Sunday, November 6, 2016

Yomawari: Night Alone Review (Playstation Vita)

Written by Allen Ray Francisco

Game Title: Yomawari: Night Alone
Genre: Adventure, Strategy
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
Also Available On: Steam

It's been a while since a game has scared me let alone freak me the [censored] out. But Yomawari: Night Alone did it and it managed to do it with cute chibi sprites. With one of the creepiest atmospheres I've ever experienced, despite it lacking the budget of AAA titles. Just from the first few minutes you can feel the gloomy and bleak nature of the setting.

You play as an unnamed little girl who, for some god forsaken reason, decides to take her dog Poro out for a walk in the middle of the night. Surprisingly it doesn't work out for her and she now has to go look for her dog. Soon after, she finds her older sister at the park, who promises to help find Poro. She goes with her to look for Poro and tells the young girl to hide in a nearby bush. But after waiting for sometime her older sister disappears too. After you find flashlight on the ground, the girl soon realizes the town is completely deserted. Monsters inspired by Japanese urban legends now run around the streets. Some of which are totally invisible without your flashlight. For them, only the sounds of their blood-curdling screams and the girl’s frantic heartbeat can suggest their approximate location.

The actual gameplay of Yomawari is pretty simple. You explore a large open world-esque town looking for Poro and your missing sister. As you explore the town, terrifying creatures roam around. Most of them wanting to kill you but some of them just stuck in limbo. Because you lack any weapons to fight them with, your only chance of survival is to run around them or outrun whatever is chasing you. You can also hide in bushes to wait the them out. You do get some items like stones or coins to use but they're mostly for distraction so you can sneak past them.

The main story on the other hand is a bit hard to follow and doesn't really go anywhere exciting. But the side quests have interesting stories and are well executed. One of the more annoying issues I had with the game were moments where i pretty much needed to die to find the correct path or get lucky. There were a lot of times where I would be chased by a boss- like creature with multiple paths to run to, but some of the paths would lead you to dead ends and would most likely mean death. it would've been tolerable if the checkpoints weren't that far apart. The checkpoint system is also a bit troublesome.

The art style of Yomawari was something I really dug. The little girl stands out cutesy design while almost everything else looks creepy and menacing. Her design contradicts the design of the world and it really accentuates how innocent she is.

Overall this game excels at what it tries to do. It's creep, atmospheric and really draws you into it's world.I strongly recommend playing the game with headphones because it really add a lot to the game. Though it does have some frustrating design problems I say it's worth a purchase.

Score: 9/10

  • Chilling Atmosphere
  • Great Art
  • Creative Designs
  • Unique Gameplay

  • Sometimes feels like trial and error