Year Walk

This week saw the release of Year Walk for Wii U, a game first released in 2012. Developed by Swedish studio Simogo, initially for iOS and later for PC, this definitive version has been handled by Welsh Wii U wizards Dakko Dakko - and has the power to stop you cold. This is not, as I first thought, just a great game. This is the game that finally made me understand what Nintendo thought the future looked like when it was designing Wii U.

Have you played Year Walk yet? It's brilliant on iOS, and now that it's arrived on Steam, it's brilliant on PC and Mac, too. Simogo's retooled its enigmatic adventure game to work perfectly with a mouse and keyboard. You can expect a handful of new and reworked puzzles and - whisper it - a map.

FeatureActual new games of 2013: the half-time verdict

Oodles of wonder, buckets of awe.

Just over 18 months ago, when a fair few of us were feeling stifled by a climate of stale sequels and tired genre retreads, finding an Actual New Game was a tough task. Looking for something that would "leave us brimming with wonder and excitement" left us with only a polite fistful of games - and one of those was The Last Guardian, which given its state of permanent limbo probably doesn't even count.

Year Walk review

Year Walk review

Grim grinning goats.

Several years ago, I saw an exhibition by a local artist who made coffins for the birds he found washed up on the beach near his home: weird little curved boxes, tidy and cleanly built, yet strangely organic with it. The whole effect hinged, I guess, on a kind of clash of exteriors and interiors. You know: the smooth, painted surfaces contrasted with the knowledge of what lay rotting inside.

There are no artists and no beaches and no coffins in Year Walk, but there is death and there is nature and there are grim spaces for your imagination to trickle into and fester. For me, there was also that familiar tension, too: the clean lines and tidy shapes of the textured, storybook design used to support the darker organic mass of the story that it's been employed to tell.

I won't be spoiling that story, since, a few puzzles aside, most of the considerable strengths of the latest iOS game from Simogo - creators of Beat Sneak Bandit - lie with its narrative and the manner in which it all comes together in your mind. Suffice to say it's a horror game, despite its prettiness: a horror inquest, really. Lost amid Year Walk's frigid brooks and silver-skinned trees, you'll find an earthy tale of rituals, destiny and, inevitably, murder. These ice fields leak blood.

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Beat Sneak Bandit dev announces freaky first-person adventure Year Walk

Beat Sneak Bandit dev announces freaky first-person adventure Year Walk

Eerie trailer for Simogo's "vision quest" set in 19th century Sweden.

Swedish developer Simogo is known for its cute-as-a-button sqee-a-thons like Beat Sneak Bandit, Bumpy Road and ilomilo - for which it did the art before the two-man studio was formed - but that's all about to change with its upcoming iOS horror game Year Walk, due this winter.

Set in 19th century Sweden, Year Walk is a first-person adventure that revolves around a "vision quest" that "blurs the line between two and three dimensions as well as reality and the supernatural," according to the developer.

You'll have to interact with various objects in the environment to open a rift between our world and "what lies beyond it."

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