White Day is quite an old game that was originally released for the PC back in 2001. Developed and released exclusively in Korea, the game never managed to get an official English release but thankfully some fans were dedicated enough to release an unofficial patch for it. This was the only way to play White Day for a long time until it was remade for Smartphones in the form of a remake that completely revamped the visuals, added plenty of new content and made some other significant changes to the base game. Despite being a remake, it still retained the charm of the original release but the restriction of the mobile platform means it never received the same exposure as a PC or console game.
White Day managed to achieve a cult status among survival horror fans and it wasn’t until most recently that the game was finally announced for the PC and PS4. This was the first official localization for the game and I am pleased to say that the publisher PQube appears to have done a splendid job with their localization efforts here. White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is now finally playable in English and with a good localization to boot, so that it stays true to its source material, but does the game manage to hold well today?
White Day carries a rather interesting story premise. You are a student at the school who has a secret crush on one of the most popular girl in your class. One day, he sees her sitting at a bench where she somehow manages to forget her personal diary. The main character doesn’t really have much of a personality here since the game relies on the choice that you make to forward story during the cutscenes, so it is like a shell of a male student here. To give the diary back to his crush, he plans to take it to her classroom one night while also taking along a gift that he plans to put on her desk as a token of his love. Little does he know the dark and terrible secrets that are a part of the school history.
White Day is played through a first person camera with cutscenes being the only way to actually see the main character in third person camera. The game features pretty basic controls for the main character and there is no option to actually do any combat, instead you will be focusing on surviving the dark and twisted corridors of the school as you run for your life and encounter all sort of horrors including ghosts and creepy janitors. It plays like Outlast or Amnesia but considering its origins, it will be unfair to say that the game copies mechanics from these games. It is more likely that other developers took inspiration from it.
The game will also feature side characters and you will be able to toggle a conversation with them, which involves multiple choices for answers. Depending on your choice, the conversation can go either way, but it is always interesting to see how the character will react to an unexpected answer to their question. The conversation system isn’t really that deep but it gets the job done and allows for some narrative exposition. For the most part, you will have to piece together your own story from the documents that you pick around the school. There are also ghost stories to look for in the school and they end up sounding genuinely creepy. You can also encounter some of these ghosts in the actual game which only adds to the scariness.
White Day uses a unique difficulty system where depending on which difficulty you choose at the start, you will have a completely different experience altogether. If you want to just play through for the basic story, you can pick the very easy difficulty setting, but you will also miss out on a lot of the interesting encounters that can occur on the higher difficulty setting. There are multiple endings to get in the game and they are also tied to the difficulty, so selecting easy will restrict you from enjoying the full potential of the game.
As a remake, White Day isn’t really a looker and for the most part, it mostly features fairly basic character models and visuals. The survival horror aspect is what elevates the game from other in the genre and the replay value is actually pretty decent. Even if you play the game just on the normal difficulty and go through the story, you can still enjoy it for a good 6 to 8 hours depending on how many optional content you can tackle in the main campaign.
The replay value in the game comes in the form of the optional content like finding all the ghosts and reading the ghost stories. Going through all of the various endings and encountering some of the dynamic ghost encounters with some restricted to just the higher difficulty settings. The cutscenes are easily skipped so if you do replay the game, the experience actually feels better the more you know about the story. Even some of the puzzles are different and the encounters are dynamic on higher difficulty so the game is definitely worth multiple playthroughs to get the full enjoyment out of it.
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a survival-horror game developed and published by Korean game development studio, Sonnori in 2001. It later received a Remake for PC and PS4 in late 2017.
Retaining the charm of a classic horror game with focus on survival and exploration, White Day attempts to bring Asian horror elements into the mix and presents an interesting story premise that urges you to uncover its mysteries. However, some of the dated gameplay mechanics appear as a blemish on an otherwise great game.