The Silent Age is a moody, well-designed puzzle game.
The concept of time travel has always fascinated me.
The idea of being able to perceive and experience a historical event first hand has sparked discussions with friends that include, but are not limited to:
– method of time travel
– viability of time travel
– dangers of creating a paradox
Most of the discussions lean toward thought experiments that include the known: places, times and people that are part of the historical record.
Most dramatic themes rely on these details as well. These plot-lines tend to be navigated by a character that possesses key knowledge of the topics being examined while additionally serving as the voice of the audience, asking and answering appropriate questions as required.
A game for iOS called the The Silent Age by House on Fire has (so far) dispensed with these crutches by establishing the current setting as 1972, and the protagonist a simple minded janitor named Joe that stumbles across the MacGuffin of a lifetime.
For fun, here’s the teaser trailer that sets the mood very nicely:
Time Travel as Puzzle-Solving Gameplay.
How the MacGuffin- a small device that allows Joe to jump between 1972 and 2012- works is, ultimately, irrelevant. What matters is that his future is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. How it got that way is a mystery, one that will surely be unraveled as the episodes progress.
The interesting thing here is that Joe isn’t really concerned with all of that. He’s simply trying to remain free after being falsely accused of murdering an old man that claimed to be from the future.
As you may have guessed, the time travel is used to navigate Joe’s environment, a forty-year difference in a room or hallway allowing for puzzles to be solved and levels to be cleared.
The artwork in this game is simple, pretty and well-realized. The color pallet is well chosen, and the overall design is consistent and solid throughout.
The sounds and music are creepy and foreboding without going too far.
Episode Two is currently being developed by House on Fire, and they are asking for your help via donations to their PayPal account to keep the next installments of the game free.
The Silent Age: Episode One is currently available on iTunes.