You know what two of my favorite games are? Earthbound and killer7. They’re both very different, very weird games, but if you think about it, they’re not actually that far apart on the weirdness spectrum. With a bit of tinkering, one could, conceivably, marry the two. Why do I bring this up? Well, while perusing the web, I stumbled across an upcoming game called YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, and one of the promotional quotes, from one Jonathan Holmes of Destructoid, claimed the game was “a killer7 Earthbound hipster hybrid heaven”. Well, consider my attention grabbed.
From what I can gather from development materials, YIIK (and by the way, that’s pronounced “Y2K”, not “yick”, like I originally thought, because I’m an idiot) follows the life of Alex Eggleston (voiced by Chris Niosi, who I am also a fan of), a college graduate hipster who becomes obsessed with finding a young woman who disappeared from an elevator, taken by otherworldly creatures Through his investigations into the mysterious unknown, he is joined by a party of misfits, each pursuing mysteries of their own, either of a tangible nature or a more personal one. The story reminds me of Earthbound right off the bat, albeit with an older team, as what begins as mildly unusual situation in mundane, contemporary setting spirals into a long, strange trip to places unknown. As with killer7, there is clearly more to the story than anyone, even the protagonists, is letting on, but that just encourages you, the player, to piece it together yourself.
The world is yours to explore, though things will frequently shift between everyday 1990’s America and a multicolored mindscape where all manner of horrors dwell. Armed with his favorite LP, Alex fights back in turn-based battles. The combat is reminiscent of Paper Mario, with action commands on both attacking and defending for boosting and reducing damage, respectively. These command minigames vary depending on the character. Alex’s are tapping sweet spots on a turntable, his otaku associate Claudio uses the control stick to build up sword slashes, and Vella the musician chucks amps at her foes in a quick 8-bit sidescroller, to name a few.
I think, gameplay elements aside, what really draws me is the style. Maybe I’m just a gross hipster, but something about this surreal imagery mixed with contemporary settings just clicks with me. It’s bright and colorful, but mixing that with its sudden, strange twists results in making itself mildly unsettling (in a good way). If nothing else, I want to try this game out just to see what it’s all about.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is slated for a summer 2016 release, which means it’s coming pretty dang soon. Glad to know I’ll be throwing LPs at people in a few months.