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Yomawari: The Long Night Collection review
Exceptional
by GameItAll

When it comes to feeling unease and just plain creepy, there is nothing better than Japanese Ghost stories. Movies like Ju-On and Ringu series (or their American adaptations: The Grudge and The Ring series) are probably two of the most famous films in this category and while they never really produce any jump-scares or focuses heavily on blood and gore, they provide a tense, uneasy feeling throughout the film.

The Yomawari series from NIS nails this feeling, as they're a disturbing and twisted take on an Urban Ghost story that will is guaranteed to make players feel uneasy about the entire situation they find themselves in. Now compiled into one game on the Nintendo Switch, players will be able to enjoy both titles - Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows - on their TV or portable.

 Night Alone sees you in control of a young girl who while walking her dog, experiences a near-miss with a transport, only to find her dog is now missing. Upon returning home, her elder sister offers to look for the dog in the dark streets. After a few hours, the young girl decides to search for her sister and her dog only to find creatures in the shadows scattered all over the town. Midnight Shadows gives us a more emotional story by putting the fate of two best friends - Yui and Haru - on the line. As the two friends are separated after watching a fireworks display, they attempt to find each other in the dark city.

 Both Yomawari games share some similarities, mainly that they both involve young children somewhere around 8-12 years old searching for someone/something at night full of creepy ghosts/spirits, and both dealing with a loss, something that really sets the story apart from other run-of-the-mill horror titles.

 There is no fair way to say that one game has a better story over the other, as they both deliver an emotional punch out of the gates and keeps it rolling until the very end. I've also never had a game that made me audibly gasp, sad and pissed off during a tutorial scene, setting the mood for what would come almost perfectly.

 Gameplay takes inspiration from run-and-hide horror titles like Amnesia and Outlast but takes place in a top-down perspective. Players have no defence against the spirits and ghosts, and can only run when encountering the creatures. You can't run forever though, as running requires stamina which when drained can slow you to a stop, leaving you open to being captured. Players also are given the ability to hide in a bush or behind objects, as well as distract them by throwing objects.

 While most games give you a point of view for when you're hiding, Yomawari has a much more effective strategy to making hiding one of the most stressful things you can do in the game by darkening the screen and using your heartbeat as sort of echolocation for how close the enemy is to you. It's a subtle mechanic that is extremely effective in this type of horror game.

Both Night Alone and Midnight Shadows have the same type of gameplay, but I do find that Midnight Shadows refines the controls and make it work better. Plus with the ability to take control of both Yui and Haru, as wells as the multiple endings based on items found during exploration really drives the game more than Night Alone.

There is something deceptively creepy about Yomawari's cute graphics. As most of the obviously human characters have an adorable almost chibi likeness, and the environments looking like a modern-day Japanese town, the darkness surrounding the town is unsettling and almost feeling unnatural. Monster designs are also very creative, based on Japanese Urban Legends and delivering a very macabre look, whether it's just a simple shadow creature to a giant face with spider-legs, or a bunch of hands with a number of eyeballs staring out at you.

These things are the things nightmares are made of. Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is a great collection for any horror fan as both games give you plenty of content, a great amount of replay value and plenty of genuine scares that will make you want to put the console down but a story that is so good that you won't want to.

Review based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game provided by NIS America - visit our site for the original review
https://gameitall.com/yomawari-the-long-night-collection-review/
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