Silent game choices
May 16, 2022 6:04 PM   Subscribe

I got a Steam Deck a couple of weeks ago and am really loving it for a variety of use cases. One that I didn't consider was playing games while waiting for children to fall asleep while they listen to a podcast. I can't have sound on though to distract them, so are there good games out there that are designed to be completely silent (or at least don't lose a significant amount of the experience being quiet)?

Additional criteria:
* Ideally it would be a game available on Steam and not completely broken under Proton... But I'm not opposed to getting my hands dirty getting it to run if there are good choices elsewhere. (Not opposed to emulation options either.)
* I'm up for any genre, frankly. Historically I lean more towards platformers (both 2d and 3d), puzzlers, and adventure games, but I'm definitely willing to try anything.
* It'd be cool if I own it already (link is off my MeFi profile), but I'm not opposed to increasing my backlog.
posted by RyanAdams to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don’t know how the controls translate, but FTL is great for this. Into the breach may be better for a game pad. I bought I purchased into the breach on switch for a very similar reason.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:25 PM on May 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Slay the Spire seems like a decent choice. Maybe also something like SHENZHEN I/O or SpaceChem, assuming the control scheme is usable.

The Witness is mostly silent. There are a few specific sections that rely on sound, but it's such an open game that you can just go do something else and come back to them when you have the opportunity to unmute.

Since you mentioned being into platformers, you certainly could play Celeste or Fez silently without any significant effect on the gameplay, but it would be a shame to miss out on the awesome music.
posted by teraflop at 6:42 PM on May 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

Root is a fun electronic board game that I enjoy that can be played with sound off. There's some complexity while you are learning the ropes but once you learn it can be challenging and so much fun. Even better is once you learn there is an actual cardboard game that can be played too.
posted by Draccy at 6:54 PM on May 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Dorfromantik is supposed to be great, and I bet it would work well on Steam Deck. I understand it has great music but that's purely a bonus.

Vampire Survivors is a mindless but engrossing action game that requires very little apart from moving your guy. I turned off the sound and music right away so I could chill out and put on an album while I played.

A Monster's Expedition is a gentle sokoban-type puzzler that's really easy to jump in and out of, extremely forgiving, very contained little puzzles. The sound is all ambience, no dialogue or anything.

Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies are cool exploration/storytelling games that have nice ambience but nothing you can't live without.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:13 PM on May 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I came to say Slay the Spire, so +1
posted by Adifferentbear at 7:21 PM on May 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Loving the Deck for games with small gameplay loops for situations like that:
- Slay the Spire
- Vampire Survivors
- Stardew Valley
- Mini Metro
- Human Fall Flat
- Spelunky
- Limbo
- Portal 1&2
- Super Meat Boy
- Hades
- Dicey Dungeons
- Battleblock Theater
- Mars Horizon
- Really any board game adaptation (Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Wingspan, etc.)

I assume games that are usually better for longer sessions like No Man's Sky, Dead Space, ATS/ETS, Disco Elysium, Outer Wilds (Wilds! not Worlds!), and basically any sports game would also work if you have more time.
posted by hankscorpio83 at 8:57 PM on May 16, 2022

1+ for Dorfromantik a very relaxing pretty game I'd also add

Potion Craft
posted by ljesse at 8:43 AM on May 17, 2022

hankscorpio83's list is mostly great, but I'm going to strongly disagree about the Portal games - you'd be missing out on a lot by not hearing the voice acting on those
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:01 AM on May 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

See also Fights In Tight Spaces for a satisfying turn-based game that's playable in short bites, with card-based combat like in Slay the Spire, but also isometric tactical placement like Into The Breach. It also has really slick silhouetted 3D graphics that look a little bit like a James Bond opening titles sequence.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2022

Yeah, good call on Portal being better with sound. I always have subtitles turned on, but even that's not the same. Save those for when you can have sound 👍
posted by hankscorpio83 at 3:23 PM on May 17, 2022

I play a lot of games on silent while hanging out with my housemates (while they are watching TV I don't care about). Stardew Valley is one of my go-to games for that, and it appears to be verified for Steam deck. (There's music, and some nature sounds for atmosphere, but that's about it - totally playable without them.)

I also do a lot of playing with one earbud in and the other in my pocket on these occasions, if that's something that could work for you.
posted by invincible summer at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2022

Best answer: I play No Man's Sky with the TV muted all of the time on my Xbox. The audio is cool but completely unneeded to play the game. It's on Steam as well.
posted by mmoncur at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2022

Response by poster: Lots of good suggestions in here. I marked the top ones I saw but a lot of these are good.

Before this I was working through Murder by Numbers, as I was halfway through it before this and so had listened to all of the music cues... And the visual novel portion is just that. I've found that for other games like Cat Quest, where I got the music gist after a couple of hours and so could finish the rest on mute.

One caveat: I did try Dorfromantik briefly, and so far I couldn't get it to work with the Steam Deck with the default controls. Looks like there may be targeted improvements coming soon, so I might wait until then. I have hundreds of games to play, so waiting for one to be fixed is fine. :)
posted by RyanAdams at 6:13 PM on May 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

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