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Video Game / Year Walk

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In the old days, man tried to catch a glimpse of the future in the strangest ways...

"Year Walk" is a 2013 point-and-click first-person Survival Horror and adventure iOS side-scroller puzzle game developed by Simogo, later also released to the computer market via Steam, and then in 2015 on the Wii U with the help of Dakko Dakko. The game revolves around an old Swedish tradition, the Årsgång (year walk) along with other Swedish folklore.

The story starts with the protagonist meeting a girl in a windmill. She tells him that, though she is fond of him, she has been asked to marry someone else, and she has promised to give her suitor her answer the coming year... and the current day is last of the old year. Though the question of making a year walk is brought up, she adamantly refuses, reminding the protagonist what happened to her cousin as a reason for why they should not do anything foolish. This motivates the protagonist to go on a year walk, a tradition that will supposedly show him what his future holds, all on his own.

Year Walk contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The Encyclopedia, which Simogo released as a downloadable free app for the original version but is built into the Steam and Wii U ones, details quite a lot of the folklore surrounding the Watchers and the year walk. It also contains a hidden part of the story which is the key to reaching the game's alternate ending.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Will Daniel commit suicide with the knife that Theodor Almsten sent him, or was the knife that was sent to him the one he would use to kill Stina with? Was Theodor Almsten right about his theory that Stina could be saved or did he succeed in nothing except creating a Stable Time Loop with his attempts to stop Daniel?
  • Beat Still, My Heart: The Heart of the Universe beats in The Church Grim's... uuuh... coat... And you need to beat it until it breaks if you wish to be able to look beyond time and space... The Church Grim does not seem to mind, though.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: It's all over the place, really. Most notably there's the fact that even though the Watchers keep the option readily available for humans to see into the future and even, to some extents, help them do this, year walking is strictly forbidden and the fine to pay for doing it is steep. The Huldra's article in the Encyclopedia outright states that she does not play according to human rules.
  • Creepy Crows: The Night Raven, especially in its true form. Mythologically, it's associated with death and disease, as well as with greed and hunger.
  • Enfant Terrible: Do not make the mistake of confusing the fact that the Mylings are ghosts of babies who long for their mothers with the fact that they are harmless, because they're not. They are just as dangerous as any of the other Watchers.
  • The Fair Folk: The Watchers are all spirits that you're ultimately better off not coming across.
  • Feathered Fiend: What, you thought that corvid was the Night Raven? No, no, the Night Raven is inside of that corvid... and it's much, MUCH bigger, too.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Church Grim's appearance is accompanied with tolling bells.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: The secret of how to open the box from the beginning of the game is never told to the playable character, only to the player. This is, of course, enough for the playable character to be able to open the box.
  • Genre-Busting: In keeping with Simogo's motto of not making games in a specific genre, Year Walk is, as mentioned above, a point-and-click first-person survival horror and adventure iOS side-scrolling puzzle game with one additional twist: Despite being classified as a survival horror game, there is no way to actually die during it, so Daniel is guaranteed to survive. That said, he is equally guaranteed to die in the end.
  • Multiple Endings: Using the clues you get after beating the game normally, you can open the mysterious box in the middle of the woods and get a secret ending.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: In the second ending, Theodor sends a piece of a document detailing Daniel's execution and last words along with a pleading to stop himself from hurting Stina by ending his own life as well as a knife.
  • Painting the Medium: Has traces of this in some of the puzzles. For example, in the iOS verion, when the player is looking for the Mylings, one of them hides off-screen and the player has to forcefully scroll the stage beyond what they normally can to get it. Another one of the Mylings hides under the screen, the only indication of it being there is blood dripping upwards, and in order to get it, the player has to turn their tablet upside down... In the PC version, one of the Mylings is hidden in the Myling's page in the Encyclopedia and another his hidden in the kiln. However, the player cannot open the kiln due to two blocks with the letters "U" and "N" securing its locks. What to do? Hint: The key to opening the kiln is, indeed, keys... That's to say, you have to press the "U" and "N" keys on your keyboard.
  • Sanity Slippage: Theodor Almsten seems to get closer and closer to a breakdown the further into the research he gets.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The Brook Horse looks pretty dashing in that suit. Y'know, for a seriously creepy horse.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: We are not supposed to know what happens in the future... This isn't a knowledge that drives you insane or anything like that, it's just one of the fundamental rules laid out by The Powers That Be that humans are not meant to be able to look into the future, and if they do, it's the Watchers' job to punish that human for their transgression.
  • Thieving Magpie: The first time you see the Night Raven, it swoops in and steals the key.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: In order to find the Mylings you have to find and follow the trails/splashes of blood that lead to them. This blood was not there the first time you visited the areas, and they disappear once the fetch quest is over.
  • Undead Child: The Mylings, ghosts of babies killed by their mothers or guardians.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Brook Horse who, according to legend, drowned children.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: A major theme in the Journal entries: The Watchers will have their sacrifice; Daniel will die. However, it's also played with in that Theodor theorizes that Daniel might be able to save Stina by ending his own life.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: There are two puzzles—how to enter the Huldra's tree and how to enter the church—that you're supposed to solve by interacting with some other part of the game which will give you the correct "codes". The trope is averted in that you can bypass that and enter the codes immediately, if you already know them. The Steam version will reward this with a "Cheat Walk" achievement.

Walk again?