If you want a charming turn based RPG with a 90s feel to it then YIIK: a Post Modern RPG by Ackk Studios is the name of your game. Returning to his home town as a bachelor of liberal arts post graduate, Alex briefly meets a mysterious girl after finding her cat and is thrust into a sci-fi thriller that he was not ready for when she goes missing. Enlisting the help of his younger high school friend Michael, Vela, an employee at the new arcade in town who is more than meets the eye, and Rory, a boy who they met through an online conspiracy theory chat room. The team sets off to get to the bottom of the strange things afoot, while meeting even more friends along the way.
As Alex you navigate through a 3D world who’s graphics are akin to something you might see on the Nintendo 64 and work your way through towns and an over world paying tribute to traditional Japanese style role playing games like the Pokémon or Final Fantasy series. The battle sequences are turn based like a JRPG as well but with a literal twist is some cases. When you are attacking or defending you will enter varying mini games as each different character using their attacks or skills including Alex’s main attack using a record player turning and having to tap the needle as colored sections come around. I feel that this being added in the game spiced up a sometimes boring genre for those who usually might not have the patience for it. A lot of the dialogue is voice acted as well and it actually sounds pretty good as opposed to most other JRPGs English overdubs. While thinking of using your ears, I’d like to bring up that the music is delightful and really brings in the fun science fiction feel home with an adventurous sound in some original synthy electronic indi rock.
Speaking of spicing things up, the story can sometimes have an eerie feel to it but never takes itself too seriously by throwing in some fun references from the 90s and finding the humor in being an unstable unemployed post grad hipster trying to save the world. The game also does an excellent job of portraying Alex’s inner turmoil as he is dealing with his feelings towards his family and friends. All while he is processing how he feels and what he wants to say as opposed to what actually comes out.
The characters are as colorful and quirky as your surroundings which can suddenly be down right surreal when you think you are just walking through a suburban neighborhood and realize that there might be a giant intradimensional entity watching over you. Another great aspect of the game is trying to decipher whether or not something is real and actually happening or is just going on in your head or in a dream. Like when you are lying in bed talking to your panda barrier or walking through places and seemingly crossing back and forth between reality and the astral plane.
Overall YIIK has been an excellent experience on the Switch and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the genre. It may not have as much depth and detail as some of the bigger RPGs like Octopath Traveler but let’s be honest, who has finished that game? Joking aside, with YIIKs quirky story and fun mechanics added on to a classic 90s RPG I think it’s a very memorable title and has what it takes to possibly take indy game of the year in my book and has definitely inspired me to at least go back and play some of the Classics like Earthbound or Secret of Mana on my SNES. To hear more about YIIK: a Post Modern RPG be sure to keep an ear on the Nindies and Indies podcast.