Posted: March 6, 2014
First off, there are two things I must mention: one, I have had absolutely zero experience with the iOS version of Year Walk; this review is based 100% on the PC version currently available on Steam. Two, I almost exclusively dislike "puzzle games." I find them annoying and tedious. That being said, I found Year Walk to be a mesmerizing and enjoyable little game.
In terms of its gameplay, Year Walk doesn't break the mold - there's nothing revolutionary to be found here. The puzzles are relatively simple and only required me to doodle a few things down on a scratch pad to help me solve the majority of them. They're not overly difficult. And if you do find yourself stuck, there's a Hint system in-game that's actually useful.
The controls for the PC work well overall, and I had no problems or confusion in how to do anything. So, as a port from a touch based device, this aspect is done fine.
So, then what makes this an excellent game? As I said, the puzzles presented in the game are not challenging. In fact, as I finished this game I came to the realization I had been tricked. This game wasn't about the puzzles at all. It was about the experience; the visuals, the music, the story, and the atmosphere it all creates. The puzzles are just a way to move you along.
Year Walk is ultimately all about the experience. And it's definitely quite the experience. It's visually striking - the art style is unique and hauntingly beautiful, and the music fits perfectly in with it. Together they enhance a weird, dark, and rather sad story.
In the end, Year Walk feels fleshed out and solid. It creates a unique atmosphere that's hard to compare and even harder to forget. Despite not liking puzzles games, I really found myself engrossed in the world that Year Walk so successfully creates. Addendum (3/19/2014) - After playing through the game completely, twice, and also messing around with extras and some achievements, I feel that I have to make note that this is a short game, and more importantly one that lacks replayability. I'd still recommend the game, it's just something to bear in mind when making a purchase.