It’s pronounced Y-2-K…
No, Really, look at the title and read it out, Y-2-K.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch & PC
Release Date: 17/01/2019
Age Rating: 16
Genres: RPG / Adventure
Developer: Ackk Studios
If the title of the game doesn’t give it away, just to re-cap, YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is an RPG. It takes inspiration from turn based RPG’s for it’s battle system but mixes it up with attack and defence mini games which while inventive do slow things down.
It’s also set in 1999, so you can expect to encounter plenty of retro and nostalgic touches to the game.
So, what do you do?
You begin your postmodern nostalgic journey talking to a crow named Marlene. This is what I can only assume sets the game up for you as you answer questions like who’s your best friend and alike. You enter the name in answer to these questions, fun trivia fact, this game recognises video game character names. When answering some of the questions I used characters such as Link and Tidus and Marlene would reply “Like the video-game character?” So that was a pretty cool little touch.
Once you’ve answered a series of questions and read Marlene’s amusing responses you begin in a town playing as the ginger haired hero Alex.
Alex has just returned from college and is acclimatising himself back into his old town. He’s left a list from him mum of items he needs to get from the shop and thus the adventure begins.
You encounter a cat who steals your list from your mum, so you of course pursue it as it runs towards an abandoned hotel. From here all sorts of weirdness occurs with the eventual disappearance of a girl, who seemingly gets dragged into another dimension via a lift. The shocker, the mystery happens in the abandoned hotel you were at, so feeling guilty you set about your adventure to discover what happened.
Turn based battles….but…
So as mentioned the battle system for YIIK is rather familiar in that it is a turn base system, however it’s not completely traditional. The attack and defence mechanics are applied from succeeding in timing mini games in battle. For instance for Alex to attack, a vinyl is spinning and you need to stop the needle on a yellow fragment of the vinyl. You get a few attempts to do this to hit combos, but if you should miss the yellow fragment then that’s all the attacks you’ll do. You can also aim for a red fragment which gives a 2nd hit to the opposition. As for defence you need to stop a target indicator on a power bar which can either stop a hit completely depending if you can hit the tiniest slither of red on a bar, or you can miss completely and take a full whack.
The attack mini games differ based on characters you play from in your party, and you know what, upon first use of them and playing with them for the first dozen or so times, it’s actually cool and enjoyable. But battles are long, and the number of times you hit these attack and defend mini games per battle multiplied by the number of battles you might get involved in does become a tad frustrating. As you progress you can start to slow down the attack or defend meters to make the ease of hitting them increase, but this just slows battles down more.
Paranormal Activity & Puzzles…
The setting and world for YIIK is really quite an enjoyable place. While travelling in towns and from town to town on the old school world map the game really shines. Exploring the spooky areas and other dimensions is also really quite fun and can be kind of intense too. The game is very much investigating into paranormal activity.
As you delve further into the unknown and other dimensions you participate in puzzles to progress. You are aided in these by your trusty helpers Panda and Dali (the cat who gets you in this predicament in the first place). They aren’t particularly challenging especially as your familiarity with Panda and Dali’s capabilities increase.
There are some great little touches to the game that made me smile while playing this. Comments about the dial up internet and hearing the horrendous dial up noise of trying to connect to the internet that a generation now a days wouldn’t know was a thing.
I really like the ONISM Message board that’s created for this game, it’s like Reddit but for paranormal activity and it’s just pretty interesting to read it and see the board continuously increase with new posts and stories as you progress through the game. It’s also where this story takes off as-well as the missing girl you’re on the quest to find is posted to this board with cctv footage from the lift of the incident.
Pros and Cons
+ Visually it’s a nice looking game suitable for the era it’s set
+ There’s some pretty great retro nostalgia thrown into this game
+ Between 25-30 hours of game-play can be found in YIIK
– The battle system while fresh does get frustrating
– The characters are all kind of bland and uninteresting
YIIK has it’s ups and downs. The first few hours with the what seems like an inventive battle system is quite fun, especially as you explore the world of YIIK and come across nostalgic Easter eggs and enjoy some commentary between the characters, not to mention it’s pretty interesting following all the paranormal happenings being posted on ONISM. But then as the game goes on, and on, and on and the battles continue to do so, and the characters just start to become rather annoying, it then becomes a real struggle to proceed. Despite the cool little retro nods, it does become a bit to much of Alex whining and frequent long battles.
You definitely get your money’s worth in terms of play time, it’s just a test of strength to break that mental barrier and see it through to the end.