In Slavic folklore the Baba Yaga is depicted as supernatural crone that lives deep in the forest in a hut perched on chickens feet. She is said either aid those who stumbled upon her or simple eat them.
I have a bit of a soft spot for tales from folklore, so when I heard about Yaga from Breadcrumbs Interactive I was instantly intrigued.
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC -Epic Store, Steam 2020
Players: 1 Player
Genres: Adventure, RPG, Action
Developer: Breadcrumbs Interactive
Price: Varies – Average £20
This product was received for free and reviewed on PC
What’s it about
Yaga is an action adventure game that takes heavy inspiration from the old tale as you’re thrust in to the shoes of the one handed Blacksmith Ivan. Where you’re forced to undertake seemingly impossible tasks for the Tzar. In a land of superstition, blessings and curses you will have to choose your path wisely as you take on a number of perilous quests.
Ivan is an unlucky fellow and the Tzar will do whatever he can to try and be rid of you. As a result you will have to carry out a number of unreasonable requests from him as he tries his best to see the back of you for good.
Choose your adventure
As you set out on your adventures you can pick and choose what time of day you wish to carry out your quest. Depending on the time of the day you will receive different effects such as more health if it’s earlier in the morning. Or more loot dropping at night time. Along your journey you will encounter a vast array of characters both friend and foe.
In some cases you may be able to turn friend to foe. Yaga allows for you to approach situations in a number of ways. You can try to be nonviolent and resolve things peacefully. For that reason you may get some additional benefits at a later date. Such as being able to call upon an enemy you encountered but showed mercy on.
Yaga also allows for the creation of some formidable weapons to help you take down your foes. As you fight your way through the colourful and wonderfully drawn world you will be able to gather loot from slain enemies. Additionally there are treasure chests to discover, shrines that may offer rewards and various other means. You’re then able to use your gathered items to craft weapons with various bonuses depending on what you use to create it.
However, at the heart of the game is choice. All throughout the story you will be able to shape the outcome following your actions. Whether you try to be good, bad or greedy is up to you. And whatever path you choose will give you different results.
Much like many fairy tales and fantasy stories of old, Yaga uses rhymes to delivery its exposition and it works very well. The ‘cutscenes’ which are more like interludes between quests are full of charm and carefully crafted rhymes. Together with the characters that deliver that exposition are interesting or funny. They add a great layer of whit and charm to the whole game which is refreshing to see.
I’m not overly familiar with the folklore present in Yaga so I don’t know how closely it resembles that actual tales. However, this version is an enjoyable tale to undertake.
Sounds and visuals
It’s pretty hard not to love the visual style of Yaga. The hand drawn look to the game is as if it’s taken right out of a children’s book. Additionally there is plenty of detail in the world and a lot of variation in the different places you visit.
The story is fully narrated and well voiced. However, I found some of the sound to be lacking slightly in combat. Additionally when in combat the music is a weird mix of dubstep and folk style, I just don’t think it was quite for me. That being said, it wasn’t terrible, more that it just didn’t seem quite like it fit in.
The mighty hammer
Combat in Yaga plays a large part in the game. And whenever Ivan gets in to a fight the immediate area will close off, stalling progress. You must defeat all the enemies in the area before you’re able to progress. However, like I mentioned before fighting isn’t always the answer. Yaga allows for a certain amount of flexibility in how you approach situations. You don’t always have you rely on your hefty hammer to solve a situation.
Should your negotiations fail, luckily you have the means to deal with any situation. Crafting variations of your hammer will allow you to deal with all and any situations as you can create weapons with unique perks. Weapons that cause bleeding over time or that have a chance to stun are a couple of the options available. There is a great amount of flexibility to what you can create.
At times I did find the combat a little hit and miss – literally. Due to the position of the camera it could be a little finicky to swing your attacks in the right direction. Sometimes it would feel like your were right on the enemy ready to hit. But your attack with go over their head. It never became a huge issue, just something that I noticed a few times.
Yaga is an enjoyable adventure through folklore. A well told story that, given the wide range of choices you can make, allows for a good level of replay-ability. It looks great, plays well and has faultless performance. It’s a solid game that will keep you busy for a number of hours.