Yomawari: Midnight Shadows Review

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows Review
Developed by Nippon Ichi Software
Published by NIS America
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on PlayStation Vita and Steam)

 

Yomawari: Midnight ShadowsYomawari: Midnight Shadows is the sequel to last year’s horror title Yomawari: Night Alone. Midnight Shadows further portrays youths exploring a hostile town to find their loved ones. While the two games share similar themes and presentation elements, Midnight Shadows’ adventure spans a larger town filled with even more frightening adversity. With its simple controls and straightforward premise, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows is an accessible adventure full of horror filled thrills.

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows portrays a mysterious tale of separation. Yui and Haru are childhood friends, and they decide to spend time together one last time before Haru moves away. After they watch the fireworks and start walking home, however, unfamiliar voices call from the shadows. Yui becomes separated after she decides to investigate. The two friends make a dire effort to reunite in the face of overwhelming horror.

The game’s simplicity leads to an immersive journey full of tense moments. In general, the goal is to reach a target area, but the path is often fraught with incredible danger. Yui and Haru must traverse shadowy environments with a flashlight in hand. Since this flashlight can only illuminate a narrow area, walking around always feels risky. Many terrifying creatures lurk in the shadows, and they only become visible when illuminated. These creatures frequently give chase when they are close to the player, which encourages staying vigilant at all times. Being touched by any creature will instantly result in defeat, and the player will reappear at the last save point.

Yomawari: Midnight ShadowsFortunately, the game provides numerous ways for Yui and Haru to survive these hazard-ridden circumstances. Holding R1 causes the player to sprint, which drains a stamina meter at the bottom of the screen. Holding L1 results in tip-toeing, which can sometimes avoid attracting monsters’ attention. Furthermore, the game displays a question mark whenever the character can interact with a nearby object. For example, the player can find usable throwing objects, hide into bushes and structures, pick up collectibles, and read clues on signs. Being able to see nearby important objects is helpful while exploring and figuring out how to escape from enemies. The player has plenty of options to survive incoming threats, but survival can require a bit of trial and error. Some enemies may be distracted by thrown objects while the common course of action is to simply run.

Everything about the audiovisual design creates considerable suspense. The game generally does not play music, but it is full of background sound effects that convey the impression that the town is unoccupied and haunted. Stepping on different surfaces is accompanied by appropriate footstep effects, which also bolsters immersion. When a creature is nearby, the game will cause controller vibrations, play heartbeat sounds, and display a flashing red icon at the bottom of the screen. Experiencing all three cues at the same time can feel suspenseful in a wonderfully simple way.

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows

One of the most striking elements of the game is how it juxtaposes child-like innocence with surreal horror motifs. The user interface is comprised of pieces of paper and a crayon-like font, which is a fantastic touch. Diary entries depict crayon drawings of the game’s events, which can definitely seem a bit sad. Before setting foot outside, the player can choose a Charm that can bestow passive bonuses while exploring. These Charms are often everyday possessions that had some sentimental value or were abandoned. The playable characters are young girls whose cute appearance highly contrasts with the otherworldly amorphous specters that populate the town. Some of these creatures are giants with terrifying faces while others are diminutive yet deadly wisps, and the sheer variety creates plenty of surprises.

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows magnifies its predecessor’s mysterious nature. The world map is notably larger than its predecessor’s. With a spiraling layout of roads, fields, and forested paths, it can be easy to meander around the town for extended periods of time. While the game provides general overarching objectives, it does not explicitly show destination icons on the map. It is up to the player to venture into unknown territory and figure out where to go. The number of collectibles has been increased as well, and their background descriptions are fascinating to read.

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows is a fantastic take on the horror genre, and it is full of elements that create considerable suspense. With a sizable world to explore and plenty of diverse supernatural hazards, the game can easily fill hours of players’ time with suspense. Anyone seeking a simple yet substantial horror title would be well served by Yomawari: Midnight Shadows.

 

Vincent Lai

Vincent Lai

I'm a gaming enthusiast who enjoys a variety of platforms! I also love wisps, rainbows, and gardens!

Graphics
14out of 5
Sound
16out of 5
Story
15out of 5
Gameplay
15out of 5

Overview

With its simple mechanics and haunting atmosphere, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows is an enthralling take on the horror genre. Journeying through the sprawling town is a suspenseful worthwhile experience.

3.75

3.75 out of 5
Good


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