Haven Review: The Silent Age

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Immediately I went to check if there was anything in the garbage. There wasn’t. What kind of point-and-click is this? The Silent Age starts you off as mild-mannered Janitor Joe. Joe works for some large nebulous company that’s probably evil. Janitor Joe had a friend, Frank, but he left to find a new job; probably to get away from Joe. I’m surprised Joe even had a friend to begin with. Joe was given Frank’s old assignment and now must go clean the basement laboratory. This starts off a mildly interesting adventure through time. That’s right, you get to fulfill every young boy’s dream: time travel; and in a video game, no less! Well, you can travel to two places…future and now.

The time travel mechanic isn’t even that interesting. Honestly, it’s mostly used as a cheap way to drag out the game. There are a couple of puzzles that use it in an interesting way. But mostly the scenario is: A door is blocked, travel through time, the door is open, go through door, a second door is blocked, travel back through time, the second door is open, but the first door is blocked again behind you. There are a ton of these time door blockages throughout the game, and you have to traverse the same ones multiple times because there’s now some button you can press on the other side of the map that opens something somewhere else; probably in another time.2016-01-19_00005

The puzzles in The Silent Age, the meat of a point-and-click, are somewhat bland. Nothing was hard enough to stump me for more than a minute. There wasn’t really any puzzle that impressed me with it’s cleverness or creativity. Even the time travel puzzles felt tired and overused. Examples include planting some fruit so that you could get it in the future, or going to the future when bolts are rusty so you could pry off a vent. The same was true for the story as well. There were tired time travel tropes, like going back into the past to set stuff up for future you, that led to the game being both unoriginal and uninspired. Let me just say that the game would have been significantly better if you were able to become your own grandpa.

Janitor Joe soon learns that in the in the future the world has succumbed to a deadly disease. It’s up to him to find out what happened and prevent the disease from ever occurring. Janitor Joe pretty much just fucks around with time and is only circumstantially able to save the day. The Silent Age tries to have a twist ending, but it’s quite predictable. It changed nothing, it meant nothing, it was just a thing you had to deal with. And as easily as it showed up, it was fixed. The ending simply more or less happened. There could have been some interesting ideas to play around with there, but it felt like they set up a situation that they didn’t quite know how to deal with. They just immediately came up with a simple solution to put everything back to normal.2016-01-19_00009

Janitor Joe was boring. He did boring things with the power to time travel, and even at the game’s most climactic moments his all-encompassing dullness dimmed the lights of everything around him. Although the whole experience was roughly three hours long, the game dragged on, making it feel like a much longer ordeal. Honestly, there may have been about an hour and a half of actual game play and then an equal amount of filler content. The minutes ticked by at a snail’s pace due to boring-ass Joe and boring-ass time travel.

2016-01-19_00003Finally, when the whole thing finally wrapped up there was nothing from me but a sigh of relief. I keep thinking back on it, and I have no idea what this game was even trying to do. Point-and-click adventures need to be incredibly creative and clever to be good. The minimalist game play means there needs to be an overabundance of substance to the story and puzzles. People shit on “adventure game logic” all the time, but that’s exactly what makes those games fun. It’s finding the weirdest solutions to the most mundane challenges. It’s taking situations and stretching them out to these extremes, so that when you look back on them they’re nothing more than abstract representations of themselves; and therein lies the cleverness of it all. All the while they are intertwined with deep, rich or at the very least incredibly funny stories. This game had none of that. It was flat and boring. It was utter nothing.SilentAgeScale1

Disclaimer: We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Jordan Kamm-