Review – Yomawari: The Long Night Collection

Looks can definitely be deceiving, and Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is the perfect embodiment of this expression. I had little idea of what those games were prior to playing them, despite the two other titles in this collection and I think that was for the best. Those games caught me off guard like very few have managed to do so far and thanks to them, I’m probably going to have a hard time sleeping tonight.


The face I used to make when I mom asked about my grades in high school.

The Yomawari games might star adorable chibi-like Japanese schoolgirls, you might initially have dogs as companions, and the menus might be made out of paper and crayons, but this is definitely no cute video game. Dear lord, I wasn’t expecting Yomawari: The Long Night Collection to be a collection of somber horror titles of all things and I certainly wasn’t expecting games starring little girls straight out of your favorite RPG Maker preset to actually scare me. And on the Switch, of all consoles!

As previously stated, the game is best enjoyed without knowing what to expect from it. I won’t consider this a spoiler, just a little appetizer of how the first game starts off. Well, you’re walking your dog and then the poor fleabag gets run over by a truck. Yep, just like that, the first Yomawari game proceeds to mistreat your feelings and play with your nervousness all throughout its duration, as things just get weirder and weirder from then onwards. The second game, Midnight Shadows, makes the first one look tame in comparison.


A great case of parallax scrolling.

The Yomawari games follow the same type of gameplay you’d expect from a horror game like Amnesia or Outlast. That means that you have absolutely no way to defend yourself against monsters chasing after you. Your only way to survive is by running away, as well as throwing some items in order to distract the beasts. Unlike the frustrating Outlast 2, you’re clearly running away from enemies much stronger than you, so the game never felt unfair. Hiding inside bushes was another tense moment in its own right, as you have to pray the enemies won’t notice you inside of them and that will be shown onscreen due to very loud heartbeats to make you even more anxious.

Very few items are at your disposal. You have a flashlight that illuminates rocks and coins that can be offered on little shrines in order to save your game, as well as some special charms in the case of the second game. These charms can help you by increasing your stamina and speed, which runs out pretty quickly during chase sequences. However, it can often be seen as a hassle as it attracts enemies.


Aw, he looks so friendly…

Technically speaking, both Yomawari games are really impressive, given their limitations as games originally released for the limited hardware of the Playstation Vita. While the human characters don’t look much different from one another, as well as being fairly simplistic, their animations are excellent. The monster design is gross, absolutely grotesque in fact, and that’s the best praise I can give. The hand-drawn environments are the star of the show, however, with special praise to some of the backgrounds present in the second Yomawari game. That game’s intro featured one of the absolutely best instances of parallax scrolling I’ve ever seen in a game.

The games are, for the most part, very silent. In one way, that’s great to showcase how isolated you are during gameplay and it surely made the heartbeats sound even more intimidating. Then again, I wish the game had a bit more sound in it. There is no voice acting, very little music, as well as not many sound effects. There are loud noises accompanying the occasional jump scares though.


Ugh, I’ll call an Uber next time.

Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is one of the best horror experiences you’ll find on the Nintendo Switch, even though its cutesy looks might indicate otherwise. I tried to be as vague as possible with the story and any other plot details, as the fact I had little to no idea of what to expect made the game even more memorable for me. Bear in mind the fact that this is essentially a collection of two Vita titles, therefore not being the most impressive technical achievements you’ll see on your Switch, but playing those two games on your TV with the lights out was a great experience. It’s not often that I recommend playing a Switch game on docked mode, but Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is an exception.

Graphics: 8.5

Cutesy chibi characters mixed with grotesque monsters and hand-drawn environments. The second Yomawari game features some of the best cases of parallax scrolling I’ve ever seen in a game.

Gameplay: 8.0

Standard top-down controls. The characters can’t do much other than run away and solve simple puzzles, but their controls are responsive.

Sound: 6.5

The games are silent for the most part. There aren’t many sound effects and there’s no voice acting whatsoever. The heartbeat sound effects are pretty good, though.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It might be the typical type of horror game that’ll leave you defenseless for the most part of your journey, but the setting and bizarre stories are way worth the experience.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is available now on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Yomawari: The Long Night Collection was provided by the publisher.