Are you ready to explore the depths?
Silt is an interesting puzzle-solving game where you play as a mysterious diver trying to make sense of the underwater world around him.
I was provided with a free digital code from Silt for review on the Nintendo Switch. The opinions I have shared are my own.
Have you ever looked at the ocean in all its vastness and contemplated the unimaginable depth that we may never be able to fully explore? Does this sudden thought fill you with strangeness or even a thrill of fear? Well folks, I’m here not only to bring you a very unique title that premiered in the latest Nintendo Indie Direct, but I’m also here to tell you that you may have Thalassophobiain which case you should probably work on that.
Created by Spiral Circus Games and published by Fireshine Games, Silt is described as a “surreal underwater puzzle adventure game”. The art is exclusively in black and white. A fusion of so many different ideas creates this bizarre, oddly therapeutic yet unsettling sense of depth.
As I played the game, I felt surprised and slightly uneasy by the meticulous soundscape that ran through the game, hearing the water pressure and various bubbling and occasional breathing oxygen gave a feeling of suffocation. But on the other hand, it offered a kind of calm, like a scuba diver’s ASMR dream.
You play as a nearly silhouetted diver freed from his deep underwater prison of chains. Within their oxygen tank helmet lies the power to send their consciousness to twisted and strange aquatic animals that have unique abilities to help traverse the various spaces this vast depth contains.
As you swim through impossibly narrow caving-style pathways, the light from your helmet illuminates a strange dead world of thorns, anemones, poisonous gas plants, vicious piranhas, strange parasitic worms, electric eels and a vast goliath angler fish ready to tear you to pieces.
Silt has that ancient Cthulhu aesthetic, complete with strange divinely-powered animal beings and a bit of the rabbit hole vibe of Alice in Wonderland for there are moments of darkness and slowly falling debris as you sink deeper and deeper into the depths of this empty, graveyard-like underwater wasteland. The sound and visuals do a great job of evoking those feelings. The creators had a vision and put their hearts into it with love, and it shows.
Gameplay-wise, I found the puzzles very basic at first. Use a piranha fish to bite the chains and ropes. Use a heavy-headed fish to ram the breakable rubble to clear the way. Etc. But as you explore further, the puzzles become more diverse. For example, you have to own a shoal of fish, attract them to poisonous gases so that they become a swimming cloud of poison to kill the piranha plants that would surely destroy our mysterious diver.
There is definitely a bit of a challenge presented. As the game progressed, I quickly discovered that there were times when I didn’t know what to do. The game doesn’t hold your hand as you discover new species of aquatic animals that have abilities that seem almost useless, only for you to discover that they fit some sort of puzzle-solving strategy niche.
It was a little frustrating to have a few spaces in the game that had me swimming around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do? I found myself going around in circles wondering, “No, this piece has something to do with it, but I can’t figure it out!” »
And the game remains silent. Waiting for you to figure it out without offering any kind of help.
From a diver’s narrative perspective, this makes sense. But from a gamer’s perspective, I would have liked something that could offer some help. Maybe some sort of diary or underwater diary that explains the different creatures you can control and hints at their skill uses?
However, don’t let my opinion of the game’s puzzle-solving mechanism deter you from playing. Silt. This title didn’t have a lot of strategy or elaborate puzzles. Everything is very simple and straightforward. However, that didn’t help me, as I tend to overthink and miss the very simple solution.
Despite that, the magical exploration and almost eldritch elements were really cool. To see my diver join his consciousness to ancient ruins and witness a series of shapes and geometries and runic magic encircle them as they almost became one with the power of the deep was a powerful and beautiful to see.
I have to talk about Tim Burton’s hand-drawn art with lots of curls and spirals and that almost sketchy feel that lends itself to scraped texture and nods to Limbo regarding the silent and mysterious main character exploring a vast, dangerous and living world. So cool to see so much honor given to titles before while keeping Silt different.
So, do you have what it takes to understand the mysteries of the deep? Are you a puzzle enthusiast interested in a sunken city? Or are you a Tim Burton fan, Limbo, and anthropomorphic animal deities? Maybe you enjoy depriving fictional creatures of their free will when you command them to do whatever you want? Are you into ocean ASMR?
If any of these things appeal to you, I’m sure you’ll like Silt.
Released June 1, 2022, Silt is currently available on PC (Steam, GOG, EGS), PS5/4, XBS X/S, One and Nintendo Switch.
You can get more information by following the game on Twitter @SiltGame.
Author: Micah Carrillo
Micah is studying English and digital design. His love of geek culture spans across various mediums and genres. Comics, anime, movies, etc. He enjoys video games on Nintendo Switch and Xbox.
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