What if Tim Burton was a game developer? Dark adventure Children of Silentown answers the question

After a rough couple of decades at the start of the millennium, adventure games have once again found their place on the PC gaming landscape. Just off to the left, through a door you had to open by combining an antique bust, some costume makeup and a bucket of drool to form a key which… well, you get the joke.

Children of Silentown does carry some classic point-and-click DNA, most evident in the way Lucy interacts with her lugubrious surroundings. Just as the Lucasarts classics of yore used to task you with increasingly absurd and convoluted item combinations in their puzzles, developer Elf Game Works stamps its own take on the trope, allowing for all manner of unexpected and inevitably, creepy conclusions.

But rather than mimic the past like Thimbleweed Park (which did so to great effect, mind you), Children of Silentown finds its own ground in a dark, gloomy, and oddly cute world. It’s like a Tim Burton fever dream, expressed in Chibi.

Protagonist Lucy has a mystery to solve in the village of Silentown, which isn’t without its sinister elements. Like the fact that people go missing from it with alarming regularity, for example. But despite a populous of ghostly eyed, ever-diminishing, mournful-looking denizens, the real danger lies outside the village, in the forest. Seriously. Do not go into the forest. Stop even thinking about the forest.

Children of Silentown

(Image credit: Daedalic)

While it’s not explicitly a horror title—no jump scares here, YouTubers circa 2012, move along - the dark atmosphere pervades every corner of Lucy’s adventure. Including and not limited to a mischievous cat who teases and torments Lucy at every opportunity, and—wait, you’re thinking about the forest again, aren’t you? Seriously, we told you: don’t. 

Music’s a big player here. Not only is it working hard to set the game’s Burton-esque atmosphere, it also doubles up as a mechanic. As you learn to sing with Lucy, you learn to wield music as another tool to call upon in times of trouble. 

Children of Silentown is available now on Steam—this is a full release too, not an Early Access version. Sample Lucy’s investigation into the missing persons cases of Silentown, what lies beyond it in the woodland, and why she finds it so hard to get a good night’s rest without disturbing dreams. Given her location, we think we’d probably struggle too. Buy or Wishlist Children of Silentown on Steam now.