Laced with style, The Silent Age is a point-and-click adventure that – despite the urgency of its quest – gives a sense of relaxation. This is in large part down to its slow pace which, when it isn’t frustrating you, gives you time to think as you solve its puzzles.
You play the role of a Joe, an every-man whose whole life seems to have been dictated by the flow of history. There is nothing special about you, bar your wonderful hair and mustache that makes you feel that you could just as easily be playing as Tom Selleck.
The year in 1972, and Joe is working as a janitor in technology firm. Beginning the day like any other, things quickly take a turn for the peculiar as he discovers a man who has been shot in the building’s basement. With his dying breathes this mystery man hands you a portable time travel device that can transport you to the future (around 2012 to be exact) and back again at the touch of a button. But this future is destroyed beyond all recognition, devoid of life and silent. It would almost be tranquil in its reclaimed by nature state, were it not for the rotting corpses.
So begins your clueless journey to save the world from a disaster, a disaster that is to strike mere days after your meeting with the bleeding stranger. You must chase down leads despite your confusion at the situation, all the while trying to figure out what happened and how to prevent it.
Starting life on mobile devices, it’s easy to see how The Silent Age was designed for the portable platform. Flipping back and forth through time on PC and Mac demands clicking in the bottom corner of the screen, and action that could have been done with a quick tap of the finger on touchscreen. But, apart from this, the other concession made for mobile actually seem to help the game. Short chapters eliminate the issue of large maps that are a pain to keep back tracking across (an issue for the genre), while also keeping the story moving at an engrossing pace.
The momentum of the story is helped in no small part by the fantastic and involved voice acting. Even though the characters look like simple paper craft characters, they are given life by their dialogue. Joe’s confusion at everything going on around him sits beautifully against the string of over informed intellectuals he meets, all of whom seem to have played some role in the problems that are to face humanity. He is the ideal protagonist for the game and, even though his stupidity is forced at times, it quickly becomes endearing.
Unfortunately, the pace of the tale does not hold throughout. Towards the final few chapters, the story and the puzzles begin to unravel. While this did not ruin the overall experience, it did tarnish it and prove an unfortunate conclusion.
The Silent Age drew me through its three hour story in a single session, and these days few games hold my attention for that long – amazing ending or no. If you enjoy time traveling adventures, and have the patience for the slow pace, then this is worth a look on any platform.
Follow me on Twitter: @DoFuss