The Silver Case is one of Suda51's old games - a visual novel - that was remastered and brought back on Steam this year. Being a big Suda fan, I decided to check it out. The end result is a bit too weird for me - probably due to its ancient roots in the PS1 era - and I really couldn't get into it. Is The Silver Case interesting? Sure! It's also pretty stylish and you can see blobs of 'typical' Suda51 themes and touches here and there, but at the same time, I found it very confusing, both in the story and gameplay sense and ultimately it felt more like a chore than a fun game to spend time playing.

Each of the cases in TSC plays more or less the same; You move through screens of texts and pictures, then you're left to your own devices, using a weird control scheme where you rotate a wheel to select your actions - move, save, items or check - and then move around until you figure out what to do next. The act of moving around is often very tedious. One of the early side cases has you get up from your bed, get on the computer, maybe leave the house and repeat the whole thing about ten times. Another case has you go from apartment to apartment in a huge building, interrogating people. None of this is very fun, it's not really adventure game-like because you can't ever get a huge inventory of things to try at different places, it's just getting from point A to B on your own. I kinda wish the game was a straight-up visual novel. You don't seem to be able to make decisions at all either, so it wouldn't have too much of an impact on the game.

While the themes brought on by the game are interesting and different than what most games tackle, I got bogged down in the core story of most cases I played through. There was this case where a kid died and at the end you get a recap of what happened and I couldn't figure out which character was which. Something to track the names and important details about people relevant to cases would've been helpful. Some cases left me confused about certain events, I wasn't sure if they involved the paranormal or just plain old criminals, but that kept things interesting. 

I'm not sure if it's a new system to the game, but the very limited number of puzzles I encountered in TSC had this little magnifying glass which, when clicked, just solved the puzzle for me. I used it by mistake on my two first puzzles and on the third one, resorted to using it when I couldn't find any information around. I suppose that it's a good way to keep people that can't figure out the solutions to your puzzles to have an 'auto-solve' button, but it felt a bit cheap to use it. The puzzles are so few that I feel the solutions should've been more intuitive enough to find. I really loved the bit where you have to answer a bunch of questions with the game trying to pretend it's very important for you to get them all correct - which is probably impossible since they range from so many subjects.

I have pretty mixed feelings on The Silver Case! I wanted to get grabbed by its story and Suda-esque elements, there was a kind of weirdness that I could really appreciate in there, but the stuff outside of the story bits threw me off a bit too much. Everything about TSC oozes style and a bunch of interesting stories seem to be hidden beneath a layer of confusion that I couldn't get past. I finished all cases up to Kamuidome, then stopped. It's not that I hate The Silver Case, but there are other games I'd rather be playing.

AuthorJérémie Tessier