The full game has finally been unlocked! The long-drawn out conclusion is well worth the wait
The Silent Age has a curious beginning. Danish developer House on Fire appears to have only created one app previously – a rather basic physics-based puzzler. But in early 2013 it released The Silent Age. The game was a beautiful, superbly animated 2D point-and-click adventure, featuring a moustachioed janitor who finds himself in the midst of a time-travel mystery, solving puzzles by traveling between 1972 and a bleak, dystopian 2012. It proved enormously popular and users eagerly anticipated the next installment.
But then, it seems, House on Fire ran out of money.
Thankfully, with a huge amount of support from the game’s audience, and some assistance from an investment company, the team was eventually able to start work on Episode Two. Now, after 18 long months, The Silent Age is back as a much longer and more satisfying journey. The truncated first episode is now available as a free intro to the game, and from there Episode Two is offered as an in-app purchase. This is a great way to trial the game, and we suspect that few will resist the temptation to unlock the full adventure.
The Silent Age starts with Joe. Returning home after military service in Vietnam, Joe becomes trapped in a downward spiral that results in him working as a janitor in a mighty corporate building. After a colleague quits, Joe gains access to the lower levels of the building in order to carry out some wider duties. It’s not long before he encounters a mysterious character who gives him a device that enables him to move between two different points in time. From there the mysteries pile up thick and fast, and it’s your job to solve them using a point-and-click technique to interact with various found objects. There’s plenty of locked drawers, mysterious keys, secretive notes – even an apple tree. But we don’t want to give away too much …
The puzzles and riddles are fun, but don’t expect anything too mind-bending. The Silent Age’s platform approach means that you’re unlikely to ever get really stuck, and Joe will generally prevent you from leaving an area if you haven’t found what you’re supposed to. In this way, each chapter is contained and there are few wild goose chases.
It’s the characters that really drive the story and make The Silent Age such a joy to play. From the cantankerous Joe (try interacting with something you’re not supposed to a few times and enjoy his reaction), through his indifferent and ignorant boss and the mysterious man who reveals the time-traveling device, to the lonesome bartender running his club on the fumes of disco – all the personalities are brilliantly drawn. And the plentiful interaction allows them a real part in the story rather than simply being plot points.
Hardcore fans of this type of puzzle game might find The Silent Age a bit too easy, but for most, the time-travel narrative will be enough to keep you on your toes. We just wish it was a bit longer – although that might be because of how hard it is to put down.
Price: Free ($4.99/£2.99 to unlock full game)
Size: 125 MB
Platform: iOS Universal
Developer: House on Fire