Lighting the Lanterns and Slashing the Spirits in Yumori Forest

Being fired is hard but when the employer is a forest that seems happy to remain dark and infested with hostile spirits then maybe it’s best to just carry on with the work.  The lantern keeper has been let go but, rather than deal with the hassle of figuring out who’s responsible for the unemployment paperwork, he carries on keeping the forest safe while beset by those wishing to drive home the point that his termination is permanent.  The HR department of Yumori Forest has never dealt with this severe a crisis, and before the matter is settled its trees will run pink with the blood of its overzealous resource officers.

Or maybe they’re just bandits and spirits.  Who knows?  Whatever they are they don’t go down easy, but the lantern keeper is handy with a sword and has a zippy dodge to get out of the way.  He’s controlled mouse and keyboard style, striking as best he can where you place the cursor, but if that happens to be a little too far away then it’s a perfect opportunity for the enemy to disrupt things with a counter.  Yumori Forest is a game of careful action, lightning-fast but also deliberate, with enemies that are more than happy to exploit errors in judgement.  The setup is far enough away from roguelike that it’s hard to call it even a roguelite, but it uses the standard random layout of goals and resources plus temporary upgrades per game and persistent ones you can keep, so close enough.

The important part, though, is the action feels fantastically solid.  Each hit lands with a nice impact, which goes a long way towards making the occasional frustration disappear.  Enemies covered by a tree in a game requiring precise cursor placement to land a hit can be maddening, but then you lure them into the open and perform a series of strikes and dodges to carve them down to size and all is (mostly) forgiven.  The lantern keeper’s moves take a little experimentation to put together, but it doesn’t take too many games before you start making real distance.  Each hit you take shrinks down the ring of light a little, but health potions are common enough that replenishing the view is fairly cheap.  Except in the middle of a heated encounter when the second it takes to swig down a potion opens you up to a hit, of course.  Then it’s a little troublesome.  The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but maybe if someone keeps the place lit properly its travelers can survive the miles to go before they sleep.