Silent Hope Review – At Least The Cows Are Cute

Silent Hope Review

From XSEED Games and Marvelous, taking place in the Rune Factory universe comes Silent Hope, an isometric action RPG dungeon-crawler. The adorable visuals, gorgeous character design and sound are lovely, giving an engaging fantasy anime ambience. Along with some recognizable elements from Rune Factory like woolies and those familiar cows, Silent Hope is cuteness overload. Though overall, a little lacking.

After the King silences his kingdom and flings himself into the Abyss leaving behind a ruined kingdom, the princess mourns her father. Her tears encase her in the form of a giant crystal teardrop. In true anime fashion. Finally in desperation, the princess sends out a prayer and seven heroes come forth from the Abyss. In Silent Hope you play as one of the seven heroes, each with a unique fighting style, and delve into the Abyss to fight enemies and search the depths below for the King. Along the way you fight adorable enemies like murder bunnies, adorable poison bees and cute punch-slinging sheep.

One of the seven heroes in Silent Hope

Fight, Craft, Rinse and Repeat

In Silent Hope, you pick one of the seven heroes and drop into the Abyss. It’s a single player, so that might be a missed opportunity to go dungeon hopping with friends. But once you’ve traversed the Abyss and killed as many enemies as you can stomach or cleared every floor of a dungeon, you return to the base camp. The different floors of the Abyss have different themes and immersive visuals, each one a beautiful design with an engaging atmosphere.

Get somebody else to do it

There’s not much to be done up on the surface when you’re not dungeon crawling. Rune Factory fans expecting to take care of animals, craft and cook by yourself, cast that aside. You fight some enemies, get back to the surface, place your order to one of the other idle heroes waiting on the surface and they’ll do the work for you. At base camp, you can go to the forge and have another hero create or upgrade weapons and accessories for you, provided you have the right materials. At the kitchen, a hero will make dishes that you take with you to the abyss, these are equipped before you dive in and provide unique benefits.

Crafting, farming and gathering materials from animals take time. So while you wait, it’s back to the dungeon with you. The little idle animations of each of the heroes at work are super cute though. Heroes have different outfits and classes you can switch to once you level up enough or fill in the needed requirements to unlock them. In the dungeons you collect recipes, gather seeds and other materials and treasures then head back to the surface. Next, put in some requests for what you want made then back to depths below to pass the time.

Uninspired Combat

For my first venture out into the Abyss, I chose a caster because, duh, Magic. In combat you will have to acquaint yourself with the dodge button, which has a cooldown time. Some heroes’ dodge function allows them to phase from one point to another. Others simply perform a dash, so choose a character that best suits your preferred play style.

The combat in a nutshell is unsatisfying. The fighting and attacks feel rigid and aiming takes a bit to grasp for the long range class heroes. As you level up and get more abilities it is somewhat more fun. Enemies are boring and stiff. Fighting feels like a chore in the not fun way. To compensate for the off-putting enemies, the game simply multiplies enemy numbers to increase the difficulty as you advance. This might not be so bad and provide a challenge save for the fact that sometimes there’s barely any space to move freely and coordinate. Heroes with the ‘dash’ dodge will have trouble navigating crowd control comfortably. Especially in the early stages where you’re too weak to just cut enemies out of the way.

While in the dungeons you can sometimes find crystal fragments of the princess’s tears. These allow you to switch out your hero for another from the surface and continue your expedition. Additionally some floors will have trials for extra rewards, if you choose to take them on.

There’s a story here… somewhere

Silent Hope has a simple story. To give the game a reason for why you’re back- flipping every other hour into a dark hole filled with murderous creatures. It’s simple and nothing to write home about. Just there to get the game moving.

The princess, who is the only character with a voice, gives hints and clues when she tells of the Kingdom before the King vanished. She regales you with stories of the kind of person her father was and injects little lines of humor here and there. It is a little jarring when she starts repeating some lines over and over again. Especially at the base camp. While you’re in the dungeons, some clues can be found. Like messages recorded in the king’s voice and it’s up to you to piece together what happened.

Silent Hope has an interesting and fun idea, playing into the silent protagonist trope. Overall, the concept is bogged by shallow gameplay execution and enemies that feel janky and unrefined. It does however thrive in it’s endearing design. Though it might be a little more enjoyable if you’re here solely here for quick dungeon runs, but even that aspect falls a bit short.

***Nintendo Switch code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

  • Adorable visuals
  • Great character designs
  • Good soundtrack

The Bad

  •  Stiff combat
  • Not much to do outside of combat