Yomawari: Night Alone – Review
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Follow Genre: Horror
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PS Vita, PS TV
Tested on: PS TV

Yomawari: Night Alone – Review

Site Score
8.9
Good: Atmosphere, Style, Creepy
Bad: Quick save system, Could have used a longer tutorial
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

With Halloween right at our doorsteps, there’s nothing better than enjoying some scary tales, movies or in our case: games. Especially those which don’t seem creepy at first glance, but eventually startle you that much, you hardly want to press on to see what lurks behind the next corner, but eventually have to because the overall concept is so captivating. This time we indulge ourselves with a story about a young girl who’s simply walking her dog. Sounds plain as vanilla, right? We couldn’t be further away from the actual truth.

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Story

You’re a young girl fit for primary school, who is walking her little dog, Poro. Even though all goes fine, and you are as curious as your canine friend when it comes to exploring the world around you, things go horribly wrong when Poro runs off, a truck passes by inches from your face, knocking you out slightly, and leaving the road red with blood. You don’t see your furry friend nearby, and thus you decide to head home. Your sister is waiting outside and she notices that Poro is missing, and she then heads off to look for him, all while you have to stay home. Hours tick by, and you don’t see them appear on the horizon, and thus you also go out, hoping to find your sister. When you finally do, she tells you to hide and keep your eyes closed no matter what. When the scary sounds fade, you find yourself alone once again, and hope to find your sister at home. The short road to home has never felt so long, as you are constantly being haunted by shadows, which can only be seen when they thread into the light.

The narrative of Yomawari: Night Alone seems quite simplistic at first, but it hits its second gear somewhere later during your ghoulish night outside. Very appealing to both thrillseekers, as well as those who want an interesting story on the side.

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Graphics

Do not be fooled by the seemingly cute appearance of Yomawari: Night Alone, as it will turn awfully creepy rather fast. Even though your character looks adorable, even in the midst of a night that’s filled with moving shadows, the overall vibe this game has is scary. Vibrant colors can be found in your home, which is your safe zone, while all the rest of this small portion of a town looks grim and dark. The overall appearance might not stress the capabilities of your Vita, it does look nearly perfect for the genre and style it finds itself in. Combining eeriness with a fairly cute comic book-like appearance works exquisitely for this game.

Sound

The music, or lack thereof, adds another layer of creepiness to an already quite gruesome game. You’ll have to make do with your footsteps in the midst of darkness, the sometimes scary noises in the background and the thumping sound of your heart when there are monsters nearby. The latter adds a stress factor to the game, which results in you trying to keep calm, not panicking before you reach safety, or at least until your character settles down, which is a sign of monsters being further away.

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Gameplay

Yomawari: Night Alone is probably one of the most pure horror games around, as you’ll be running with one of the most helpless characters ever, who has pretty much no useful skills at her disposal. Your journey to find your lost dog and sister becomes a very creepy task right off the bat. You’ll be roaming around town, with no proper explanation of where to go, thus leaving you to fend for yourself.

After the untimely death/disappearance of your beloved dog, Poro, your sister goes out to look for him. You will eventually end up looking for your sister when she doesn’t return. From the moment you step out of your house, you’ll be vulnerable, but not to strangers or hazardous items in the town, but to ghouls and monsters, which can only be seen when they step into the light.

There is no combat in this game, as you’ll simply be running for your life every encounter you have with one of the monsters. You can tiptoe your way around them, but when they see you they will often chase you, until you hide or get away far enough. You’ll only have some distraction tactics at your disposal, such as throwing stones to make noise, or you can make a run for it by using your sprinting capabilities. Be warned, the latter only works for longer periods of time when you’re feeling safe. When the adrenaline is coursing through your veins, your stamina will drop quicker than a sack of bricks, forcing you to watch your steps even more carefully. Overall it’s about taking your time to explore certain areas and study the patterns of your ghastly enemies.

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Those who are looking for a challenge will find a proper one in this title, as the game does not bother with holding hands. Outside of the occasional tip and clue you have to find yourself by exploring, you’ll have to do everything on your own from the very beginning. If you wander off in the wrong direction exploring what the town has to offer, so be it, the game will never give you any proper indication of where you’ll have to go, until you find yourself in an area, triggering new events that help you on your way. Overall, this proves to be very interesting for thrillseekers, but newcomers to the genre might find themselves struggling more than they might initially suspect.

You can save your progress at your home, but this would mean that you have to run all the way back to the place you last visited, having to dodge all the monsters once again. You can also opt to save when making a donation at one of the many shrines you’ll come across, but this will always cost you a single coin, which can also be found across the map, often near vending machines. That being said, if you constantly save your game at shrines, you’ll find yourself with empty pockets a lot faster than you’d hope. Then again, a regular save might prevent you from having to replay a portion of the game again when you die. Be sure to head home before logging off though, as the game does not hold on to your quick save files, which means you might lose a hefty amount of progress if you do not head home before turning off your game.

Conclusion

Yomawari: Night Alone is a very surprising addition to the horror genre that will catch you by surprise many times. Even though the narrative is quite simple at first, the overall mechanics limited and the graphical style something you’d not expect from the genre at first, everything comes together in a perfect blend making this a very memorable title. If you want to shy away under a blanket and go out and look for your furry friend and family, this one is certainly a title to bust out your Vita once more.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Yomawari: Night Alone - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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