“Yomawari lost in the Dark”, the test: cute to scare

In the ideal tempo for Halloween, a rather improbable Japanese game was released, a new iteration of the “Yomawari” series, which is not very well known in our latitudes. Imagine a game of ghosts, or even horror, all pretty, all chibi!

Let’s stay a bit in the Halloween atmosphere, as classic as possible, a childish party, with monsters that we don’t always know whether to laugh at or shudder at. Third episode available from the Serie Yomawarithe two previous ones having been the subject of a small compilation, this Lost in the Dark will seduce the player at first glance with splendid chibi graphics.





Characters with large heads and small bodies that look like they came out of a figurine store, cityscapes teeming with detail, top notch lighting and haze effectsthis game is technically not revolutionary but is still probably the most polished Nippon Ichi Software has released for a very long time.

Alone in the city

Series Yomawari is faithful to its traditions moreover for this new opus, and its principle is rather close to that of silent Hill
: a defenceless, or rather unarmed, being immersed in a supernatural world hostile with trappings of corrupted normality.

A little girl, whose gender and some accessory colors can be visually manipulated in a concise character editor, wakes up here in the middle of the night in her city, deserted by humans except for a little girl with mysterious words , but invaded by poltergeists, devourers or slaughterers. She has until six in the morning to lift the curse that weighs on her shoulders, even if the “real time” aspect is not a concern here. and that you can walk around the game without worrying about the clock.

Above all, the atmosphere

The introduction immerses us in a recurring theme in current Japanese games: the character is a victim of school bullyingand the tutorial of basic movements, which makes you suffer without being able to react to the insults of your classmates, installs a feeling of unease which seems, paradoxically, to dissipate once the supernatural intervenes in the plot.

Strange feeling, especially since the atmosphere is not left out. This exploration game, in a three-quarter top view, relies heavily on the atmospherethe controller transcribing the heartbeat of the character who gets carried away by a sudden appearance.

Palpitations and closed eyelids

Without appealing to very horrific aspects, Yomawari seeks to startle you when a giant yet harmless spider invades the screen with its web, and the throbbing will tend to accelerate in accordance with the pulsations of the controller. It’s crafty, but effective as a concept. The game pays particular attention to sound, recommending the use of headphones, and to settle into the feeling, also brings a little visual novelty.

It actually goes as far as have your character walk around with your eyes closed (therefore on an almost black screen), where only degraded and partial lighting remains) to avoid visual contact with spirits. Moreover, the dead will not make you shudder, since only a screen with hemoglobin squirts will mark your death. The frustration will come rather from your return to a distant save point, the latter passing through statues requiring an offering, and therefore the possession of coins to glean over the course of your adventure.

Basic gameplay

The result of this action-adventure game that sometimes explains a lot to you, and sometimes lets you navigate an urban area without too many indications, is spellbinding, especially for newcomers to the series. The fact that twists and variations of gameplay, in the form of puzzles to solve to progress in one of your objectives, are there regularly improves gameplay that remains a little too rudimentary. Indeed, apart from avoiding demons, picking up objects and performing a few contextual actions, we are in overdrive on that side. It’s all the more remarkable to have produced an engaging game under these conditions.

WE LOVE :

A real visual success

Small gameplay treats (eyes closed, controller pulses)

Adult themes in a fairly low PEGI game

WE LIKE LESS:

Whole swaths of gameplay with rudimentary handling

Some good ideas are underutilized and do not lend themselves to consequence

Not translated into French

THE SCORE: 16/20

A Nippon ichi Software game on PS4, Switch and PC, approx. €40. 12 years and over.

“Yomawari lost in the Dark”, the test: cute to scare