The Thin Silence – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, adventure
Developer: TwoPM Studios
Publisher: Nkidu Games Inc.
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

The Thin Silence – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Correct atmosphere with good sound design
Bad: The game is unclear in what it wants to be or to tell you
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

What does ”Thin Silence” mean? Maybe The Thin Silence is about an everlasting invisible veil covering your body. Something that’s there when you’ve been through anything that’s haunting enough to stay with you for life. A thin sticky layer you can’t get rid off. In any case, The Thin Silence is also the title of an artsy game. A game that tries to talk to you about some serious stuff. 

The thin silence logo

Story 

Your name is Ezra, and you’ve seen some shit. Your life is that of a rather post-apocalyptic world, where war played a big part. As you progress there is more to be learned about your past, but the explanations you expect to receive from the game don’t really show themselves fast or clear. This game is much more of an expressive, artsy type of game, where you should just go with the flow by following whatever story arc has been set out for you to follow, as there really isn’t much of a storyline at all. When not following the main thoughts and story of Ezra, you are able to pick up some letters and papers scattered across the world. These letters are also more philosophical and artsy of nature, giving you something to think about rather than clear, directing information.

Graphics

Graphically, the game isn’t amazing but it works. The character animations and graphics are rather simple, the moving environment sometimes a bit crude. The best part probably is the glow that water and light emit, the rest is just okay. The simple design also creates a certain sense of solitude which is good for the purpose of the game, but the real power is the combination with the sound design. Combined with the graphics it creates an atmospheric environment that feels a bit dreamy, yet realistic. One moment you might be underground, the next moment you are walking through inhabited ruins in a forest.

Thin Silence 1

Sound

The sound might be the best part of the game, simply because it amplifies the overall experience the game set out to give you. With calm piano music and sometimes mysterious synths, it’s there in a meditative kind of way. Combined with running water and chirping birds in the background, it sets the right mood to read and puzzle your way through. Add the sound effects from machines softly hissing with hydraulic systems in lonely caverns or rumbling in the distance, and you got yourself a nice little mix.

Gameplay

The Thin Silence is a puzzle game where you mostly follow a linear storyline as you find solutions for each room you pass through. You move your character to pieces of the puzzle such as large rocks, bridges, and climbable fences. Here, you use items at your disposal you found at earlier points in the game to solve problems you come across. The items you find involve a little mini-game where each and every time you find something new you can try to combine it with other, previously found items. This way you combine these components to create new tools that help you cross parts of each puzzle, mostly by trial and error. Think of stuff like a grappling hook by using rope and a hook, or a zip line by using a hook with two other items. But a hook can also be used as a separate item to climb an obstacle, just like a single boot allows you to kick any kickable object.

Thin Silence 3

When not interacting with any object in the room, your character has a single tempo of movement that’s rather frustrating because of the lack of speed. Holding a button until you arrive at the proper location has never been the strongest part of games, and especially when it’s not needed it feels like a forced part of prolonged gameplay time rather than something fun. As you stumble from room to room you will sometimes find NPC’s and small bits of text, giving you a bit more insight into the story as you progress. Overall though, it doesn’t feel like a core part of the gameplay. And that’s the biggest flaw of the game.

How do you describe a game without a clear goal? Originally, the game intended to address certain heavy issues such as suicide and depression. It’s even mentioned at the start-up of each session that you must be aware of your inner state while playing. While claiming this, the game doesn’t make much of an impact at all. The story doesn’t come across with a heavy impact by denying each bit of possible story progress with sentences such as ”it can’t be” or ”I shouldn’t think about it” while letting the players do puzzles and the item combination process that both have little to do with any heavy subject.

Thin Silence 2

It’s the combination of forced slow movement, rather linear puzzles and gameplay, and not a greatly written story arc that eventually makes the game a bit of a drag when not doing a (challenging) puzzle. When not puzzling, it’s more like an interactive book where all your interactions are walking and reading. When puzzling, it feels like something is missing because the claims of purpose do not match with the execution. It’s not like it’s boring all the time, it’s just not great.

Conclusion

The Thin Silence feels like it has a lot to tell you, but the execution misses this goal in terms of communication. The graphics, however simple, are fine for the game it is and the sound design is great. Both create a good atmosphere, but the gameplay itself completely mismatches whatever is supposed to be the story at all. If the sole purpose of a game is to tell a certain story, every bit of design should be put in use of telling whatever the creator wants to be told. Else, you might as well just read the text or play a different proper puzzle game, but not both at the same time.

Thin Silence 4

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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