[Review] Silver Falls – 3 Down Stars – New Nintendo 3DS

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: Sungrand Studios
  • Publisher: Sungrand Studios
  • Release Date: 02/01/2020
  • Price: $25.99 / £19.99
  • Review code provided by Sungrand Studios

Introducing: Silver Falls – 3 Down Stars Review

In the past, I’ve always been a gamer of multiple platforms and consoles. From week to week or even day to day I would bounce from my PC to my PS Vita. Or from my Xbox or Playstation 4 to my Nintendo 3DS. When the Nintendo Switch launched, that two-timing came to an end. My commitment issues subsided as I found a perfect match in Nintendo’s hybrid system. When I was given the chance to review a recently released New Nintendo 3DS game I had to pause to think where my little forgotten handheld device had gone to sleep. After fishing around in a drawer, I located the wayward fliptop device. I restored power and dusted it off. Hello old friend, it’s been too long.

Sharp is the Blade

Silver Falls wastes no time letting you know that something eerie is afoot. From the moment you step out of your patrol car you can almost feel the cool air and unsettling evening. A few steps forward and you start to find the remains of farm animals callously scattered about. They’re dead for sure but they lack any wound marks and seem devoid of blood. Sheriff Moss does a brief investigation which serves as a sort of tutorial. Or at least a safe way to get a feel for the controls.

Over the course of your time in Silver Falls, a quaint and quiet mountainside town, you’ll take control of a few characters. Strange lights are appearing. Time seems to fold in on itself. Mysterious orbs are found with unexplained mutations of the wildlife. The story had me hooked. It’s one steeped in lore and shrouded in mystery. The world and narrative are carefully crafted to capture your attention, even down to miniscule details. I was pleasantly surprised to find these details sprinkled throughout the game. So much that I spent a fair amount of time “examining” everything and reading random tidbits during the loading screens. I also got a kick out of the various recipes littered around the fairgrounds. The story in Silver Falls was its saving grace for me. It’s well presented for the capabilities of the 3DS and the creepy setting was palpable.

Dark is the Night

Silver Falls is a three-dimensional survival horror game. The gameplay is where it starts to stumble. I wouldn’t say the development is necessarily to blame as I struggled a lot with the controls. Specifically, this game is designed for the New 3DS as it requires the use of the C-Stick to aim. The C-Stick is already a clumsy addition to the 3DS and the frustrating encounters only amplified that issue. At times I would rather escape a monster than face it. The balancing also confused me as one time I unloaded a full clip into a demented wolf before it finally subsided and a second wolf went down with just a few shots and a swift kick to the head. Other enemies were inaccessible by melee attacks and left me no choice but to ignore them if I were out of ammunition.

Fortunately the combat isn’t the only gameplay featured in Silver Falls. Exploration and puzzle solving offered a much more enjoyable way to soak up the narrative. Despite Silver Falls being a small town, the game world was rather large with a lot of interesting sights. I never felt the puzzles were overly difficult and a few of them seemed optional. Each one made sense and gave me a good excuse to search every nook and cranny to learn more about the people and happenings of Silver Falls.

Silent is the Scream

When I went from my Switch to my 3DS I didn’t have high expectations for the graphics. Silver Falls does make use of the 3D effect after its handheld’s namesake. I actually enjoyed the added level of realism. The character models were well done and had quite a few details, be it Holt’s headphones or Analise’s purse and sunglasses. There were parts of the world that looked absolutely fine and others that didn’t hold the same level of detail. For example, the merry-go-round had unrecognizable globs in place of horses. At least I assume they were horses. Other times my character would walk through items like poles or fences. As far as the music went, it served as a great mediator between the narrative and the bouts of puzzles slowing the character down. The suspenseful track helped build the setting and never wore out its welcome.

Blind is the Rage

Silver Falls ran into a few technical issues. As I mentioned above, the graphics were hit or miss, occasionally overlapping. There were several times when the creatures attacking me would bounce several feet in the air or simply vanish. I didn’t mind the latter. I also ran into a glitch where it duplicated my inventory and items I had picked up were available again. However, the worst offender was the software crashes. Every thirty minutes or so the game would completely shut off.

Final Wrap

Silver Falls 3 – Down Stars offers superb storytelling with a fascinating world. It’s a suspenseful journey marred by broken combat and unwanted bugs. There is a lot of content available aside from the main campaign. If you’d rather focus on fighting you can get straight to the action by playing Frontier Fighters. Though I didn’t enjoy the combat, it was fun to play around with the various customization options and try out items and characters I found from the main game. I can’t imagine there are many New 3DS systems in the wild that see regular attention, but if you happen to have one and are looking for a suspenseful narrative to hook its claws into you, Silver Falls would be a good fit. Barring you can look past its challenging controls, bugs and steep price point.

Pros

  • Compelling Cast
  • Rich Narrative and World
  • Engaging Exploration

Cons

  • Jarring Controls
  • Several Bugs
  • Graphical Dips

Verdict
Silver Falls – 3 Down Stars is fettered with stiff controls, bugs and a high price on an ancient system which will unfortunately snub an otherwise rich story itching to sink its teeth into you.
2.5/5

3 thoughts on “[Review] Silver Falls – 3 Down Stars – New Nintendo 3DS

  1. Mr. Jhomes says:

    This is the first fair review I’ve seen of this game. Well done. I can tell you actually gave it a chance and judged it based on what it was not what it isn’t. Your final score may be similar but your review was a cut above the others.

    • Thomas Haroldsen says:

      Thank you. We try to be concise and fair.

      • Jason Jones says:

        You may be interested to know that “Silver Falls: 3 down stars” has released another update, v1.3. and its such an improvement that you may want to take another trip into Silver Falls. The gun control and camera control have been improved to the level of top shelf games of the genre. Even added a quick access (double tap aim (L trigger) button) to first person gun view at any time which makes even the tightest areas easy to traverse while shooting. Less lag between the “dodge” and “jump” manuevers allow for smoother execution and much easier timing. Random crashes are virtually nonexistant but it will happen maybe once in every 4 hours of continuous nonstop play , sadly it’s a 3ds “unity” problem and can’t be improved upon further by the game developer as the game is far more complicated a venture than that software was designed to handle. But thanks to autosave feature you will still start right back where you were with pretty much no lost progress so it’s a non issue really. Also the new update 1.3 fixes the glitch that kept players from accessing the full 50+ hours of “frontier fighters” (raid mode/mercenaries/wave mode) . The full 100 stages now accessable and since combat and enemies have been improved so much….it’s absolutely the best thing ever about this game imo lol. Check it out, it’s hard to believe it’s the same game as the one released in january

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