White Day: A Labyrinth Named School Really Lets You Connect With Characters

By Jenni . August 22, 2017 . 12:00pm

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White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a first-person horror game. It’s incredibly atmospheric, with perspectives that really make you feel as though you could be in imminent danger. Everything you see and hear is rather unnerving. But what’s unexpected is the way the ways in which it acts like a visual novel or dating sim. White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is as much about the characters you are interacting with as Hee-Min Lee as it is about the unspeakable happenings within the school.


There’s a lot of text in White Day: A Labyrinth Named School. Some of this is dialogue, as you’ll be doing quite a lot of talking with the various heroines as you proceed through the school. But even more of it comes in the form of ghost stories. As you explore rooms, you will find various notes that tell you the backstories of the otherworldly presences scattered throughout the school. Many are heart-wrenching. All are various degrees of unnerving. All this reading serves to better immerse you in the world. It makes it easier to connect with the people and setting. What I like most is the forewarning it provides. If you’re taking your time and being careful, you might find yourself reading about the ghosts before you have to deal with them, making it easier to brace yourself for these encounters.


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But even more like visual novels, especially ones with dating sim elements, there are plenty of dialogue options for Hee-Min Lee. As he goes through White Day: A Labyrinth Named School, he’ll often encounter characters like So-Young Han, Ji-Hyeon Seol, Sung-A Kim, and Ji-Min Yoo. Each time, there will be multiple dialogue prompts with them. You’ll have opportunities to be cruel or kind. Sometimes, you can tell the truth or lie. No matter how you decide to react, you’re shaping the adventure. The game changes depending on what you do, leading you to one of multiple ends.


While White Day: A Labyrinth Named School isn’t going to give you a status page showing you just what each one of these young women thinks about Hee-Min Lee, it is keeping track. Their affection is charted and influences their behavior and your ending. Combine these with various actions you can take, and it can feel like you are trying to win one of their hearts. After all, when speaking with anyone who isn’t So-Young Han, it is possible to obscure Hee-Min Lee’s reasons for being in the school so you aren’t letting them know he’s carrying a torch for someone else. (Also, word of advice, saving a can of coffee for So-Young Han isn’t a bad idea, if you’re trying for her route.)


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It really helps with White Day: A Labyrinth Named School’s replay value. In fact, I went through it the first time on Very Easy to get a feel for things and understand what needed to be done. Then, I went with the Normal difficulty so every possible ending was open to me and I had a chance to get a positive or negative result. What I found especially interesting is the first “positive” ending I ended up getting with a girl, due to having increased the affection high enough and making proper choices, didn’t result in the sort of “happy ending” one would expect from a game with dating sim elements.


White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is absolutely a scary game. There are all sorts of terrifying things happening in a place filled with all kinds of ambiance. But, it is also unexpectedly touching. There are times when it can feel like you are playing a visual novel, complete with opportunities to woo the girls within it in the hopes they’ll like you. Whether you’ll wind up with a happy ending or not is up to you and the difficulty you are playing on. But, knowing that the game is keeping track of affection levels and interactions adds another layer to things and makes things feel a little more engaging.


White Day: A Labyrinth Named School will come to the PlayStation 4 and PC on August 22, 2017. The game releases in Japan on August 24, 2017 and Europe on August 25, 2017.

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