Halloween 2018 is approaching, and it is normal that publishers have aimed precisely at this period to launch their most macabre, disturbing or more generally horror-themed games. NIS America for his part he still has two arrows that are simply perfect for his bow, and has decided to shoot them at the same time. Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows will return in these days on PlayStation 4 and for the first time also on Nintendo Switch, in a collection with a very clear and evocative title: Yomawari: The Long Night Collection. And waiting for the protagonists of the titles there will be a long night, apparently without end, from which they may never return. If you are afraid of the dark, we advise you not to continue reading ours review.
Plot: girls and oriental nightmares
Yomawari: The Long Night Collection includes two relatively recent titles, Yomawari: Night Alone (2016) and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows (2017), both of which are the fruit of the work of Nippon Ichi and the visionary mind of developer Yu Mizokami. Although set in different times and places, the two titles are thematically similar: both start from a very specific point, the fear of the dark and of the creatures that hide there, and develop it by telling the story of two different girls looking for a loved one. In Yomawari: Night Alone, the little nameless protagonist has just lost her dog Poro when her older sister decides to run to find him. He ends up losing her too, and to find her again he will find himself immersed in a nightmare with open eyes: the small Japanese rural town where they live seems inhabited, after sunset, by hostile creatures, drawn from the most horrendous fairy tales of the Japanese tradition.
Between precipitous escapes, cunning diversions and heart-pounding explorations, the protagonist will take between six and seven hours of gameplay to find her sister. While Yomawari: Night Alone has an original central idea and a gameplay realization that is also decidedly fresh (or at least, it was two years ago), the same cannot be said for its successor, namely Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. The narrative premise of the latter cannot fail to seem too similar to that of the predecessor, with two separated friends at sunset who must find themselves in an equally recognizable Japanese village. Half of the proposed situations will seem familiar to the player and there are really no new ideas, but this does not mean that even the story of Haru and Yui does not deserve to be lived, considering the title an evolution and strengthening of the idea of the previous one.
It is from the point of view of the disturbing game atmospheres and the charisma of delicately hand-drawn macabre places, always seasoned with that touch of tenderness of the protagonists' silhouettes, that Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows are once again the winners. All this even before considering a gameplay based on a few ideas, but solid and decidedly winning: we are still talking about two games that are lived all in one breath, with the lump constantly in the throat.
Gameplay: observe, explore, hide
The game formula of Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is identical for both titles present and consists of a survival horror expertly mixed with some elements from puzzle game. The protagonists of Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows suddenly find themselves immersed in a nightmare environment, inhabited by horrible and extremely lethal monsters; there is no health bar, just a touch from the enemies and it is game over. The player then finds himself struggling with a fairly wide and varied setting, which will gradually reveal itself and record new places and routes little by little, during the exploratory sessions. A quick look at the game map it is essential not to get lost or run into alleys inhabited by too fast and violent enemies; on the other hand, most of them will be unlocked by continuing in the main story, so if a particular road seems impossible to follow, it is probably because for now it must be so, and your goal is somewhere else.
From time to time there will be some key object important to find in order to continue, within a narrative that, after all, does not present who knows what depth or important turning point. The highlight of the experience is represented instead by the perennial tension in which the player is wrapped, guaranteed among other things in an excellent way by some important choices in the sound sector. There is no supporting musical theme, nor actual audio tracks: the audio of Yomawari: The Long Night Collection instead it plays on the noises of the wind in the foliage, on the protagonist's steps on the paved avenues, on the accelerated beating of her heart, the only true indicator of an imminent danger or of an approaching monster. This idea is effectively accompanied by a gameplay based also on the trial and error in its most basic meaning: learning the movements of enemies within a specific path so as not to die a second time when facing it. Too bad that despite the first moments of the game really fascinating and intriguing (for some even frustrating, since the game explains very little of its mechanics), the offer of the titles is gradually stabilizing without great additional ideas or variations of any kind, to part those of the scenarios and game environments.
CommentTested version Nintendo Switch Digital Delivery PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop Price 39,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is an almost unmissable opportunity to rediscover two little pearls of survival horror. Their level of accessible challenge and light narration can represent a pro or a con depending on the different types of players, but the very inspired atmospheres, the immediately recognizable art sector and the monsters nestled in the darkness around every corner could literally kidnap you inside. of a truly peculiar game world. The collection arrives on Nintendo Switch without tweaking the titles contained, but optimizing them for the Nintendo console, even with an intelligent vibration system for the "anxiety bar" of the protagonists. Give Yu Mizokami's work a chance, because it's worth it.
- Distressing atmosphere
- Artistically valid
- Few ideas in the gameplay, but well done
- A lot of recycled material in the second chapter
- In some situations it is not difficult, but frustrating
- It takes little advantage of the features of Nintendo Switch