by Andrew Skelton (Outfoxed)
There are a lot of Earthbound fans out there, I’ve heard. Yes, I’m looking at you in particular here, Ragachak. The surreal imagery, the modern, urban setting, the quirky characters, and the sheer randomness the series offers provided many people a measure of joy when it was released. It also confused a lot of people used to more fantasy or science fiction based RPGs. There’s been very little like it since. Ysbryd Games is looking to fill that void with YIIK, a Postmodern RPG. Right off the bat, let me just say this game was every bit as strange as Earthbound, and I definitely mean that positively.
You play as Alex Eggleston. Strange things have been happening to Alex, ever since someone he was in an elevator with mysteriously vanished. Now on a quest for answers, he was summoned to a strange place by someone claiming to have the key to these mysteries. Once there, I was treated to one of the strangest experiences I’ve encountered in gaming in a long, long time. Again, I really mean that in a positive light, I promise.
All of the characters on this island had their own odd little quirks. There was the club that worshipped fire, and the police who treated them as the arsonists they probably were. There were the children of the woman we were searching for running around, complaining they hadn’t been fed or taken care of in a couple of days. Oh, and there was the mermaid with her, ahem, baby-faced features. Seriously, passers-by would stop, stare, and try and figure out exactly what was going on with her every time I interacted with said NPC. It was great.
Combat also has plenty of quirkiness to it. Alex attacks with records, you see: LP records, to be precise. His attacks require you to hit the mark on a turntable to deal attacks on the enemies. His special ability had you playing Galaga, trying to hit a fast moving enemy on the screen with LP shots. The other character (it’s kind of a spoiler, sorry) used an umbrella like a katana in iaijutsu style, and his special attack prompted you to match the commands on the screen to unleash a powerful attack.
The enemies were all surreal too. Just imagine fighting against hopping smiley faces, or trading blows with the previously mentioned baby-mammaried mermaid for an idea. There was a fight against the punk girl proprietor of the fire club who throws a mean right hook. I’m promised there are even more oddities to be found in the full game, too. So if surrealist imagery and strange happenings are your jam, you might want to give a look into YIIK.