PSX 2015: YIIK: A Postmodern RPG Preview – RPG Like It’s 1999

Ever since PSLS checked out YIIK at PAX Prime, I’ve wanted to get my hands on it. The odd concept seemed out of place, yet that’s what made it so unique and drew my attention right to it. I’ve yearned for the classic Nintendo RPGs of my early life, specifically something in the style of Earthbound. YIIK pulls no punches in being weird, yet offering players a fun RPG that doesn’t necessarily take place in a fantasy land filled with magic and dragons. 

No, instead, YIIK takes place very much in a world that isn’t terribly unlike our own, and its hero is a group of characters that contain people who aren’t too unlike you or me. Taking place in 1999 (as you may have been able to surmise, given the game’s title), You’ll take control of eight strangers brought together by an internet forum interested in researching missing persons and the occult. 

Pull No Punches

My demo started in a strange windy town, aptly named Windtown. I was investigating the disappearance of a girl and talking to any of the residents usually resulted in a battle beginning, often due to a bad day at work, or other simple misunderstanding. These fights played out bizarrely, with one character even wielding a keytar as her weapon. There’s tongue in cheek humor at every turn in YIIK and it fully embraces how bizarre it is, pulling no punches along the way. 

YIIK a postmodern rpg preview

Combat is standard turn-based RPG fare, but attacks are broken up by mini-games that either allow you get more hits on the enemy or defend against their attacks. It was a fun way to add an extra layer of skill based gameplay to the combat, not unlike pulling the trigger when using Squall’s gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII.

All of the best elements of any turn based RPG are here. There’s an open overworld with nine dungeons to explore. There’s an epic story that will take your cast of characters on a massive adventure. There are even different endings depending on how the main character, a geeky guy named  Alex Eggleston, interacts with the other members of the party. And then of course there’s the fun part where all of the party members are in their twenties and dealing with becoming an adult, something I know I’ve been able to personally relate to for the last decade or so. 

YIIK Screen

The striking visuals may look simple and uninteresting at a quick glance, but they fit the bizarre styling of YIIK, allowing the deadpan humor to play out without distraction. In fact, let’s not call them simple or uninteresting. let’s call them minimalistic, which is extremely interesting in its own respect.There’s another good reason for it to look the way it does, and Vita owners should rejoice. If you’re looking for another great RPG to play on the handheld, YIIK should be on your radar as the Vita version is coming shortly after launch of its PS4 counterpart.

I managed only a few minutes with YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, and it was far too short of a time. It scratched that itch for a game like Earthbound, and I can’t wait until it releases early next year to play more.