you seen other games or movies that represent dreams?

  • Discuss non-traditional families. What do you think makes a "normal" family in 2017?

  • Think about other books, TV shows and movies that feature kids without parents. How does it affect those kids, growing up on their own?

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