Children of SilenTown is a point and click adventure game where the population of a small village lives in fear of monsters that live in the nearby woods. What elicits this fear is people going missing, for which the townsfolk put the sole blame on these creatures. One tale they all believe is that if you are too noisy, the monsters will come for you in the night, so everyone, especially the children, have to abide by the rules—not to be too noisy and not to go out at night.
You take control of Lucy, who lives with her mum, dad, and cat Squinty. She has recently been experiencing nightmares involving the creatures and the missing townsfolk, and it’s when her mum is the latest person to disappear that she decides enough is enough and begins to investigate the monsters, the forest, and where her mum might be.
You are treated to some of the more unique hand drawn graphics I have experienced recently.
To do this, we experience the usual point-and-click puzzles—find an item and use it elsewhere to gain access to a new area or complete a task for a person to gain essential information. Mostly these puzzles were not too obscure; this is no Monkey Island, and it was refreshing to not be wondering around for what usually feels like eternity scratching my head in puzzlement.
The one skill Lucy has that differentiates this from other point-and-click games is her singing. It is established quite early on that her Mum has taught her for some time, and it is usual for them to practise after dinner. You can only use the melody once you have found the notes, which are scattered around the town and, once unlocked, can help you solve the puzzles ahead of you. Each tune has a different minigame attached to it, with a sewing game used for the first melody, where you have to thread cotton through button holes onto a square material. This unlocks a memory of the person to whom you sang too, which can have a variety of effects on the puzzles by providing information to completing a task. This brings a fresh approach to some of the more traditional point-and-click puzzles, and breaking up the gameplay for a mini game was a welcome distraction. Each melody has three notes to find, for a total of four melodies.
And while you are out investigating and finding notes for your melodies, you are treated to some of the more unique hand drawn graphics I have experienced recently, with gorgeous Tim Burton-esque artistry of the areas and characters. With the only facial features being large, pupiless eyes and stumps for their hands and feet, it sets a strange atmosphere and heightens your anxiety over the intriguing tale that’s unfolding in front of you.
Speaking of the story, I was pleased to find it well written and engaging with relatable characters. Such was the character building, I found myself becoming quite attached to some and sad when things got tough. The developers tried to insert some creepiness into the plot, with some success, with even some plot twists near to the end of the game.
With a small playtime, this won’t take too much of your time to complete, but there are multiple endings to try to keep you invested. Which ending you see depends on what you select in the last scene of the game and while this could have been a fun feature, all I found it to be was tedious. My second playthrough was unchanged from the first, and I would have loved to have seen some new story beats or puzzles to freshen it up from my first playthrough. This didn’t incentivize me enough to see all four endings, and I was already planning which game I was going to play next in the last quarter of my second go.
Such was the character building, I found myself becoming quite attached to some and sad when things got tough.
However, don’t let this put you off Children of Slientown because there are far more positives than negatives to consider. If you are a keen lover of the point-and-click genre and are looking for a fresh approach, then look no further. With its excellent story, unique puzzle-solving mechanics and world building all wrapped up in this gorgeous graphical style, you will be finding out what happened to Lucy’s Mum and the other missing townsfolk in no time at all.
The Children of Silentown is out on the 11th January 2023 for £17.99 on Switch, Xbox PlayStation and Steam
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.