At first, White Day was an obscure little horror game back in 2001 for the PC. This Korean horror game must have garnered quite the cult following as now there is a remake for the PS4, PC as well as Mobile, with a sequel on its way as well. So, what did I think of it? Let’s find out.
The story follows a young Korean boy who has a crush on a fine hunny named Han So-Young. As the intro shows, our protagonist is creeping on this young lady and notices she leaves her diary on a bench. He picks it up and goes to school come night time to return the diary as well as give her a present for White Day. Which, from what I understand, is like Korean Valentine’s day or something. As he’s in the school the door seems to shut behind. With no escape in sight he has to find his way out while learning more about the mysterious things that happened in the school – all the while avoiding ghosts and the janitor who punishes the kids who sneak into the school at night.
Some of the best moments in the game occur when you trigger a set of certain events to find ghosts. Notes are scattered all around the school about ghosts that haunt the school and their backstories so finding those exact ghosts through puzzles and sometimes seemingly at random was just really interesting and exciting.
The rest of the story is a pretty cookie-cutter Asian horror story. It follows a cult, spooky ghost stories and some other weird stuff, none of which is outside your basic Asian horror tropes. I can’t really complain because White Day does it well and is a fun ride while it lasts.
Gameplay is extremely bare bones. There is no fighting back, it’s all about running from the main threat (Which is the janitor), solving puzzles, and sometimes frustratingly struggling against the weird AI. Having the janitor as the main threat of the game is okay, I guess, but I wished that there’d be some more hard-hitting enemy types than just him. Although the game is held back and outdated by its old design choices, it’s still a fairly tense and scary experience.
The puzzles are pretty fun and are interesting, enough to make me want to go on to the next one. They remind me of the older Resident Evil titles in that regard. Besides running from the Janitor there’s also ghosts that you can come across which are almost all optional I believe. They’re a pretty fun mechanic since they have unique backstories to them and you have to use those backstories to actually trigger their appearance.
Boss fights are played out in the way where the big spooky ghost monster shows up and you have a set amount of time to solve puzzles and run around the school trying to defeat them. They can go from pretty intense to boring and uneventful. But the good outweigh the bad when it comes to boss fights though – so it’s generally alright.
The game has a unique style to it which adds to the whole, “spooky high school” setting. It kind of looks like a Korean Manhwa. Although the character models can look a little janky from time to time, for the most part they look great and the art style of the game doesn’t date it.
One of the main things one should focus on in a horror game is atmosphere. And for the most part this is the game’s best quality. The tense atmosphere makes even some of the lackluster scares more effective. And playing on the recommended brightness will help in making the best experience possible. The sound design is also really stellar, so I recommend playing with headphones.
White Day certainly has some things going for it, it has great atmosphere, the puzzles are all fun to do and the optional ghost scenes are all really interesting. But when it comes down to it there’s really nothing else going for it besides these things. The AI can be wonky at times and there will be some frustrating deaths. The story is kinda barebones but forgivable. I would suggest this game to someone who is a mega-fan of horror games, but not to someone who isn’t since there are WAY better games out there. All things considered, I think the game is just alright.
I give White Day: A Labyrinth Named School a 6/10