Yuoni review for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide
Developer: Tricore
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

As someone who?s always been a little bit chicken, I?ve always struggled with horror games. At the first sign of a monster or ghost, I always just want to beeline to the nearest hiding spot and never come out. So when I booted up Yuoni and saw they had an easy mode called ?deathless?, I knew exactly how I was going to play the game.

Turns out this is a mistake, because it completely breaks the game. Your character becomes invincible, immune to all the ghosts and shades and creepy entities that haunt the school in which the game takes place. You can just run straight to the end of every level, bypassing any and all opportunities for stealth. Seeing as the whole point of Yuoni is that it?s essentially the creepiest game of hide and seek imaginable, you have to wonder why they would include a mode that takes away the most interesting part (and arguably the only part) of the game. Mind you, I doubt many people will pick up a creepy Japanese horror game and then play it on easy, so my first experience was probably atypical.

That said, the game is only marginally more interesting when you play it as intended.

It starts off promisingly, though. As noted above, the game takes place in an empty school, and you need to slowly creep your way through halls and classrooms, avoiding the ghosts that haunt the place. You have to walk carefully, avoiding accidentally nudging anything, holding your breath whenever some spirits get too close, and diving into lockers when avoiding others. The school is filled with all kinds of shadows, and a lot of them are invisible unless you?re looking at just the right angle. It?s a genuinely eerie setting.

The problem is, you soon discover that there?s not really anything else to Yuoni. The hallways all start to blend together after awhile, and there are only so many times a shade can jump out at you before it stops being frightening. Further ? and as the game notes right in its eShop description ? you don?t get to see the true ending until you beat the game twice, which means double the slowly tip-toeing your way through classrooms and corridors.

Of course, for some people that may be enough: if you?re fond of stealth horror and don?t mind a bit of shallowness, then Yuoni could be something you?ll enjoy, at least for a short time. But for anyone else, I don?t think it?ll be nearly as appealing.

Chorus Worldwide provided us with a Yuoni Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C