Yomawari: Night Alone perfectly encompasses the deepest darkest fears of children on a whole new scale. Building upon the common fears of loneliness, the dark unknown, and more makes Yomawari one of the scary games I’ve played in a long time; and that’s saying something for it being a Kawaii style game. Does Yomawari have enough to make it through the night?
Yomawari: Night Alone follows a young girl (Yomawari) on a journey to find her lost dog and sister in a dark empty town that is here neighborhood. The young girl must scour the town at night with only a flashlight, and the various items that she finds around town. Hindering the young girls progress are the spirits that roam the town at night that can kill her with one touch. To avoid a rather gruesome and bloody death she must either run for her life, or hide in various locations spread out around town.
Following the popular style of horror games where the player is defenseless to the seemingly immortal enemies, Yomawari can use a trusty flashlight to illuminate the path in front of her. The use of the flash is vital with many spirits only visible with the illumination of the flashlight. This adds to the suspense when running from enemies forcing you to strategically use the flashlight to plan your paths; and path planning is vital. While your character can run fast, when spirits are near the run time is depleted in a quarter of the time making it difficult to just run away. This makes you look for places to hide, and different paths to lose you adversary, yet can cause frustration since many enemies run faster than a speeding bullet already.
To help Yomawari in the event of a brutal death, you can offer a coin to a Jinzo statue to enable it as a checkpoint. From there you can use the statue to fast travel to other statues through-out the town, which helps in traversing the sizeable map. The map, while incredible in appearance, offers little to do making it tedious to travel if you were to forego the use of the fast travel statues.
You can expect to get scared more than once throughout the game, because the game presents a rather impressive level of immersion. The game perfectly mixes an absence of music with the uncertainty of what’s ahead to make you fear walking forward; many times, you will wonder if your next step will be your last! The problem is many enemies don’t make any noise at all, which was rather annoying when trying to avoid enemies since you won’t notice they are chasing you until you are already dead. While you may say that the flashlight is meant to find the enemies, there are times that enemies will run from off-screen to attack.
Yomawari: Night Alone perfectly creates a scary atmosphere for a game that looks so adorable. With an easy to learn gameplay mechanics, a deep story, and detailed presentation Yomawari creates an incredible experience. While the story is incredibly short (you can beat the game in only a few hours), the game does enough to make the game worth playing. If you’re looking for something to play this Halloween, give Yomawari: Night Alone a try on either Steam or PS Vita.
*Complementary copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.