Forums Game Chat YIIK: A Postmodern RPG has great music, quirkiness, and horrendous, fatal flaws

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    Pronounced “y-two-k” after the notorious computer bug, YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is an indie game set during the turn of the millennium. It’s steeped in late 90’s pop culture and features great music, quirky characters, cartoony  3D art that is halfway decent by indie standards, tons of gaming-related in-jokes, and a story that oscillates between mundane, surreal, and horrifying.

    YIIK is intended for adults. It is NOT a game for kids. There are serious themes, including a character who may take their own life depending on player choices (YIIK warns the player of this at the very beginning, and offers an option to disable player consequences). There is also some disturbing imagery of human sacrifice.

    YIIK has horrendous, fatal flaws, both in story and gameplay. These flaws are so pervasive that they utterly cripple the game. People aspiring to make their own creative works – novels, video games, web originals, any type of media – should take note of YIIK’s lessons in what not to do.

    Do not do this #1: base your work of fiction on an ordinary, real-life person who was a victim of tragedy.

    The creator of YIIK has openly admitted that a major NPC, the woman whose mysterious disappearance gets the protagonist Alex involved in searching for her, is based on a real-life person who died.

    This is extremely disrespectful to the person who died and her family. A different set of moral guidelines might be in play if the person were a public figure or a historical figure, but she was just an ordinary person and YIIK’s creator saw nothing wrong with turning her death into a video game plot.

    Do not do this #2: plagiarism.

    Amid its surreal first dungeon, YIIK is notorious for ripping a long passage straight out of Haruki Murakami’s novel “After Dark” and putting it in the mouth of a character called “Proto-woman”, with no attribution to the source material.

    Seriously, don’t do this. If you’re going to quote someone, attribute it. A tiny disclaimer in the game’s credits doesn’t count. If Proto-woman had said, “Haruki Murakami once wrote in his novel After Dark…” then maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad. Maybe.

    Do not do this #3: painfully slow RPG battles (in a non-tactical RPG).

    Every single attack in YIIK RPG requires the player to pull off a long minigame. A patch improved this so that basic attacks can use a very short quick-time-event instead, but even if the player turns the QTE option on, basic attacks are weak and can’t be relied upon later in the game. It makes battles very slow and random encounters are agony even when they’re not destroying the player.

    Compounding this, attack minigames don’t have a thorough explanation (Alex’s “record” special attack doesn’t tell the player to hit the button repeatedly  when the needle is on the record’s colored section) or a means to easily practice them. Running from battles also involves a difficult minigame. I highly recommend turning on the option for unlimited “time slowdown” in combat minigames, which makes YIIK’s battles easier and therefore bearable.

    Do not do this #4: a story that ignores resolution for everyone other than the protagonist.

    YIIK has several party members. All of them are far more interesting than the deeply flawed and whiny protagonist Alex. None of them get any resolution. There are two main endings (plus a “bad ending”, if the player makes a certain choice in one of the ending routes). The endings are devoted to Alex and major NPCs only, making them extremely unsatisfying.

    There is a video online of an alternate ending to YIIK that does have resolution for the entire party. I can’t tell if the video is a datamined ending that no one has figured out how to legitimately access (or that can’t be accessed except through hacking), or if it’s a fan work.

    Do not do this #5: make your protagonist unlikeable AND have the universe worship him.

    It’s possible, although difficult, to make a good story with an unlikeable protagonist. Stories like this can work if the protagonist has character growth to change for the better, and YIIK tries to do this. YIIK fails.

    Alex starts out whiny, selfish, lazy, and worthless. He makes a token effort to improve, but it’s so little, and then it gets lost as the story becomes all about him, and lionizes him. This is what happens when self-insert fanfiction goes bad.

    Do I regret buying YIIK? Maybe. I got it on sale for $10, so the price wasn’t too high, but if I had known about flaw #1 I might not have wanted to give the creator any money.

    Do I regret playing YIIK? I guess not. For all its flaws, it was a wild ride, and it did motivate me to put my own fanfiction online. It was a “Good grief this story is terrible, I know my own work is better than this” reaction.

    Do I recommend YIIK? Absolutely not. I will not accept responsibility for anything the player endures if they try to slog through the slow, difficult, minigame-laden combat or the surreal story that literally devolves into void.

    Is there anything good about YIIK? Well… it did hold my interest for an entire playthrough, even if the ultimate payoff was a wipeout. Also, the music is excellent. YIIK does not deserve its amazing soundtrack, which includes multiple catchy random battle themes.

    Isn’t YIIK getting an update to make it better? Allegedly yes. The creator has announced that YIIK is getting all-new story and gameplay content, redone cutscenes, an overhauled combat system, etc. A demo was released on April 4, 2024.

    I’m not playing the demo. I don’t know if I’ll play the remade game. I’m leaning toward “no, life is too short”, but I won’t completely swear off the possibility.

    Victar’s Fanfiction Archive:
    Featuring “Memories of an Overlord”, a Journey to Kreisia fanfiction novel

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