White Day: A Labyrinth Named School – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: SONNORI Corp
Publisher: PQube Limited, SONNORI Corp
Platform: PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: The suspense is nailing the genre
Bad: Tragically slow gameplay that has to be done over and over upon failing
User Score
7.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Originally White Day a.k.a Hangul, was created in 2001 in Korea by studio Sonnori. Later on, in 2015, a mobile remake was created by ROI Games with the former CEO of Sonnori. This remake was also released in August this year, for PlayStation 4 and Windows. A high school horror happening with many Asian influences. 

White Day header

Story

You are a high school boy who sees an attractive girl on a beautiful sunny day. She’s been reading a pink journal of some kind and after a short confusing interaction with you, she accidentally leaves the journal behind. Being the pubescent hero you are, you decide to bring it back to her at all cost. Waiting till the next time you see her doesn’t seem possible, no. You have to bring it to her at school after curfew for some reason. As soon as you enter school you are locked in since a shutter behind you closes. Oh puberty, you bring us so many great ideas.

White Day 1

Weirdly enough there are more kids casually hanging around the place with their own objectives. As you get coerced into helping one of them, you see a janitor beating the crap out of a student and dragging him away. It quickly becomes clear you are a new transfer student, and upon bringing up the janitor issue to other students they don’t seem to know what you are talking about. One thing becomes clear though: you need to get out. As you progress you learn more from cutscenes, but also by the many documents you can pick up and read. Documents could even contain key information to survive or continue. There’s quite a bit of story to be found when you look closely enough.

Graphics

When looking at the graphics it’s clear the game has not been built up from scratch. The animations are a bit stiff and interactive objects still use some old-school ways of interacting such as zooming in on a drawer to explore it properly. Sometimes, this can be a nuisance slowing you down. Other times, it greatly attributes to the atmosphere. And atmosphere this game has plenty. The school itself gives such a crazy, dense feeling, you really just want to get out. Even though it’s not a jewel when looking at everything from texture up to rain drop animation, this game does not really need it. It’s the coherency of graphics and atmosphere that makes it valuable enough to look further than the possible points of critique one can have on outdated elements

White Day 2.

Sound

The sound, in this case, can be split up into three different types. The first two are the background soundtrack and the sound effects on i.e. picking up an item. They mixed music and sounds which could be classified as traditional Japanese. The soft piano that’s used in the theme song, but also the strings that cover most of the background and interaction sounds. The used instrument for these sounds seems to be a Shamisen, a three stringed guitar type.

Lastly, the third type is the sounds that you have to listen to that warn you. The crazy janitor chasing you has keys with him that give away his location, though it’s not always clear where he is or where he will pop up. The more near he is though, the more sounds will follow. If he’s on the other side of the door of where you are hiding, there will be some classic intensifying horror violins making a screeching sound. So don’t dare to open it. Other sounds like those accompanying jumpscares where a scary lady screams in your face actually have a purpose of letting you know you need to do something at that location since you apparently are heading the right way.

White Day 3

Gameplay

Being a horror survival the game has multiple horror elements and little survival. The horror is in the story that progresses as you discover more truths about the school you are locked in, and also about the psychological thriller and horror elements like being chased or cutscenes with typical undead Asian horror culture in them. Like it was said about the graphics, the horror is greatly enhanced by the atmosphere that the game brings with its environment. It’s a school you would not even like to walk through during daytime, let alone at night. A lot of rooms and classes are chaotic and barely decorated, which gives it more of the feeling of being a slaughterhouse than that of an educational building. However, even though the atmosphere is on point, it’s also the strongest part of the game. The survival part of the gameplay mainly consists of hiding from the janitor, which frankly is kind of boring.

You see, the janitor in this game is what that ”monster” would be in games with similar gameplay such as Alien: Isolation but he’s neither that scary nor logical or contributing a lot. It’s a regular looking guy with a slightly creepy face, a baseball bat and some keys that make a sound as he walks. One of the things that are immediately annoying is that he walks with a limp in his leg, but as soon as he sees you he suddenly runs just as fast as you. Which not only is illogical but also very frustrating combined with the game’s targeting system on doors. There are not many places your character is able to hide in or under, except for the bathroom stalls at the start. So basically, once the janitor sees you, you are pretty much screwed.

White Day 4

The saving system makes this even more annoying. Each conversation with people you can make two choices, these choices define some of the game. If you die, however, you have to do things over from your last saving point. You save manually by using felt tip markers you find to save at a bulletin board. Meaning if you haven’t found a marker or simply haven’t found a save point in between two events, you have to do the conversations and choices over again. Granted, the cinematics are skippable, but it’s a useless part of gameplay that even gives the player the power to undo choices, making them feel not so important. Besides that, the other thing you have to redo is to wait a long time for the janitor to walk past your current room before you turn on a light. You need to turn it on because else you can’t interact with anything in the room. Interaction means picking up documents and items that could be vital for your progression, but doing this over and over again just seems like a giant waste of time. Not only this but without knowing where the janitor or save points could actually be there is a lot of frustration waiting. If you have been sitting out a wait for the slowest human alive to pass the room you’re hiding in a few times just to die every time because he still spots you or appears from an unexpected location, you’d rather close the game than you’d try again by waiting a long time, picking up the same items and talking to the same people

Conclusion

White Day has an incredibly dense atmosphere that’s a great addition to the thriller and horror genres. The school looks great even though some things feel a bit stiff or outdated. However, the gameplay simply punishes the player too harsh with boredom if they are caught by the janitor roaming the halls. There’s a lot of waiting and picking up involved in the game, and redoing this at every try just seems like a waste of an otherwise great horror game.

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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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White Day: A Labyrinth Named School - Review, 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

1 Comment

  1. MC_JP
    MC_JP
    August 6, 2020, 8:59 pm

    This game is legit scary!

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