Developer: Simogo
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Simogo has made a name on the App Store for themselves by creating stylish games that operate in a way that’s just a little bit different from the rest of the App Store. Year Walk is a haunting adventure that tells a strange story, seemingly influenced by Swedish folklore, that’s their best title yet.

At the request of Simogo, I’m going to be very vague in discussing anything about the game’s story or premise as they don’t want the story to be spoiled at all. I don’t want to spoil any of it either–this particular mystery is best experienced personally.

Players go on a ‘year walk’, begun when a person fasts, locks themselves in the dark on a key day like New Year’s Eve, and then leaves their room at midnight to go on a mystical quest with strange creatures and visions of the future.

Year Walk’s controls involve dragging hoizontally to move left and right through a layer of a landscape, then swiping up or down at certain spots to move to a new layer of the world. Just a word of warning: it’s very easy to get lost and confused as to where everything is. The game does set out to scare the player at occasional moments, and it does throw the occasional sudden surprise, but overall it’s all about the dark mood, not knowing what could be next. There are interactive elements that reveal clues to the puzzles, and several sections that require multitouch. While the game is seemingly iPhone-compatible, it definitely feels like it’s meant for a bigger iPad screen.

There’s a pervasive and well-built mythology throughout the game, one that is given additional detail in the Year Walk Companion app, which is a must-have along with the game for shedding light on the mythology encountered throughout.

There hasn’t really been a game that incorporates this kind of mystery and mythology so well since Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, and even then, Year Walk manages to avoid that game’s weaker moments it existed as a ‘game’, and not just an engrossing piece of interactive fiction. Year Walk manages to even play on its ‘game’ aspects in certain clever moments. While it is mysterious, it is also accessible, meant to let players who are paying attention to discover its secrets. It’s somewhat short, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome, just enough to make its point. Take periodic notes throughout, they will help. Do be sure to take some periodic notes throughout, they will definitely help.

Year Walk is a fantastic experience that’s going to stick with me for a while. It’s haunting, mysterious, and is a must-play for those willing to stomach the dark tale it weaves. This is Simogo’s magnum opus.

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