Companies seem to relish the opportunity to bring older games to the Nintendo Switch. One of those companies is NIS America, as it has already brought Disgaea 1 Complete and Disgaea 5 Complete to the platform. Now, it is doing the same thing in October 2018 with Yomawari: The Long Night Collection, a compilation containing Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. But what are these games? What should you know about them?
Getting to know Yomawari
Every Yomawari game shares several things in common. The games are always set at night, in a town and its surrounding areas that are filled with otherworldly spirits that tend to be malicious. They involve a young woman or young women searching for someone else. The heroines are not really capable of fighting the ghosts, which means they must instead use their wits to solve puzzles or find strategically placed bushes and hiding spots where they can stow away until the threat passes.
Each Yomawari game is not for the faint-hearted. Serious game elements, like abuse, neglect, suicide and self-harm are brought up in text as part of the lore or shown on screen. The games are not about jump-scares, but rather are designed to be more thrilling and unsettling. Atmosphere is a big deal here. Also, if you are interested in Japanese mythology, some of the creatures appear similar to various yokai.
Finally, both games so far have featured a Mr. Yomawari. This is a spirit that is known to have two forms and appear from time to time. Its one form shows it as a black blob with a single closed eye and tentacles holding sacks. Its other form is a hunk of pink meat with appendages, an open mouth that covers its entire body, and that same closed eye inside of its mouth. Its motivations are unknown. Sometimes, it is shown kidnapping or attempting to attack people, while other times it will just watch.
How many Yomawari games are there?
NIS has only made two so far, both of which are bundled into Yomawari: The Long Night Collection. The two games are connected. The towns neighbor each other, and you will eventually see people from the first game in the second. People should absolutely play Night Alone before Midnight Shadows, as the original game is less frightening, has very little gore, is not as depressing and does a good job of introducing concepts.
Yomawari: Night Alone (PlayStation Vita, PC and Nintendo Switch).
A young woman and her dog, Poro, go out for a walk when the unthinkable happens. They were walking along a road, a car came along and, well, you can see where this is going. When the girl returns home alone, her older sister goes out into the night to see if she can find the missing dog. However, both the sister and dog are soon both gone. It is up to players to help this young woman find her sister.
However, her town is entirely different at night. Monsters roam around and areas that should be accessible, aren’t. You need to explore areas, use a flashlight and other tools to make it through areas and be very aware of your surrounding. If you can survive the night, you might find her missing sibling.
Yomawari: Midnight Shadows (PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC and Nintendo Switch)
Players find themselves in a new town on a new night. Two friends, Haru and Yui, are watching their last fireworks display together before Haru moves away. When walking down the mountain, something happens that causes the two to stop holding hands. They are separated. It is up to the player to help them reunite.
Yomawari: Midnight Shadows takes the concepts from the first game and adds to it by allowing us to see things from two perspectives. Each young woman is going through different things. One’s actions might impact the other’s. It also raises the stakes by putting people in a bloodier world.
What else should you play if you like Yomawari?
NIS America has only released two Yomawari games so far, but has also released two other games that feel similarly. These are htoL#NiQ and A Rose in the Twilight, both of which are available for the PlayStation Vita and PC. Unlike the Yomawari games, which have you solving puzzles and exploring a 3D space in a horrific environment, these are both 2D games where you need to solve puzzles with the help of a second entity to survive. You’re still using your brain, just in a different way. Also, they feel as though they have similar themes, as all three are dark, have supernatural leanings and leave you feeling like it is your character against the world.
As a bonus, people who purchased a physical PlayStation Vita copy or digital PC collector’s edition of Yomawari: Night Alone already have one of those games! NIS America included htoL#NiQ with both of them.
There is also the upcoming The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. It is more along the same lines as htoL#NiQ and A Rose in the Twilight in terms of gameplay, since the player is acting as the Liar Princess guiding the Blind Prince. However, it has a similar artistic style and its story similarly touches on supernatural and otherworldly creatures. It will be heading to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in 2019.