Thanks to NIS America for the review code
Title: YOMAWARI: Night Alone
System: Playstation Vita/TV
Release Date: 10/25/2016
In this odd horror stealth game, you take control of a nameless girl who must find the whereabouts of her missing sister and dog, who both vanished into the night without warning. Upon embarking on her walk outside, the girl realizes that the city is infested with dangerous demons and monsters, leading to an endless night that just won’t go away…
Yomawari appears to use a bizarre presentation considering the genre the game is in, with chibi character designs, dark surroundings and barely any music to speak of. Yet despite the seemingly kid-friendly designs of the characters the game still manages to go all out in the horror department. Enemies can look absolutely goofy or downright terrifying, and the lack of music ends up helping the game’s atmosphere rather than hurting it. Little touches like heartbeats whenever an enemy is nearby also help to enhance the experience.
The main objective of each of the chapters is to find the lost items scattered around town, all while avoiding the deadly demons that patrol the city. While it appears that there’s very little to do at first glance outside of going from Point A to Point B, you actually gain quite a bit of freedom in Yomawari, as the town has plenty of secrets to discover over the course of the game.
Since your character has no good way to defend herself, the game puts a heavy focus on stealth, as the only real way to make progress in the game is to learn more about the enemies and their movement patterns. Some enemies are rather simple to avoid, while others require more thought and may even demand that you use a specific item to distract their attention. However, regardless of what type of enemy you’re battling, they will still kill you if you come into contact with them, returning you back to the last save point you used.
And to be perfectly honest, that’s all there is to the main story, requiring a lot of trial and error as you go about your search. If there’s one problem I had with the game it would come from the occasional moment where you are unable to establish a checkpoint in the middle of a long chapter due to running out of coins. Since finding coins to use with the quicksave statues can require some backtracking, this makes some sessions where walking from one statue to the main objective can take a lot longer than needed if you end up meeting your end.
In conclusion, Yomawari is a horror game that doesn’t have much depth to it, but it does nail the job of being a rather intimidating experience. A lot of trial and error is required to get through each chapter, and while you can teleport to Jizo Statues to make things a bit faster, this game will require a lot of patience to clear considering how long some of these chapters become if you aren’t prepared. The in-game world may be a big sandbox with a few objectives here and there, (made more apparent by an unlockable mode that lets you explore every area at once to find secrets) but this is still an adventure that doesn’t take long to clear when you know what to do. I give YOMAWARI: Night Alone a 7 out of 10, and recommend it to those looking for a short horror adventure to take up.
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