When I first downloaded this game I kept pronouncing the title as “Yiik”, but upon further inspection it’s actually YIIK, as in the roman numeral 2. This 3D “Postmodern RPG” centers around an entitled college grad by the name of Alex. After graduating in the year 1999, Alex goes back to his hometown to loaf around and take it easy for a while. One day on his way to the store he comes across a peculiar looking cat who steals his grocery list. After chasing it for a while, Alex finds himself in what seems to be a different world, on a mission to save a mysterious girl, from a mysterious enemy.
YIIK: A Post Modern RPG in short, is a game about hipsters trying to save the world. Alex, the main character, is the most notable hipster. With his black-framed glasses, flannel shirts and lazy, arrogant attitude. The only thing he’s missing is a bun and flip flops. I probably wouldn’t harp on him so much if I liked him, but I’ll save that for later. YIIK’s mechanics are very similar to games like Earthbound. The character is free to explore the terrain, solve puzzles, and tackle dungeons. Enemies will be scattered around and running into one will initiate a turn-based battle. Sometimes you’ll fight one enemy, other times there will be two or three.
There’s one enemy that really annoyed me, called the Smile. They are round yellow creatures that sit on a spring and…smile. They can be killed with one hit but I ran into them so frequently. Not to mention they really aren’t pleasant to look at. Some of the enemies have a bland, generic look to them which turned me off a little bit. The attack method is kind of weird too. When Alex attacks he throws a record at his enemy. In order to get the attack to reach full power, the player is prompted to input button commands or timed hits.
I didn’t like how sensitive this whole process was and each character’s inputs are inconsistent. Some attacks are really easy to pull off, while others, like Alex’ are kind of annoying to have to do. If you don’t get the command just right you will miss your chance to attack. So, at times, it was a little frustrating to say the least especially when some battles seem to feel like they’re taking forever. You can fast forward through battles to save some time but some of them still feel like they go on for too long.
Aside from the weird battle system there are some redeeming qualities in YIIK. I really liked how bright and colorful the game was, and even though I didn’t care for a lot of the enemy designs some of them were neat looking. Not very memorable, but still neat. There are also places in the game that are very surreal and whimsical. The art style and graphic choice was meant to make the player feel like they’re actually playing a game from the 90’s, and it’s done very well. YIIK is also equipped with voice acting and a very awesome, memorable soundtrack. Most of the time I get to review games that don’t have tunes worth mentioning, but this time I can honestly say that I enjoyed them. I should also mention that YIIK is a very silly game. There is plenty of hilarious dialogue and references. I also liked all of the weird little scenarios and mishaps that the group finds themselves in. It’s one of the more enjoyable parts of the actual storyline.
Another cool thing I liked about YIIK was being able to collect POGS. POGS are collectible coins that you can find throughout the game. My brothers and I used to have a huge collection of POGS so I was happy to see them make an appearance–that took me back. There were quite a few references that took me back actually. I was born in 1990 so it’s cool seeing all of this stuff I grew up with sprinkled around throughout the game. It’s also weird that the decade I grew up in is becoming “retro” and “cool”. Almost like my generation felt about the 80’s. Anyway, my point is that is if you like the 90’s then you’ll enjoy the subject matter and pop culture references in YIIK.
One of my main complaints about this game is having to listen to Alex drone on and on in his self-aware monologues. It’s literally the worst part of the game for me. Alex will stop the game and just talk to the screen about what he’s feeling or what’s going on, or whatever. I didn’t listen after the first couple intermissions. All I know is that if he’s trying to pull a Zach Morris, I don’t think he’s doing it right. It’s honestly kind of annoying and weird to have a main character that is so self involved and egotistical. I don’t know, maybe I’m being a little too harsh. I mean, I’m used to games like The Legend of Zelda where the protagonist just shuts up and does his job… but you know, kids these days.
If I had to sum up YIIK into one sentence this is what I would say: YIIK is a good attempt at a 90’s era RPG, but it lacks depth and more importantly it lacks an enjoyable battle experience. There is a good amount of gameplay and there are plenty of enjoyable moments to experience during the play-through, but there were some irritating things that kind of turned me off. However, I will say I might be a bit biased because the whole “Hipster” thing annoys me regardless of how it’s being presented, or represented. So keep that in mind. Overall, I think if YIIK had a more polished battle system with better attack input (and Alex didn’t stop the game to talk to the camera) YIIK would be a lot more appealing to me than it has been. BUT, I have a feeling that this game will actually be well received by gamers who enjoy more obscure titles. Check out YIIK: A Post Modern RPG on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99.