Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Switch) Review

A Night of Horrors

The word Yomawari roughly translates to “night watchman.” It’s an apt description of my experience with Yomawari: The Long Night Collection: patrolling a small Japanese town alone at night. In this survival horror game, monsters lurk around every corner, ready to kill. This collection compiles two games: Yomawari: Night Alone and its sequel Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. Both appear to be cute adventures at first glance, but as the old saying goes, “things aren’t always as they seem.”

 

Check out the game in action in my Video Review!

The two games in Yomawari: The Long Night Collection are standalone tales connected by the theme of a little girl trying to find a missing loved one, be it a sister or best friend. Although every chapter is built on bizarre occurrences in a small Japanese town, the deeper narrative encompassing the dark realities of emotional turmoil is what lingered in my mind. Both stories had intense expositions that hooked me from the get-go, and I remained invested with dying curiosity as the mysteries piled up.

Yomawari The Long Night Collection Switch Review
Poro, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that Yomawari is a cute game. You play as super-deformed button-eyed girls in an isometric anime world. It’s an unusual artistic choice for the survival horror genre that takes you off guard. The adorable aesthetics are juxtaposed with subdued colors and shadowy borders, teasing a constant looming presence. When I finally saw one of the grotesque spirits, I realized the game was effectively scaring me through its presentation. A mostly mute game with only a blaring rapid heartbeat and deafening screams, the ambience was perfectly set up to creep me out. My psyche was vulnerable to any threat, such as the unsettling smaller Yokai monsters or the nightmare-inducing Lovecraftian demons. I no longer felt safe in this corrupted den.

Yomawari Night Alone Nintendo Switch.jpg
Spirits lurk around every corner.

If there’s anything a survival horror should induce, it’s fear; and Yomawari’s gameplay sets it up in an effective, albeit flawed way. Unlike action-oriented games like Resident Evil, your character has no means of attack. You merely run and hide. Your run is tied to a stamina bar that depletes faster if you’re near an enemy. And you can only hide in certain areas like behind bushes or sign boards, but you lose sight of what’s happening around you. Your limited repertoire paves the way for frightening scenarios where you feel utterly helpless. There are a few helpful items like pebbles to distract spirits, but survival depends on your reflexes and stamina management.

How the monster spirits are concealed elevates the fear factor. You can only see an enemy when light shines on it, so they’re invisible in dark areas unless you can pinpoint them with your flashlight’s limited range. You may still hear nearby enemies or sense them with a small indicator of your heartbeat. This gameplay design heightens the senses, asking players to be aware of their surroundings. I was on the edge of my seat, constantly fidgeting my flashlight in circles, ready to run at a moment’s notice. Yomawari wonderfully captures that dreadful fear of the unknown.

Yomawari The Long Night Collection.jpg
Oh hey, didn’t see you there…

Sometimes survival requires conserving stamina and mastering timing to dodge enemy attacks. Other times, the key to getting past an enemy lies in learning how the monster operates. Some spirits will follow you if they hear your loud footsteps, while other ghosts may be frozen in place if you constantly face them, similarly to Boo in the Mario series. In the second game especially, there are thrilling encounters with large demons that you must outwit by cleverly manipulating objects around you. The whole game is ripe with environmental puzzles, and my heart raced when I had to solve one amidst danger.

These fear-inducing mechanics come at a cost, however. The invisible enemies work to build anxiety, but they can lead to some cheap deaths. A warning to those faint of heart: there are jump scares. Enemies suddenly appear, instantly killing you in one hit. Having almost no time to react to these faster threats and relying on frustrating trial-and-error to soldier through may be appropriately thematic, but they’re also the game’s biggest weaknesses.

Yomawari Midnight Shadows Nintendo Switch.jpg
Cut Man’s got a new look.

Luckily, Yomawari is very forgiving. Death brings you back to your last save point, and you get to keep all your items when you respawn. These save points, represented by Jizo statues, are frequent but have a pesky in-game cost to use. As a bonus, they conveniently let you warp to any other statue you’ve activated. You’ll need to use them to explore every aspect of the town, from the suburban streets to the rice paddy fields, and even inside abandoned manors. The map, which is creepily hand-drawn in crayon, isn’t always helpful and can be stressful to navigate. Unless you know where you’re going, you’ll likely get lost and die.

There are extra events outside of main missions that you may activate. These bonus episodes extend the playtime, which is otherwise around five to seven hours per game. Completionists have the freedom to fully explore the spooky town in an open-ended fashion after beating the game. Since this compilation is merely a straight port of two games without exclusive features, that’s as much replay as you’ll get.

Yomawari The Long Night Collection Nintendo Switch.jpg
Perfectly cute and nothing ominous at all here.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a unique, scary experience, Yomawari: The Long Night Collection frightens with its eerie atmosphere and tense mechanics. Every element is designed to heighten the senses and ramp up fear, even though it doesn’t always translate to solid gameplay. It’s not for everyone, but it’ll please players itching for a good horror adventure. To survive this Japanese ghost story, you don’t need precise skills – just a strong soul.

Score: 7/10

Note: A review copy was used for this article.

What are your thoughts on Yomawari: The Long Night Collection? What are your favorite survival horror games? What’s the scariest game you’ve ever played? Please be sure to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

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19 thoughts on “Yomawari: The Long Night Collection (Switch) Review

  1. Awesome review! Yikes, did that scare me! This game kinda gives me Doki Doki Literature Club vibes. It seems deceptively cute yet super creepy. And it doesn’t help that you’re basically defenseless in a world full of monsters trying to kill you. I’m not a big fan of the horror genre–because I don’t like being scared. Real life is scary enough, am I right? Yomawari is a far cry from the cuddly spirits in Yokai Watch. Loved your review, but I doubt I would ever play this game. Horror just isn’t for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support as always! Yeah, I’m not big on horror at all either, but I just had to try this out for Halloween! Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is definitely creepy, and it had jump scares that made me so uncomfortable that I was freaking out every second. But because of how cute it is and how some of the Yokai in the game don’t look that menacing, I felt a little more comfortable than if it had realistic, gory graphics. I had fun with how the game played with my senses and induced fear. And even though some of the jumps and enemies felt cheap, it didn’t feel unplayable unlike some other darker games with more frustrating level design. Thanks again for being brave and checking it out! I appreciate it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooo, that looks moody! I also like the gimmick of not being able to attack, only hide. That sounds challenging! It’s impressive that a game with such adorable art direction can be scary too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! I think you would really appreciate Yomawari as a fan of horror. It’s a great game to try out for the Halloween season, and it feels extra scary because you’re a little more helpless than in typical survival horror games where you have guns and other weapons like Resident Evil. It’s also much cuter, which is really fascinating for the genre. It’s not as scary as more realistic and gory games, but it can get very scary. I was definitely freaking out haha! Thanks for your great comments man!

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  3. I started the first game awhile ago but I made the mistake of trying to stream it, which means I had to wear headphones (which I hate), so the game was so loud, even on low volumes. Horror games are something I love, and this one really appeals, but they make me super anxious (they aren’t scary, it is the anticipation of a, “scary” thing) so I can only muster a few minutes at most usually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine wearing headphones for Yomawari and getting the full blast volume experience. The game is plenty scary enough with me far from the TV at a regular volume. And yeah, I agree that a lot of this and other horror games are the anxiety and fear of what’s to come, but I have definitely gotten messed up by some of these jump scares haha. I actually had to take long breaks to regroup after a couple of them! Were you able to finish the game or try out the second Yomawari at any point?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t had the chance to finish it yet. I got a new computer awhile back and lost most my game data. Had to reinstall it. Was kind of planning to play that and a few other titles for October but then things happened so I didn’t end up with enough time. I have the games installed though and would love to give them a play.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahh that’s a shame about the data. The same thing happened to me with all my Steam games when I changed my computers a few years back. it was upsetting… I’m sure you had a lot of good Halloween games picked out too. The Yomawari games are certainly a good fit for the season, so it’s a shame about the time and data. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I bought Yomawari during a Steam sale but I have yet to play it. Even though you say it’s flawed, it still looks like it’s worth the experience. Maybe I’ll finally try it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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