Title: YIIK: A Postmodern RPG
Genre: Role Playing Game
Developer: Ackk Studios
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platform(s): PC, Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Playstation Vita, Nintendo Switch
Release: January 17, 2019
Having just returned home from College, Alex is on his way to the grocery store, when a cat steals his shopping list. Of course Alex chases the cat to get the list back, is led to an abandoned factory where he sees a woman get abducted by an alien! This is how your journey of YIIK begins.
YIIK (which is Y2K) is a classic turn based JRPG style game that takes place in the United States during the year 1999.
The Tip and The Top
The graphics and the style of YIIK are very impressive. The cut scenes are especially impressive giving off a hand drawn animated feeling that is very slick and easy on the eyes. The overall look of the world when not in a cut scene harkens back to the old SNES and PS1 days. It feels very clean and unique at the same time. Occasionally, it gets a little trippy looking, but for the most part I had no complaints on the look.
The music really added a lot to the YIIK experience and the and helps capture the mood of what is going on. It's very fitting for the era that it is set in, and the only time that it gets distracting is when there is a Soul Survivor on screen. That's when there is a lot more screeching, which I think was supposed to add to the intensity and creepiness of the Soul Survivors, but all it really made me do is turn down the volume.
Not shying away from the late '90's, the humor contains lot of references to the era and a ton of wordplay. It's most obvious when you look at the names of the records that Alex uses as weapons. It's also very amusing when you use the computer at Alex's house how it is very set up to be like the early days of the internet (including the dial up noise).
Voice acting is another stand out aspect of YIIK. Most of the dialog in the cut scenes is spoken and the voice actors did a tremendous job of delivering a very convincing performance of a decently written story. Sure sometimes it's a little too over the top, but isn't all voice acting?
The Flip and The Flop
What started as my absolute favorite part of the game, ended up being the part that I ended up dreading as time went on in YIIK. The combat is very interactive requiring you to press buttons for each attack and every time that you go to defend yourself. In the beginning it was a breath of fresh air as one of my biggest complaints of most RPGS, is just sitting there after pressing a button to attack and staring at the screen. While the interactivity of the battles keeps it a little more entertaining, the length of the battles becomes a drudge. Even after powering up your weapons and items, even the smallest of battles take multiple minutes. The inconsistency of the damage done doesn't help make the battle more endearing. There are times that you'll only get one in the combo and it will do three damage. The next turn you will hit the enemy with the same character with a six hit combo, and only do one damage. It got very frustrating.
There also seemed to be some inconsistency with the reaction of pressing buttons to interact with objects and people. Many times the prompt (press x) would be on the screen, yet I would have to press x three or four times in order to do what was needed. This made me question if sometimes in battle if I didn't miss combos because the command wasn't going through. In the main world it was a minor annoyance, but if it was in fact happening during battle, that is a major hindrance.
While there were a lot of facets to the story that I did enjoy, there were a lot of times that it got to be a little too convoluted. Maybe it makes more sense to others, but there were times that I was just lost with what was being talked about. It may have had to do with the fact that there were times that when Alex was explaining things, he just came across as a pretentious pompous hipster. He made it very clear early on that regardless of what was happening to the other characters in the party, his own personal strife was far more important.
Final Grade: C-
For everything that I liked about YIIK, everything that I wasn't that big of a fan of outweighed it. The story is very intriguing with the supernatural and spiritual elements which is what kept me going. Every time a battle started though, a feeling of dread washed over me. Trudging through the battles weighed down the experience of great looking graphics and good sound.