Children of Silentown is a dark and hand-drawn point-and-click adventure developed by Elf Games and Luna2 Studio and published by Daedalic Entertainment. It releases January 12, 2023 for us in ANZ on all platforms and I really enjoyed the game, as I have with all of Daedalic’s other adventure games in their collection. From Deponia to State of Mind and The Dark Eye series, their adventure game collection always seems to nail the story and atmosphere that keeps me hooked, and Children of Silentown had the same effect for me.
This game features dark fairytale style visuals akin to a Tim Burton project while its story is reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, The Village. We play as Lucy, a girl growing up in a village deep in a forest inhabited by monsters. She and all other villagers are afraid of the forest, and she even has ghastly nightmares about the sounds she hears at night. During the day, the forest is calm, peaceful and from a distance look lush. However, during the night Lucy sees outlines of monsters and hears their roars, but also thinks she hears something else.
People go missing relatively often, and normally they are friends or family of lost loved ones seeking answers and trying to find them themselves. Others are taken as the villagers believe that if you yell too loudly or misbehave, the monsters will take you in the night for breaking the rules. Or so this is what the children of silentown are led to believe. As Lucy has got older, her inquisitive mind and willingness to help others has her questioning the stories and anecdotes conveyed by the town’s adults.
Using standard mouse controls clicking to move and investigate objects, the game starts off relatively smoothly with either va visual pickup or investigate mouse icon, or a character’s dialogue may give you ideas of what to do next. Lucy needs to do chores for mum, while dad appears to be quite controlling, fearful of losing any of his family to the monsters. The adults are either abrupt with Lucy as some are stricken with grief and fear or losing anyone else, while others have lived in Silentown their whole lives and they’ve lived strictly by the rules and are annoyed at the playful noise from the town’s children, worried it will cause the monsters to attack.
As you progress the game, Lucy learns to sing musical notes as she enjoys singing with her mother, and eventually she learns enough notes to sing melodies. I do have to say that I loved the musical score of the game which was both soothing and emotional where it needed to be and was helpful when I was running around scratching my head wondering what I had missed, keeping me from getting frustrated. The melodies Lucy sings can be used on people to understand their thoughts and fears, where some people have torn thoughts due to loss or past history. There’s also a melody that can be used on certain objects to reveal its history, such as a hopscotch game chalked out on the ground, or an old hat that a dog won’t let you near it. Singing a melody near these people or objects will commence mini-game puzzles that you need to solve.
People puzzles involve weaving a thread through buttons without crossing over, while the item puzzles require you to turn pipes and connect them with cogs to correct the flow from point to point. The item puzzles were more frustrating and often I stumbled on the solution as I randomly turned and placed cogs which happened to solve the puzzles. These revealed insights into a person’s feeling or items histories which gave you clues and ideas of what to do next to help that person or connect objects to people, such as an old man looking for a particular flower to allow him to open up about his past.
I did get stuck a few times in my playthrough, and given I was playing pre-release there were no walkthroughs to turn to. It was at these points that I tended to pixel hunt every scene in order to try find something I missed, and it was either something obvious that I previously overlooked, or it was the usual case of me not thinking this and that could be used together. The first four chapters see you exploring around town and then you will eventually get the courage to explore the forest towards the end of the game, with the story concluding in a decent enough way for my liking. I missed a few stickers and achievements early in the game when I was still learning things, but they’ll be easy to earn in another much quicker playthrough.
Overall, Children of Silentown is a fantastic adventure game with a moody atmosphere, an intriguing plot that keeps you pushing forward and outstanding music to capture the emotional tones. The puzzles and items required at times may trip some people up but persevere. It’s certainly made me want to revisit Daedalic’s The Dark Eye series as games like these give me great nostalgia of playing point-and-click games in the 90’s, where my much younger mind enjoyed getting lost in these rich stories.