Reviews

Year Walk review: iPad horror-puzzle game out-smarts the Slender Man

An incredible showcase for the potential of tablet games

When was the last time that a game made you feel genuinely smart? When was the last time a game truly made use of the capabilities of the device that it was running on? Braid? Fez? The original Metal Gear Solid's Psycho Mantis fight? For us, it was last night when we finished Year Walk.

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The story is based on Swedish myth. According to folklore, men would spend all day indoors in pitch-black darkness, before heading into the forest at night on a spiritual stroll that allowed them to see one year into the future - a Year Walk. You take part in a Year Walk, but to tell you any more about it would spoil the game's excellent, twisting plot.

Navigating the icy forest - which is presented in a lovely art style behind a pleasing 'grainy filter' - is handled via a selection of screen-swipes, and most of the time, the only sound you hear is the crunching of your boots in the snow. Most of the time. There are both shocks and creeping scares in here, along with some disturbing revelations that begin to surface as you travel deeper into the game.

What really makes the game stand out, though, is the way it asks you to solve its puzzles. There's no tutorial, and traditional game logic doesn't apply here - you need to think about all the capabilities of your iPad. The only clue we'll give you is that Year Walk isn't afraid to break the fourth-wall...There's a companion app too, which you really should download. Its main purpose is to provide a bit of background to the game. Its main purpose...

While Year Walk isn't that substantial, and may only last you a couple of hours, it's an incredible showcase for the potential of tablet games and will undoubtedly become influential over the next few years. Its conundrums will baffle you, and frustrate at times as you constantly attempt to apply traditional puzzle-game logic to progress - but the self-gratifying pay-off of solving them is immense. Get to the end and you'll truly feel as if you've gone on a journey and learned something new about the way you play games. Not bad for £2.49, right?

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The verdict

Scary, beautiful, atmospheric and incredibly smart - an essential mobile game that shows off the true potential of iPad.

  • Looks and sounds hauntingly beautiful
  • Puzzles are incredibly well designed
  • Very smart use of iPad's features
  • Great story, well told
  • It's a bit short
9
Format
Apple iPhone
Developer
Unknown
Publisher
Unknown
Genre
Adventure

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