Parents' Guide to

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Scare-focused game too frustrating to be fun, enjoyable.

Game PlayStation 4 , Windows 2017
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School Poster Image

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This remake of a 2001 horror game is ruined by its extreme difficulty, its frustrating gameplay, and random trial-and-error sequences. For what it is, White Day: A Labyrinth Named School still stands as an unusual horror game unlike anything else being made today. Intriguingly, this game bucks the trend of most horror games and takes a page from the old Alien movies, understanding that it's far more scary to anticipate what's around the corner than to know full well. This game is very clearly meant to be played alone with the lights off and headphones on. Not only are you completely defenseless, but when you're caught by the Big Bad (a cursed janitor), you have little chance of surviving. When you're not being pursued by him and lucky enough to get away, you're scouring the school for documents, clues, and tools.

This can make for some pretty unsettling and, honestly, frustrating moments. Unless you play on the easiest difficulty, the janitor is simply too overpowered with unfair advantages, making the game almost unplayable. There seems to be an expectation that players have this game memorized, since the janitor can find you during cut-scenes and while solving time-sensitive puzzles. One could argue this makes the game that much scarier, but it also makes it spiteful. This is exacerbated by sequences that give you a break before you "fight" a boss and focus all your energy on them. But some moments require tons of trial and error to realize what you did wrong and where, because if you take a single hit you die and have to try all over again. It's unfortunate there's so much in the way preventing you from being able to play and get better at what's here, because everything else is a refreshing change of pace. Dialogue sequences with other students (though not translated as well as they could have been) branch in interesting ways and reflect the way conversations really work. When you're by yourself, you certainly feel hunted. Unfortunately, you'll have little time to enjoy that feeling, because you'll be smacked down and forced to try again. There are a lot of promising ideas at play here, but it just doesn't quite gel in a way that makes you want to stick with it.

Game Details

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