When Blizzard released Diablo way back in 1996, it took years for the copycats to start showing up, but now point-and-click action role-playing games seem to be coming out every couple of months. Sometimes the developers of these games put a lot of effort into the title, like with Titan Quest, and sometimes we get B-grade games like Space Hack and Restricted Area. Silverfall, from developer Monte Cristo Games, falls pretty squarely into the latter category.
Silverfall uses a standard “bad guys are trying to take over the world” background story. You start out in the city of Silverfall -- just in time for undead trolls and other unlikely creatures to sack it. You escape with a childhood friend (who is always conveniently the opposite gender of your character) and some other refugees to a nearby swamp. Some undead creatures follow you there, but fortuitously they only appear in small groups, which allows your level 1 character to kill them and build up some experience. Eventually, you gain a couple of companions, and you convince some other cities to help you take back Silverfall, but that only ends up being the first step in foiling an Evil Plot. As you play the rest of the campaign, you have to figure out what’s going on and then of course put a stop to it.
The plot to the campaign works well enough, although Monte Cristo doesn’t really do anything to develop it. For the most part, the first time you hear about a city is when you have to complete a quest there, and the first time you learn about a boss is when you have to kill it. That makes the events in the game feel like hoops to jump through rather than chapters in a compelling story. You also get some companions in the game, and their background stories are developed in small, subtle ways, but in general Silverfall isn’t worried about story or dialogue. It’s all about combat.
Silverfall uses a classless character system. When you create your character, you simply pick a name, a gender and a race. Then each time you gain a level, you receive 4 attribute points to allocate between strength, agility, constitution and intelligence (which affect about what you’d expect), and you receive 4 skill points to spend on the game’s 100+ skills. Skills are divided into areas like melee combat and healing magic, and there is even a special page just for your race. Silverfall also has a dichotomy between nature and technology, where your actions might push your leanings to one way or the other, and you can gain skills in those areas as well. Unfortunately, Silverfall is a little too much like Fable in regards to character development. By the time my gunslinger character reached the end of the campaign (at level 52), he’d already maxed out all of the skills he cared about -- and then some. Silverfall isn’t a game where you have to carefully consider where you spend your points. You get so many points it’s overkill.
The mechanics in Silverfall are basically the same as in every other action role-playing game out there. You left click for normal commands, such as moving, talking to NPCs, and executing basic attacks (each weapon type has its own basic attack), and you right click for special attacks (such as the “cold ring” spell, which freezes all nearby enemies). The 1-3 keys hotkey basic attacks, and the 4-8 keys hotkey special attacks. The 9 and 0 keys are used for health and power potions.