Year Walk - Review
Explaining Year Walk makes little sense and would spoil all the taste it reserves for its "visitors". To put it in two words and not to risk that the review lasts longer than the game itself, it is a horror with a more modern and faster control system than any Resident Evil: to move, just browse the disturbing landscape in the desired direction (where possible). It might seem like a point-and-click adventure (or rather swipe & slide) and in practice it is, but it is also so "dynamic" that it transcends the genre of belonging and its own control system. Believe me: you will spend a night of "pleasant torment", frantically browsing Year Walk with enthusiasm and insane madness, like acid junkies who leaf through old EA Poe books. Mirabile!
After the game of the two newlyweds in a wheelchair (Bumpy Road), the other of the alien muffin (Kosmo Spin) and the musical stealth (Sneak Beat Bandit) - excellent games, moreover - in front of the new of Simogo (two guys like us, but Swedish) you will be astonished, bewildered and circumspect. You will struggle with it, losing yourself countless times and not fully understanding (indeed, not at all) the reason for all this. You will get stuck in the snow, you will get desperate and you will start to circle in circles, with the anxiety of someone who is chased by someone or - worse still - by something. Then you will be horrified, you will shiver, you will literally get under it, you will curse its riddles and you will discover on your skin (goose) that an iPad can very well be enough to terrify.
Don't be fooled by the simplistic trait: Year Walk works!
To tell the truth, in Year Walk there is never a sudden fright (I'm lying), but a continuous and persistent disturbance. Year Walk is hallucination, alienating bewilderment, total immersion in those perverse virtual woods and a game that is quite "new", which also leaves room for flashes of lucidity (it will be necessary to solve its puzzles). There is no hud or game interface, there is not even a map to find your way around (you will have to do something else) and don't worry if at first you will stare at the screen for five minutes like perfect imbeciles, waiting for the nothing, perhaps from the cold or bronchitis. It's normal, after all we are used to pressing some Start. Year Walk, on the other hand, is pure multisensory and decidedly paranormal experience, but above all it is the videogame transposition of the ancient Swedish tradition called Årsgång, according to which men of faith, after a day of fasting, wander through the woods on the night of the end of the year in looking for visions, to know your future. A similar advantage has a price: to face a series of unpleasant events and riddles that put the chills, between malignant presences, vodoo dolls and levitating spirits.
Tim Burton's wife.
Inside Year Walk is David Lynch, there is a woman who looks terribly like Helena Bonham Carter, there is Bob and a whole series of irrational fears that I am not here to tell you, ancestral fears, crammed behind the glass of an iPad. I will tell you more: in certain moments you will be afraid not only to browse the landscape with your index finger, but also to hold the tablet in your hand. The audio will "make things worse", since it will penetrate your soul, will make your skin crawl with extremely distressing sounds and will test you with certain acoustic puzzles of which it is better not to say too much (just know that you will need a good ear). The view, on the other hand, will be totally enraptured by the refined simplicity of the backdrops and by the rough yet disturbing, practically perfect stretch between the horror tale and Laura Palmer.
For these reasons, Year Walk must be played in a single session, on the most suitable night and not at any time of the day. Get ready to shiver and squeeze your brains, because there will be no one in the woods to help you. Together with the game, Simogo has published a mini Companion, or a short illustrated digital notebook (with English text) on Nordic mythology, which provides information on all the figures and symbols of Scandinavian folklore.
Lorenzo Antonelli, editor of IGN Italia, was skeptical, did not believe that his iPad could frighten him, and instead it was just like that. Thanks to Year Walk. He's still shaking, make him curl up next to you on Facebook.