Silt is the first game from developers Spiral Circus. It takes place in a submerged, eerie, and beautifully realized world. Through the use of a possession mechanic, you will take over the bodies of multiple fish and crustaceans as you work towards an unknown and potentially sinister goal. Let’s enter this oceanic void full of the creepy and surreal and see if this one is worth checking out.
I don’t know what the story of this game really is. I have been unable to beat it, you see. Because it keeps wearing me down. I must have spent 4 or 5 hours in chapter 4 desperately trying to finish this title until it finally broke something that I couldn’t get past, my spirit. It’s a shame as the game can be quite interesting at times. Utilizing a black and white aesthetic this is a nice looking and always unsettling game. You awaken to take over the corpse of a drowned diver. The B button allows you to possess certain creatures swimming around. X is occasionally used for their unique abilities, such as biting through cables or electrifying equipment. Y turns on a headlamp which can keep certain enemies like leeches away. The left analog stick is used for movement, and the right stick can move the camera around, and that’s about it.
It is a simple game in nature. Through the use of the possession mechanic, you will solve puzzles in the environment. There is no real music, no writing, and no voice acting. Everything about this game is told through the environment, and it works well. I don’t think this is a very long game, so I will try my best not to spoil anything, but that possession and soul mechanic seems to be the main drive. You’re going around, finding other lost divers and bosses and using their souls for reasons I have yet to uncover. I will keep trying to beat this game up through/after launch so that I can update this review if possible.
Back to the controls though, and this is where the later parts of the game are a massive letdown. Even before I reached an area that simply did not seem to function properly it was becoming a massive drag to play through. The controls do not hold up to what you are asked to do as the game gets more difficult. You never have any type of defense or combat abilities, instead, your possessed creatures are always there for environment-based puzzle purposes.
Everything has momentum and being in water means that you are always slow to turn and easy prey if you get too close to any of the predators that like to hang out in walls—combining this with the fact that I was repeatedly eaten by creatures that were nowhere near me as they teleported through walls led to immense frustration. I have been in a room carefully trying to solve its deadly puzzle for 10 minutes, and just as I was about to finish it a toothed worm came flying through 5 walls to instantly one-shot me. I was not pleased.
The sound design is almost completely barren, with music starting up only a few times throughout my dozen or so hours in the game. I say starting up because when I paused it to try and capture it for my video review the music never restarted after unpausing. This occurred twice, and outside of that you get swimming sound effects, creature sound effects, and that’s about it.
Silt is a rather short, basic to control game. The story was intriguing from the start, and if you can look past how bland and unfun it is to play at times it might be worth checking out. For me though a nice art style and possibly interesting story simply isn’t enough to overcome how poor feeling and frustrating I found everything else.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC|
|Release Date||June 1st, 2022|
|Developer||Spiral Circus Games|
|Published By||Fireshine Games|
|Rated||T for Teen|