Yomawari is one of Nippon Ichi Software’s more unique experiences. These experiences are primarily built on paranoia and fear, making them unsettling. With the latest adventure, Yomawari: Lost in the Dark, we once again need to explore a city, find answers and, most importantly, survive. With the lessons of several titles and more powerful systems behind them, is Yomawari: Lost in the Dark a haunting good time, or is it terrifyingly wrong?
Editor’s Note: due to the nature of Yomawari: Lost in the Dark, there will be some spoilers. We tried to keep all images and examples to the earliest part of the game, though if you want to go in completely blind, you might want to skip straight to the verdict.
Yomawari: Lost in the Dark starts with the main character being teased mercilessly by their classmates. It’s a depressing prologue that continues to build to a dark conclusion, especially for anyone bullied in school. Following that, players end up in a mysterious location that is creepy and weird. Eventually, you’ll find a woman you knew in the past that will cryptically explain that you’re cursed and knew her and how to break the curse in the past. However, before breaking the curse, you need to remember what happened in the past.
Following this, players will find a couple of clues that point them to specific locations. Each location will have a series of terrifying puzzles you must solve to make it out alive. It makes for an exciting narrative because it feeds into the core concept.
Am I About to Die?
Everything about Yomawari: Lost in the Dark is centered on leaving players unsure what will happen next. This is why players are advised to wear headphones before starting with some unusual warnings. This is accomplished in a couple of different ways.
The most common approach is the sound of impending doom. This could be the stomp of a giant creature approaching or just the eerie dribble of a rubber ball that gradually increases in volume. Along with the sounds, players will hear their hearts beat louder and faster while also feeling their controller rumble to the beat. It comes together perfectly to make the experience much more than just what you see, often concluding with nothing happening.
Beware the Eye
Other times players will see a terrifying image that is entirely harmless, get startled by a shocking jump scare, or be haunted by red footprints that slowly advance before going away. Plenty of monsters and tricks can also result in your grim demise. You’ll never quite know what to expect from Yomawari: Lost in the Dark, and, as a result, it makes every fear-inducing element that much more effective.
This being said, enjoyment also hinges on what type of experience resonates with you. Speaking for myself, I found many actual tricks, hit, and miss. For example, one section requires you to constantly evade a monster, which feels more tedious than terrifying. Many things also lose their punch long term, as you slowly learn what a threat, trick, and just spooky is.
In addition, the linear nature takes away from the exploration aspect. A general sequence of events must unlock new sections or objectives. Most tasks have a single solution, so it’s mostly trial and error until you click the right button or walk to the correct location.
Yomawari: Lost in the Dark Review Verdict
Yomawari: Lost in the Dark: Yomawari: Lost in the Dark is a good horror game. You're never quite sure what will happen, and the wide variety of tricks keeps things interesting. This makes it a fantastic choice if you want to be terrified or play through a very unsettling game. That being said, if you're not easily afraid or are looking for an experience that isn't entirely survival based, you'll probably hate Yomawari: Lost in the Dark. – Grant