Despite its seemingly innocent art style, Yomawari: Lost in the Dark manages to generate an unnerving atmosphere through its use of environmental design and spooky spirits. At the beginning of the game, the protagonist, Yuzu, is told by a mysterious girl that she’s under a deadly curse. The only hope of survival is to find the items dispersed across the town that will help Yuzu to recover her forgotten memories.
Similar to the previous titles in the series, Yuzu can roam the town at nighttime, discovering lots of creepy locations that each have their own distinct theme. These locations usually have a story behind them that you can uncover by picking up collectibles and notes in the area.
This article contains references to sensitive themes, including animal death.
There are spoilers for the whole of Yomawari: Lost in the Dark below.
8/8 Where Did That Blood Come From?: Empty Classroom
In order to retrieve a lost item to remember Yuzu’s forgotten memories, Yuzu has to visit the school. The school is home to the seven wonders – different spirits that Yuzu has to survive. Yuzu can use the map to traverse the school, using multiple keys you pick up along the way to open up rooms, including the Empty Classroom.
Unlike the other rooms, the Empty Classroom is stained with a blood splatter on the map, which is ominous, to say the least. Eventually, you enter the classroom after being chased by a Slenderman-like spirit to find a lone spirit board, leading to a heart-pounding boss sequence.
7/8 Questionable Actions: Rice Fields
As Yuzu explores the Rice Fields to find a key for a locked gate, she’s pursued by warped baby-like spirits. These spirits are repelled by the scarecrows you have to place in each of the shrines scattered across the Rice Fields. Although the main scarecrow is helping you, it’s unclear whether its intentions are pure.
Placing scarecrows on the shrines causes the guardian stones to collapse, angering the baby spirits. Yuzu herself even questions if using the scarecrows is the correct thing to do, as she’s unaware of the consequences and the power that the scarecrows hold. This location is by far one of the creepiest, especially as, by helping the scarecrow, you inadvertently hurt other spirits.
6/8 Buoy, That’s Creepy: Abandoned Ship
The abandoned ship is one of the most intriguing set pieces in Lost in the Dark that Yuzu enters after following the spirit of a woman looking for her son. As soon as Yuzu comes aboard the ship, an old television switches on with jarring static noise. The abandoned ship is full of water spirits that you have to maneuver around if you want to reach the other side.
Luckily, Yuzu can defeat the water spirits; however, the creepy atmosphere of the ship is incredibly well executed, meaning that you don’t feel safe even after defeating numerous water spirits. Although the history of the ship is shrouded in mystery, a note found on the floor says that the boat capsized, and a survivor saw eyes shining in the distance.
5/8 A Mysterious Ritual: Lighthouse
The image of a lighthouse at nighttime is an unsettling one, and Yomawari: Lost in the Dark capitalizes on this motif. To progress in this section, you have to complete a variety of tasks written on a ripped piece of paper, including throwing a dead fish into a pond, all while avoiding angular-fish-like spirits.
The use of sound design is incredibly effective in this section, as every so often, the droning lighthouse siren can be heard, beckoning Yuzu to unknowingly complete the ritual. This is made all the more creepy, as after performing all of the tasks, Yuzu happens upon the missing piece of paper stating that none of these actions should be completed in a single night, making you question what, or who, you’ve just unleashed.
4/8 Don’t Look Up: School Rooftop
The school rooftop is an unassuming location, but it’s pivotal to Yuzu’s forgotten memories, as it’s the place where she and Kotori became cursed. Despite the school rooftop being the perfect location to gaze upon the town from above, especially at sunset, looking at the sky can have fatal consequences.
Looking up at the sky incurs the wrath of a dangerous god who curses those unlucky enough to peer upon it. The only way to rid yourself of the curse is by returning the God’s beloved bells, but it’s too bad if you don’t have them, as there’s no other way to cure it. Although on the surface the rooftop is an inconspicuous location, the history surrounding it makes it one of the creepiest in the game.
3/8 Home Sweet Home: Yuzu’s House
In video games, the one safe location you can usually rely on is your house as it acts as a barrier between yourself and whatever lurks on the outside. Although this is somewhat the case in Yomawari: Lost in the Dark, Yuzu’s house isn’t quite as comforting as you would imagine.
Yuzu mentions that her father is asleep in his bedroom, yet despite Yuzu coming and going throughout the night, he doesn’t wake up to check what’s happening. This makes you feel all the more alone, as it makes it seem as though you’re the only person alive in the town. Yuzu’s house is also not completely free from supernatural happenings, as the mirror downstairs reacts strangely when Yuzu looks into it without knowing all of her memories.
2/8 Tragic And Disturbing: Dog Graveyard
Sadly, animals in Yomawari don’t have a great track record when it comes to surviving, and the same can be said about the ones that feature in Lost in the Dark. The Shopping District in this game is haunted by the spirits of dogs who were killed in the neighborhood and are unable to find peace.
At first, the dogs appear to be normal; however, a sheet of paper located in the mouth of a human skull tells you “don’t trust the dogs”, making you question whether you should keep following them. Yuzu’s flashlight then goes out for a second, and when the light reappears, you’re surrounded by the reanimated bodies of the dogs. The entire section is harrowing, but at the very least, you get to put the dogs to rest at the end.
1/8 Haunting Past: Graveyard And Incinerator
Graveyards have a reputation for being eerie, and the graveyard in Lost in the Dark is no exception to this, as it’s inhabited by numerous spirits. By following the spirit of a man, you can find an old newspaper that says a burnt body was found in the incinerator, despite it being unused. As the clipping also mentions that a culprit is still at large, it’s likely that foul play was involved.
The spirit, most likely of the burnt man, leads Yuzu to the graveyard’s incinerator, but when you try to open it, a pair of red hands appear to stop you. You visit the incinerator again later on, as Yuzu has to pick up the Burnt Keys by going inside it. Although Yuzu doesn’t meet an unfortunate end like the man, being inside the incinerator is creepy enough after learning about what happened in there previously.
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