Blogging, CIB Sunday, Horror, Video Games

CIB Sunday #14 – ‘White Day: A Labyrinth Named School’

I’m going to make these posts a bimonthly feature. They’ll go up every other Sunday, to fit with CIB Sunday on Twitter. CIB stands for complete-in-box, and it’s commonly used to describe video games. If a game includes the cartridge, case, instruction booklet, and everything else it originally came with, it is considered to be CIB.

Hee-Min Lee, a new student at Yeondu High School, sneaks into the school the night before White Day to leave candies for his crush. However, the boy quickly finds himself trapped in the building, and to make matters worse, a homicidal janitor stalks the halls. That may not be the greatest threat, though. Yeondu High School also has a dark history awash in death and tragedy, leaving restless, angry spirits to haunt the school forever. To escape with his life, Hee-Min Lee will have to unravel the school’s mysterious past, all while avoiding murderous ghosts and ruthless janitors. 

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School, for Android, iOS, PC, and PlayStation 4, is actually a remake of the original White Day video game from 2001. I never played the 2001 version, but from what I know, the plot of both games is the same and they each feature a similar roster of ghosts. Although I didn’t have a chance to play the original, I happened to see the remake available on Amazon for pre-order one day. I was immediately intrigued; I was so drawn in by the game’s description and screenshots. Plus, we don’t have a ton of Asian horror video games being localized for overseas audiences, so it’s always great to see a new one. So, I just had to pre-order the game, and I’m so glad I did! 

First, White Day does an excellent job of creating and maintaining a suitable atmosphere. The best horror games are the ones that really draw you into the story and gameplay. When you feel immersed while playing a horror game, it’s almost like you’re in the game yourself, sneaking away from terrifying monsters and deranged killers. That’s when horror is at its most horrifying point, as you’re constantly on edge and never feel safe. White Day excels at crafting this type of atmosphere. 

Yeondu High School is filled with narrow, desolate hallways, some of which seem to stretch into endless darkness. Every inch of the school is dimly lit and haunting cries randomly echo throughout as you explore. You never know when another ghost will appear, and what type of ghost it’ll be. You can faintly hear the jingling of his keys in the distance, but you never know exactly where the janitor is until he’s already too close. Traversing Yeondu High School is truly terrifying and never fails to keep you on edge. While playing, I constantly felt anxious about stealthing around the janitor and what may be waiting ahead. 

In my opinion, the school setting also works in favor of White Day. Personally, I find schools to be kind of creepy anyway, especially after they’ve closed for the day and are left in eerie silence. Being trapped in a school at night has always been something I’ve feared and had nightmares about. It’s scary because your school almost becomes a completely different place at night, devoid of lit hallways and the typical chatter. White Day absolutely nails this feeling of fear and dread. The game makes me never want to step foot in a school again, haha. 

Another positive aspect of A Labyrinth Named School is its impressive ghost roster. There are numerous spirits to discover around the school, and while some of them are unavoidable encounters, finding many of these ghosts is purely optional. It’s entirely worth the extra time and effort to seek them out, however. Each ghost presents a unique, interesting encounter that isn’t quite like any of the others, and honestly, I think this is one of the most rewarding parts of White Day. It warrants repeatability as well, with the majority of ghosts only being unlockable on harder difficulty modes. 

For example, one of my favorite ghosts is an elderly woman who haunts the floor hallway of the New Building. If you run across this pathway, she’ll suddenly appear and grip your legs so that you’re unable to move for a bit. This hurts you and can easily result in the janitor catching up to you, which can quickly lead to a ‘Game Over.’ But, it’s definitely worth experiencing at least once. Another interesting spirit is a fox one that resides in the maze-like Passageway connecting the Main Building and New Building. If you linger in this area for too long, a creepy song starts to play, and eventually, the spirit deals stamina damage. 

Incidents like these lead to some very cool, memorable moments throughout the game. Even better, every ghost has an in-game document explaining more about their backstory and origin. These stories are typically grim, but do add more depth to ghost encounters and just the school in general. The spirits that haunt Yeondu High School have a reason for doing so; they aren’t there just to scare players or make the game more creepy. In turn, this makes the ghosts of Yeondu even more fascinating. 

Finally, the story of White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a very interesting, engrossing one. Things start off simply enough, with Hee-Min Lee slipping into the school after class to leave candy for his crush on the eve of White Day. However, the story swiftly becomes much more than that, as Hee-Min Lee discovers others are trapped in Yeondu High with him. A few female students have also become trapped, all of whom have their own motives and reasons for being there. Add in the rich, complex history behind the school, and you have a story with many deep layers. The school is its own entity, the characters trapped in it are connected to both the school and one another, and the ghosts eternally bound there have ties to every era of Yeondu High School. 

All the factors mentioned above combine to create a video game that truly isn’t like any other. If you’re looking for a horror game that’ll give you chills and leave you longing to find out what happens next, then White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is perfect. With a large roster of original ghosts and their respective encounters, plenty of fascinating lore surrounding those spirits and the school, a tense, eerie atmosphere that never quite feels safe, and an interesting, branching story, White Day is more than worthwhile for any horror fan. If you haven’t added it to your gaming library yet, then what are you waiting for? Enter the labyrinth that is Yeondu High School and unravel its dark secrets. 

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