Songs of Silence Early Access review: A gorgeous auto-battling feast for the eyes

Chimera Entertainment’s fantasy world is enchanting and beautiful
Chimera Entertainment

Generally, auto-battlers are not my thing – I miss having control over the action and feel damned to watch things playing out on their own. But Songs of Silence, a new auto-battler that incorporates elements of turn-based 4X strategy games into its formula, looks so beautiful that I’m ready to make an exception. Being able to lose myself in the enchanting art style as battles rage on more than makes up for my gripes with the lack of direct control.

German developer Chimera Entertainment, which is based in Munich, really went all out when it comes to sheer style: Art Nouveau in all its vibrant, colorful power dominates the game’s looks from its strategic map and battlefields to its character and card art. Even in darker regions of the game’s two worlds, its use of different types of lighting preserves that vibrancy and playfulness.

Aside from the spectacular execution of it all, I’m in love with the general world-building and the visual design of the characters and units in this game. It reminds me a little of The Banner Saga and even partly of something FromSoftware might come up with – some of the units have those unsettling Elden Ring vibes and it’s great. It’s a medieval fantasy setting, but not your typical one with elves and orcs and knights in shining armor. 

Songs of Silence screenshot of a battle.
Songs of Silence's battles are quick, beautiful, and feature a high unit variety. / Chimera Entertainment

Your humans ride giant oxen into battle and summon powerful celestial entities to do their bidding as they’re warring amongst themselves and being assailed by invaders that look like the children of demons and Eldritch horrors. One faction of religious fanatics has powerful creatures that look like they’re straight from Attack on Titan, while a different one uses whacky constructs that throw bolts of lightning. Other humans ride on giant birds, while the lost kobold tribes use dinosaurs as mounts – I could go on and on, because the unit variety in this game is massive.

Moving on from the enchanting visuals and designs, the gameplay itself is super solid, though it’s restricted by its genre: Don’t expect Songs of Silence to provide immense tactical and strategic depth. Again, it is an auto-battle – when armies clash, you will not be able to control your units in a direct way all of the time, though you can influence what’s happening on the battlefield a little.

This is thanks to the game’s card system. Each army is led by a hero character and these have access to a deck of cards, which grows as they level up. When heroes gain enough experience, you’ll get to either choose a card to add to their collection or upgrade an existing card’s effects. Some of these cards are damage or defense abilities you can cast during battles, others allow you to move certain unit types to specific areas on the battlefield, giving you limited control. All of this stuff is cooldown-based, so deciding the best timing for each ability is crucial.

Songs of Silence screenshot showing a hero's level-up options.
Each level-up brings either a new card or an upgrade. More experienced heroes can also lead larger armies. / Chimera Entertainment

While this system doesn’t provide massive tactical depth and decision-making, it keeps things interesting and engaging enough for an auto-battler – things remain fairly casual and laid-back, not requiring copious amounts of actions per minute, but you still get the satisfaction of nailing charges or abilities that turn the tide of battle. It’s a solid compromise and thanks to the strong unit variety, things remain fresh.

Other card types affect the strategy layer of the game, allowing you to construct certain building types in your holdings, which in turn influences resource production and recruitment. While the battles take place on separate battlefields, Total War-style, the rest of the action plays out on the strategy map, which features different location and terrain types. Your armies maneuver around using movement points and have the ability to hide inside forests, allowing them to ambush any unsuspecting enemy. What’s more, if an army is using a lot of movement points per turn, it will reform into a marching column, making it vulnerable to ambushes as well. Moving around in a series of smaller maneuvers is slower, but preserves the battle formation and prevents troops from being ambushed – a neat detail.

Empire management isn’t incredibly deep: Different location types produce different resources and can recruit different units, with special places like magical forests or kobold villages being especially awesome. They all have different prosperity levels, allowing you to upgrade them when a character is at the location – and that’s one of the trickier aspects of the game. In the campaign, you’ll usually find yourself under threat from different directions, so finding the right moment to send one of your armies on an administrative tour through your realm is challenging.

Songs of Silence screenshot showing a settlement.
You can recruit units and manage your armies in settlements. / Chimera Entertainment

Other factors to consider are that not every settlement can provide reinforcements and healing and that only certain locations are able to convert captured loot into gold income, so there is a certain amount of logistics management in play. So just like for the battles, these systems are a pretty basic bunch overall, but provide just enough depth to keep things spicy.

Included with the Early Access release is a campaign mode with several chapters, which will see you take the stage as different factions in one overarching story spanning two worlds. Here you will meet some great characters and play through a variety of maps with unique objectives keeping things fresh and thematic throughout the entire journey. There is also skirmish mode, where you can freely build armies and test them against the AI as well as a full encyclopedia listing the game’s characters, units, and cards with all the cool lore behind them.

All of this is accompanied by an atmospheric OST composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto of Final Fantasy and Valkyria Chronicles fame.

Songs of Silence screenshot showing the campaign map.
Songs of Silence's campaign offers an overarching story set on two worlds facing a similar threat. / Chimera Entertainment

Plans for future updates include a co-op multiplayer mode, challenge maps, and additional modifiers to win conditions and skirmish maps for more replayability.

Aside from the genre drawbacks and the more casual depth of the gameplay, which are probably set in stone, the team at Chimera Entertainment will have to work on some optimization during Early Access. The game does crash from time to time and seems to make my high-end PC work a little more than it should really have to for a turn-based title. There are some visual bugs as well, which cause units to turn invisible during battle sometimes – though luckily your troops appear to still be able to see and defeat them, even if you can’t spot them anymore. 

If Songs of Silence wasn’t an auto-battler, but featured either turn-based combat in the style of Age of Wonders or real-time battles a la Total War, and just a little more empire management, this would probably land on my game of the year shortlist (heck, it may very well still do so) – as things are, its genre, its resulting drawbacks, and a few technical issues ever so slightly lessen my enthusiasm, so it has to settle for being the best auto-battler and most gorgeous strategy game I’ve ever played.

Score: Recommended.

Version tested: PC (Steam).

A short reminder that we don’t score Early Access reviews – if a game has a sound combination of mechanics, content, presentation, and technical competence at Early Access release, it’ll be “recommended” based on this version. Should those elements not be given at this time, it’ll be “not recommended” instead. A full re-evaluation with a score will take place with the 1.0 launch.

Marco Wutz


Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: