Children of Silentown is a story-driven, point-and-click adventure game developed by Elf Games and Luna2 Studio and published by Daedalic Entertainment. The eerie story follows Lucy, one of the wide-eyed children who lives in Silentown, a village nestled within a forest inhabited by monsters. Fueled by curiosity and a sense of duty, Lucy takes it upon herself to learn more about the monsters of the forest and unravel the truth behind Silentown’s frequent disappearances.
The sound of silence
It is common for villagers both young and old to go missing in Silentown. A strict curfew is in place and following the rules will keep you safe – at least that’s what the adults will tell you. Villagers must refrain from raising their voices or being loud in any way. Those who venture into the forest often do not return, and most are too afraid to go looking for the missing. As a result, Silentown has grown into a hushed community governed by fear and paranoia, where residents who go missing are seen as deserving of their fate.
The first few chapters mainly involve performing tasks for various townsfolk and playing games with the other kids, such as hide and seek. As a point-and-click game, much of your time in Silentown is spent clicking around the hand-drawn environments to discover useful items or objects to interact with. Some objects can be combined to create new tools for solving various problems, such as a grappling hook fashioned from a fishing hook and rope.
Exploration often involves tediously traipsing back and forth between locations and scouring the screen for any missed details. When I found myself stuck on a puzzle, it was often because I had overlooked something or hadn’t thought to use the same object on a spot more than once. Though I was able to sort through the trickier puzzles on my own, it would have been nice to have the option to call up some sort of hints or clues to help nudge you in the right direction when you get stuck.
Although noisiness is frowned upon in Silentown, Lucy has a knack for singing and can perform several songs after learning the right notes. Lucy can use her songs to elicit memories in fellow villagers and objects to glean new details about their past. Unlocking a latent memory involves solving a mechanical puzzle, and the difficulty of the puzzle will depend on the song used.
These memory puzzles include stitching paths across patches of cloth, illuminating tiles in a certain order, and creating a pipeline using rotating gears. These puzzles felt rewarding and offered the right amount of challenge, while also helping break up some of the monotony of exploration. While the environmental puzzles improve throughout the game, some new gameplay mechanics are introduced near the end that felt underutilized in comparison to the puzzles that came prior.
Besides the voice of the narrator, there is no voiced dialogue and conversations are conveyed through text and speech bubbles. Lucy does sing a few notes when using songs, however. A melancholic piano tune serves as the background music while you click away at hand-drawn scenes and environments composed of muted jewel tones and soft shadows.
Children of Silentown does offer some semblance of choice through occasional dialogue options. Lucy can improve her relationship with certain villagers and gain new information from them depending on how she chooses to respond in certain situations.
Ending on a sour note
One of the strongest aspects of Children of Silentown is its storytelling. The game presents an engaging story that becomes more intriguing with each chapter. I was eager to get to the bottom of the mysterious disappearances and figure out just what’s up with the monsters in the forest.
However, despite picking up the pace in the second half, the game loses momentum near the end and concludes on an underwhelming note that left me with more questions than answers. While there are multiple endings you can unlock, doing so is not as simple as replaying the final chapter. There is no chapter selection and the game autosaves as you play, meaning if you want to get a different ending after completing the game or retrieve any missed collectibles, you will have to start over from the beginning, which I was not motivated to do after my initial playthrough.
Can’t see the forest for the trees
Despite fumbling at the finish line, Children of Silentown presents an intriguing story that illustrates how fear can cause people to lose sight of what’s important. The puzzles are reasonably challenging and varied, with appealing visuals that help amplify the game’s moody atmosphere. Although the pacing drags in certain areas, Children of Silentown is an enjoyable point-and-click game overall and I would recommend it for both fans of the genre and puzzle game aficionados alike.
This review is based on a PC (Steam) digital code provided by the publisher. Children of Silentown is now available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Children of Silentown
- Intriguing narrative
- Puzzles that are usually challenging yet fun
- Appealing art style
- Unsatisfying ending
- Limited replayability
- Tedious exploration that slows pacing
- Hints would be nice quality of life addition