Yaga – Review
Follow Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Breadcrumbs Interactive
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Yaga – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Artwork, Mechanics, Crafting, Story
Bad: Difficulty curve
User Score
5.5
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.5/10 (4 votes cast)

It’s hard to come up with original ideas for games nowadays, as a lot of concepts have been done already. It’s hard to come up with a shooter that has an original theme, as well as an RPG that has such original characters that don’t have the same backstory as in other games. It’s also hard to choose which game you wish to play, as many games sound alike and some are pretty much clones of one another, making it impossible to pick your poison. We were quite surprised when we saw Yaga pop up in our mailbox, as it was a game that revolves around a one-armed blacksmith, struck by bad luck, in a world where all the beings from Slavic folklore roamed freely. The game piqued our interest and we were not disappointed.

Story

The story of Yaga revolves around a blacksmith that is struck by bad luck, or at least he has been cursed by a witch that invokes bad luck. At the same time, the Tsar of his land is cursed by the legendary Baba Yaga, for refusing a kindness to an old woman. Because of this curse, he has to keep away the unluckiest man on Earth, as he will tear down his reign. Nonetheless, Ivan, the blacksmith, is tasked by his Tsar to undergo quests, far away, which he is likely to fail. Against all odds, the blacksmith keeps popping up on the doorstep of the Tsar, with yet another completed task.

The flow of the story is quite enjoyable, and after the completion of every quest, you’ll get to learn more about what is going on. The interactions you have with all the characters are also lighthearted and many are constructed out of rhymes, which makes things rather appealing and pleasant.

Graphics

Yaga looks like a piece of art that is hand-drawn from start to finish. The entire world seemingly consists of colorful moving paintings. Each critter and character is properly created, and while everything looks a bit ‘dirty’ in the world of Yaga, you’ll have fun exploring the different levels to uncover new creatures to fight, NPCs to interact with and shrines to use to your advantage. While the world itself isn’t all too big, and there is some recycled content, it’s amazing how well-crafted this game is and respects the source material of the Slavic folklore it bases itself on.

Sound

The music in Yaga is phenomenal. You’ll be treated to very traditional music mixed with some drum and bass. While this combination might not sound that appealing on paper, the developers did a superb job in setting the proper atmosphere in the game. It’s quite impressive how this game gets you in the proper mood to battle and barter your way through the game. On top of the great soundtrack, every conversation in the game is voiced by a very convincing cast. To add a bit of charm to the game, the dialogues also have a lot of rhyming, building further on top of the folklore atmosphere.

Gameplay

Yaga is an action RPG in which you’re playing with a rather peculiar protagonist. You’ll be playing with Ivan, the one-armed blacksmith who is stricken with bad luck. This bad luck mechanic will also cause you to not get too attached to your gear, as every time bad luck strikes (when its respective meter is full), you’ll lose a bit of your gear. This creates an interesting flow of the game, which can be fun to force you into crafting items and purchasing charms. Sadly, at the end battle, it can become something you hate, as it will determine if you succeed in your final battle or not. On top of that, the world of Yaga is fairly small, but it is interesting to explore.

In Yaga you’ll roam around in enclosed levels, tackling each separate objective at a time. The game asks you which quest you wish to embark on when you venture out in the wild, and this is a fairly fun mechanic. You can choose yourself if you wish to stray away from the main path, or simply do what is asked of you. The town will also present you with a few quests, but these are pretty much all main quests, safe for one side quest given to you by the grave keeper. You’ll have to follow a fairly linear path, but the extra ‘dungeons’ when venturing out, are fun to explore as well.

The combat in the game is very satisfying. You can easily roll around the battlefield, hitting enemies in the face with your hammer, or throw it if you so desire. The combat itself is fairly fast-paced, and you will always duke it out in small enclosed areas. In the beginning, combat can be fairly simple in terms of options, but as you progress and are able to add enhancements to your weapons, you find yourself switching between weapons to tackle your foes with the best possible weapon. Keep in mind that you have a good chance of losing your active weapon when bad luck strikes, so don’t get too attached.

As the blacksmith lost his arm due to a previous encounter with a witch, you can add pieces of equipment to what is left of his arm, very much in an Evil Dead kind of way. You can add things like a claw, a sickle, a shovel, and a grappling hook, making combat even more diverse. This mechanic makes the game even more fun and somewhat more complex.

Progression is not like in other RPG games. In this game, you’ll learn during your quests, and you’ll learn faster if your bad luck meter is filled. After each quest, even if you don’t succeed, the game will offer you different options to choose from, allowing you to level certain aspects of your character. These are often passive bonuses, which means you don’t unlock any new specific skills. The system works well, and it also allows you to pick different options for each playthrough.

The game’s difficulty skyrockets when you reach the last two stages of the game. This is not only because you’ll have to fight off more monsters per enclosed area, but because of the last two bosses in the game. One is immortal, and you’ll have to time ‘killing’ him perfectly, and the other has an overpowered gimmick that instantly fills your bad luck meter. The latter causes you to go through your weapons quickly, and if you don’t succeed the first time, you might not have any proper enhancements for your newly crafted weapons at your disposal to undergo the battle a second time.

Conclusion

Yaga is an amazing game in its genre, and while it is fairly short, the different choices you can make will allow you to have a different experience each playthrough. You will enjoy very fluid controls and will simply love the aesthetics of the game. The story may be somewhat simple, but Ivan’s epic quest is impressive to play through, especially if you love tinkering with the crafting system. We wholeheartedly advise playing this game if you’re looking for a short but strong RPG experience. While the bad luck mechanic can be a bit tedious at the end of the game, it should by no means hold you back from playing this game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.5/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Yaga - Review, 5.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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