The Magical Silence – What We Think:
It’s often argued that games have veered away from mechanics in favor of offering narrative experiences. The Magical Silence, by Anatoliy Loginovskikh, exemplifies the trend. It contains an allegorical narrative in a game about the value of imagination, but its lack of interactivity leaves something to be desired.
The game starts off with a sad-looking dog sitting upright beside a half-empty bottle of wine. In spite of its silliness, it feels emotionally resonant; the mood is somber, as the whole place lacks color. The dog then mentions how the door next to him is a portal that leads to his imagination. Once you open it, you enter into a surreal place filled with relaxing elements.
This imaginary place is a stark contrast from ‘reality’–a dreamlike place among the clouds. Here, the visuals are bright and whimsical. The music is soft, comforting and relaxing. As you pan the camera around, you find a number of animals doing different relaxing things. Some are wearing hats, one is knitting, and another is playing a guitar.
Much like a Hidden Object game, you have the ability to click on objects in the 2D environment. Certain things react to your clicks or make a sound, and some even contain hidden gems that you can collect. The game started to feel like a small, aimless interactive playground – until I noticed a locked door at the top right. A goal was presented in the form of an escape back to reality.
Once you find what to click on to eventually find a key to the exit, you can unlock the door and return to reality. I won’t spoil the ending, since the game is so short, it took only around 30 minutes to finish. I will say that even though I took away something from the game, it still left me wanting more.
Mechanically, the environment doesn’t have much interaction. You can click only on a couple of things, and it isn’t necessarily fun. The environment isn’t very interesting to explore, either, because it is so small. And the narrative is a little too sparse, without a whole lot to sink your teeth into or become emotionally invested in. But from a strictly allegorical standpoint, I took away something from this game.
I don’t know the developers’ intention with the game, but I interpreted the whole experience as a message about how we use our imaginations as a way to escape from reality. No matter how dark our real world might be, our imagination offers a brighter alternative. The goal of finding a key to exit the imaginary place represents how we are compelled to escape our imagination to return to our inevitable realities. Even the title of the game can be viewed as suggesting that our imagination is a “magical silence” that gives us some solace in times of darkness.
The Magically Hip
The Magical Silence is a short experience that I know will not be for everyone. It lacks interesting mechanics and an overall visual variety that would have made it a more satisfying experience. It ultimately feels more like an interactive art piece than a fleshed out game. If you’re a fan of reading into art further, you might find some value here, but if not, this game won’t do much for you.
The Magical Silence is available via Steam.
Watch the trailer for The Magical Silence below: