Strange as it might sound, reviewing mobile games for a living can be a colossal pain in the bum, as I’m duty bound to invest several hours of what often amounts to my own time, even when games prove to be awful within the first 10 seconds of play.
On the flip side of the coin, some games make we want to type “JUST PLAY IT!” and leave it at that. Alas, Emma would kill me. The Silent Age is one such game, and it’s available for free from the App Store and Google Play. In case you’re having trouble deciphering my rambling: it’s fantastic.
Without going into too much detail (lest I spoil the experience), our protagonist in The Silent Age is Joe – a decidedly average Joe. He’s a cleaner in a faceless government building, but soon finds himself caught up in, well, something; it’s all very mysterious, and here we’re merely dealing with the first installment. Gah.
In a nutshell, The Silent Age is based around time travel. In the game’s present, 1972, Joe finds himself on the run from the police, having been discovered in the vicinity of a dead body.
Zipping forward to the future, all Joe finds is dilapidated buildings and charred corpses. It’s not entirely clear what happened, but it appears to have gone down on the very day of Joe’s arrest. What the…?
In terms of the game, each playing area has a present and a future, and – crucially – you can carry objects between the two. You can also do stuff in the present to affect the future.
For example (slight spoiler alert), finding an overgrown hunk of poison ivy in the future, Joe is tasked with destroying the greenery at the source back in 1972. Removing the poison ivy then gives access to a doorway.
On the whole, The Silent Age succeeds in being hugely endearing. I’m not entirely sure how; perhaps credit should go to poor old Joe, who doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. He’s immensely likeable.
The writing, too, is spot on. It’s fairly light-hearted, and – brilliantly – you’ll often find interesting or amusing text when you try to combine random items from your inventory with objects in the playing area, instead of the usual: “I don’t think that’ll work.”
Combining a truncheon with the aforementioned poison ivy, Joe questions: “Beat it to death with a stick? Just look at this monster. It would probably be faster yelling it to death at this point.” Great stuff.
Criminally, The Silent Age is absolutely free, with no in-app purchases. You can, however, donate money to the cause when you complete the first installment. Do it, do it, do it!
- Joe is brilliant (“These pants are groovy”)
- The writing
- The time travel-based puzzles
- Only an hour or so long
Summary: I have nothing bad to say about The Silent Age, and a whole lot of good. Probably the first time I’ve shouted “Noooo!” at a game when it’s come up “To be continued”. Fantastic point-and-click action with a time travel twist.
Developer: House on Fire
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPod touch (5th generation). This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android requirements: Honeycomb 3.0 or above.