One morning while tending the floors, Joe is suddenly confronted by a mysterious dying man who is seemingly appearing out of nowhere. The man warns him that a terrible event is about to occur and pleads him to save mankind. As the man draws his last breath, he hands Joe a portable time travel device to aid him on his quest.
The Silent Age is an iOS app developed by House on Fire and has been lauded as a labor of love. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, as the first episode clocks in at under three hours. But don’t let the short gameplay steer you away. After all, The Silent Age is completely free to play with more episodes on their way.
Set in the early 70s, you play as a literal average joe, a man who has little presence in his world without much hope of advancement. However, within minutes, the aforementioned Joe is thrust into an eerie dilemma: 40 years into the future, mankind appears to have vanished off the face of the earth. How he got into this situation is sparked by a chain of events from finding a dying man in the company basement, getting arrested by the cops, and accidentally setting off a time-travel device.
As only one episode has been released yet, it’s hard to say whether or not the story will be filled with predictable turns.
Worth noting, though, is the crisp dialogue presented in the form of Joe’s thoughts. Much like Phoenix Wright of Ace Attorney fame, Joe’s inner monologue reveals a self-depreciative yet snapping sense of humor. It takes skill to make someone the butt of every joke when no one else is around.
In the present setting, The Silent Age pays homage to the disco era. (Joe even remarks upon how polyester is never out of style.) Go forward 40 years, however, and the colors become much more muted. The striking contrast between a bustling city and quiet wasteland has a way of keeping the player engaged.
Although there are no cheap jump scares or chords, the music appropriately sets a somber tone. (The game recommends that you play it with headphones.)
Like a traditional click-and-point adventure, you’ll find yourself poking into various rooms trying to find the special item that will help you access the next item needed to progress. For those players who dislike the trial-and-error method to this genre, they’ll be happy to know that this game has none of that. There’s no random item-combination mechanic present.
Instead, The Silent Age uses time travel as both plot device and game mechanic. Sometimes areas can only be accessed in the desolate future where no one is looking to toss Joe back into jail. Other times, the player will have to work in the present to alter the forgone future.
The time travel aspect adds a layer of complexity to The Silent Age that truly emphasizes the feeling of isolation that both Joe and the player quickly face.
For its eye-catching price of absolutely free, The Silent Age delivers a well-executed point-and-click experience. Its only downside right now is its length which is currently being addressed.
If you are interested in helping House on Fire release Episode Two, you can donate via their homepage.
[iOS] The Silent Age
Looking for a new app to pick up for your iPhone? Why not dabble in some classic point-and-click adventuring mixed with time travel shenanigans?What Our Ratings Mean