What is The Silver Case?
The Silver Case is a hard-boiled detective drama following the story of serial murder and generally slightly insane chap Kamui Uehara. Told from two different perspectives, one a foul-mouthed detective working the case, and the other a chain-smoking freelance journalist researching Kamui for a story, the Silver Case is a visual novel - essentially a choose-your-own-adventure book in game form. Dealing with a number of grisly murders, each bearing the hallmarks of Kamui, the game mixes together long story sequences with some exploration and puzzle solving, creating a mysteriously dark tale of murder, jealousy and strange goings on.
How do you play The Silver Case?
As The Silver Case is primarily a 'visual novel', this is a game that plays out like a good book. Reading through extensive story sequences, dialogue and lengthy monologues, most of the fun here comes from sitting back, and watching the story unfold. Unlike some other similar story-driven games, there are no conversational options to pick here, no branching decisions to agonise over, and no alternate endings to worry about; just a single linear story to enjoy.
Between story sections, the gameplay switches to a first person perspective, as you get to explore forests, corridors and compounds through the eyes of either the detective or the writer, depending on whose chapter you're playing through. As you move from place to place, you'll come across various objects you can interact with, which will either further the story or give you a puzzle or two to figure out. Many of the puzzles revolve around code-breaking, asking you to transcribe certain words into code in order to unlock a door, where Kamui potentially awaits. At other times, you'll be faced with a pop quiz that covers everything from key story events and characters, to various pop culture questions, such as Crash Bandicoot's favourite food, Japanese geography and characters from Back To The Future.
How easy is The Silver Case to pick up and play?
While most of The Silver Case simply requires you to flick through various conversations, the puzzles the game offers can be real brain benders at times. Whether you're cracking a text code, or solving a mastermind like puzzle to work out a four digit numerical code, there are plenty of tricky challenges on offer - although you can always skip them entirely by clicking on a yellow magnifying glass button if you get particularly stuck. Beyond the puzzles, though, it's the game's somewhat convoluted exploratory controls that are the most brain-bending. Your main actions, like the ability to move, or interact with objects, sit on a wheel of options in the bottom right-hand corner, and you need to swivel it around to the one you want and click, before you can use the corresponding action. Once you've picked 'M' for movement for example, you can then move step by step around the room - but if you come across something you want to interact with, you'll need to stop and reselect 'C' on the wheel to use it. It can take a bit of getting used to at first, but as The Silver Case doesn't rely on fast reflexes or anything, there's no real time pressure either.
It may go without saying, but as The Silver Case is primarily a visual novel game, with a story told almost entirely through text alone, a good, solid reading ability is a must, especially as the story can be a little hard to follow at times.
- "Until yesterday, Kamui Uehara was going through the usual curriculum at this isolation ward. He seemed totally fine..."
- "This crime virus they're spreading around, cut it off at the source. Annihilation of the self… That's what we do."
- "KILLINGME WILLCHANGENOTHING EVERYTHINGSTARTSHERE THEDEVILWILLCOMEUPONUSONCEAGAIN WITHTHESOUNDOFTHEBELLS"
As The Silver Case is effectively a hard boiled police drama dealing with a bit of a grisly murder case, the game itself is rife with mature content. Bad language is frequent, and covers pretty much everything in the book, from f*ck, sh*t and c*nt to a*s, p*ss and b*tch, and everything in between. Violence is a pretty regular occurrence too, given that you're investigating multiple murders - a handful of cutscenes depict characters in pools of blood, or being shot, while one scene shows a woman leaping off a building.
During your detective work, things can get a bit sexually explicit at times too, whether it's frequent references to semen being found inside bodies or talk of 'spreading seed', affairs and the like. Likewise, dialogue does stray into the risqué from time to time, with a male character declaring that "I'm going to bust my nut", whilst references to "dodgy websites and underground clubs, [where] you could buy secretly filmed videos… of her diddling herself..." and a "girl was horribly assaulted by the violent mob… and was raped." also appear.
Victims also tend to go a bit creepy and crazy, often talking as if they were possessed, repeating the same words over and over again, accompanied by somewhat haunted, scary faces.