Yomawari Night Alone

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

The Playstation Vita was an unfortunate failure as a console. I know many people still have and love their Vitas and that’s great but from a sales standpoint, the Vita sold too poorly and had too few games. Which is unfortunate because whenever that happens, it means some great games are often left stranded on that console. Today’s game is one such game that has continued struggling to find an audience after its initial Vita release. Today’s game is Yomawari: Night Alone, developed by Nippon Ichi Software and released on the Playstation Vita in 2015.

Yomawari: Night Alone is a game I can best describe as horror exploration. Players play as an unnamed girl walking home one night with her dog Poro. After Poro is struck by a truck and sent over a cliff, the girl returns home, unable to explain to her sister what had happened. The girl’s sister goes to search for Poro and does not return. Thus begins the girl’s trek around town to find Poro and her sister.

Yomawari is a surreal game that sounds fairly straight-forward but the small Japanese town is much more than it appears to be. The girl only explores for her sister and Poro at night by the light of a flashlight. The town is filled with restless spirits and monsters which lash out at the girl from all sides. There is no combat in Yomawari and players must discover each spirit’s pattern so as to avoid them and progress forward.

The town is relatively open to the player from the beginning, with only a few areas blocked off that must be unlocked later in the game. While players are given an objective, these are often vague at best and the player must explore the town to find where to go next. Yomawari features many collectables to find which flesh out aspects of the town’s lore as well as some usable items such as rocks which can distract certain spirits and coins to be used at respawn points.

Yomawari received moderate praise from the few critic reviews it received. The game went mostly unnoticed though and sold quite poorly in both Japan and the west. Still, the costs to make the game were simple enough to justify a sequel, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, also released on the Vita. Both games have made their way to Steam as well as the Nintendo Switch in a collection called The Long Night Collection. Yomawari is a quiet game that relies on subtlety and ambiguity to tell its story. Less is more in Yomawari: Night Alone.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.