There may not be a huge budget on horror games for Halloween, but this PS Vita game will certainly make up for that.
Halloween is just around the corner and that doesn’t mean anything for video games. It does consider just how bad most of the companies are at meeting an ordinary release date, the topical releases aren’t that common. Besides that, the hoped for survival horror that came out a few years ago, never really happened and so many games like it has returned to being created by smaller developers.
That is perfectly fine, but that is because we aren’t able to imagine any type of major publisher having anything to do with a game that happens to be terrifying and strange like Yomawari.
What is the story?
It doesn’t matter what you say about it, Yomawari has a great opening sequence that has ever been seen. It begins with controlling a small girl who is walking her dog in a normal suburban town. This tragicomic sequence will make you gasp in surprise because the dog is killed and the confused explanation to her big sister will lead to the big sister going to look for it. Soon it will become quite clear that she has disappeared and you will set out to find her.
It will be here that you will being to realize that the whole town as well as the woods that surround it are very haunted and you as well as your sister happen to be in mortal danger. You will be able to notice that the graphics in Yomawari are simple yet cartoonish and cute. The atmosphere within the game is pretty unsettling. All because you have no clue about what is going on or what type of game this is going to be. It may have an age 12+ rating, but you will jump out of your skin whenever the first spirit appears in close up and does it in a great jump scare.
The gameplay is spooky
While you tiptoe and run around the town, there will be a very old school that has an 8-bit feeling to the open world environment and since there is very little instruction, you will have to figure out what to do and what is going on. The world is really interactive, if you have the right tools, but you will have to learn how to avoid the ghosts that are left for you to discover. Running is always an option, but there are patrolling ghouls that will block your way that are hiding behind signs or in buses.
Whenever you do this you will see a zoomed image of what you are hiding behind as you hear your heartbeat bump and thump to indicate as well as onscreen smudges of blood to show how close the spirits are. Sometimes this will seem a bit retro whenever you have to hide for a long time, but this is meant to be a representation of the girl closing her eyes and hiding as she was told to do by her big sister before she disappeared.
When it comes to the terms of gameplay, Yomawari is simplistic and a bit repetitive, but it is the strangeness that will really grab you from the get go and will push you through some of the workman like steps. The first half hour is really fascinating once you learn that no matter how grotesque they are or aren’t. The weird thing is that most of the designs happen be fuel for your nightmares, yet that are only 1 or 2 spirits that are evil. These spirits are made to be more like wild animals that are just forces of nature that happen to be driven by their primitive needs.
The different creatures are all based on Japanese urban legends and folklore and have been portrayed in similar manners to films such as Spirited Away. Especially when it comes to the fact that they are not monsters that are needing to be defeated, but it is simply a reality that should be accepted. Unlike other types of Japanese games that you could mention, the fact that you are actually controlling a small girl isn’t meant to be used for titillation but instead to simply emphasize her vulnerability and naivety. Especially, since she is beginning to understand the ramifications of what is happening and the story begins to be a coming of age tale.
What didn’t work with Yomawari
After all of the high tech extravaganzas that have been released in the last few weeks, it is nice to see a game that has its appeal lie beyond the surface novelty. Even though it is easy to admire Yomawari, it is safe to say that it is far from being perfect, and despite everything that has been said about the spirits, they will end up killing you quite easily and that can be frustrating. The difficulty of the game is set to be high and some of the sequences will rely on trial and error that will cause them to bog down.
There is also the issue that the game only takes most people about 3 or 4 hours to finish. Physical copies of the game will come with htoL#NiQ by Nippon Ichi, but besides that it makes for a quite expensive treat for Halloween. It is one that is worth being experienced if you are able to as it isn’t one that you will forget. Especially at night whenever the spirits have come out to play.