Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is a compilation of two survival horror games: Yomawari: Night Alone and its sequel Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. These games were developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America in Europe and North America, with Night Alone releasing in 2016 and Midnight Shadows in 2017 for the PlayStation Vita. Now Switch owners can bundle up with a blanket and experience the terror themselves!
Both Yomawari games follow the same style of gameplay. You play as an adorable chibi-styled girl, and somewhere near the start of the game a traumatic event happens. In turn you must go out into your town over the course of a night with just your backpack and a flashlight. You try to survive as you look to resolve the problem you are burdened with at the beginning of the game. But the streets of this town are not silent, as demonic aberrations are everywhere and are not afraid to ruin your night by gruesomely attacking and killing you. You must employ clever sneaking skills to make it through the night alive, but more often than not you will end up ditching sneaking for the straight forward path of running as fast you can to the nearest hiding place to evade these monsters. If you cannot evade the monsters and one manages to touch you, it’s Game Over, Man! Game Over! You will need to start back at the last shrine you saved at, so proceed with caution.
In Yomawari: Midnight Shadows this style of gameplay plays near perfectly as it is very flushed out and designed extremely well, but with Night Alone there were many times where I wanted to rip my hair out. Two major issues became prevalent as I continued my playthrough: monsters having hitboxes larger than their character model, and boss mechanics that made it very difficult to progress. Most of the time I felt I needed more luck than skill to progress any further. It was so infuriating that I had two separate points in which I could not get past a section and was very close to just stopping and not finishing the game, with one being about a third of the way through and the other being at about the two thirds mark. But both times, I had a stroke of luck that got me past them and allowed me to continue. This problem is not present in the second game, so obviously the developers learned from their mistakes and it’s clearly the better of the two games in this collection.
Both Yomawari games have large and full worlds. Your home base is your house in which you can return to save, or in the case of Midnight Shadows, change your special item that will help you traverse the world. Once you leave your house, you will find yourself in an unmapped town. To reveal the map, you must travel around the town and discover the areas you haven’t been to. The whole town is full of collectible items to add to your stash, each giving you small bits of information of the lore for the town. It becomes easier to traverse later in the game as you can fast travel between the shrines you use as checkpoints as you discover them.
One thing that this series does very well is use dark themes and implements them in very effective ways. It utilizes twisted subjects that many games shy away from as storytelling devices. This is especially true with Midnight Shadows. Within a few minutes of starting up both games, you will be shook to the core with the intense scenes that both games kick off with. The beginning of the first game was so shocking that I had to take a solid few minutes to recover from the whiplash I was hit with to continue playing. Night Alone did not carry these themes as well throughout the game as its sequel did, but it definitely had moments that were quite impactful. Midnight Shadows truly uses its dark themes and topics to move along its story in an amazing way. I have not played many games that delve into the topics that this game does, and it does so spectacularly.
I really enjoy the overall presentation of Yomawari: The Long Night Collection. It has a unique and interesting aesthetic that plays well with the feel of the game. You have the adorable design of the main characters and the cutesy menus, but these are contrasted with the uncomfortable and creepy demons and unsettling world. As has been the case throughout, Night Alone is the weak link here, with Midnight Shadows having better looking enemies and an overall better graphic quality to it.
A very striking aspect of both these games that is noticeable from the start is the distinct lack of background music anywhere other than the main menu and ending credits. These games use ambiance as a very powerful tool to establish the eerie and creepy feeling the developers were going for. The sound effects are nothing special, especially in Night Alone, but in truth the fact that the sounds aren’t quite the best in quality lend to the game’s atmosphere very well.
Overall, this collection is an experience of decent highs, but very low lows. I just wanted to be done with Yomawari: Nigh Alone after about two hours. The game dragged on with little story development, and the issues that plagued it really hurt the experience of the whole collection. I very much enjoyed Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, and if this game were by itself, I could give you an easy answer, but since this is a collection, I have a hard time giving it the praise it deserves. If you are planning on purchasing this, make sure you are ok with purchasing a very good game while knowing that you are also paying extra for a mediocre game. For the buying price of $39.99 I can’t say it is worth it. If the Yomawari games are released separately on the eShop, I would greatly recommend getting Midnight Shadows, but as is I would recommend waiting for a sale before springing for the collection.
Yomawari: The Long Night Collection Review
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
Although one of the games is quite fun to play, the other is an exercise in frustration that drags down the entire collection. If they are sold separately in the future, purchase Midnight Shadows, as it’s the best one of the two. Otherwise wait for a sale before checking the collection out.
Austin Eastwood has been a gamer since childhood starting during the Playstation 2 era. He enjoys everything gaming, from JRPGs to competitive shooters. He also boasts his perfect competitive record in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, in which he won his first game against a friend and never played the game again.