While many games have attempted to tackle an emotional attachment and focus, not all of them are able to pull off a proper version of it. In the case of The Thin Silence by Two PM, they kept the focus heavily in the story to bring the emotional side of their game as they attack aspects of depression, doubt, and guilt. Using a series of memos, notes, and dialogue, I have to say that they did a great job bringing the feelings up front with a reason that many will be able to find understandable as well.
Without giving away too much, since most of the interest in The Thin Silence is learning more of the story as you continue to venture through the various areas within the game, the story follows Ezra Westmark. While in a few locations that are unfamiliar to him and trying to find his way out, Ezra will meet memories, people, and notes along the way that hit closer to home than he was ready for. From the disturbing past to his internal struggle, Ezra continues to fight his emotions just to keep moving forward.
Starting the game off with nothing, you have no choice but to move forward. This is where you can get the hang of the speed of your character and find that there is no way to increase the speed. The pace may be slow, but it isn't noticeable once you get into the other aspects that The Thin Silence holds.
It isn't long before you find a boot, your first item. You will continue to find more items along your journey and all of these items can be crafted to make a ton of different items that will be needed in order to solve puzzles. There is no guide and very few hints given as to what to create, so be sure to test all your options and make all the different items you can when you find something new. The max of items you can mix together is three, but two of them can also be the same item (in a few cases) which make different items. Despite what it sounds like, you can actually make quite a few items and your inventory of tools will fill up quicker than you ever expected!
The puzzles take up the most of the game and are often a form of obstacles that have to be handled in a specific way. There is a way to reset the puzzle and start the section of the level over, but if you observe your environment and plan first you won't need to reset. Not every puzzle is easy though and will require some trials to be able to solve. There are even some puzzles that were so simple the answer was easily overlooked which is a challenge not to do on its own in a puzzle game.
Graphics and Sounds
The Thin Silence is filled with beautiful pixel art that fills every corner of the screen and some. While the characters have the lowest detail to them, it is obvious that they spent time making the environment and challenges look appropriately fitting for each section of the game. The music was always subtle and relaxing, making it easy to focus on the puzzle sections of the game while bringing out emphases on the emotionally striking moments.
What Could Be Better
There should be a guide to help players find items that matched together when crafting. While trying to find new items to increase my inventory, there were a few times I caught myself mixing the same combination of items just in a different order. It would of helped to have had a log or guide telling me what I have already attempted and what the results were. It would of been helpful to keep a log of what each of the tools were able to do within the puzzles as well. A guide could of provided a lot of help without giving out answers at the same time.
Kicking was a big part of the puzzles and it was probably the only downside of everything that you completed through the game. While in the midst of an emotional game you can't help but laugh at least a little as you watch Ezra simply kick a giant boulder and make it roll away. The worst case was right in the beginning of the game where you kick a boulder from the bottom of a double hill to over the edge, making it roll up both of the hills, all with one single kick.
With the main goal of The Thin Silence being the focus on the emotional struggle within Ezra Westmark and making it relate-able to the general audience, I have to say they nailed that perfectly. The story was easily the best aspect of the game and makes it worth playing through on its own. The gameplay was enjoyable, giving a variety of challenges and puzzle types to complete through the journey. It could of been better with a few changes and would of been more enjoyable if they kept the tasks as realistic as possible, but they were enjoyable to solve nonetheless.