Review – Children of Silentown
I have say, that despite having played tons of point-an-click adventures recently, I’m delighted by just how different they’ve all been from one another. Norco was an incredibly bizarre and melancholy journey. Unusual Findings cranked up the feelings of 80s nostalgia up to the max. Then there was Return to Monkey Island, which was a return to the beloved franchise after a significant hiatus. Each had their own unique feel and aesthetic, leaving their own memorable stamps on the market. Now we have Children of Silentown from Elf Game Works and Luna2 Studio, which once again provides its own distinct experience. What a time to be a fan of point-and-click adventures!
In Children of Silentown, you play as Lucy, a young girl living in the titular Silentown. It’s a place with a set of strict to to adhere by, such as no singing, no yelling, no playing loudly, and always be inside before dark. Failure to follow the rules means that you’re at risk for being taken by the monsters that live in the woods surrounding the town. Plenty of Silentown’s inhabitants have gone missing, with none of the villagers looking to rescue them after they’ve been taken. Once you’re gone, you’re gone forever. It makes the no-fun allowed town in Footloose look like a paradise by comparison.
Lucy and the rest of her friends do what they can to live as typical children, despite the harsh rules, but even then, people still frequently go missing. The kids have been told to not look for answers, lest the monsters get angry and take them. However, after someone close to Lucy gets taken, she decides she’s done hiding. She leaves for the woods, searching for answers to the dark mystery surrounding the town.
Children of Silentown is a point-and-click adventure, but with several other puzzle types thrown into the mix. The most notable are its musical puzzles. Throughout her journey, Lucy will learn new notes from various things around the town and within the woods themselves. After she’s collected enough notes, she’ll learn a new song, each with their own distinct purpose. One song unlocks people’s inner thoughts, which can be incredibly important in figuring out how to either help them or sneak past them. Another song removes barriers in your way. Then another song reveals things hidden to the normal eye. Each has their use, which you’ll have to play around with throughout the game.
There are other types of puzzles as well, but these are a bit of a mixed bag. Some involve stitching together torn memories, and these were the puzzles I enjoyed the most. Then there are puzzles involving rotating tiles using gears. These aggravated me quite a bit, at least in the beginning. You get use to how they work after a while, but their introduction was pretty vague, which lead to some frustration. There’s no option to skip a puzzle or any sort of hint system, so some of these puzzles can grind your progress to a screeching halt. Thankfully, the story is compelling enough to make you want to push through, but I can understand people getting discouraged from continuing at certain points.
As with any point-and-click adventure, there are also tons of environmental and situational puzzles to overcome, and Children of Silentown is no different. I was very happy to find that none of the solutions were overly obtuse to solve. There were a few times I got stuck for a little bit while searching for a specific item needed to progress, but it was never too long before finally figuring out where to look or which song to play in order to locate it.
A hint system would have been nice, but it’s definitely not needed to complete the game, as long as you stay a keen observer. There’s also no chapter select option, which is one gripe I do have with the game, since there were a few things I missed and would’ve liked to have gone back to find.
Although, these are some fairly small gripes, and the majority of Children of Silentown is wonderful. I was immediately taken in by its hand-drawn art style, which look like some of Tim Burton’s drawings. There’s a surprising amount of variety to the environments too, especially given how small the maps actually are. Colors (or lack thereof) play a big part in the game, helping you find key items or even differentiating between states of existence. It was a clever way to paint the picture of fantastical elements at play.
The sound design is stellar. There’s no dialogue, but the music is outstanding, which is crucial considering how huge of a role music plays in Children of Silentown. The songs Lucy learns are only a few notes each, but they’re sang beautifully. The soundtrack is fantastic, reminding me quite a bit of the Child of Light OST, which happens to be one of my favorites. I’ll definitely be adding this soundtrack to my study-time playlist.
Children of Silentown is a dark and beautiful tale, that went in directions I wasn’t expecting. It gets surprisingly deep, especially in its final moments. It left me with some unanswered questions, but since there are multiple endings, I’m sure the others will touch upon certain aspects more than the ending I got. I guess I’ll just have to pay it again to find out! For now, I can’t help but sing the praises of Children of Silentown enough to everyone.
The hand-drawn art style is gorgeous, with the character models resembling Tim Burton creations.
A point-and-click adventure, with a few different types of puzzle minigames present throughout. The musical puzzles are a delight, but the gear puzzles can be aggravating at first.
The musical score is absolutely beautiful. The game also utilizes musical puzzles, which are a wonderful addition to the game.
Fun Factor: 8.0
A delightfully dark adventure, that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Children of Silentown is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Children of Silentown was provided by the publisher.