“In the old days, man tried to catch a glimpse of the future in the strangest of ways. They locked themselves in dark rooms, not partaking of food and drink. At the stroke of midnight, they ventured out into the night, through the dark woods where strange creatures roamed. To see if they would be wealthy, to see if they would be happy, to see if they would live, to see if they would be loved”. These are the opening lines of Simogo’s indie horror game, Year Walk for the Wii U. Based on 19th century Swedish folklore, the game wastes no time in setting the tone for your adventure. If you’re a fan of horror games, then turn down the lights and join me as we go on a vision quest in Year Walk.
While I won’t dive into the story due to the nature of the game, the developers at Simogo did a great job crafting an eerily atmospheric puzzle game. The art style of the game is dark and brooding, and it perfectly complements the snow-covered forest you will be exploring. Year Walk also features some pretty creepy musical tracks, and even though there are large portions of the game that are left intentionally silent, it all works together to bring you deeper into the experience.
The game play of Year Walk revolves around the use of the game pad. As you explore new areas, you will find clues hidden within the landscape and you will definitely need to make use of the in-game notepad to record everything for later use. Some puzzles will also require you to use the gyroscope to spin or pull objects, and thankfully, the gyro controls are implemented very well. The game pad even features a mini encyclopedia filled with interesting backstories on the creatures that you will come across. Not only does it help you understand how to tackle each beast, but it’s also a fun way to immerse yourself into the lore.
When you’re not using the game pad to record and decipher clues, you’ll be navigating a forest freshly covered in snow to find buildings, pathways, and other points of interest. The game takes place in a first person view, and moving left or right will move you across the landscape. Pressing up or down in certain areas will allow you to venture deeper into the forest or enter buildings.
The puzzles themselves may not be too complex, but they do require you to use the game pad in some fun ways. You’ll search through research to find hidden ciphers, use the gyroscope to pull and twist objects, and you’ll draw symbols to unlock doors. In the off chance you do get stuck, the game offers hints that guide you in the right direction with no penalty given to you should you choose to use them. It’s a nice feature to keep the story moving for those who may need it, and the fact that it is completely optional is great.
Year Walk for the Wii U is an interesting puzzle game that delves into some really interesting Swedish folklore and history. The journey you make through the game will definitely stick with you after you’ve finished the game, and the story is full of interesting twists and turns. The controls are simple and satisfying, and the puzzles are entertaining. The only pitfall the game has is with its length. Taking roughly 1-2 hours to complete, Year Walk falls into a category of games I like to call “experiences”. The journey may be incredibly short, but all of the elements come together in a way that greatly impacts you if you let yourself get immersed in the game’s story. After you’ve found both of the game’s endings, though, there won’t be any reason for you to come back to the game. If you find yourself intrigued by Year Walk’s premise, playing the game on Halloween night in the dark would be a great way to experience the story. If you’re not a fan of the horror genre, or the $6.99 price tag seems too steep for you, pass this one up.
PN Review: Year Walk Wii U
Atmospheric Horror Experience
This indie title comes together to craft an interesting story and experience, but the game’s short length and lack of replayability is something to consider before purchasing.