Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 092017
 

Yomawari: Night Alone, available for the PS Vita and Steam, looks like a cute game.

Do not be fooled!

Yomawari is definitely horror, and it makes sure you realize early on that despite the cutesy graphics, plenty of darkness and death await you.

You play a little girl searching for her sister in a city filled with spirits and monsters. The enemy designs are great. There’s all sorts of creepy, unsettling, and just plain bizarre spirits lurking around. If you know anything about yokai, expect those kinds of creatures.

You can’t fight, and when you hide in the bushes, you can’t see anything. Instead, you rely on sound and your heartbeat (which functions as a sort of radar system while in hiding) to let you know when the danger has passed.

As you search for your sister, much of your time will be spent exploring the town. Despite the lack of combat, this actually reminded me a lot of Silent Hill, especially the first Silent Hill. It has a lonely, unsettling atmosphere, and you never quite feel safe.

Click for Yomawari spoiler
It even has a sort of “Otherworld” in one chapter.

In some ways, Yomawari can be brutal. Enemies kill you in a single strike, and it often takes a lot of trial and error to figure out how to get past them. On the other hand, you don’t lose any items when you die, and there are quick-save statues scattered around the map that you can fast-travel between.

(However, the statues only work for fast travel and for you to respawn when you die. If you want to save your progress, you need to return to your house. Don’t be put off by the game’s confusing warning that your save point will be reset. You don’t lose anything by warping back to your house.)

The main storyline is dark and ambiguous, but what really makes the world of Yomawari interesting is that the collectibles you find throughout the town hint at other stories when you read their descriptions. It’s a nice way to learn what else has been happening in this haunted town, and it made me want to explore everywhere to see what I could find.

Yomawari: Night Alone is a delightful little game that’s much darker than you’d think at first glance, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes atmospheric horror games (or wants to see darker takes on yokai).

Its sequel, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, is due out later this month on October 24.

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  One Response to “Celebrating All Things Spooky – Yomawari: Night Alone”

  1. […] can check out my thoughts on Yomawari: Night Alone here, but I don’t think I ever covered Midnight Shadows on my blog. I enjoyed both of them, […]

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