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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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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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.
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