If you've ever gone digging through old diskettes (or, like some reviewers, are kind of old yourself), you might have come across some pixelated shareware adventures from the '90s. The Quiet Collection has four little games that feel like a love letter to these old-school distractions, in ways that are both fun and potentially frustrating.
Simplicity rules in this collection. Not only is the aesthetic composed of colourful blockiness and some basic sounds, but the controls are also a breeze: A to interact with an object and X to grab or toss it. These are the primary tools in the quests; most of the rest is up to knowing how items work with the environment to achieve the end goal.
The goals of these games, by the way, are pretty cute. Each features the same girl struggling against her family and the world to just achieve some peace and quiet (or, in the last game, a load of candy). Her requests are noble, but the means she uses to fulfil them can be rather dubious. Thievery, sabotage and vandalism are not beneath her tactics, giving her a bit of a Dennis the Menace streak - or at least a promising future in politics. In many cases, the girl is joined by her little brother, a hyper bundle of pixels that runs around and acts a bit of a fun, harmless nuisance, sometimes picking up stray items. ("Cool! A serrated knife!" Er…)
It'd be nice if the little brother could serve as a means of holding extra items, as managing the objects you find is one of the more bothersome aspects of The Quiet Collection. In games littered with usable objects that need to be transported places, you can only carry one at a time. This can end up in a lot of backtracking and tossing about of things, especially when you have no clue at the time where some of them are supposed to go. This isn't as much of a problem in the first two smaller games, "Quiet, Please!" and "Quiet Christmas", but "Vacation Vexation" has more ground to cover and "Candy, Please!" requires a lot of items be gathered in one spot. Some form of small inventory would've been greatly appreciated there.
The first two games of the collection are short enough to best in about 15 minutes, although this may of course take longer if an item keeps getting overlooked or something just isn't clicking in the puzzle-solving works. Neither of these games has the ability to save, however, so it's all or nothing each time. The larger two games require some more cleverness and do include save features, but items often return to where you originally found them upon loading. This really isn't a bad thing if you've been littering things all about, however. With enough smarts, luck, or prior experience, the longer games will take about 30-45 minutes to beat, each. Of course, things never tend to happen quite so directly when it comes to adventure titles and something might stump you for hours.
The Quiet Collection possesses good-natured humour and a throwback charm that pays nice tribute to adventure games of yesterday. However, like a lot of those games, these also suffer from bothersome mechanical restraints and a lack of reason to replay once everything is solved. If you love adventure games and enjoy them light, this collection will likely be worth it. Those looking for more complexity or time out of their games might want to venture elsewhere.