By Dalton McClain / December 21st, 2017
|Title||Yomawari: Midnight Shadows|
|Developer||Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.|
|Publisher||NIS America, Inc.|
|Release Date||Aug 24, 2017|
|Platform||PS4, Vita, PC|
|Age Rating||M for Mature|
Yomawari: Midnight Shadows is a survival horror game and a sequel to 2015’s Yomawari: Night Alone, which you can check out our review for here. You play as both Yui and Haru, two friends who get separated while coming back from a summer fireworks festival in the mountains. The premise alone makes this seem like a very run of the mill horror game, but is there more hidden under the surface? Let’s dig right into this and find out.
The game has this wonderful 2D art style that is a blend of adorable, as well as really strange and unsettling. The game can be downright gorgeous sometimes, and other times it can be hideously grotesque, but in a good way. I had no problem following the game’s instructions when it told me to “turn off the lights and concentrate only on the screen”. I couldn’t look away at certain points, even when the abhorrent creatures were on screen. Each landmark felt unique, and just about every monster stood out and was memorable. They managed to get the atmosphere correct as well, which is quintessential in a horror game like this.
The art wasn’t the only thing adding to the atmosphere though. Yomawari: Midnight Shadows doesn’t have a big complex score like most horror games try to have. Instead, Yomawari leaves the player alone most of the time with either complete silence, or ambient noises that you would hear in the countryside. It gets downright chilling sometimes when all you can hear is rustling grass and the sound of an increasing heartbeat as the ghost draws closer to you. The sound design is really spot on and leaves the player feeling really uneasy throughout the entire playthrough. The only actual track in the game is the main theme, which is a beautiful piece that implements a lot of piano, stringed instruments, and the sound of rain. It’s really different tone wise, but it’s still a beautiful piece nonetheless.
Yomawari: Midnight Shadows does the thing that I love in storytelling, and that’s when certain parts are kept purposefully vague for the player to either guess about, or just find out later on. The game immediately starts out on a really high and dark note, then goes back to happy immediately after like nothing happened. Then, as soon as you calm back down you’re immediately thrust back into the weird and creepy town with tiny bits of story being revealed to you as you play. It’s really something you should just experience on your own. Heck, even some of the ghosts have different motivations and backstories that you can discover. It’s all very fascinating and I can’t wait to scan all of the game to find out what I can about everything going on.
Mechanically the game runs really well. The basic gist of the game is to get from point A to point B while avoiding the ghosts however you can. Neither of the characters that you play as can fight, so that’s your only option. Every ghost has it’s own particular movement pattern, so it’s really good to memorize it and set a gameplan together in your head of how to get past it. This can be really fun and even really challenging at certain points throughout the game. The only problem that I have with the main gameplay is that it can get really tedious at times, especially if you played it in long intervals like I did. If you’re caught by a ghost, then you die and are immediately sent back to the last save point, which are shrines that you use a coin at to save/fast travel. You don’t lose any progress or items, so it’s basically just a nuisance at that point. I’m not really the biggest fan of how it works, but it doesn’t really hurt my enjoyment all that much.
Overall Yomawari: Midnight Shadows is a wonderful game for any horror fan. It’s a pretty decently long game, 7 hours, and it costs about $29.99. The price is a little on the high side, but the game is well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and look forward to re-experiencing it all over again whenever I need a good scare.
Review copy provided by the publisher
Nippon Ichi SoftwareNIS America Inc.Yomawari: Midnight Shadows