Long ago in the world of Silent Hope, a renegade King stole all the words in the land and leapt into a seemingly bottomless pit known as the Abyss. No one knows why he did it, but since then no one has been able to speak to one another. For some reason, this is heralded as a Bad Thing, so when a mysterious princess returns from the Abyss encased in crystal and able to talk, seven unlikely heroes band together to help her restore words to the world.
Okay, so the premise is a little shaky, but at least there’s context as to why no one else talks while the Princess rarely shuts up. She guides each of your heroes through a series of deepening dungeons, leading you to defeat endless hordes of monsters while gearing up to eventually take on the King and restore what he stole.
The action in Silent Hope takes the shape of a looting and levelling dungeon crawler similar in form and function to Minecraft Dungeons, but with a bit more to it. It’s influenced heavily by Dragalia Lost, both in terms of gameplay and the Chibi art style. Characters are all irrepressibly cute and lovable, particularly when they’re wielding buster swords longer than they are tall.
As mentioned, there are seven heroes, and each plays very differently from the others. There are a couple of very strong tanky classes such as the Warrior and Wanderer, pure DPS classes such as the Rogue and Fighter, ranged classes in the Caster and the Archer, and then the Farmer, who kind of embodies all of it, albeit in a reduced capacity. She has a pitchfork, for a start, which seems much less formidable than the Rogue’s butchering knives or the Caster’s explosive spells.
From a central hub camp positioned right on the lip of the Abyss, you will strike out on expeditions into the depths to kill monsters and bring back Mementos. These are essentially blueprints for weapons with randomised stat boosts that follow the standard Rare, Legendary, and Epic system. You’ll also need to gather resources on each run to refine into crafting ingredients with which to forge the Mementos into weapons.
Because the magic only allows one hero at a time to travel into the Abyss, the other six make themselves useful by working to refine these ingredients while you take one of them into the unknown. When you return, you’ll usually be able to collect refined products with which to turn new Mementos into stronger gear. You’ll also level up at a fairly steady pace, growing stronger each time and first unlocking then upgrading three core skills per class. At level 15 you can switch class to a more powerful version (the Archer can become an Assassin, for example), and unlock more skills.
The Abyss is split into floors with multiple levels. Many of these will contain a crystal that can either return you to the camp or allow you to change character. As you’ll only enter with two health potions (which act as revives if you have them intact when you die), tougher dungeons can feel a little punishing later on. The first Floor is deceptively easy, but the difficulty ramps up much faster once you’re past the first boss. It might be too fast, to be honest, unless you only level one character – but the game really doesn’t feel like it wants you to stick with just one.
While the entire game is viable with any of the seven, you’ll want to mix your heroes because each one feels so good to play as. Ranged, DPS, or heavy hitters all feel impactful and just weighty enough – although the game is crying out for a block option. As it is you must hit and run constantly with literally every enemy. You’ll get a few hits in as they wind up, then must dodge away from their attack and return fast to repeat. Sadly no matter what enemy you’re fighting, even bosses, this is the only strategy.
Yes, you can stun some enemies and some skills will hit multiple mobs – there are hazards such as explosive barrels that can deal AoE damage – but ultimately the combat never really evolves, even when you’ve unlocked new classes and abilities. Unfortunately, this is where Silent Hope falters a little. There’s just not really enough evolution of characters or their skills. You can make them stronger up to level 15 and then switch class, and you can switch again once you’ve defeated the main boss of the Abyss, but in between this you’ll be using the same attack patterns and the same three skills per hero. For this reason, you will get bored and mix it up, and that will slow your progress.
Food can be cooked and applied each run to grant passive buffs until you return, while you can find special campfires that give you a checkpoint around halfway through a dungeon. Sometimes you’ll stumble into a trap between levels that will see you fending off waves of enemies, and there are magical portals here and there that teleport you to a much harder but more rewarding version of the current level. Oh, and there are trials you can undertake on a given level such as using a certain skill so many times or killing a set number of enemies.
Environments don’t change much as you progress, with each floor of the dungeon taking on a different colour and overall theme but remaining functionally identical. There are lots of different enemies, though, but again most are dealt with in the same way: attack, attack, dodge, repeat, profit.
But regardless of its outward simplicity, Silent Hope is a really fun, rewarding and likable game. It never feels nearly as tough as many roguelite dungeon crawlers out there, offering a much more relaxed experience that may not be enough for hardcore genre fans. For everyone else, though, it’s a very enjoyable hack and slash loot-em-up with just enough variety and imagination to carry it.
Good spread of skills and playstyles
Simple and addictive gameplay loop
Some things feel limited
Difficulty ramps up too quickly
Too many menus