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Year Walk

This weekend I’ve had a bit of time to play some of the shorter titles sitting in my Steam queue, including the fabulous Year Walk. The best word I can come up with to describe the game is charming. Its story is based in Scandinavian folklore, and it does a great job of transporting the player into this world. The imagery and audio compliment the story, allowing for an exploratory experience without being hindered by invasive gameplay mechanics or time pressures.


At its core, Year Walk is a puzzle game. And it does this well. I was reminded of the point-and-click adventure games I had played long ago, such as The 7th Guest, Myst, and even King’s Quest, though Year Walk provides a very different setting. The use of puzzles within the game world requires players to explore the environments and take note as they do, as many of the puzzle pieces required late in the game are available immediately, for those that have a watchful eye. I found myself scribbling notes and clues on a sheet of paper as I played — something I hadn’t done since playing those classic titles, back when it was okay not to provide the player with an immediate answer; when it was okay to challenge the player to the point that they became stuck and would go hours, or days, away from the game as they thought about the puzzle that stumped them, returning once they had worked out what surely must be a solution.



The game includes a small encyclopedia of the folklore key to its purpose, which is both fascinating to read and well-presented. Even more, however, the encyclopedia becomes an essential tool in solving some of the game’s puzzles, and actually becomes a component of the game itself at one point, blurring the line between the game world and the user interface making up the portal into the game world.


All together, Year Walk is a superb atmospheric experience that doesn’t require much investment, either on your finances or time. Highly recommended.

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