When it comes to indies, adventure puzzlers are roaring back into the industry and Silt is the newest addition. Developed by Spiral Circus, this title is an underwater journey that lets players explore the endless black void of the ocean. Explore the crushing depths and discover all the hidden mysteries and treasures buried within. This is an old-fashioned 2D puzzler that’s akin to classic sea-faring games like Ecco The Dolphin and even newer indies like Limbo. Combining these aforementioned titles is a good explanation of what Silt is going to be like. Of course, this game won’t be quite as grounded as some indies. This dark ocean exploring trek does have some supernatural twists that grant all sorts of new abilities to keep things fresh. Make no mistake, this game is an obscure and twisted fantasy that dives into the often avoided sub-genre of underwater horror.
The art design in Silt will be hand-drawn, giving this world a surreal children’s book feel to it. There is certainly a unique charm to this title that is not really seen anywhere else. Everything in this game was sketched by an artist named Mr. Mead. There is no doubt that this game is a glimpse into the mind of a singular person’s filter on how an aquatic abyss should look. From what was seen in the preview, there will be all manners of different areas to explore. The mystery of the ocean can definitely offer more avenues of exploration beyond coral reefs, trenches, and sunken ships. The design of this game is going to be a little more otherworldly in depicting how the ocean floors will look. Creating a watery hellscape that’s ripe with things to find and creatures to encounter. It is really no different than discovering what is out there in deep space. Since the blackness of the unexplored ocean offers the same creepiness and enigmas as the cosmos.
What makes Silt stand out from the other games that it was clearly inspired from is the fact that the diver has the ability to possess sea creatures. This will be the main selling point to this game which, by the way, appears to give a robust selection of sundry animals to play with. Of course, this mechanic is just for fun. The variety of aquatic life in Silt come with their own perks and abilities that assist the diver in overcoming impossible odds. This main feature will focus on solving puzzles and even freeing oneself from traps. The diver himself doesn’t seem to have any tools or weapons to fight with. The only way to survive this twisted abyss is by forming a relationship with the sea itself. This is an interesting concept that isn’t too common in games of this caliber. Except for Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, perhaps.
The gameplay trailer does show off a few moments on how this possessing feature will be utilized. A single piranha can chew through a chain that the diver is entangled in. Thus, schools of fish can be used as a decoy to ward away predators so the diver can safely swim to the next segment. Moments like this will be peppered throughout Silt. This game won’t have bone-crushing combat by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, it will be a more somber and cerebral journey that forces players to make calculated decisions and not to rush into any unknown situations. Other indies like Somerville take this same approach and it’s a common angle indies usually take.
Silt won’t be for the faint of heart. There are definitely some hefty challenges in this game. The diver can die fairly easily in this game. Creatures will come out of nowhere and devour the diver with one chomp. Without warning, no less. This will be a learning experience where players will need to complete the game through trial and error. It’s this basic premise that makes the Dark Souls games so appealing. Exploring, learning, and overcoming. In the heart of this abyss, is a pulsating power waiting to be plucked to whoever reaches it. This is the sole reason why the diver is venturing into this place. Even though this story isn’t the deepest in comparison to other indies out there, having a character trying to reach a McGuffin is really all you need. What this thing is and what kind of power it harnesses it up to the player to find out.
The gameplay appears to be silky smooth and teeming with places to check out. It looks is that this is going to be a straightforward adventure that may, or may not, have backtracking involved. One thing is for sure, the further players go, the more opaque and wicked the art design will become. Almost as if the depths of the sea hide a secret alien civilization. Whatever the case, there is something inherently unique about Silt, and players who enjoy old-school 2D platformers might want to have this title on their list. Sometimes games like this are the palette cleanser they need to remind them why they fell in love with games in the first place. Even though this game is still under development, it looks like it may be coming out rather soon. Indie games tend to have a long development cycle and perhaps this one is still on track.
There is a weird, gothic charm to Silt that many gamers will surely dig. There is a simplicity to it that offers a certain allurement for types of gamers who want to check out something rather small and intimate. The indie industry is booming this generation because of a variety of reasons. Not only because of the current technology that makes it possible but also there is a market for it. It goes to show you that you don’t need a hefty budget and a building full of people to make an interesting interactive story. All it takes is some innovation and imagination. Expect Silt to be released within the first quarter of this year for the PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch.