YIIK: A Postmodern RPG might be the most interesting game nobody knows about. For the uninitiated, here’s a rundown that should get your mouth watering. YIIK is a surrealist RPG heavily inspired by the Mother series. It’s set in a 1999 rural American town, plagued by the mysterious disappearance of a woman, the supernatural, and hipsters. Combat is a unique blend of turn-based and real time action, featuring an eight party system and six different dungeons to explore. Perhaps strangest of all, this is a story-driven indie game that actually bothered getting voice actors!
The Y2K Bug
“Unique” is Big Bird’s Word of The Day. This is perhaps my fourth attempt at writing this article, something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first heard about the game. Now that I finally have the chance to do it, I’m struggling to write anything that doesn’t read like a Donald Drumpf tweet. See, that’s my second Donald Drumpf tweet joke today.
There’s just so much weird shit in YIIK that grabs your attention and won’t let go. Bright, contrasting colors, horrific images of women crying blood, and surrealistic landscapes are the meal of the day, and it’s a spicy one. This doesn’t “look” like your standard game. It lacks the realistic graphics of the AAA industry, as well as the generic pixel art we see in many indie games.
That’s just a superficial layer of odd, though. What really makes the game stand out is its plot. You play as Alex, a bearded hipster returning to his hometown and meeting up with his best friend again and seeing how the town’s changed. But all is not as it appears. Actually, given its looks, all is exactly as it seems, which is to say, well, you know.
The combat features a mix of turn-based and real time gameplay. Everyone fights with vinyl records, guitars, and cameras. You can have up to eight members in your party at once, and you get to explore six dungeons. Each dungeon will be full of traps and puzzles for you to solve, which breaks up the gameplay. Even the combat is designed with mini-games like side-scrollers to give everything an extra bit of flair.
YIIK uses the Mother series as a jumping off point, much the same way Undertale and even Lisa: The Painful RPG have in the past. Rather than being set in Japan or a demonic underworld, this Postmodern RPG is set in the good ole U.S. of A. This lets Ackk explore a more realistic setting, which can often be stranger than fiction. You needn’t look any further than the real world inspiration of the title than proof of that.
Tattooed Foreheads & Filled Voids
If there’s one thing stranger than YIIK, it’s that there haven’t been more games that have sought to emulate the look and feel of Mother. Despite a devoted cult-following, there haven’t been many games that have even tried. Perhaps developers see think those expectations are too lofty and will only hold them back. That hasn’t been the case with Ackk, who proudly wear that inspiration tattooed on their foreheads.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is in a perfect position to fill a specific void in the community. They’ve even managed to get Undertale creator and composer Toby Fox to work on some music for the game. It has the same surrealist setting, it’s a story-driven RPG, and it even begins with a mysterious disappearance.
YIIK’s strength is in its uniqueness. Anyone who sees these screenshots are bound to turn their heads and stare. Just look at them. You’re probably ignoring whatever crap I’m writing and just staring at the screenshots, transfixed. (Now taking bets on our first “Actually I think it’s ugly” comment.)
Uniqueness often proves itself a double-sided dildo, though. Often, this kind of weirdness can hurt a game as much as it helps. Many will inevitably think it’s too bizarre for them, or it’ll get relegated to specialty indie gaming websites because the bigger places don’t see any traffic opportunity. It’s inspirations from Mother may help, but even its Toby Fox connection and relatively well-known voice actors won’t help much.
Bull and Bear Markets
A game’s success or failure matters to gamers, whether they know it or not. Imagine the last time you played a great game nobody knows about, and you realize that studio either never made another game again. Or worse still, they sold out, creating the video game equivalent of a “Social Experiment Gone Sexual!!!!1!!1” YouTube video. Great indie games and their developers need to see the light of day.
We don’t know if YIIK will be great or not yet, statistically speaking it probably won’t be. But from what Ackk Studios has shown so far, it at deserves a chance. This is definitely one we’re going to keep an eye on here at Cliqist. How’s that for marketing?
For more coverage on this game, and complete coverage of all things indie gaming at E3 2017, keep your eyes on Cliqist.