House on Fire is the company responsible for The Silent Age, a point and click, adventure game about Cold-War conspiracies, the Apocalypse and Time Travel. Set in the near past, the game tells us the story of an everyday man, working as a cleaner in a big company. All is going kind of well, until one day the fate of the world is laid on Joe’s shoulders and our hero is faced with a quest he never really asked for.
In the year 1972, Joe works in Archon, a National Security Company as a cleaner. Despite the little to no respect he gets from his boss and coworkers Joe is somewhat content with his life. Our game starts on the day Joe gets a “promotion”, due to the retirement of the second cleaner. Now he is responsible not only for his duties, but for the duties of the retired cleaner as well. Being a duty driven person, Joe heads directly to attend his new duties in the underground labs of the company. However, he would never expect what he was about to witness down there. Mysterious machines and traces of blood everywhere. Upon further examination the blood leads him to a dying man. The man reveals himself to be a time traveler from the future, a future where mankind has gone extinct due to some mistakes made by greedy companies. He hands Joe a portable time machine which allows him to travel to the future and back at will and tasks him to find his younger version and warn him about the post-apocalyptic future.
The time travelling element adds a nice twist to the point and click genre, because the same locations differ greatly in their present and future versions. Some areas can only be accessed in the future and some in the present, while to access others you must find items in the future and use them in the present to alter the future (yeah, mind blowing stuff I know). Most puzzles are not that difficult to complete, requiring only a sharp eye, but sometimes the player has to think a little more outside of the box to progress further. What made me laugh though are the comments Joe makes when trying to use the wrong items for each purpose. These comments make the game feel more real and add a humorous touch to the games melancholic style.
On the more technical side, I feel that great work has been done on the design of the game. With a unique and a little minimalistic art style, The Silent Age manages to impress and immerse us in its world and its story. The environments and characters, although minimalistically designed are clearly distinguishable and do not make the world feel crammed. The dialogues are fully voiced and make the game even more lively, while the music does a good job of setting a dark atmosphere.
What I did not like about Silent Age was the extremely simple puzzles which most of the time were too straightforward. The story also felt a little bit short and its ending didn’t quite fit the whole setting of the game. Nevertheless, The Silent Age is a wonderful game about saving once again the world from a destruction brought by our own greed. An all too familiar and cliché story that, however, never fails to amuse me. What is more, since I am a huge fan of the concept of time travelling I really enjoyed the particular mechanic, which allowed me to see the same places in the “present” and in the “future”. After all, I believe that time travel is the strongest card of The Silent Age.
The Silent Age is a point and click adventure game, set both in the present and in the future through the mechanic of time travel. A melancholic game about saving the world once more. A beatifully designed game which lacks only in terms of difficulty, The Silent Age has a place in my favourites!
+ Time Travel
+ Beautiful design
– Overly simple puzzles
– Weird Ending
Dimitris “Onel” Zarachanis