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Yomawari: Night Alone Review

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This is the first time I’ve played a game and been hooked right from the start, now it’s been a while since I’ve played a 2D adventure game, mostly because a good majority of the ones created these days are boring RPG maker titles, if I want something I’m going to get immersed into, it’s probably going to be 3D. However, this is a game that really drew me in right from the start, probably one of the best openings to an 2D adventure game I’ve ever played, but seriously, developers not cool guys not cool at all, that opening.

I hate horror games, I picked this game thinking, “Oh, a 2D game will defiantly not be scary, I can manage this”.

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Ahhh, Nah, this game scared me, real bad, and sometimes I’m not even sure why, it the atmosphere really set the game setting for me, and kept me on edge throughout the whole story. Sure, there are moments where you can relax, but these come few and far between. I threw my vita down in fear far more times than I am willing to admit, after being spooked just a little too hard after a jump scare.

The story is simple, you are searching for your sister who is searching for your dog. Its set in a small Japanese village or town, and you must go around and complete that simple task. However much like Silent Hill 2’s objective of, Find Marie, this game takes that route and puts many road blocks in your way.

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Graphically I’m not sure what you would expect from a 2D game, however I was pleasantly surprised.  This is a game with a very clean art style, looking even sharper on the vita’s screen, and adding some very interesting effects to the whole mix, adding some blur and 3D effects to make the whole 2D design pop. The environment is lovely and detailed, with characters, good and bad looking amazing. With some interesting and very detailed screen’s popping up from the monsters, these gave me a jump when playing through the game myself. The great screen on the vita really helps the games pop too, a perfect handheld for the game to be released on. However, the detail in the environment cannot be understated, looking anywhere in the game shows great care in the detail given to the game world, and in the few, brief moments of not being terrified, I enjoyed looking at the carefully crafted world.

Don’t let the cutesy drawings of the character, this game is far too creepy.

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Gameplay is difficult but very enjoyable, the game plays exactly like a 2D, top down Silent hill game. You run around the environment looking for clues or items, trying to not get murdered as you go along, and oh boy is there a lot of ways to get murdered. So the first enemy in the game is not that bad, and really only gives you a quick jump scare, as all they seem to do is chase you around. As you go on however? Oh boy, far too many ways to get killed, now all of these are very heavily based on Yokai from Japanese folk lore, however whilst I prefer the 3DS yokai watch, these are out to kill you.

You have giant cats, burning men, weird…star fish? I think their star fish, each having their own weakness and strength and clear way to kill you.

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What makes this all worse? The sound design. Good lord, no music, no nothing as you walk around apart from the sound of your footsteps, which isn’t that bad at first. Then the only other of three sounds you hear? Your heartbeat as you get closer to an enemy, which when you can’t see them straight away 9/10 times really puts you on edge when you don’t expect it to happen.

Then finally the weird jabbering’s coming from the enemies themselves, from screaming, to giggling, all of them are god damn creepy, and I’m really really glad I didn’t play this game with headphones on. Sure, it makes the game much more immersive, but I do not think my poor heart could handle it.

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This is one of those few games that really creeped me out, and I really didn’t want to play the game in the dark because it would keep me on edge, from the lovely designed world, to the fantastic sound stage of the game, this little indie is a treat, that is if you love horror games. There is a lot of detail to be found in the game, and a wide variety of foes to come up against. If horrors are your thing, I highly suggest you pick this up, for the price its going for, it really brings some love to a system many people believe is dead, 9/10.

yomawari

Rating:
9/10
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A teacher of computer Science, Daniel enjoys spending time gaming to relax when not in the classroom. Gaming over many generations, and enjoys classic style games more than recent AAA titles.

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