. Were I to sum up my feelings on my time with Year Walk, I could think of no other term or phrase that better exemplifies my experience. In the brief time that it takes to complete this surreal journey, I could barely pull myself away from my computer.
Year Walk is a story of a Love that cannot be, and a man who seeks to know if his love may ever be returned in kind. What follows is a bizarre foray into Scandinavian folklore, of moving through time itself to see one’s future, and facing the terrifying creatures that block your path.
You’re limited to a two dimensional plane, from which you can move left and right, and to and from connected planes . The entirety of the map is relatively small, with around a dozen or so total planes from which you can move about freely. Given the game’s previous touch screen interface, it’s important to remember as such while trying to figure out puzzles. The game expects you to move your cursor like you would your finger, often quickly and in succession. Mind you, this never becomes a problem, as there are no reflexive puzzles to speak. I just feel it’s worth keeping in mind, as first starting out, it felt a bit odd solving puzzles in that manner using a standard mouse.
Given this title’s origins on mobile platforms, it is important to know that any limitations this may bring to its mechanics do not extend to its presentation. The world you explore is gorgeous, and the orchestral score and sound design is superbly unsettling, to the point where I could visibly see goose bumps forming on my arms. The visual design itself is equally divine, and combined, make even the occasional jump scare give me a notable fright. While I would recommend this for the score alone, several of the puzzles require you to recognize subtleties in sounds, and so headphones are a must.
The experience is short; it took me two hours to finish everything, and that was with plenty of incompetency on my part in regards to what I should be doing. Luckily, new to the PC port, there is a map system that always pinpoints your exact location. And there’s a hint system should you ever become lost on what you should be doing next. There’s also a series of journal entries that better explains the horrors you experience. While I would personally recommend waiting on these reads until after
finishing the game, at the very least, you should refrain from looking at individual entries until you’ve successfully passed their respective portions of the game.
In fact, the journal provides something I often find lacking in other similarly surrealistic titles: explanation. The journal provides a background on the Scandinavian mythos that you will encounter in the game, and the entire experience is better for it.
Even given the very short length of the journey, I wholeheartedly recommend it as one that any interested in the bizarre and the macabre should pick up. It is spectacular, and I was glued to my computer screen for the entire duration. My time spent in these woods will remain with me for some time.