Silt is a surreal underwater puzzle-adventure game and is the debut release from developer Spiral Circus Games (published by Fireshine Games). You play the role of a lone diver, chained to the bottom of the seabed. When you break free from your shackle you swim alone to explore the underwater abyss looking for long-forgotten mysteries.
While the game is fixed in its dark and brooding grey, black and white colour scheme it looks beautiful. The use of shading, lighting and the way it looks like its drawn in ink at times really gives the game a mesmerising setting. The backgrounds are creepy and detailed and while all the same washed out colour they are all unique and stand apart. You can clearly tell which section of the game you are playing in from unexplored ruins to ancient machinery.
There isn’t much in the way of a plot in Silt. There are no story explanations or teases about what the divers ultimate goal is regarding his progression through the game. The few tid bits that can be gathered are gleamed from the cutscenes and environments as you work through the game. It fits in well with the aesthetic and overall atmosphere that the devs are trying to convey, but I can definitely see it being slightly annoying to some who play, who want more of an answer of why to the what that they are doing in game.
Silt at heart is a puzzle game and the main mechanic used for these puzzles is your ability to possess a variety of weird and wonderful underwater creatures. While possessing these creatures you are able to make use of their unique abilities to help you progress. Control wise it’s a very simple game, the left analog stick controls your movement, with the right analog controlling the camera. You then have a button for your possession ability, a button to turn on your headlamp (used to scare away enemies hiding in the dark) and a button to use the possessed creatures abilities. Whilst the controls are simple, they work well in the setting and puzzles the game has on offer.
While the puzzles themselves are interesting, many times in the game I found myself having to blindly resort to trial and error to work through some of them as there was little to no direction on where or what you are meant to be doing in order to progress. Whilst the lack of a on screen HUD adds to the atmosphere and feeling of being alone in the oceans it does also unfortunately mean that you will also feel lost more than you want to along the journey.
There are also a selection of boss battles spread across the game at the end of each of the four areas, where you will have to survive encounters with giant deep-sea goliaths. These battles are more puzzle based without the standard combat fare and require abit more thinking than the normal puzzles, but even then, they are not so difficult that they become a chore. I loved the design choices on these boss enemies, they all look absolutely fantastic and were nice bookends to each of the areas.
Silt is a beautiful experience akin to games like Limbo with its monochrome style aesthetic and its dark brooding nature. Whilst the game itself is only a few hours from start to finish and barring a few technical issues which could require you to jump back to a checkpoint (which can be very frustrating mid-way through a puzzle), it’s use of its mechanics and puzzles are interesting enough to overcome some of the game’s shortcomings.
Silt was released on 1st June 2022 and is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The game can be purchased HERE for £11.99 the game is optimised for Series X/S and supports smart delivery. The game is also available on PC and other consoles.
We were provided a copy of the game for this review. Big thanks for that!