Year Walk

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Year Walk Game Poster Image
Macabre walk through dark side of Swedish mythology.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Not necessarily any message here. Main character is trying to divine his fate by taking part in an old ritual.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Entire purpose of main character taking the Year Walk is a selfish motive. The woman he loves has been proposed to by another man; he's trying to find out what will happen. Every action done to find out if he will wind up with her in the end.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to use. Note feature helps with clues, codes in game.

Violence

Quite a bit of disturbing, macabre content, moments of violence, blood when working through puzzles, defending against forces against you. But simple, almost paper-craft style of game diminishes overall impact of violence.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Year Walk is a downloadable horror adventure game where players step into the role of a young man taking part in an old Swedish ritual, the titular "Year Walk," to divine his future. The game is very dark and macabre, with many disturbing themes that likely would be too much for younger players. But the paper-craft nature of the visuals keep the impact of the violence from becoming too intense.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byknifeandfork October 19, 2015

Moderate horror, occasional bloody images

There is no visible violence in Year Walk, but the theme is very dark and the ending particularly disturbing. Most of the story is left to the imagination, as n... Continue reading

What's it about?

In old Swedish mythology, the Årsgång ("Year Walk") was a ritual that involved a person who had been isolated without food, drink, or light taking a midnight trek to church to divine his or her future. In YEAR WALK, players take on the role of a man seeking out the ultimate fate of his relationship with his love, a woman from another class who has been proposed to by another man. During his Year Walk, the man comes face to face with a number of supernatural creatures who challenge his determination and his resolve.

Is it any good?

From a gameplay perspective, this is a superb presentation and an immersive experience great for telling an interactive story, surrounded by dark imagery. It's a beautiful-looking game with a unique style, emphasized by a haunting score and eerie sounds. Using the Wii U gamepad to keep track of notes, learn interesting facts, and interact with the environment is a phenomenal way to pull the gamer into this world. The question is whether or not this is really a world to let yourself get pulled into.

Make no mistake about it, Year Walk is a dark and macabre game. It's not blood or gore that makes this a horror story. It's the psychological aspect that makes it so unsettling. Every detail, from the gray color palette to the sounds of the fresh snow crunching beneath your feet (or the feet of something following you), is meant to evoke a sense of dread and gloom. The disturbing creatures you meet on your walk feel like something out of a fever dream. And yet all this pales in comparison to the actual story itself, which only gets darker and darker as you go on. Stories of drowned children, murders, and even suicides leave you hoping to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And just when you think you've made it to the finale, there's still an ordeal to come.  When the end of the game finally comes, it's hard not to feel the urge to hug a puppy and call a therapist.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coping mechanics. What are positive, healthy ways to help deal with difficult emotional issues?

  • Talk about cultural beliefs. What are some of the beliefs and rituals that other cultures observe or have observed in the past?

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