White Day: A Labyrinth Named School Remake
Traditionally, White Day, as the title suggests, involves reciprocating the gesture of giving chocolate to a loved one who had done the same on Valentine's Day. In Japan and most other countries that observe it, it is typically meant to acknowledge one's love for another. Very rarely is it used to confess one's devotion to someone else, but in White Day: A Labyrinth Named School, this is the case for our protagonist Hui-min.
The story begins with a cutscene and some text narration, showing the two students Hui-min and So-young. So-young, a popular student among the boys, leaves her diary on the bench as she refuses to give Hui-min the time of day. Upon noticing she left her book, he follows her with the intent of giving the diary back to her with a set of chocolates. Unfortunately, this means entering the high school after-hours where the atmosphere changes for the worse.
Accompanying Hui-min are two other girls, Seong-ah and Ji-hyun, who he will come across at various points of the story. It is here that the game's hidden "affinity" takes place as depending on Hui-min's responses, he'll win favor with the girls or they will avoid him out of disgust. It's not just relative to how Hui-min will be treated, as this directly affects who will join him at the end of the game. There are 10 different endings, each ranging from worst (if you get a game over) to best (giving So-young her diary and candies)
As the main title of the information box suggests, White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a console port of a mobile game. The mobile game itself is a remake of the 2001 PC game that was released exclusively in Korea although fan translations exist. Comparing the graphics from the two games is like night and day, however, it's to be expected as 3D graphics in 2001 were different. To add to the charm the original had, there are "retro" costumes for each character, heavily based on their original appearance albeit in HD quality.
Unique to the Switch, PS5, and Xbox versions are the additions of over 30 costumes that were once released as DLC. The costumes are what you'd expect from Asian survival horror such as this, Fatal Frame, and more. There are various school outfits, swimsuit outfits, and holiday outfits for the protagonist, the girls, and the two stalkers who appear occasionally.
While Hui-min explores the school, various ghosts and a pair of janitors will interact with the player. The janitors, specifically, will hunt him down if he makes too much noise or draws attention by turning on lights. Its "cat-and-mouse" gameplay is comparable to other games of its kind where if you're caught, it's game over.
The "scare factor" in White Day is more atmospheric than jump scares. It reminds me of Silent Hill mixed with Corpse Party minus all the gore. Another pair of costumes included are what I'd consider "cosplay" costumes. One of the girls is dressed up as not-Lara Croft while another is not-Jill Valentine. The stalking janitors are not-Freddy Krueger and not-Jason Voorhees respectively.
In the end, I dressed one of them in a dress while holding a giant fish as a weapon while the other is a snowman with a giant candy cane. Seeing one of the janitors introduced by bashing a student's skull with a fish while getting chased by a snowman was peak comedy. Sure it removed the scare factor but I didn't feel like I was clutching my pearls.
I was impressed with White Day ultimately because it's rare to see classic KRPGs and Korean video games released in America on consoles. The last I remember was the Magna Carta series, which was known for its unique art designs during the PS2/Xbox 360 era. There was also Ninety-Nine Nights, a "Dynasty Warriors-like" title that boasted hundreds of enemies on the screen at once. Hopefully, we can see more remakes of classic Korean titles that have seen very little exposure outside of Asia, and White Day seems like a good start.
The White Day: A Labyrinth Named School remake is now available on PC, Switch, Mobile, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S