Silver Falls: Episode Prologue (Switch)
Silver Falls is a series that was created in the dying days of the 3DS, following the two titles 3 Down Stars and the Atari inspired Undertakers, Episode Prologue is here to introduce a totally new set of players to the quirky and mysterious town of Silver Falls. Grab a coffee and a slice of cherry pie, we are going all Lynchian on this one.
Silver Falls: Episode Prologue aims to give newbies to the series a slice of supernatural pie by putting you in the boots of Rominic, overly curious fast food delivery guy and just one of the many residents of Silver Falls affected by supernatural events.
Silver Falls initially started life on the 3DS with the ambitious Three Down Stars, a survival horror title set across 3 characters, it pushed the handheld to the limit but unfortunately landed at the end of its life and has had a somewhat bumpy road.
Episode Prologue strips the story back to following just 1 character, Rominic as he delivers some fried chicken out to a desolate farm house in the middle of the night.
The use of lighting, ambient sound and the text messages being exchanged raises the tension in a masterful way as you explore the farm looking for a way to check if the resident of the house is home.
Silver Falls as a whole manages to stick you in the “Land of Confusion’ quite quickly, your thrust into a pixel hunt while looking for various items to get you into the house, you’ll get the air that something isn’t right with the amount of ammo and weaponry you find littered around the area.
A brief section exploring the house follows this and upon your exit you’re greeted with your first monster and the best example of why Silver Falls is a fantastic series but also has a long path to walk before it becomes able to stand tall with the deluge of survival horror throwbacks we are seeing.
Enemies while grotesque as they should be, they animate very basically and almost seem to glide across the ground, in the first instance they are like dogs that have had their skin turned inside out BUT with the ability to float at great speed meaning running is quite futile.
The combat is thankfully much further on that Three Down Stars where it was an exercise in frustration, it’s a lot closer to the classic “Over the shoulder” shooting, you also are able to equip “emergency” weapons for when the foes get hold of you and you can give them a cheeky whack before dropping bullets into their faces, sometimes they react, sometimes they don’t, results may vary.
Cutscenes tend to be rather basic without any voice acting throughout the full game and some rather “The Room” style camera sweeps. Curiously the names of characters aren’t presented when talking so even with the camera swinging it sometimes gets a little too much and you’ve no idea who’s saying what.
The game rides out for about an hour and half depending on your success rate for finding the items to solve puzzles and where you have to go in the bigger areas, sadly the forest area really puts a huge strain on the engine, coupled with the rapid enemies leaves it feeling a little too janky even for my tastes at times!.
When you finish the brief story mode you have a Battle Mode which allows you to try out all the weapons and fight various monsters that appeared within the game. It’s a fun distraction and helps bulk up the package considering the story is ideally to be completed within 1 sitting.
While quite janky and awkward but it does manage to build tension. It may follow some of the bad habits of Survival Horror in its control scheme and camera angles but it has so much heart and potential. What Silver Falls: Episode Prologue screams to me is proof of concept, it’s cheap, it’s a good start but does need some work but following the series as I have, each title has learned more and more as they have gone on. I have no doubt in my mind that Silver Falls will have its moment, unfortunately Episode Prologue isn’t quite it just yet.
It’s janky, it’s budget and for the affordable price offers a great look at a ever growing horror series
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