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Review #025: Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Mar 22, 2020

Reviewed By: Chad M.

Developed By: Nippon Ichi Software

Published By: NIS America

Category: Adventure, Action, Puzzle

Release Date: 10/30/18

Download Yomawari: The Long Night Collection from the Nintendo eShop here.

Purchase Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Regular Edition) from Amazon here.

Purchase Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Limited Edition) from NIS America here.

Creepy… But In A Good Way

As Halloween rolls around, I was looking to find a game that could scratch the itch I was having to play a horror game, as there’s nothing better than gripping the remote as you are tensely drawn into a horrifying plot that finds a way to frighten you. That scratch came in the form of Yomawari: The Long Night Collection, and the only thing better than one horror game is two! That’s what you get here with Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows all wrapped up in one package for this scary collection.

Like so many Japanese horror anime shows, Yomawari has a way of setting tones that resonates through both games seamlessly. It also had an art direction that again felt like it was at times paying homage to movies like Spirited Away, especially when you start seeing the ghoulish monsters. Not a complete draw off Studio Ghibli, because at times it became very dark and creepy, beyond what Ghibli is known for. 

The Kids Are Alright... Not Really

The first game in the collection is Yomawari: Night Alone. In this first game, a young girl takes her dog, named Poro, out for a walk. When an accident nearly kills her, she finds her dog missing. Her elder sister agrees to help by going out to look for Poro. After a few hours of waiting, the girl noticed that her sister is out later and begins to worry. Going out of her home, she explores the town and notices that it  has changed. The girl works to evade monsters that are prowling the empty streets, all while finding clues as to what has happened to Poro, her elder sister, and to find out who or what is responsible for their disappearance. As I said before, this plays out like a well written anime or Manga. You can see where the developers drew a lot of inspiration from. 

The second game in the collection is Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. The second looks similar, as it shares the same art style, but has a more fleshed out story and you play as two characters. In the second installment, two girls, Yui and Haru, are headed home after attending a late summer fireworks festival in the mountains. For a moment, they let go of each other’s hand and become separated. Fighting through the fear, the two young girls must explore a dark and ominous night town that has completely changed from how it was during the day. Now, monsters, ghouls, and spirits lurk in the shadows. Yui and Haru must work to find clues and get home before they meet their fate. 

Heads Will Roll

In both Yomawari games you’re equipped with a flashlight that illuminates the dark and very creepy streets of Japan. Even though you’re immediately tense from the overwhelming atmosphere, you’re drawn in to explore the streets. As you make your way, you find the controls are very simple. You use the left stick to move, and the right to control the flash light. Using the flashlight will uncover the ghostly spirits around you. The only other actions are to pick up and throw items, lock your viewpoint so you can walk backwards, and to sprint. You use the throw to toss rocks to get the attention of the monsters, but I found myself rarely using this method.

You will pick up quite a few items throughout the game, one being coins that can be donated to shrine-type statues to mark as a checkpoint. I bring this up because, even though I found both games to be easy and never truly frustrating or hard, I still died quite a bit. When you die, you return to the checkpoint and you don’t lose anything you acquired before death. It was nice to not be punished for dying, as it seemed like the developer expects you to do so. You have a heart/stamina meter that will begin to slowly beat and pump as you near a monster. This will only increase and become louder and faster until they’re on your heels. You can use the sprint action to run away from most threats, but this will drain your stamina meter.

The saving grace to evading the spirits is found in the form of random spots scattered all over that you can use for hiding. This was even more terrifying, as I’d have a monster about to devour me, but at the last second, I would jump into a basket, and the entire screen would go black with me in the center. The stamina meter would just continue to pound and thud loudly until the creature would give up and leave. Once you had that encounter, it felt almost impossible to shake the fear of, “When’s it coming again!?” or, “Where are they!?”

This is where the gorgeous, but haunting atmosphere just drags you in deeper. You continue your journey and uncover more secrets and Japanese folklore until the conclusion. I was able to get through Night Alone in around eight hours, but could’ve probably finished a little faster. As for Midnight Shadows, since the map is almost double the size, and there is so much to see, this one took me around 12 hours to complete. But, fair warning, both stories start off swinging hard with brutal imagery, so don’t allow the cute characters to fool you… this is an adult game!

How’d She Do that?

As far as for a survival horror game, there was a lot of trial and error. This, matched with the save system, felt like the developers were leaning more on exploration and uncovering things, and less on actual survival. The reason this works, as you find yourself adapting, is that the atmosphere truly allows you to be drawn into Yomawari’s world. With danger at every corner, you’re given hints when items are near, in case you miss them with the flashlight. A red exclamation point (or green star in MS) will blink above your head when you’re at the item with which you can interact. This was even more useful in Midnight Shadows, as the map is so much larger and there is so much more to do, but it never felt like just busy work. You will, however, bounce back and forth between the two characters in Midnight Shadows, effecting each other’s outcome each time you come back to the character. 

Audio & Visuals

This, to me, was the main attraction of Yomawari, and boy does it shine in both

departments! The music is non-existent until the very end when very slow somber music kicks in. But, throughout the games, you are immersed in the sounds in the environment. They are done very well, and even something as minor as the buzzing from a vending machine or crickets chirping just added so much to the atmosphere and feel of the game.

Not to be outdone by the great sounds was the amazing hand-drawn art style, which screams of anime and manga inspiration. One thing about Yomawari is that the main characters are so cute that it just tears at your heart strings as horrible things happen to them throughout the stories. 

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed my time spent with Yomawari: The Long Night Collection. Well, maybe to say I enjoyed it would be the wrong wording, as it had me engaged and intrigued from start to finish, even if sometimes it scared me or worked my emotions over. Though the games are similar in many ways, I’d say the stronger of the two was Midnight Shadows, for its larger map and better storyline. I’d say that if you like horror games, horror anime stories, or classic exploration survival games, then you’ll find what you need for a creepy night trying to escape the night town. 

Final Score: 8.5/10

Download Yomawari: The Long Night Collection from the Nintendo eShop here.


Purchase Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Regular Edition) from Amazon here.

Purchase Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Limited Edition) from NIS America here.

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*Review Code Provided by NIS America

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