There’s something extremely satisfying in the mixture of cute, bright visuals and punchy combat. And Silent Hope, coming from the same publishers as Rune Factory and Story of Seasons, has cuteness in spades, and combat to spare.
Silent Hope takes place in a land without speech, where the only voice you’ll hear is the princess’ from within her crystal prison. Pick a hero to explore with, or tag out with all seven one after another, and find out what’s at the bottom of the abyss.
The Good: Cute!
You’ve read the tagline: the visuals in Silent Hope are adorable. The character and monster designs remind me of the artwork for the characters in the Etrian Odyssey series, although those that are familiar with other games by this publisher will see that they are reminiscent of Rune Factory with its trademark cutesy art style. Not only that, but the designs of the playable characters are all very striking and interesting even in their “chibi” in-game sprites.
Speaking of said characters, they are the real stars of the show. In Silent Hope the player can choose from and swap into any of the seven playable characters, each with their own different playstyle and abilities, and they all legitimately feel different to play as. The gameplay is basic with an attack, dodge, and three skill buttons but the quirks of each character are different enough that you will have to adjust your playstyle accordingly.
The most interesting thing about it, though, is the swapping. While exploring the abyss, the player can swap out their current character for another at certain locations, and the incentive to do so is very relevant: each character will cheer on the next and give them a sizeable buff to one of their status - and it stacks! It gives incentive to work with every character and makes for very interesting synergies between the seven.
- Adorable, pleasant visuals and designs
- Unique movesets for the whole cast
- Interesting cheer mechanic encourages experimentation
The Bad: Needs more seasoning.
Silent Hope has interesting concepts, a beautiful art style, and tried and true gameplay - and it still is one of the blandest games I’ve played in recent memory. It doesn’t do anything bad, nor is it unplayable due to bugs, it’s just… lacking. Everything it does, it does just good enough to be acceptable.
The focus of the game is the action, which is just serviceable. The combat mechanics have very little depth between them, and while each character plays differently, it’s very apparent that none of them really need a lot of thought or strategy. Combat soon becomes a very mindless loop of using the same skills in the same way, dodging, and holding down the attack button for automatic combos.
The very pleasant designs also don’t make up for the fact that the characters themselves show little-to-no signs of charisma or personality in their actions. For story reasons, none of them can speak, but there should be more to them than that with animations or interactions. As it is, the only thing setting them apart is their playstyle and their occupation in base camp.
Speaking of base camp, it too is just “fine”. The player decides what items they want to be crafted while they’re exploring, and it is done given time, and that is the full extent of it. Everything requires minimal input and keeping up with production is just enough of a chore to seem like content at first. The biggest points of interest are seeing maybe a couple new animations for the cast, and hearing the princess.
And oh boy will you hear the princess. For a game set in a land without speech, the Princess is the sole exception and she clearly believes in making up for everyone else. While in camp, there is a new voiceline spoken roughly every 12 seconds by the princess, and she doesn’t have that many different lines. While she could be an endearingly chatty character, it quickly becomes grating as voicelines start to repeat many, many times per minute.
And the worst part is that somehow, this is the most memorable part of the game!
- Combat soon becomes mindless and shallow
- Bland characters behind interesting designs
- The princess will not stop talking
- Uninteresting base camp mechanics
Final Score: 5/10
Did you know that vanilla is my favourite ice cream flavour? And even I think that Silent Hope needs more to it. It’s like vanilla without any sugar. It has a good presentation and looks great, but it’s so bland. There is nothing to really sink your teeth in. It’d be perfect as a 5-minute phone game, but that’s not the ballpark that it’s in, being a full release for the Switch.
I don’t feel like it’s a bad game. It’s pretty, pleasantly inoffensive and accessible to all. But the only urge I have to play it again is because I feel upset that these cuties are all so forgettable and keep asking myself if there’s maybe something more that it can offer, even though I know the answer. I want to like it just because I have no reason to hate it, and I don’t think that’s a good place for a game to fall in.
Thank you for checking out our Silent Hope Switch review, thank you to Marvelous Games (via Decibel PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: