Critical Play: Mysteries

Who does not appreciate an ancient Swedish ritual?

The audio and visual mechanics of the game support the narrative of unknowns. Year Walk opening music is earie and is repeated at different times throughout the game. The black back drop with white text helps set the stage for the game that is filled with mystery and suspense. There is a dimming effect during the game. It is almost a flickering of a light that happens every second or so, when your character is stationary. If one looks, there is a darkened almost slight tunnel experience that is magnified by the four corners which have a darkened layer. Even when you are stationary your vision is not. The camera moves slightly up and down. The combination of stationary camera movement coupled with the flickering creates a spooky visual experience. This experience is highlighted, brought forth and extenuated by steady echoing of wind which calls out and dies on a repeating basis.

When a player moves there is a crunching sound of almost boots against the snow. The crunchy sound also happens all the time regardless of the terrain. As I write this, my arms have goose bumps. The trees immediately in front of you are dark, almost black, yet the trees a short distance away are much lighter in disposition. It felt like the moments of complete silence added to the mystery and anticipation. One could argue that the game design seems minimalistic and the artistic interactions creates a juxtaposition that scares you all the more because you’re not anticipating it when it happens. The doll is creepy. A player can also turn the doll head. And the lady of the snow is frightening. Lockbox and puzzles are challenging and require, sometimes, trial and error. If possible, consider the companion pack which provides more of a historical context while playing the game. It is spine-chilling when the blood drips from the women at the end.

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