There's a pog joke--I'm in.
I will say this about PAX East: sometimes I play a game I’ve never heard of and it’s amazing. Last year, it was Adventure of Pip and Severed. This year it’s YIIK. Pronounced “Why two kay, ” this is AckkStudios’ long-in-development game that mixes humor, social commentary, and a unique take on traditional RPG combat. I was pretty much sold by the end of the demo; just about everything in the game was a breath of fresh air.
The story is about a group of friends investigating a series of otherworldly kidnappings. In the demo I played, they travel to the trailer park hometown of one kidnapped girl, asking for clues. Interestingly, most townsfolk would only give up information after a brief scuffle—these were enemy encounters, and they are wild. There are no cut-and-paste bad guys here. I fought an “Underpaid Waitress” who attacked by complaining loudly. Your party’s own attacks are best described in terms of WarioWare. For example, the main character has record-based attacks (think Shaun of the Dead). For one attack, an actual record shows up onscreen, and your job is to press X as yellow lines on the record pass under the photograph’s tone arm. This is harder than it sounds—how successful you are determines how hard your attack hits.
One of your companions, a girl with a keytar and amp, attacks by throwing her amp at foes. You accomplish this by essentially playing Super Mario Bros. 2, jumping atop the amp, lifting it over your head, and throwing it at the enemy. The other party member (notice that I don’t remember any of their names) attacks by taking “bad photos” of enemies. For some of the faster-running WarioWare-type minigames, holding LZL slows time, although this ability is in limited supply.
The game is fully voiced and feature wonderful character portraits. YIIK’s aesthetic is definitely different—kind of a nod to N64 or PS1-era polygonal graphics but obviously much better-looking. Seasons will change in the game, which makes backtracking more tolerable. The writing is very witty and sharp, but not afraid to delve into deeper topics on occasion. There’s a pog joke in there, so it’s a thumbs-up from me.
One thing I very much appreciated is that AckkStudios approached enemy encounter rates in an interesting way: they took the average number of enemy encounters in a Final Fantasy VI dungeon (which are, of course, randomized), then cut that number in half. Then they cut in half again. Because each individual battle is longer and more demanding than a typical RPG, a lower encounter rate makes sense, and you don’t get sick of it.
YIIK should launch this summer on Steam, PS4 and Wii U. I’m really looking forward to it.