"Oh, how welcome thy voice."

Silent Hope is an action RPG that feels like it was meant to be played on modern mobile devices. If I had this on my iPhone, however, I know I would’ve wanted it on the Switch. Whether you see that as a positive or a negative is entirely up to what you want out of a dungeon-crawling RPG. Hundreds of spells? Stunning graphics? Multiplayer? Look elsewhere. Slick combat? Charming visuals? A rapid gameplay loop? Stick around.

Here’s your premise. A kingdom falls into chaos after a terrible calamity. With the citizens turning on each other, the king steals the voices of his people and hides himself away in a deep abyss. Terrible leadership? Maybe. And apparently terrible parenting, too; it led his daughter to cry herself into a crystal teardrop tomb.

Time goes by, and suddenly seven heroes emerge from the abyss. They are nameless and voiceless (aside from the occasional battle grunt, anyway), but they cause the princess to awaken and promptly send them back into the abyss to retrieve her father and save the kingdom. They are the silent hope.

Thankfully, they come with a diverse skill set. There’s the archer who can launch quick attacks from a distance. There’s the well-balanced wanderer. There’s the magic-based caster. There’s the farmer, the fighter, the warrior, and the rogue. Their classes don’t just define their fighting style, however, they also affect their jobs. Items found in the abyss can be processed above ground, and each character is tasked with mineral refinement, farming, smithing, or cooking to help prepare you for what’s below.

And what is below? The action, of course. As mentioned, the princess has tasked these heroes with diving into the abyss, and it’s a fairly deep dive. The abyss is broken into multiple sections, and you must clear each out—one level at a time—in order to reach the next. The areas get more dangerous as you dig deeper, but they aren’t too difficult to manage.

You can determine which hero to take with you, but you can only take one at a time. You can also take a few dishes along to provide various bonuses: poison resistance, a health boost, quicker experience gains, etc. Each level provides a wealth of resources to collect, and some provide challenges or bonus areas that allow you to collect better items. Of course, there are plenty of monsters to fight, too.

Combat is mostly a matter of getting in a few quick attacks with the A button, but then retreating out of harm’s way. You can also assign special skills to X, Y, and B. These provide more powerful attacks or key defenses that you’ll certainly need as you work your way through the abyss, but they have cool-down periods so you can’t use them continuously.

Your characters’ weapons, skills, and such can be leveled up with either materials or experience, so getting in and out of the abyss is key.

Most levels contain crystals that allow you to swap in a different character or retreat to the surface, both of which are preferable to running out of health. If that happens, the princess will save you, but you’ll lose a lot of what you collected. Thankfully, there are checkpoints every four or five levels that allow you to start from there the next time you enter the abyss.

Unfortunately, despite the number of characters at your disposal and the visual differences between the key areas of the abyss, gameplay does get pretty redundant. The levels are randomly generated each time you enter, but that changes little more than the path from entry to exit. There are many monsters to fight, but your approach to fighting them will rarely change. Even the bosses don’t require a lot of thought, they just take more time to kill. As such, keeping all seven heroes leveled up is a redundant slog. I found Silent Hope much more enjoyable when I decided to leave all but three characters behind so I could focus on more quickly prepping my favorites for deeper runs. That may have caused me to miss out on some fun character class unlockables, but I can address them in subsequent playthroughs if I decide to do so.

So, with my paired-down party approach to exploration, Silent Hope provided some simple, quickly paced dungeon-crawling fun. The combat may not be hard, but it’s sprightly. The graphics may not be ground-breaking, but they’re cute and colorful.

The story may not be compelling, but it serves the action without getting in its way. The fact that only the princess speaks for the bulk of the game certainly allowed Marvelous to move the voice-acting budget to other areas of development, and I think that paid off in refinement of the gameplay. We may get a little too much of the princess’s cheers and banter, but it’s been quite some time since she’s had anyone to talk to, I guess.

Silent Hope provides a streamlined dungeon-crawling experience that should offer enough incentive for adventurers to play through at least once. Whether you’re playing in docked or handheld mode, it’s a great match for quick Switch gaming that’ll allow you to pick up where you left off no matter how long you take between sessions. That may make it filler, but it’s amongst the most engaging filler I’ve had in quite some time.