The Silent Age is a time traveling point-and-click adventure game that swings between engrossing and mundane. While it may not consistently hit the mark, it does what it does with style and has the courage of its convictions.
Set in the 70's the set up for The Silent Age instantly intrigues. Playing as Joe, the opening scene shows the hapless hero-to-be's history. Flashing through a handful of events, it shows his life as he is swept along on the tides of time, it shows him working at a dock, enlisted in the military during the Vietnam war, and then stuck in a number of mundane jobs. Finally, it dumps him in the role of a janitor in an clandestine military company, which is where you take over his life.
Despite this elaborate set up, interesting story, and the promise of time travel, this point-and-click adventure sets a sluggish pace. Joe moves painfully slowly, a particularly problem as he moves from one end of each chapter map to the next. And you have to do this a lot, as you find an item at one end of an area and then have to run it to the other end to use it. Also, while it may not suffer from this as much as some other games in the genre, there are times that you will find yourself scouring every corner of the environment to discover the item you need to progress.
Forward to the present
Even once you gain access to The Silent Age’s time travel elements, you'll find this does little to help the pace, even if the puzzles do grow more entertaining. The problem is, when you are searching the world, you suddenly have twice as many areas to investigate as you jump must back-and-forth through time to check both 1970 and future version of the area. Though jumping between areas is incredibly fast, this doubles how much you need to search when stuck.
What The Silent Age does do to aid its pacing is to divide its ten chapter story into nice bite-sized chunks of around six to eight areas. Each short sections’ puzzles are self-contained, making the whole tale wonderfully bite sized. With each section lasting around twenty minutes, you feel compelled through the story thanks to some clever cliff hangers. The quality of the voice acting really adds to the drama, as Joe and other members reflect on the dilapidated state of the future (our present) and how things seem to start going wrong only a few days after vibrant 70's setting the rest of the action plays out in.
The good with the bad
I enjoyed The Silent Age - as shown by the fact that I played through the whole thing in a day. It’s a charming and well-designed adventure with its own sense of style, but it really lost momentum towards the end. The story that really did engage, just seemed to fizzle out and left me feeling wanting. This could well have been deliberate, leaving Joe to his life of bobbing along on the seas of history, but it left me underwhelmed.