Developed and published by Sonnori. Whiteday: A Labyrinth Named School is a survival horror game that was initially released as a mobile game called The School: Whiteday back in 2015. It was released on Xbox One, Series S/X, Playstation 4/5, PC, and Nintendo Switch on the 8th of September 2022.
Whiteday – A School Worth Skiving For
Now if there’s one thing that can scare the hell out of you. It would be Asian horror games. They are the master of creepy suspense horror with the likes of Ring 0 and The Grudge just to name a couple. Converting each element of classic horror movies into a video game is a gamer’s worst nightmare. But is it really that scary?
The story of Whiteday tells us about the struggles of a new high school student. You control Lee Hui-min who sneaks into the school grounds after hours to plan a surprise for his crush. But what leads to an innocent night soon turns into his worst nightmare as he has to deal with not just the crazy janitors but also the supernatural forces that dwell in the school.
Straight away the first thing you’ll notice when you start is just how bad the controls are on the default setting. You really need to go into the settings and make some adjustments. Otherwise, you turn slower than the Titanic. After some tweaking of the controls then it’s all go from there. The plan is to navigate the halls of the school after being trapped there by some unseen supernatural forces. The supernatural side of the game is what you would expect from a Korean horror game.
It has that feeling of suspense but the pure horror comes from the janitors that roam the halls. These guys don’t mess about and certainly don’t care. If they catch sight of you then it’s a game of cat and mouse. The only option you have is to run away as far and fast as possible so you’ll have enough time to hide. The game offers no means of weapons or other ways of defending yourself, so your only option is to hide.
Throughout the game, you’ll encounter many of the other students who you’ll need to help in order to continue. But after the first few times, it just seems to get a bit tedious doing the same fetch and grab missions. While these encounters do add to the story, they just seem to go on way too long and get boring very quickly. It does have some benefits as they will offer many useful items that are essential to your survival.
If you think that you can go through the game at a nice and steady pace then you were right. The hardest part of the game comes from its item management. You have to be very wary about what to pick up and what to leave for later as you only have limited space. But some items that you think are important are actually useless, so it does change your way of thinking and actually bluff you a little which is a nice touch.
Graphics and Audio
The graphics are a huge upgrade compared to its original release. But there are still some objects and little areas that look a little blocky and choppy. It’s nothing an update can’t fix but it does hinder its performance. The character models are really well done and look fantastic with that Asian artwork that just stands out above everything else. Some areas can be dark but that’s what to expect from a survival horror game. So if you are not a fan of games that are always dark then this really isn’t for you.
There is not really much to say about the audio except for the fact that the voice acting is extremely laid on and cheesy as hell. It is so cringy in some parts that it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Its saving grace is the little pieces of score you get when a janitor is in your presence. It really does give you that fear of dread and gets the old heart pumping.
Don’t expect a giant game when going into Whiteday as a full playthrough will set you back around 8 hours. It does enough to cover the main plot and little things in between so for me 8 hours is just the right amount of time. There are little documents you can collect that give you some lore and history of the supernatural but they aren’t hard to miss. They are other difficulties that you unlock when you complete the game. So maybe playing the game on a harder difficulty could add to the timeframe but that’s your choice.
My final thought on Whiteday: A Labyrinth Named School is that while it’s a huge upgrade from the original version. It just doesn’t give you that feeling of playing a survival horror game that shakes you to the core. It does have the odd jump scare every now and then, but it’s just a feeling of “Ohh” rather than “Ohh hell no” and I expected more from a Korean survival horror game.
With that in mind, it’s a shame to give Whiteday: A Labyrinth Named School the Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.