What happens when you throw time travellers, shady US government labs, the year 1965, and a janitor into a point-and-click adventure engine? You get The Silent Age, a dark and moody episodic adventure that is full of promise and intrigue.
The year is 1965 – Nixon is in power and Joe is still slaving away as a janitor in some kind of US government lab. When his janitor partner goes missing, he is given a promotion by the powers-at-be to access the classified floors of the lab. By a twist of fate, Joe comes to possess a solar-powered time travelling device, is framed for a crime, and lands himself in prison.
The Silent Age takes the standard adventure game trope of combining items with environmental cues to solve a set of puzzles. Where the game truly succeeds is the use of the time travelling mechanic, something that is so simple, yet gives the game considerable depth.
The player can switch between two timelines: the present or the future. Using this power, players will need to grab items from one timeline in order to solve a puzzle in another. It’s a great concept, one that works flawlessly throughout the game.
The Silent Age does a great job building up the suspense. It becomes quickly apparent that some kind of catastrophic event takes place sometime between the present and the future. The future timeline is overgrown, abandoned and filled with charred corpses. Yet this first episode does little to explain what happened, leaving a hazy, mysterious and dread-filled atmosphere that slowly fills the air. You try to focus on the goal at hand, but you can’t help but wonder how everything ended up this way.
The Silent Age does a great job of breaking up the gameplay to make it suitable for mobile gaming. Each are acts as a chapter, meaning you can easily pick up where you left off when jumping on a train, waiting in line or sneaking in a few minutes on your lunch break. As it stands the first episode will only take you an hour or two at most, which seems like a perfect length to tell a compelling opener and leave you waiting for more.
The art style is simply fantastic. Minimalistic visuals and colourful character models fill up the screen, with some great lighting effects to really show off some great areas. The audio in the game is pretty well done also, the ominous drone of the synth really driving home a sense of foreboding as you find yet another corpse on your adventure.