I didn’t get it done in time for Celebrating All Things Spooky, but now it’s finally time to discuss Yomawari: Lost in the Dark.
I loved the first two Yomawari games, so I was thrilled that we got a third.
As always, these games might look cute, but they’re horror games through and through.
When it was announced I mentioned that the first game focused on exploration while the second game took a more linear, story-driven approach. Well, the third game strikes a balance between the two.
In Yomawari: Lost in the Dark, you have been cursed. Now you need to find your lost memories by visiting certain parts of the city, to remember how to break the curse.
This sets up a structure where you’re largely free to explore the town and tackle whichever lost memory you want, but once you reach the area for that memory, it has a much more structured approach. These areas have a traditional survival horror approach, with backtracking and puzzle-solving, albeit more linear than I’d like. Meanwhile, exploring the town still feels like it lacks something special that the first game had, but I’d like to see them expand on this style in the future. In terms of structure, I found this to be the best of the three.
As you explore, you’ll encounter numerous spirits. Instead of hiding this time, a new mechanic is to close your eyes. Many (though not all) enemies won’t pursue you while your eyes are close. Of course, you only get a rough idea of where you are, but glowing pulses indicate enemies around you.
You walk very slowly with your eyes closed, can be a little tedious, but sometimes adds to the tension.
Some amount of trial and error is required to figure out how to handle different spirits, but checkpoints usually aren’t too far back. Spirits have wonderfully disturbing designs, as always, and there were some tense moments. Meanwhile, the story has a dark, somber tone, and the town is filled with items and notes to collect.
My only complaint is about the pacing near the end of the game. While most of the game is paced pretty well, the last couple of hours feature a lengthy story segment followed by several encounters in a row, which make it feel like the end was being dragged out. I can see why they did it that way, because of how that part of the story was handled, but it did disrupt the flow.
Anyway, Yomawari: Lost in the Dark joins its predecessors as another fun horror game, possibly the best in the series so far, and I hope they continue to make Yomawari games in the future!---
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