There are more horror games than we can count, but yet they won’t die out so easily. This time, NIS America introduces us to horror like we have never seen before. Yomawari: Night Alone combines absolute cute and charming chibi-graphics with severe stealth and survival elements. But is this unusual approach really that scary, or should we just find something else to play on Halloween?
You are not alone
Yowamari‘s story revolves around a small girl walking her dog called Poro, which suddenly disappears. The girl goes back home, where her older sister decides to look for their pet on her own. As the big sister doesn’t return, the young girl starts to look for her as well – all alone during night time. The game’s opening scene begins with a very rough tutorial that left me speechless. Everything felt completely harmless and charming, until all of sudden the dog vanished. After this, you immediately get the feeling that Yomawari isn’t as sweet as it looks. Armed with only a flashlight, you walk through the small but very gloomy Japanese village looking for your sister and dog. The flashlight allows you to spot ghost and demons, which can kill you in an instant – and that is exactly what makes Yomawari so incredibly terrifying.
The sound of nothing
Some of those ghosts and demons cannot be seen without light. So its highly recommendable to not to walk around aimlessly, if you don’t want to experience multiple heart attacks. Joking apart, Yomawari‘s dead screen made me toss away my PlayStation Vita, since these sudden deaths appear way too unexpectedly. Besides those jump scares, Yomawari is able to provide a brilliant but scary atmosphere without using any kind of background music. All you hear are the little girl’s footsteps and heart beat, which makes your heart race as well. If you are brave enough and want to experience the full tension of Yomawari, you should definitely play it in the dark with headphones on.
Be faster than they are
Yomawari‘s gameplay feels quite simple, as it only requires the player to explore the village and to collect items and clues while avoiding enemies. Nevertheless, sometimes it can be extremely frustrating to find your way through the map. Certain demons and ghost aren’t exactly easy to localize, which makes it almost impossible to avoid them. It can cause your character’s death at the same points over and over again. While progressing through the game, ghosts and demons get more powerful – which also means faster. However, the speed of the little girl stays the same, and makes it really hard to continue walking through the village’s dark streets and alleys. At times, you cannot be sure if the game’s mechanics are just off or too complex, but they still add a lot of tension as Yomawari gets more and more difficult with each minute.
In spite of Yomawari‘s adorable looks, it is absolutely able to terrorize your mind to the highest degree. It’s been a really long time, since I’ve experienced a PlayStation Vita title that provided me with such intensity without actually doing much. Yomawari: Night Alone doesn’t need a breathtaking soundtrack, fantastic visuals or an exciting plot. This game lives only from simple exploration, and the thrill of not getting suddenly killed – and that’s true horror if you ask me.
What we liked:
- Unique style
- Simple yet adorable graphics
- Terrifying atmosphere
What we didn’t like:
- Lack of mechanics
- At some points really frustrating
This review was written using a PlayStation Vita review code provided by NIS America. Are you excited for Yomawari? How do you like horror games on portable consoles? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!