I recently picked up Silent Swords by Oniric Games and I must say that it is an attractive game. The game puts you in the role of a ninja that has been captured by a military organization. Your mission is to get out of the complex using all the ninja skills available to you.
The saccharine graphics may make the game seem childish and simple, but you will definitely need to use your brain to get past the guards. Silent Swords has a nice blend of nice graphics, strategy, and realism, and seems like a cross between Metal Gear Solid, ninjas, and a platforming and puzzler game. Though the concept may sound a little weird, the game is definitely worth considering.
The cutesy graphics fit well in this puzzler and platforming game. The cuteness is also contrasted with blood splashes when you manage to assassinate a guard. Perfect!
Your ninja does not have a health bar and nor should he. In real life, it’s one shot from a gun and you’re screwed. Why should it be any different in this game? If you are noticed by the guards at all, they will immediately raise their gun and shoot, ending your little ninja’s life. However, this strict element also applies to the guards; one slice, one kill.
In terms of gameplay, Silent Swords is fun. I’ve never really liked platforming games, and had little taste for puzzlers, but Silent Swords pulled me into the game. Guards are strategically positioned on the map and you must kill or get past them without being noticed. It sounds easy, but in reality it is a pretty difficult.
In addition to the guards, there are also lights. If you are in the light you will immediately be shot by a guard, but anywhere other than the light and the guard will not notice you. This means you can only assassinate guards while in the dark, and that you cannot assassinate a guard that is in the light even though his back is turned to you. You will be shot if you attempt this.
There are also items in which your ninja can hide; a locker and a trash can. While in the locker the ninja cannot move, but also will not be noticed by guards even if the locker is in the light. The trash can is basically a locker that moves. However, if moving through a light and a guard suddenly turns around, you will also be shot and the trash can will do nothing to stop the bullet.
For a game like this, I like a simple interface. If you had too many weapons it would be a hassle switching between them, but in Silent Swords you only have two personal weapons: your swords and your shurikens. The swords can be used at any time, and as long as you’re near a guard and perform the gestures correctly, the guard is dead.
You have a very limited amount of shurikens, and using one incorrectly or missing will result in having to restart the level since the game only gives you the exact amount of shurikens you need. It makes you strategically preserve shurikens for long-range kills.
Most of the time the controls of a game make or break it. Unfortunately, in Silent Swords the controls are very near to breaking the game. In version 1.0, the controls were horrendous; you continually tapped the arrows slowly to walk, and faster to run. Shaking to jump wasn’t very convenient either.
Thankfully, the issue has been addressed in version 1.1. You can now tap and hold to walk and double tap and hold to run. Oniric Games has added an on-screen jump button. However, the controls still feel a bit cumbersome, and the running speed of the ninja is almost the same as the walking speed.
In Silent Swords there are no difficulty options, and as I stated before the puzzler aspect of the game may be quite challenging for people. As a result, I do not believe that Silent Swords is for the average casual gamer. As you progress in the game, it will become more and more obvious that Silent Swords was centered around more hardcore players, as the levels will have an increase in difficulty, guard reactions, and obstacles. While this will appeal to the niche hardcore audience, I feel like the game could have benefited from an easy mode to ease in the casual audience.
All in all, Silent Swords offers a challenge and is an interesting blend of gameplay elements. The cute graphics and fun gameplay make up for most of the game’s shortfalls, and it’s a great game.