The Thin Silence: Early Impressions
The Thin Silence is a narrative adventure game recently released on Steam from developer Two PM Studios. Inspired by games such as Limbo and Knytt Stories, The Thin Silence explores depression and self-doubt through a pixelated 2D world. Varied puzzles and challenges await the player. The game offers up a number of in-game documents that explore mental illness and personal struggle. I’ve played about an hour of the game so far, and the following are some of my early thoughts on the ambitious title.
Before you even start playing The Thin Silence, it explains that the game will explore themes such as depression, mental illness, and loneliness. These themes are presented in the game through typical means: cutscenes, dialogue, and in-game text. But the setting and music are also used to support the game’s initially morose tone. You begin in a dark cave where shafts of light shine down here and there. Deep, echoing tones sound out, making you feel small and, well, lonely. Your character is going through some challenge – that much is clear. As you find items in the world, you get a more clear picture of the plot.
The graphics in the game are very nicely detailed. Your character’s breath can be seen exiting his lungs and small plants blow in the slow wind. The game’s music is great. Mostly minimalist, the soundtrack includes some lovely string work that arises rarely, but when it does, its opposition to the ambient music is refreshing. There is a lot of style to this game, but even more so, evidence of care and attention from its developers.
The Thin Silence presents the player with a series of challenges and puzzles. Most of these require the player to interact with the environment’s objectives in the correct order. An item system in the game allows the player to interact with different environmental items in different ways. Interestingly, items can be combined to create new items with new abilities. A boot lets you kick things and a hook lets you climb things – put them together and you have climbing boots for ascending certain walls. The item system is a mechanic that I am very interested in exploring in the rest of the game.
An hour in, The Thin Silence is hitting all the right notes. Its gameplay is relatively slow, but its presentation is detailed and its item system is very interesting. The way the game explores depression is neither heavy-handed nor overly straight-forward – typical failings of art sharing this theme. It’s early on but the game’s quality is high. The tutorial is clear and there are many small user interface details that could have easily been left out. All in all, The Thin Silence gives early impressions of an indie title that was made with care and attention to detail. We’ll have a full review of the game later next week.