One fateful late afternoon, a little girl is taking her dog, Poro, for a walk. On their way home, a mishap occurs that ends with the girl separated from her dog. Upon seeing the girl come home without Poro, her older sister offers to go out and find Poro. Hours have passed, the sun is down, and yet there is no sign of Poro or the older sister. Worried sick about the both of them, the little girl goes out to find them. Unfortunately, she soon learns that her small town becomes a different place at night, crawling with all kinds of deadly spirits.
A sequel called Yomawari: Midnight Shadows was released in August 2017 in Japan and launched internationally in October 2017 in English. A compilation port of both this game and Midnight Shadows called Yomawari: The Long Night Collection was released in October 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.
This game provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Your child walking around all alone at night, which goes for the little girl and her older sister. Additionally, knowing that your pet is out there alone in the dark or even worse, the idea of your pet being run over by a truck.
- All There in the Manual: In the novelization of Midnight Shadows, the little girl is named "Kotomo". The name is based on the Japanese word "Kodomo", which essentially means "Little Girl". Nippon Ichi has since adopted the name as seen in one of their broadcasts.
- Anti-Frustration Features: Dying simply sends you back to home/the last checkpoint, without undoing any of your progress. A good thing given the game's massive amount of collectibles.
- Big Bad: The spirit who kidnapped the little girl's sister. Her sister reveals that it was a mountain spirit that was once worshiped as a god.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Poro is confirmed to be dead and the little girl lost her eye, but she was ultimately able to save her sister.
- Darker and Edgier: Plenty of gruesome deaths, creepy spirits, and Jump Scares separate it from the usual NIS affair, even compared to htoL#NiQ. As if to solidify this, barely a minute into the game, you watch something die. In a tutorial, no less.
- Diegetic Sound: The game lacks a soundtrack, presumably so you are able to listen better to the moans of the spirits and determine if they're close or not. The only time a music track ever plays is during the credits.
- Due to the Dead: One of the most endearing aspects of the little girl is her respect for the dead. She returns a necklace to the corpse of the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl who had been chasing her and then leaves a flower for her, later feeling that there are some spirits who are just lonely and afraid. Upon finding Poro's corpse, after mourning his death, she builds him a grave and once again leaves a flower to honor her beloved pet.
- Exact Words: Most of the trailers and the promotional material says that the little girl is looking for her missing dog and older sister. However, they leave out the part about her dog getting killed and that she's in complete denial over his death.
- Eye Scream: At the end of the game, the little girl loses her eye to the mountain spirit who kidnapped her sister. In The Stinger and post-game, she's now wearing an eyepatch.
- First-Episode Twist: The game's tutorial looks normal enough, guiding you through the game's controls until it gets your dog killed. Most promotional material has thankfully done a good job keeping this a secret.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Whatever death the spirits have planned for the little girl, the player is thankfully spared with a Fade to Black and blood splattering across the screen. Poro's death is similarly blacked out with his body replaced by a puddle of blood when the scene returns to the clearly traumatized little girl.
- Guide Dang It!: It's very unlikely you'll find all the collectibles without help, especially the ones that require you to view a ghost in one part of town, then go find a collectible in a totally different area.
- He's Just Hiding!: In-Universe. The little girl really wants to believe Poro simply ran away and didn't get run over by a truck. Unfortunately, that changes when she finds Poro's corpse.
- It's All My Fault: How the girl feels about the entire situation upon finding Poro's corpse. She feels that Poro died because he chased after a pebble that she absentmindedly threw onto the road and her inability to accept his death kept her from telling her sister the truth, leading to her disappearance.
- Jump Scare: The first encounter with a spirit has the game slowly pause before zooming directly into the spirit's face while it lets out a terrifying scream. There are also quite a few spirits that love to quickly pop out of nowhere when the player least expects it.
- Look Both Ways: The protagonist does not do this, which leads to Poro getting hit by a truck.
- On a related note, one of the spirits kills her if she walks in the street... unless she uses a crosswalk.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Almost all of the things the girl collects end up as decorations for her room. Amongst these decorations include possessed dolls, a Tsuchinoko, a small mummy, and even a human skull!
- No Name Given: Neither the main character or her sister are given names. They are only referred to as "little girl" or "girl" and "Sis".
- Not Always Evil: While there are plenty of malevolent spirits, there are quite a few spirits who are sympathetic and need help, will not harm the girl at all and do their own thing, or just like to play creepy jokes on her.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: Touching or getting attacked by any of the malevolent spirits will end with the girl's death.
- Sprint Meter: The girl can only sprint for a limited amount of time before she tires out, indicated by the meter that appears at the bottom of the screen. That time is lessened when in the proximity of dangerous spirits, indicated by the loud beating of her heart.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: The main antagonistic spirit of Chapter 3 is the ghost of a girl that went missing near the cliffs and, naturally, possesses long stringy hair covering her face.
- Youkai: Naturally, with the Japanese setting, many of the spirits are based on spirits of Japanese folklore.