Originally released in 2012, 1 Moment Of Time: Silentville was later brought to Steam in 2016, by Jetdogs Studios, who’s currently more known by presenting time-management titles like 12 Labours of Hercules. Developed by 2 Monkeys Studios, the game received relatively positive feedback, but this would be the second and last Hidden Object Game by the Dutch team.
Silentville is a small and rustic little town forever trapped in time. The future never comes, and the past seems like a neverending memory for those who can still share some light on the matter. As if under a strong spell, villagers disappear, one by one, and it’s up to our protagonist to find all the answers for such strange event.
1 Moment In Time: Silentville doesn’t have the best story out there, but it’s a nice concept, just not entirely well developed. There’s no dialogues from the main character, which automatically limits the storyline, however, other NPC’s do share their stories, compiling pretty much all the narrative in the game. There isn’t any major plot twists or intense mystery, just a simple and casual linear story to follow on.
Overall direction and placement of events is simple and standard, but considering the traditional games from this genre back in 2012, this one isn't vastly different from what was common. Truth is, Hidden Object Games gained major popularity in the last years, and with it came a huge improvement in development.
Visually, the studio improved tremendously from their previous game, where the basic 3D models were notoriously noticeable. This time, thanks to filters and hand-drawn touches, the end result is far superior, with an atmosphere and style. There’s some real effort into them, and each model seems adequate and pleasant to see. User Interface is likewise pretty good, except for the journal, which features a very generic approach. The map has a 3D perspective, which, despite its limited functions, has a fantastic showcase of the entire town.
The gameplay is relatively more towards the Point & Click rather than the Hidden Object factor. While traversing the cursed town, players will engage in mini-games, as well as find and utilizing objects to proceed. Only a handful Hidden Object Scenes are included, some with a second search round. Thankfully, they are entirely costumed, which means for the second time searching a previously searched location, objects will change based on the past search.
Mini-games are perfect for newcomers to the genre, with a very easy difficulty. Those looking for a casual experience will probably enjoy the smooth pace while gathering objects. Puzzles are very traditional and simple, good for the young ones or a family time together. Clues and objectives are on par with the rest of the challenge, and I always found myself with a direction to go, never feeling lost or clueless.
The overall difficulty of the game is 95% derived to the outdated visuals, otherwise the methodical thinking and direction is very simple and makes perfect sense most of the time. Despite the curse and magical elements, the game is a contemporary adventure, having none or barely any mechanics related to sorcery.
This does not support wide screen resolutions, as expected from a time where 16:9 or any widescreen resolution wasn't that popular in this genre, which isn’t an excuse, but we’re kind of used to see older games using engines limiting the visual quality. Interestingly enough, the game doesn’t stretch the image, but instead, uses the extra space for a visual placebo, aligning the style and simplicity of its limitations.
Unfortunately the gameplay is hugely affected by the lack of optimization, with the hitting detection suffering the most while moving from one place to the other. This works perfectly fine during puzzles and Hidden Object Scenes, but it affects the navigation movement across areas, as the directional arrows don’t register properly.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises is the soundtrack. While repetitive and mostly composed of the same style, the smooth classic symphonic ambiance is perfect, delivering a vibe of magic, but at the same time, remaining afar from clichés. This is really a very beautiful main track, which cannot be said about the dialogues. They are very generic, almost with no emotion in them and sometimes not even aligned with the subtitles.
1 Moment Of Time: Silentville is not perfect, but it’s solid enough to be an enjoyable adventure, one many studios wish they had in their earlier releases. Unfortunately 2 Monkeys moved to create mobile games. A shame really, as we’ve seen improvement and more in two games. The potential is there where the team could actually produce a superb game.