Sometimes good things come in small packages. In the case of The Quiet Collection, good things come in the form of a small, quiet package. This bundle of simple but charming puzzle games has made the leap from PlayStation Mobile to the Vita in a delightful fashion. And as the PlayStation Mobile store is shutting down, it’s great to know that these “diamonds in the rough” won’t be lost in the process.
The Quiet Collection is a bundle of the four “Quiet” games from Nostatic Software. They consist of Quiet, Please!, Quiet Christmas, Vacation Vexation, and Candy, Please! Each one is like a mini-adventure game where you need to help your main character achieve her goal by using items found in the environment to overcome obstacles. They’re all relatively short, lasting between 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly you figure out the puzzles, but all play out as tightly packed experiences.
In Quiet, Please! you play as a small girl who has just come home from a hard day at school. Now all she wants to do is rest and enjoy some nice peace and quiet. The only problem is that her house if full of noisy distractions. Whether it’s the neighbor mowing his lawn, mom gabbing on the phone, or her little brother just being a little brother, there are just too much going on to allow her to rest. So in the style of some of the great adventure games of yesteryear, you need to solve these problems one-by-one by creatively using objects you find around the house.
Quiet Christmas is the second, and shortest of the games in the collection. Our heroine has returned and now it’s Christmas Eve. She needs to get to bed, but the house has one too many creatures stirring in the night. The puzzles aren’t quite as well thought out as in Quiet, Please! and everything is very straight-forward. Most of the puzzles are easily solved and the game is over very quickly with little effort.
Vacation Vexation is probably my favorite of the bunch, and this time the whole family has decided to head to the seashore for a relaxing vacation. All our young girl wants to do is lie on the beach, chill in the shade, and read a good book. The problem is that she has no shade, no book, and somebody else has already taken her spot in the sand. Our girl will have to navigate through the hotel to the bookstore to the arcade (and many more places in between) to find everything she needs for a quiet day at the beach.
Playing through Vacation Vexation, I got the sense that this is when these games really start to hit their stride. The puzzles become a little more elaborate and the environment becomes a little bit bigger. Things are no longer a walk in the park as you’re faced with one obstacle after another. Solving these puzzles will require a bit more thought as to how something you picked up in one area can be used (pretty creatively) somewhere else.
Perhaps my favorite part about Vacation Vexation is the inclusion of the arcade with a few playable games. Inside you’ll find some decent recreations of arcade classics Space Invaders and Frogger which have been renamed Face Invaders and Badger
And last but not least, there is the final game in the collection, Candy, Please! This time around it’s Halloween and our little girl and her brother are on a quest for candy! However, before they can go out trick-or-treating, they each need to have a costume to wear. By mixing and matching different items from around the house, you need to create a suitable costume for both the girl and her little brother. Once the costumes are ready it’s time to hit the streets in search of more delicious treats.
Candy, Please! returns to the familiar location from the first two games but adds the more complex puzzles from the third. However, sometimes I felt as though the puzzles were a bit obtuse more than they were complicated. In the beginning, I felt lost more than anything, and it took a bit of time just to figure out what it was the game wanted me to do. Once things got rolling however, I discovered the thoughtful puzzles from Vacation Vexation had carried over into this new entry in the series. Finding all the candy in town took me longer than any of the other games, and it made for a satisfying end to the collection.
The art for these games relies heavily (and I mean heavily) on an extreme pixelated style that takes some time to get used to. Most characters and objects consist of no more than a handful of pixels, and in that respect it’s admirable of how well designed everything is. The use of bright and bold primary colors in most places helps make objects on the screen pop. It’s very well done.
As for the audio, well it’s about as retro as the art. Most of the music and sound effects are reminiscent of my first computer. Things here are very simple.
And as long as we’re on the topic of simple, let’s talk about the controls. Every game in The Quiet Collection is a breeze to control as there are only a limited number of things you can do. Everything is accomplished by moving right or left with interactive actions tied to a two-button system. The little girl can only carry one item at a time, so your options are mostly “pick-up” “put-down” or “use” whichever item you’re holding. This can get frustrating because it means you need to backtrack to collect items you had to pass on the first time you encountered them. But for the most part it’s rarely a problem.
Aside from the short length and simple look to the game, there’s not much I can find fault with. Some of the puzzles can be a bit convoluted at times, but mostly they’re well thought out with clever solutions. None of the games take very long to get through, and as a whole they’ll only last a couple hours (if that). However, I found them to be an immense amount of fun.
The Quiet Collection is a surprisingly fun bundle of small, simple puzzle games that are both cute and charming. When they’re at their best, they reminded me of the classic adventure games from my youth. At their worst, well, they were mildly frustrating. If you’re look for a quick and quiet puzzle game, then The Quiet Collection is a game you should really check out.