Yomawari Midnight Shadows Review
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita*, PC
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: 10/24/17
Thank You NIS America for A Review Copy of this Game
It’s that time of the year again – horror games are releasing and this year brings us Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. Yomawari Midnight Shadows is the sequel to Yomawari: Night Alone. This time, the game features dual protagonists: Haru and Yui and it’s in a new town. Haru and Yui go to a mountain to view the fireworks. On their descent from the mountain they get separated, with the main story of the game getting them back together.
Like the game before it, Midnight Shadows is an adventure game that takes place in the city in the middle of the night. Here, spirits all roam free. Most of them will kill you just by touching them. Others will either slow you down or impair your vision for a moment. The only defense mechanisms you have are your flashlight which will either stop enemies from coming towards you or at the very least, makes them visible to you. If you can’t find a hiding spot, you can find rocks to throw and distract the spirits and trash bags to have a quick hiding spot it if you need it.
In terms of storytelling the game is split in two parts. For the first part of every chapter, you’ll be playing as Haru trying to escape whatever situation she finds herself in. These events are very short but do provide you clues on Haru’s whereabouts. For the remainder of the chapter, you’ll be playing as Yui. Both Yui and Haru play exactly the same, however Yui has the ability to wear charms that’ll make her run faster or be able to carry more rocks and much more. If by some reason if you can’t hear the spirits around you, there is another way telling if they’re nearby. The game gives another audio/visual cue by having the screen pulse and the sound of the girl’s heartbeat. The closer you are to an enemy the faster the pulse.
While the story in both Midnight Shadows and Night Alone are roughly the same, Midnight Shadow’s story feels oddly shallow in comparison. It doesn’t come across as gut punching as its predecessor. While both games are hellish nightmares, the story Midnight Shadows tries to tell goes along the lines of “wow this is pretty messed up” versus the genuine horror that was Night Alone. Outside of a seemingly lesser story, everything else is much better. Despite having a larger map, the game is much more straightforward in regards of where to go so getting or feeling lost is much less likely. There are more puzzles and boss-like enemies to face as well.
The atmosphere is generally the same as from the previous game. This new town is just as lively with spirits everywhere. A lot of them new as well which is really refreshing. Although the disappointing part of the game is that a lot assets in regards to the town have been reused. Although the map layout itself is completely different from the original.
In the end, as much I enjoy this game it feels too safe to a point where it almost feels manufactured and everything could almost be expected. It certainly plays to all of the original’s strengths which is cool, but at the same time it doesn’t do anything different outside of adding sub-areas and more interesting bosses. If there is a 3rd game, I’d certainly love to play it, but I’d hope it doesn’t become a three-peat. That said Yomawari Midnight Shadows is definitely a worthwhile sequel to the original game, and a great play for your upcoming Halloween binge session.
+ Aesthetically Pleasing
– Too close to the original
– Frame rate issues