47 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 0.4 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 28, 2015 @ 4:22pm

Now here's a real curveball from the horror genre. Silence of the Sleep looks very much like another Lone Survivor-style side-scrolling horror game, and it is, for a little while. Then it turns into something very, very different, and the change is not altogether unwelcome. I'm going to have to spoil some things about how the game is laid out, because it's very hard to give a proper recommendation without speaking on the game's true structure. However, if what I tell you sounds good, spoilers shouldn't really hurt the experience.

You play as Jacob Reeves, a very sad man who opens the game by chucking himself off a cliff. However, instead of Kratosing through a pantheon, he ends up in a strange, dilapidated hotel with a man I can only assume is the bartender from The Shining. They have a nice talk, and then a shadow thing tries to find and eat Jacob. So, we're off to a pretty good spooky start, right?

The elevator out of the hotel takes Jacob to a black-tie affair in a swanky ballroom. Suddenly the game turns into an adventure game, with Jacob chatting with guests and trying to work out some odd puzzles. There's still a dreamlike veneer over everything that ties back to the hotel opening, but the tone is completely different. After the ballroom is another horror segment, and a very effective one. But after that the game launches into its longest chapter, which has almost zero horror elements throughout. It's nearly all dialog and dealing with NPCs, with hardly even any puzzles to work out.

The end takes it back to horrorland and ties it all together, but all told the game is way more adventure than horror. And that rather works to its benefit, actually. The horror segments can be clumsy and frustrating, with hiding mechanics more touchy than those in Knock Knock and the same navigation problems that plagued Lone Survivor and Claire. I will admit that the spooky bits have some very effective monsters and moments, but playing through them quickly became more tiring than the dialog-heavy parts, strangely enough. The characters of Silence of the Sleep are all well-written and fully-realized, each with goals and hangups to explore. They also make it easier to know how to move the story forward than the scurrying about darkened hallways.

All of this is presented in rich, detailed backdrops for the silhouetted characters to break out against. Silence is a very good-looking game, with some clever uses of its 2D style. The sound design is solid as well, and while the controls are a little stiff, it won't matter much outside of fleeing monsters. I'm not a big fan of this particular story archetype, but Silence of the Sleep had the presentation and the polish to keep me engaged all the way through.
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