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iPad App Video Review: Year Walk

by Andrew Koziara

After the lovely Bumpy Road and the funky Beat Sneak Bandit, Simogo has decided to change up the pace with a bit of unsettling, unnerving, absolutely creepy, isolated first person adventure puzzling based on a particularly horrifying piece of Swedish mythology. Year Walk is the name of said game, and it lives up to all of the hype created by the trailers. With a unique perspective, elegant design, and all the iconic, memorable, terrifying mythological imagery your retinas can handle, this is a must buy.

Based on the Swedish myth of the same name, Year Walk is about people who isolate themselves and completely fast for a full day before going to the local church at midnight. Supposedly, if they make it, they'll get to see the future at a very high price. And a bit of lightheadedness and weakness isn't their only worry on the road. There are plenty of devilish monsters waiting for you along your journey.

This is actually a first person game, in which you swipe the camera left and right, moving forward and backward through different planes as you play. The music is moody and used appropriately, often allowing the sound of footsteps in the snow act as your only soundtrack. You'll have to solve various puzzles to progress, but the more puzzles you solve, the more the landscape around you changes, and the next thing you know, you can't even find your cottage anymore. Through excellent sound design and a few, occasional, earned jump scares, this game can scare the pants off of you if you let it, though wearing headphones and playing in the dark will probably help. No one can deny that the game is at least completely unsettling, and gets into your head at some point without you even realizing it.

Year WalkThe art style is simply excellent and only adds to the unnerving feeling this imagery will illicit. It can occasionally feel like there is too little direction or help for the player, but most of these games have that problem at some point. Most of the time, it was completely manageable. What I really love about this game is that it gives us a slice of another culture's horror, which I always find fascinating to explore. If you also enjoy that aspect, you can download the Year Walk Companion for free, featuring explanations and entries on all sorts of horrors and symbols. Otherwise, you can download the iOS Universal Year Walk for four dollars at the time of this review. I recommend it completely.

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