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The Silver Lining - Episode 2: Two Households
Developer: Phoenix Online Studios
Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios
Genre: Free Episodic Fantasy
Indie Developer
Release Date: September 18, 2010


Review by Jeffry Houser
October 25, 2010


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The Silver Lining - Episode 2: Two Households screenshot - click to enlargeThe first episode of The Silver Lining brought us back to the Green Isles, where the wedding of Rosella and Edgar was rudely interrupted when Rosella and Alexander were cast into a deep sleep by unknown magical assailant. King Graham picks up his hat and adventure clothes and starts searching for the cure. I was a bit cautious of this first chapter because it had more story than puzzles and did not bring back those mind bending elements that is the reason we play adventure games.

The Silver Lining - Episode 2: Two Households screenshot - click to enlargeEpisode one ends with Graham securing a magical scroll that will guide him to the ingredients of the spell that will wake his children. In Episode 2 we finally start to search for those ingredients. Graham will visit three of the islands in this adventure. The magic scroll prevents him from visiting places that do not lead him to spell ingredients. This works very well, from a story standpoint. Graham is still able to travel among the available islands freely throughout the chapter. From the logistical standpoint I’m sure this helped the developers narrow their scope for each episode, which hopefully means we get more episodes quicker. The map also provides some direction in the start of the story by providing Graham with a face of someone he should talk to.

The Puzzles and the Story Deepen

The Silver Lining - Episode 2: Two Households screenshot - click to enlargeThe puzzles are typical fare for this sort of game. Walk around, talk to everyone you can find, click everything that is clickable. If all else fails click all your inventory items on everything you can. It does appear that some areas in this episode were there for future use. You can spend a lot of time looking around the shops on the isle of the crown, but most of them are just for show, at least for the moment.

At the right time, you’ll meet a brand new character who will tell you more about the Black Cloaks, and will introduce you to their arch enemy. I’ll refrain from spoilers. Although this piece is fascinating story-wise, I wish the stories and the puzzles were better intertwined. They seem to be distinctly separate.

The Bad

The Silver Lining - Episode 2: Two Households screenshot - click to enlargeI’m pretty impressed with how polished this game is for an indie, free, release. But, that said it was not without its imperfections. One dialog, for example, tells you that if you want to purchase something from a merchant you have to talk to him. In fact, talking to him yields no results; you actually have to click your money bag on the merchant. That was the hardest puzzle I had to solve throughout this episode.

The game also had some visual display issues on my machine, mainly relating to the map. I was assured these were fixed by the time the initial release came out, but I didn’t have time to check. This was a minor blemish, however, that did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the game.

Mysteries Left Unsolved

The Silver Lining - Episode 2: Two Households screenshot - click to enlargeNear the end of the game, we find that something has happened to Valanice, Graham’s wife. Unfortunately, I’m not sure exactly what that was. I believe it had something to do with her appearance changing, but since the last time I saw her was a month or two ago in the previous episode, I couldn’t quite compare.

We also get a cut scene glimpse of what Alexander may be going through in his coma. The game so far has alluded to the fact that Graham, or someone, needs to enter the dreams of Alexander and Rosella in order to help free them from the spell. I suspect we’ll find out more about that in the next episode. Which I am eagerly awaiting.

Final Grade: B
(find out more about our grading system)


System Requirements:

  • Windows XP, Vista or 7
  • 1GHz Intel or AMD Processor
  • 512 MB RAM (1GB recommended for Vista and 7)
  • 100% DirectX compatible video card with 256 MB video RAM
  • DirectX 9.0c+