Written by Daikon

Title screen for Yaminabe Jinro

闇鍋人狼 (Yaminabe Jinro)

Enjoying meals and conversations with family and friends around a hot pot is one of the joys of winter. The ingredients for the hot pot vary depending on the season and region, but you can choose from whatever is on sale that day, or you can have your friends bring their own ingredients. You are free to put whatever you want into the hot pot.

But be warned: that same freedom can also create a culture of fear. That is the yaminabe, a hot pot of despair.

Screenshot of Yaminabe Jinro with the characters in a desert, surrounded by giant dragon bones.

This looks like a GREAT place to look for stuff to throw into a hot pot!

I want to introduce a game that combines that terrifying yaminabe experience and jinro, or Werewolf, a popular social deduction game. That game is called, of course, 闇鍋人狼 (Yaminabe Jinro).

At a real yaminabe party, everyone is free to put whatever ingredient they want into the pot without telling the others what they added. The lights go out, everyone adds their ingredients, the host stirs the pot, and the lights come back on before everyone digs in. If anyone in your party added something evil, the hot pot can transform into a terrifying nightmare.

Screenshot of Yaminabe Jinro with the characters in front of the giant pot, waiting to put ingredients inside.

The spotlight here is on the magic hot pot, but the real star is that cat in the corner.

In Yaminabe Jinro, four players collect foodstuff in order to make a delicious hot pot. However, one of those four players is actually a traitor who tries to ruin the pot by adding malevolent ingredients. The goal of the traitor is to get the hot pot party to fail, and the remaining three players aim have a successful pot, as well as collect the most points. This game is a lot like a board game, combining the horror of a yaminabe party with the allure of social deduction games.

In this fantasy world complete with heroes and demon lords, the four players are tasked with making hot pot. At the start of each round, the players declare which area in which they will search for ingredients.

Screenshot of the field select screen in Yaminabe Jinro.

Throughout the round, you must choose which field to explore. The different biomes offer different ingredients, with varying quality.

Players can collect ingredients from their respective fields. For example, players who go to the beach can obtain water-element food. The more stars an item has, the higher-quality it is and the more points you can get. Another action that players can take instead of harvesting is to gather information about what ingredients will ruin the current pot. Players who gather information can choose between withholding it, sharing it with the others, or lying about what they heard.

At the end of the round, the four players gather before the pot. It is at this point that you can mark which players you think are suspicious. After that, you can select three ingredients to add to the pot, but for each member that marked you as suspicious, the max number of ingredients you can add decreases. If all three of the other members marked you, you will not be able to add even a single ingredient.

Screenshot of Yaminabe Jinro, with the player choosing which ingredients to add to the pot.

Choose your ingredients carefully, and be sure to smack down the traitor so that they don't ruin the pot!

The amount of points the players get is determined by the quality of the items they added, but if the pot contains any of the banned ingredients that the informant warned about, the pot will become a terrifying pot of nightmares, and none of the three honest players can get any points. This repeats for several more rounds. If one of the three honest players gets more than the target number of points, they win. If none of them can get enough points, then the traitor wins.

Understanding the rules of Yaminabe Jinro is the key to victory, as you will need to rely on that knowledge to be able to read the actions of the other players and build your strategy. But don’t worry, because this game has a great tutorial. Although the best way to play Yaminabe Jinro is the online mode with friends, it is recommended that you start with the story mode for single player. The story reflects creator uracon’s sense of humor and upbeat tempo, and makes learning the game rules a natural and enjoyable experience. The AI will stand in for the other three characters, but their choices feel realistic, and the end-of-round scene in front of the pot feels tense. The mysterious hot pot is nestled in a cozy pixel-art fantasy world, and I can’t get over how each object is so playful and cute.

Screenshot of the story mode in Yaminabe Jinro. The player is standing in town and lamenting that they could not defeat the Demon Lord today.

The pixel art in this game is super charming, with bold, colorful objects peeking in from the sides and background.

Once you have experienced the story mode and battling against the CPU, you will definitely want to play against real people. Please bring your phone with Yaminabe Jinro installed to play against your friends at your next yaminabe party!

You can get Yaminabe Jinro on Android or iOS. You can find uracon on Twitter. And you can see us play Yaminabe Jinro on stream!