Silver Falls: Episode Prelude from Sungrand Studios is a bite-sized budget game that marks the Silver Falls series's first foray into HD graphics. For the most part, if you've played 3 Down Stars, you know what to expect as far as mechanics and controls because this is largely the same type of game but on Switch (and only a tenth as long). It's very much a prelude in that it's a first chapter, not a full contained story, but it's a great look at what the future of Silver Falls could be.
You play as Rominic, a young man about to start college who works doing construction for Million Dollarbuck (Silver Falls has the absolute best character names) and also works part-time doing delivery for Chunky Chicken. As he's making a delivery to a house in the area just outside of Silver Falls, he has two things on his mind - Mr. Dollarbuck's downward spiral via text message and the mystery surrounding the house to which he's supposed to deliver chicken. He's delivered here numerous times before, but for some reason, the property seems totally abandoned. Spoopy. To unravel the mystery of Mr. Dollarbuck's melancholy and the empty property fully (or as fully as you can in a prelude), you'll need to invest around an hour to an hour and a half replying to Million's texts and exploring the property for clues...and a way to defend yourself.
While the story mode is very short - you could clear it in less than half an hour easily if you know what you're doing and ignore Dollarbuck's texts, or you could spend nearly two hours exploring everything - it's captivating. It might because I'm already invested in the characters having played other games in the series, but I was totally sucked in to the story and the locales. It also ends on a cliffhanger fit for a 90s TV drama's cold open which is tantamount to torture considering that the game has been out for over a year and still hasn't received a sequel (Jerrel assures me that he does have one planned; he just hasn't made it yet since he was focusing on Wii U and 3DS at the end of their digital lifespans). The environments are DARK, and while that can make exploration a bit frustrating, it also does a lot to add to the suspense and the tension, so it's a worthwhile trade off in my opinion.
Once you finish with the story, that doesn't mean that you've seen all the game has to offer; there's also battle mode. This offers a chance to fight waves of enemies with different characters, each of whom have their own traits, in different locations. It's not as fleshed out as Frontier Fighters in 3 Down Stars, but it definitely adds enough content to justify the price of admission. With how much better the game controls than 3 Down Stars with the dual analog sticks rather than unholy C nub on the 3DS, I honestly prefer playing battle mode in Episode Prelude over Frontier Fighters in 3 Down Stars despite how much less content there is. It's just fun.
Silver Falls: Episode Prelude is a very short but pretty good story. Think of it like reading 1408 vs reading Salem's Lot; it's really short, and that can be a bummer to folks who are used to long novels, but it's supposed to be short, and what's there is thoroughly enjoyable. Some folks have complained that $8 is too steep a price for a game that short, and if it were just the story mode, I'd agree, but the battle mode adds enough gameplay to justify that price in my opinion. It's not a full featured 12 hour horror experience; it's a bite. A morsel. An appetizer. It hooks you with just enough to make you say, "Huh, that was cool. I'd love to see more Silver Falls on Switch." I think it does that quite well. I absolutely wish the game were longer, but I'm also one of those folks used to long novels. I eagerly await the next Silver Falls game on Switch that continues this story, and I definitely recommend you check out Episode Prelude in the meantime.
My Rating - B
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.