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'Sign of Silence' review: Eerie Lovecraftian horror will make you scream

By Cara Gabrielle Olaguer Published Oct 31, 2020 6:33 pm Updated Oct 31, 2020 6:38 pm

A car accident beneath an eerie, moonlit sky. Corpses littered in ruined cabins, and abandoned radio towers in a forbidding forest. The chilling kiss of a freezing breeze in the dead of night. Is that rustle the fluttering wings of a murder, or the frantic beating of your heart? And what’s that lone figure standing in the dark for?

It’s like the creators of the game – Renderise – took every scary thing from horror films and dumped it one game for MAXIMUM FEAR.

A cooperative game, Sign of Silence is bent on testing the limits of players to survive and escape the horrors of Danwille town. Think A Quiet Place or Birdbox, where stealth is the name of the game.

That’s it, that’s Sign of Silence. Basically, you have to watch every step you make, because they’ll be watching you!

Fans of Lovecraftian horror will enjoy Sign of Silence.

That being said, there are presently three ways to escape Danwille: by service elevator, by helicopter, or by boat. To accomplish any of these, your group needs to gather necessary items that are scattered around the village. All this while doing your best to not upset the monsters prowling about.

Of course, that is more easily said than done. The horrifying thing with this game is that, just like your team, the monsters also work together to kill you. There are about three monsters in the early access feature of this game so far, and dealing with them is one painstakingly long – preferably in silence or else you’re dead – walk in the park.

For example, one monster is blind and deaf until you point a light towards them, and then they will try to scratch your face off. Meanwhile, a Sprouter, a giant that camouflages well with trees, will alert a multi-limbed entity called the Witch to your presence. You can pick your poison, really, but the most troublesome monster to deal with is the Witch.

It’s like horror ASMR – perfect for all your spine-chilling needs this Halloween.

See, if the Witch finds you the first time, you lose your inventory and inevitably lengthen your suffering in Danwille after she takes you to her lair. The second time you meet her, though, well, you’ll be lying in a pool of your own blood.

Avoiding them is tricky because even if your team does its best to not make a noise, there are still crows and dogs running about to trigger the monsters. That’s why, if it’s inevitable for your group to encounter them, make sure that you don’t point your light towards them. The light disturbs them enough to want to attack you, although that still doesn’t guarantee your team’s survival.

That leaves your team with only one other option, and it’s not going to be heroic. Monsters don’t typically expect you to fight, and usually that’s something to consider, but since this game is focused on survival, it prefers the practical.

Basically, when you hear rumbling, run. Hide if you can. Trying to fight them will only lead to the end credits with “you died” in a heartbeat.

One of the ways to survive is by helicopter.

Seriously, this game makes you feel like you’re in a horror film with all its spooky glory. If that’s not enough, the sound design is pure terror. While it doesn’t have a voice recognition feature like Phasmophobia, the sounds make up for more than half of the frantic theatrics of the game.

It’s like horror ASMR – perfect for all your spine-chilling needs this Halloween. Although it can really get to the point where it can scare off players from continuing the game. It’s terrifyingly immersive with how it creates tension with sound.

Since it’s still in early access, there are some parts of the game that can feel lacking. For example, if your team hasn’t found a way out of the haunted town, it can be dragging – it’s basically just going around and trying to stealthily avoid the entities, that is.

The playability just drops after all the fearsome gameplay, even with a group. Though Sign of Silence does give off vibes of an open world game with how players maneuver their way around various locations in Danwille.

That said, it’s interesting to note that this game bore some semblance to the 2017 British horror film The Ritual  – particularly with regards to friends embarking on a trip before encountering inexplicable horrors.

If you are itching to remember how it feels like to walk in a cave of horrors at amusement parks, this game is for you.

In the film, we follow the story of four friends on their way to a hiking trip in Sweden. One of the men got injured along the way, and that led the group to make a detour into the forest, where they eventually faced paranormal threats.

In the game, a group of friends got into an accident before they encountered the monsters in the outskirts of Danwille town. There, it was heavily implied that residents in the village were given as tributes to a deity called Nuna Hotun.

In particular, one note written by H. Blake, someone investigating the gruesome history of Danwille, disclosed a confounding mystery regarding an ancient tribe that used to live in the town.

According to Blake, the tribe would offer “bloody tributes” to appease a mystical goddess called Nuna Hotun. Blake further disclosed in the note that the tribe feared her offspring, which was not explained further. We can infer from the information that the monsters are likely the children of Nuna Hotun.

Interestingly, this series of notes call to mind the horror adventure game, Slender: The Eight Pages, where notes describing the mysterious Slender Man are found in the forest. It is also likely an allusion.

An interesting similarity with the film is that a cult also offered human sacrifices to a creature, called the Jötunn, to spare their lives. If the group fulfilled the requirements, the creature would also grant them immortality. In The Ritual, the Jötunn was supposedly a bastard child of the Nordic god of mischief, Loki.

The Jötunn in British horror film, The Ritual.

However, it should be noted that unlike the spindly giant in the film and monsters in the game, Jötunns are spirits of nature, typically represented with dwarflike or elfin features.

The horror genre likes to go deep in its exploration of our fear of the unknown, and Sign of Silence is no exception. So, if you are itching to remember how it feels like to walk in a cave of horrors at amusement parks, this game is for you.