Review by TIm Turner
YIIK is a surreal Japanese role playing game from developers Ackk Studios set in the late 90’s. You play as a hipster graduate called Alex who after witnessing a girl vanish mysteriously from an elevator must investigate the strange happenings together with a band of misfits assembled from the internet. The search for the truth leads Alex and his party into a journey rife with mystery and danger. Who knows what lurks beyond the new millennium?
The graphics in YIIK are definitely meant to set the scene of being in the 90s with crude polygonal models and NES quality menu systems making you think you have actually gone back in time to the days of dial-up internet and VGA monitors. YIIK uses different graphic styles mixed together fitting with the postmodern theme but making for a disjointed feel and a sense that the developers did not have a clear idea of where they were going with the game.
The gameplay also seems to reflect this lack of direction as even choosing whether to use keyboard or controller is actually quite difficult. Key bindings cannot be changed and make no sense at all with menu being F2, movement on the cursors or WSAD and fire buttons being IJKL. Yeah super strange! I’m guessing the game was meant for console only and PC release was an afterthought.
As far as the gameplay itself goes, to begin with everything seems like your normal RPG adventure but then you run into an enemy and things get kinda weird. The combat system is the strangest I have come across. Your weapon is a vinyl record ( Ask your parents kids!) and you are required to click when the stylus of the record player is over the lines on the record. Left trigger can be used to slow down time and is essential as there is no way you can hit the lines without it. Other characters have different combat styles but are all basically an annoying minigame resulting in each encounter lasting a good half hour before your foes are defeated. Each character has special moves although most of them are completely useless!
The disjointed feel of the game is also reflected in the writing. The main character Alex is not a very nice person who treats his mates like garbage and expects everything to come with no effort. Typical hipster I guess but doesn’t exactly draw you into the game. I started to really despise the guy after the first couple of hours and adding that to the awful combat system I found it increasingly difficult to play this awful game. The premise of YIIK and the postmodern style intrigued me but its executed so badly with terrible
I really wish more thought had gone into the mechanics of YIIK. I can understand the devs wanting to do something different and I applaud that but I find it hard to believe they are happy with what they’ve created. The whole game has a feel of “Sod it that’ll do!” about it which funnily enough is how I felt after 8 hours. I would have finished the game if combat could be turned off but sadly the only way to avoid it is by running away and that requires yet another annoying minigame! All in all, I would say that unless you are a hardcore JRPG fanatic then give this game a wide berth. I certainly will be uninstalling and trying to forget the amount of time I wasted on it!
Overall Score – 2/10
and it only gets the 2 because it tried to be different