YIIK: A Postmodern RPG – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Ackk Studios
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita, Switch
Tested on: Switch

YIIK: A Postmodern RPG – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Cool, creative take on the classic RPG formula
Bad: Repeating itself fast, slow pace, no clear story
User Score
7.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Postmodernism is not an easy concept to grasp. It has broad and vague meanings and is found in philosophy, art, architecture, and a lot more. In YIIK, it’s maybe best explained through the philosophic way. Pronounced as Why-Two-Kay, a.k.a. the year 2000, the game seems to base its environment and story upon the philosophical statement that truth is nothing but a construct. There is no real truth, no way to separate dreams from reality anymore. At least, judging by the trippy, questionable visuals that one will instantly notice. 

Story

You start the story as the just-graduated guy called Alex, who came back to his hometown. Your house is empty, a note is left on the table for you with your mum asking you to do some grocery shopping. Before you know it, weird things start to happen. A weird phone call, a weirdly sentient thieving cat, some form of ghostly appearances. Before you fully realize it, you are stuck deeper in the rabbit hole than Alice from Wonderland has ever been. Even though YIIK has an interesting premise, you getting sucked down in this rabbit hole is not all that great.

For one, the story, much like the visuals, sometimes seems like just a random string of events where Alex is just shrugging as he does the weirdest stuff, sometimes even literally saying ”I have no idea why I was…” while doing it. Real incentives seem to be missing, at least for most of the game. On top of that, the sentences and conversations being held with NPCs often sound like they are meant to be poetic, yet they come across as tiring and flat, using a lot of words that don’t seem to have any meaning. There are some good bits, but a lot of them are not. It’s a crucial misstep because, however fitting it is for the graphical elements of the game, if you make everything vague, nothing becomes clear.

Graphics

A first look at any of the scenery you will pass through and you are probably quickly overwhelmed with influences from other games, as well as stuck with some questions. YIIK does not care for reality or any rules. One moment you might be at a crying pyramid, the other you will find yourself at a park surrounded by darkness. The game has a certain bright, Japanese style that reminds us of a lot of games such as Animal Crossing. Combine that with areas and feels from games such as Earthbound and Pokémon, and you have a pretty good idea what to expect from YIIK. Except you never know what to expect due to the high level of surrealism.

The 3D environments and objects are pretty detailed, though they are not always that clear when looking at interactive objects on the Switch when playing portable. Or maybe that’s something the game has an issue with anyway. Everything looks great, but because of the weird design, the entire adventure you go on feels more like a trip than an actual game with clear indicators of what serves which purpose. One thing is sure, YIIK’s graphics are not like other similar games, and it’s the main part that makes you want to keep on going.

Sound

The music in YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is pretty good because it changes around a lot to play with the mood. There are literally classic retro tracks when walking the map, spooky surreal tracks for certain environments, jazzy tracks for conversations and other parts. It’s a bit of you’ll-never-know-what-you’ll-get, much like the environments and story bits. There are not many sound effects present, but there is a voice-over for every bit of text, which is quite a bit. The voices are done alright, but because the conversations are sometimes so extensive or uninteresting, they can automatically get a bit boring as well.

Gameplay

YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is, like the title probably already gave away, an RPG. There are two parts to the game. Following the storyline as it steadily progresses while trying to do a few puzzles as well, and fights with enemies you encounter. The first part where you follow the story is an RPG with a pre-determined path where you move around as you please within limited areas but basically can only go to one next objective to actually do something useful. There are NPCs to talk to and sometimes things to buy, but you will follow a single quest line that will probably take you about twenty hours to finish, sending you from point A to point B. This can be tedious and is not specifically high-paced, the main pleasure you will get out of following the story is tumbling into the next unexpected scene.

There is also combat, which is set up like the Pokémon and Final Fantasy series. Meaning you will, in this case, have health points and special ability points for each party member. If your health points are depleted, you lose the game. Your special ability points are used to summon special abilities, such as Alex’s sidekick named Panda who will take three hits for the party. This costs five out of five special ability points. Normally, the combat in these games goes as follows: You queue an assignment such as ”attack” or ”special” and either a character instantly performs it or does it following up in a single sequence on each other and the enemies.

In YIIK, this is slightly different. Every fight is like a single minigame (or series, depending on how large your party is). To take protagonist Alex as an example, he uses a vinyl record as a weapon, and you need to time your button pushes at the right moment on a spinning record to decide how much damage you will do. For Michael, a different party member, it’s about pressing the right buttons as a slider goes over them. It’s an interesting take on an RPG fight, but where the gameplay in a game such as Pokémon can be relaxing, here you need to use all your mental power to focus over and over again, at every single move that either you or the enemy makes. Now, where there is such a thing as luck in these RPGs normally, in YIIK there is just repetition of this focus that depends how well your fight will go, eventually making fights tedious and stressful.

Conclusion

YIIK has a lot of interesting things going on. The visuals and the sound are probably the best it has to offer, where the visuals mainly offer you an unexpected trippy adventure. Yet the story is hard to follow by an overload of text you don’t really need since it’s just not adding anything interesting, and the gameplay becomes rather tedious in all directions. Eventually, YIIK is cool as an experiment, but only the unexpected around the corner will really make you play it till the end.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.