Silt Review

After playing Silt as the recent WASD event, I came away having it as a one of the titles I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Lo and behold, I didn’t have to wait long – just over a month later it was dropped in my inbox for review. Having played the full experience I can say that it was almost exactly what I’d hoped for.

We control a mysterious diver who awakens already underwater, chained to the sea bed. Shortly after breaking loose, we discover our ability to possess the marine life around us, allowing us to solve the games various puzzles. It’s this mechanic we interact with throughout the 3-4 hour runtime, and it is smartly used throughout. The rest of the game is light on direct story telling, preferring to follow its clear inspiration in Limbo and Inside and show rather than tell, letting the player figure things out. I always find this method a bit hit and miss, and when it comes to Silt this was definitely more of a miss. The vagueness of it all meant I soon lost much interest in the why, and focused on the how of the puzzles instead.

These fare better, and again make smart use of the possession mechanic to proceed. Moving from fish to fish, each one with their own specific abilities to make use of, was handled well, with just the right amount of head scratching to overcome. There were a couple of moments late on where failing to solve a puzzle exactly meant I had to die and retry an area which weren’t ideal (one of which I think will catch 99% of players out first time round) but for the most part we’re given exactly what we need when we need it and it’s up to us to put them to good use.

Each of the four areas are capped off by an end boss. Basically large puzzles, these require a little more out of the box thinking to beat, but again aren’t so hard that we were left struggling to get by. By far the most challenging was the third areas boss, which added in a time sensitive action; something not helped by the divers very slow movement speed even when dashing. But like the rest of the puzzles they are creative in their implementation of the mechanics.

All of this is presented in a dark, brooding style. Once again aping Limbo, the black and white aesthetic is used to great effect as mammoth sea monsters creep into view, or dark areas hide dangerous hazards. It looks great and is accompanied by some unsettling underwater ambient noises that are really effective if, like me, you have a touch of the thalassophobia.

All in all it took me a little over 3 hours to beat Silt. While I might have liked an extra chapter to extend that a little, what we get is a title that knows how best to implement its ideas, and when to refrain from bloating things to the point of repetition.

Conclusion

Silt takes a solid concept, uses its ideas smartly, and doesn’t out stay its welcome. A few niggles aside, this is a great way to spend a few hours solving the mysteries of the depths below and the diver seemingly stranded within it.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Smart use of mechanics
  • Brooding dark visuals and audio
  • Doesn't out stay its welcome
Bad
  • A few puzzles can end in a fail state without warning
  • Slow diver movement makes replaying sections a little laborious
8
Great
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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