Thanks to NIS AMERICA for the review code
Title: YOMAWARI: Midnight Shadows
System: Playstation 4
Release Date: 10/24/2017
In this sequel to the stealth horror game, you take control of a young girl named Yui in search of her missing friend Haru, who’s also on her own quest to find Yui after being kidnapped by a mysterious force… Seemingly unrelated to the original game at first, there’s actually quite a lot of nods, from similar maps to even returning ones once you make it far enough in the main game.
YOMAWARI Midnight Shadows sports the same chibi artstyle that the original title sported, with a few tweaks here and there to improve things like the UI, detail of some of the new spirit enemies, and the frightening nature of the game, which has been significantly toned up a notch, with more jumpscare inducing moments, even more terrifying enemy designs to complement some of the absolutely stupid ones that are funny to laugh at after they still manage to scare you, and a lot more emphasis on building up suspenseful moments overall.
What was a relatively tame game with an unnerving story (the spooky moments only coming in occasionally, with more of a focus on just avoiding enemies that look weird instead of actually being spooked by other means) has now been transformed into a full-blown horror adventure, as despite playing exactly the same as the first game for the most part, the chapters are significantly different in structure than they were in the first game. For starters, right from Chapter 2 you’ll come across a lot more ambushes, both in the form of jumpscare enemies meant to distract the player along with surprise monsters that will chase you down, requiring you to use the same methods of evading them as in the first game. This means that even when you know exactly where to go next, the route leading to the location is filled with traps and hazards you’ll have to plan a way around, just like the clever solutions required to evade certain types of monsters in the original game. Solutions are also required in order to successfully avoid the new several boss monsters this game has to offer.
Just like before, saving is done in two different ways, from mid-level checkpoints in the form of Jizo statues (that are permanent saves this time around) to being able to save in the bed of the main character before or after a chapter. You still have a flashlight to spot the evil ghosts that you’ll run into during your journey, you’ll still be booted back to a statue if you die, which can be frustrating in parts where constantly travelling the distance between two statues is a bit of a pain, and you can still distract ghosts with pebbles or certain other items you may find along your walks.
Speaking of items, that’s the biggest new feature of this game, as unlike the original hidden items in Midnight Shadows are a lot more effective than before, since there are a lot more optional items to find and discover, which will often lead to one of the game’s special charms. These charms are accessories that you can equip in order to tweak the abilities of the main character, from allowing her to carry more of a certain item at a time, to having more stamina when running, among several other effects.
In conclusion, Yomawari Midnight Shadows plays it very safe when it comes to being a sequel, as most of the mechanics that were in the original game have remained the same, with the difficulty level getting an increase along with a lot more focus on the horror and story. It is priced a bit higher than Night Alone, however, but thankfully this game still has plenty to do for completionists, with the aforementioned collectible items and a new set of trophies. (lacking the absurd 50-hour trophy that the first game had, thankfully)
I’ll admit, this game did a great job in scaring me more than the first game, to the point that this game was quite unnerving to play. Still, despite the improvement in the horror, the actual game itself remains rather basic, and the checkpoint gaps can lead to some big frustrations at times. Still, this ended up being a fairly competent sequel to the original, and is likely to be a game that’ll satisfy any fans of the first, even if it doesn’t really fix any of the problems of the original outside of how little the horror had an effect on the game. I give YOMAWARI: Midnight Shadows a 7 out of 10.