the writings of a mind

Title: WhiteDay: a Labyrinth Named School
Genre: Action Adventure
Big Word: Uneducated
Strap: When even the title doesnít make sense, you know youíre in for a treat.

The game I review for you now. It most is the game of adventure, set inside of the school in the question. With many thanks and welcome are you to be introduced to the world of adventures from inside the Korea. Yes indeed, itís "Electrical Appliance Instruction Manual: The Game".

Colour me frustrated, as I had hoped with every moment of my being to be excitedly announcing the first playable adventure game since Syberia. From my first glance I thought weíd be dismissing the rather peculiar translation foibles, in favour of observing what an original and intriguing game this was. But sadly it was with only about half an hour more play that the illusion was broken down.

Donít be mistaken Ė this is still one of the most Ďinterestingí games to cross our path in a very long time. Set in a high school, you play a boy returning a lost diary, along with a bag of chocolates, to a school girl he rather fancies. Sneaking in at night time, itís immediately clear that things arenít quite right-as-rain, and are perhaps as wrong-as-red-snow. Mysterious visions, deafening alarms, terrified school girls, and ominous signs make you quickly aware that this is Survival Horror. But with some twists.

Firstly, itís an first-person perspective, controlled in the manner of an FPS. But secondly, there are no weapons. If there is something threatening you, the only course of action is to run away.

All of this is impressive. Itís a fresh approach to both the genre, and it is without question extremely spooky. At one point, running down a pitch black corridor, chased by a baseball bat wielding cleaner, I ran over a bucket left in the middle of the floor which clattered and rolled noisily. And embarrassed as I probably should be to admit it, jumped in my chair and yelled aloud.

So you see what I mean? I would have been so happy to report all this. The fact that itís in Korean with barely-English subtitles would have been forgiven, in favour of such a new experience. But the problem is, itís not that great a game. The puzzles, such as they are, are only solved by trial and error, and the level design is dull beyond belief. Nothing makes any sense, and this isnít because of clever plotting, but because of a language barrier that has clearly not been overcome. Gibberish found in letters around the place does nothing to explain the plot, as I suppose it was meant to. And in the end you canít enjoy yourself enough.

I canít help but have an affection for WhiteDay. Itís genuinely scary at times, and the idea of a foreign language game is enticing. But damn its eyes, itís just so weak.

Margin Note:

Itís an unfortunate circumstance when the entirely normal Japanese name you give your lead female school girl character suffers a troubling translation into English. "So Young" isnít the sort of name you want when your characters are dressed in school uniforms. Itís just a thought, but someone might have mentioned it to them earlier.

 Genuinely spooksome, but upsettingly weak, it seems foreign language games need to contain at least some English.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: 4am entertainment
Developer: Sonnori
Price: £30
Minimum System: P500, 64Mb RAM, 16Mb 3D card
Recommended: PIII 2Gb, 128Mb RAM, 32Mb 3D card
Multi-player: LAN, broadband
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