When thinking about dungeon crawlers, most fans go to the colorful but brutal Hades or gritty roguelikes that punish players with every death. However, for those looking to tackle difficult combat scenarios with a cute JRPG aesthetic, Silent Hope is just the thing.
Combining adorable JRPG graphics with bright, exciting colors, Silent Hope creates a vibrant world full of questions. It is the perfect title for fans who want to grind but go to sleep at night without dark, creepy images seared into their eyeballs. While not offering as much freedom or as many cozy mechanics as I was hoping for, disappointment quickly turned to delight as I had the opportunity to truly appreciate the depth of the story with each new dungeon dive.
- Release Date: October 3, 2023
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC
- Price: $39.99
- Developer/Publisher: Marvelous/XSEED
Silent Hope Holds Players Captive With Mystery and Intrigue
From the beginning of Silent Hope, it is clear something isn’t right in the kingdom players find themselves inhabiting. Crumbling ruins stand as a reminder of a once prospering palace, and a princess encased in crystalized tears hovers, waiting to meet the heroes that will hopefully help her discover the cause of the kingdom’s curse – 100 years without words.
To keep things spoiler-free, we won’t go over the details of the story, but Silent Hope keeps true to its major conflict, with the seven heroes chosen to help the princess unable to communicate through speech. Instead, they must work together at their base camp, trust each other’s skills, and support the hero that players select to dive into the terrifying Abyss below the kingdom.
The story unfolds through memories the Princess explains via telepathy, as she is the only person able to communicate, and only to the seven heroes she has called to assist her. The story is perfectly paced, with players learning new information as they work through each level of the dungeons of the Abyss.
Silent Hope Provides Tools To Make Dungeon Crawling A Blast
Silent Hope’s gameplay consists of two looping phases: camp and the Abyss. At Camp, players can select the character they want to start a dungeon run as, upgrade tools, cook meals, and convert materials. Additionally, this is where players will be able to access and assign skill points earned while leveling up. Each character has a main class and two alternate classes that can be unlocked as they progress. These classes each have three abilities, and any combination of three from any unlocked class can be equipped at the same time.
This makes combat an absolute delight, as players can change up their heroes for fresh battle strategies and plan for particularly difficult levels to ensure they have everything they need to take down a boss or knock out large numbers of enemies.
After wrapping up at camp, players enter the Abyss. Depending on the meals equipped, different buffs will apply for the duration of the dungeon run. Players only have a few potions per character, so they must be used lightly, as healing spots in the Abyss are few and far between.
The maps of the Abyss are intricate and filled with monsters that drop loot and crafting materials. Because of this, it becomes a goal to crush as many of these opponents in every run to ensure optimal seed, material, and recipe drops. Players can look for a crystallized tear when a hero gets tired to return to the surface or summon a new hero.
Trading Out Heroes In The Abyss Makes Runs More Fun
The hero swap function in Silent Hope is one of the best mechanics of the Abyss. Players can use the level map on the righthand side of their screen to see if the floor possesses a crystal, and if their hero is worn out, low on health, or if a strategy swap is needed, a fresh hero from the surface can be called down.
This incentivizes players to begin leveling every character from an early point in the game, as the more buffed-out heroes you have, the longer you can stay in the dungeons. This was excellent for me, as I was completely sure I would play the whole game with one character. Instead, I began exploring every option, falling in love with each personality as I spent time playing them. It taught me to think about how I wanted each Abyss adventure to go and how to plan ahead while still at camp.
My only sadness was that I couldn’t have the characters engage with each other, as I started coming up with stories about how their relationships worked and wanted more of that character-to-character story. In a way, Silent Hope’s commentary on the loss of language drives home the characters’ struggles, as the player sees how they miss out on connection at the communication level.
Silent Hope is a wild, exciting, brightly-colored thrill ride that blew my expectations out of the water. While I went in expecting something different, I am glad it wasn’t anything like what I was hoping for. The dungeon runs are satisfying, the gameplay loop is addictive, and the story has me racing to get to the next plot point.
If you are looking for a cozy sim where you farm potatoes and occasionally fight monsters, it might be best to pass on Silent Hope, but if you are a fan of dungeon crawls, adorable art, and brutal boss fights, this is a must-have. While not as gritty or dark as Hades, I found myself experiencing the same satisfaction while playing, and I am already thinking about how to buff characters out differently for my next playthrough.
9.5 / 10
|+ Stunning character designs and environments|
|+ Thoughtful, creative combat with interesting twists|
|+ The cute version of gritty roguelikes|
|– I wish camp was just a little bigger|
Gamepur team received a Nintendo Switch code for the purpose of this review.