Year Walk




(Companion app)


Year Walk


Folklore Mystery

First released:

Feb 21, 2013

In the old days man tried to catch a glimpse of the future in the strangest of ways.

Experience the ancient Swedish phenomena of year walking through a different kind of first person adventure that blurs the line between two and three dimensions as well as reality and the supernatural.

Venture out into the dark woods where strange creatures roam, on a vision quest set in 19th century Sweden. Solve cryptic puzzles in your search to foresee the future and finally discover if your loved one will love you back.

Mysteries and clues await everywhere in Year Walk, but to fully understand the events that took place on that cold New Year’s Eve, you will have to delve deeper than the adventure and lose yourself between fact and fiction.

Gameplay & Development

Original iOS version
The initial idea of Year Walk was conceived with the question: “How would you control a first person game in 2D on an iPhone?”. We started to imagine a game in which you would swipe hallways like web pages in a sideview, and swiping up and down to move in and out of doorways. We were also keen to make a game with a heavier emphasis on story, and a darker tone than our previous games. Around this time, Jonas Tarestad had casually shown Simon a script for short film he had been writing on for fun, involving an old forgotten pagan rite called “årsgång” and folklore. It had an almost quest-like structure, so these two ideas married naturally, and the corridors in our idea became a little prototype in which you could move around in a forest.

Some months into the development, we realised that we needed to explain the rite, and perhaps provide more context to the creatures of the folk lore referenced. We came up with the idea of a separate app, and soon the idea of interplay, involving a post-game meta-narrative, between the game app and a very dry informational companion app was born. Being able to access a secret part of the app, through a hint given when completing the game, was never explicitly explained by us anywhere. We wanted players who solved this to feel like they were part of a secret club.

During the entire project, we created sites and riddles on the internet, which all aimed to break the fourth wall.

PC and Mac version
In 2013, releasing a game on Steam was not as easy as it is today. Games were manually curated. Games nominated for the Independent Games Festival were guaranteed a slot, and as Year Walk was nominated in the Visual Art category, we decided to adapt the game for PC. We gave the game completely new mouse and keyboard controls, re-designed many of the touch and gyro puzzles to have similar meta-twists, but instead involving PC interfaces. The companion app was integrated as an in-game menu, we added an entirely new hint-system, and a map to give Year Walk a more traditional game flair when it released on Steam and the Mac App Store on March 6th, 2014.

Wii U version
In 2015, Nintendo were looking for smaller western projects to publish in Japan. We were asked if we were interested in bringing Year Walk to Wii U. As we had always wanted to make a game for a Nintendo platform, we were of course thrilled. We quickly decided that this should not be a port of the PC game. Instead, we decided to reimagine the game to integrate the Wii U GamePad as a central piece to the experience. All the best features of the PC version such as the map and the hint system were carried over and it was decided that companion features would always be displayed on the GamePad. In addition, we added a very handy note taking feature using the GamePad touchscreen and stylus. With the help of Rhodri Broadbent/Dakko Dakko we designed new controls that utilized motion controls to “point” with the GamePad on screen, and redesigned many of the puzzles to integrate the GamePad in various innovative ways. We even integrated the required e-manual of the Wii U system into one of the final puzzles! This project was really fun to make, and we really enjoyed working with Dakko Dakko and Nintendo on this project. We think Year Walk took advantage of the Wii U features more than most games on the platform, and it felt like a natural home for the game with its two screen-setup. Year Walk Wii U released September 17th 2015, but is sadly no longer available, as the Wii U eShop has closed down.

The Wii U version was self-published by us in North America and Europe, where it was localised to all the major European languages. In Japan the Wii U version was published and localised by Nintendo, and it was given the title Year Walk 最後の啓示 (Year Walk – Saigo No Keiji) which roughly translates to “Year Walk – The Final Revelation”.

To promote the Wii U version, we created an e-book called Year Walk Bedtime Stories for Awful Children.


iOS screenshots

Year Walk was an evolution of the art style in Beat Sneak Bandit. We found inspiration in children’s book illustrations, and stop motion. Visually, it was heavily inspired by Hedgehog in the Fog, an animated film from 1975 by Yuri Norstein. Beat Sneak Bandit mainly used sprite animation, but in Year Walk, the creatures and characters are animated like stop motion 2D puppets, with individual limbs. It’s our first game to integrate 3D elements and models, such as the doll and the church. When travelling between the different layers of the forest, we were inspired by pop-up books, but we kept this effect as subtle as possible, as we thought it would break immersion if it felt like the world was animating, rather than you travelling in it. In the PC version we added more snow, and a subtle bloom effect. These effects were carried over to the Wii U version of the game.

In the secret part of the companion app, we used photos to tell a meta-story. The secret puzzle box that is a big part of the story and is used in these photos, was created physically by Magnus Eriksson.

PC screenshots
Wii U screenshots


We first revealed Year Walk with a teaser trailer after a talk we gave at GDC Europe in Köln. We created several small videos for the game, many using material and footage from an inspiration road trip we made during the development.

To promote the Wii U version of Year Walk, we thought that it would be fun to make a surrealistic trailer, featuring a man in a horse-head playing the game in surrealistic dark room.

Wii U trailer
iOS trailer
PC trailer


This was the first Simogo project for which Daniel Olsén created the music.

Jonathan Eng once again returned, to create the folky hymn Oh The Joy which is used in the credits. He also created the song which we released to promote the Steam version.

The Year Walk soundtrack is available on most streaming services.

Game Credits

Story adaptation, design, art & sound
Simon Flesser

Programming & design
Magnus “Gordon” Gardebäck

Original story
Jonas Tarestad

Daniel Olsén

“Oh The Joy” written & performed by
Jonathan Eng

Wii U version programming
Rhodri Broadbent

Reviews, Press & Awards

Game Innovation at BAFTA Games Awards 2014 (Nominated)

Excellence in Visual Art at Independent Games Festival 2013 (Nominated)

Excellence in Art Design at International Mobile Game Awards 2014 (Winner)

Excellence in Storytelling at International Mobile Game Awards 2014 (Nominated)

Best Nordic Handheld Game at Nordic Game Awards 2014 (Winner)

Best Nordic Game at Nordic Game Awards 2014 (Nominated)

Best Nordic Innovation Award at Nordic Game Awards 2014 (Nominated)

Pocket Gamer Top 10 iPhone Games of 2013

Game App of the Year Award at Dataspelsgalan (Winner)

TouchArcade Game of the Year Award (Runner-Up)

Best 2D Visual Experience at Unity Awards 2014 (Winner)

Community Choice at Unity Awards 2014 (Nominated)

Golden Cube at Unity Awards 2014 (Nominated)

Best Adventure Game Award at Pocket Gamer Awards 2014 (Honorable Mention)

Best Role Playing Game Award at Pocket Gamer Awards 2014 (Honorable Mention)

App Store Editors’ Choice

Age Ratings

ESRB content descriptors:
Violence, Blood