When I first started Indie Hell Zone, I had a vision. Aside from wanting to mainly focus on indie games, I wanted Indie Hell Zone to be a more positive outlet built on sincerity, because I wanted to counter the more caustic, irony poisoned critics that gamers really like. For the most part, I’ve been positive about things. The only things that I’ve been actively mad about was Artifact Adventure and Kio’s Adventure. But for the most part, it’s all good.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, if you can’t tell by now, has completely destroyed that mission. I tried to be cautiously optimistic at the beginning, tried looking for good ideas, but this game has eradicated my good will down to nothing. There’s so many tiny problems in each video and they all pile up in a trash heap of despair. In listening to the third episode of YIIK Pics, I realize that even when I was being negative, I was still too generous to this game; in part because I’m usually tipsy or drunk playing this game to fully pay attention. So, if you want a more critical look at the third chapter of YIIK, I hope you have four free hours.
And so, I continued my adventure with YIIK. YIIK has you chase around a girl designed like a rat in a mall (get it? mall rat??) for the key to the van that holds Essentia (who I refuse to use her full name because fuck that). Eventually, the gang catches up to her and she’s squaring up with a bunch of other goth pre-teens with a Soul Survivor standing behind them.
Upon confronting the kids, Vella is bizarrely dismissive. Like yeah, edgy pre-teens, how awful, blah blah, but they’re clearly being commanded by the Soul Survivor! She thinks the idea of Soul Survivors telling people what to do is nonsense in spite of the fact that the third chapter revolves around a record a Soul Survivor told Alex to get! What the fuck are you talking about!
She still maintains that they’re just edgy kids despite them combining to transform into a monster, with the Soul Survivor possessing them for a bit to grant them invincibility. I can expect Alex to not pay attention to things, but Vella’s like, the smartest person in the cast, so her being nonplussed about this is bizarre. Anyway, the boss battle sucks because the game suddenly decides to give enemies attacks that do guaranteed damage in spite of making us do a dodging minigame for everything else up to this point. Cool, wish that was how the entire game was.
And the thing is, this entire section of the chapter is so unnecessary! The mall isn’t even a dungeon (then again, thank god) and it feels like it’s just having a boss fight for the sake of having a boss fight. Like, maybe they’re making up for the fact that the last chapter didn’t have a proper boss, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s all filler. Honestly? I feel that the developers just hate goth kids and wanted an excuse to see them destroyed in a video game.
Anyway, our heroes have bravely beaten up a bunch of kids and gain access to the van. Alex says some weird stuff about Essentia and he is suddenly dragged into the Soul Space by her.
Essentia reveals that all the major women in the game except for Chondra are all the same person. Rasen was completely right: Vella shares a soul with Sammy and was able to move into Alex’s reality after Sammy disappeared. Maybe it’s weird and bad that the game that already has a bad track record about respecting women has most of the women all literally be the same, but what do I know.
For some reason, Essentia wants to give Alex a tour of her past to understand the nature of reality. So we have to explore her Mind Dungeon, which is actually the collective consciousness of every person that exists within Essentia.
Gotta say, I actually really love the visual design of this dungeon. It goes all in on the surreal, abstract dreamscape stuff that was in the first chapter. Like honestly, if the game is going to constantly spout stupid bullshit all the time, at least make cool bullshit. Putting limbs on a crying face is some White Desert Yume Nikki stuff and I love it. Doing the actual dungeon? Ehhhh, some parts of it are okay. Don’t like the door puzzle room though, especially since it scared me into thinking I got a game-breaking bug; I’m so lucky that there was a door around that could reset the camera, because I was actually on the verge of a breakdown. Also, the dark room telling you its gimmick long after the player figures it out on their own is absurd but also a good representation of how this game is.
Sure, everything takes forever, but please understand that even though my video is an hour long, it’s still half of the total footage I recorded.
We get a new tool: a flamethrower, which can melt candles. Unlike the amp and the hair cutting move (which are functionally the same thing), the flamethrower is also used to light things, which gets used in a bunch of puzzles. Unfortunately, despite being a flamethrower, it has no battle applications. Alex. Why are you still using records to fight things. You have a fucking flamethrower.
For battles, you only have Alex and Essentia to rely on. With a closer look at Essentia, I now see that you can put her into a charge mode. You can choose the number of turns for Essentia to sit out and Essentia will spend those turns recovering energy; enemies also stop targeting her, which is good, but also it makes me wonder if the game will give you a game over if she’s the only one alive while in charge mode. It’s honestly alright, though a bizarre glitch happened while I was playing concerning this – Essentia was still charging when I finished one battle and when it ended, she somehow came out of it with only 1 energy. Thanks game.
The problem comes in when you want to recover energy outside of battle. Since she has her own type of health bar, Essentia has a new set of items separate from everyone else. So, I’ve never focused on it until now, but let’s talk about the item screen. Items are not categorized and are instead put in one big list; you’ve got key items and armor mixing in with the consumable items you desperately need. Because it’s YIIK, navigating through this is super tedious. When you get a new type of item in YIIK, it gets added at the end of the item list and because Essentia has her own dedicated healing items, it means that you have to excruciatingly scroll all the way down every time to heal Essentia outside of battle and scroll back up to get the good normal healing items for Alex. Like god, it sucks. This game really does find new ways to waste my time.
The actual story stuff we have is just Essentia showing off her past lives. One of those past lives actually made me super upset – add “killing off a gay person’s spouse offscreen” to the list of bad things YIIK does. Also, this stuff contradicts Rory’s arc because Vella suggests that the Soul Survivor in the sewer is another Rory who lost his sister, which implies that the realities are carbon copies of each other. However, the Essentia dungeon shows that that’s not the case at all and that everybody lives drastically different lives with different appearances, so what??
Anyway, I’m guessing that this is all the playable characters in the game! So, after much thought, I’ve made my definitive character tier list, which I doubt will change much:
- A Tier:
– Nobody gets an A in YIIK.
- B Tier: Chondra and Michael
– Chondra is still an okay character and Spread Item is still busted. My friends go into it, but the developers clearly don’t understand that the spread item skill in other games requires either a lot of work to get and/or minimizes the effect of the item used; this is the one time where the developers not understanding how battle stuff works is a blessing.
– I know that I’ve rated Michael low before, but like. I’ve realized that with how bad the writing in the game is, having little presence in the story is actually a blessing, which makes Michael one of the best characters. Yeah, his introduction is bad, but honestly, everyone in the party’s had a bad rant scene, so it evens out.
- C Tier: Vella, Claudio
– Out of the party members, Vella gets the most focus. There’s a bunch of bad stuff concerning the fact that her backstory is dependent on a man that dates girls way younger than him that I missed because I was drunk and really wanted to be done with the game. I also hate using her skills, they suck. Still, respectable.
– Honestly I was too harsh on Claudio in the past, I just hate hearing people go on long anime rants. Claudio’s okay. I still don’t understand how Bushido works but his tr-tr-tr-trick shots are still good crowd control.
- C- Tier: Essentia
– I feel that the developers wanted you to be super impressed by Essentia but I’m really not? I’m just kinda tired and it’s weird that almost all the important women in the game is her and how dare she waste my time with this dungeon. Why would you share the secrets of the universe with fucking Alex, the man that deserves it the least? Anyway, the energy draining stuff is an okay mechanic but having to scroll all the way down menus to heal her and the fact that doing good in the normal attack minigame can punish you (and flat out killed me in the last part) is abhorrent.
- D Tier: Rory
– I’ve realized that my past ratings of Rory is based on what I think he could be instead of what he actually is and YIIK does a horrible job with this character; with the last part in mind, the writers try so hard with him that he kinda dips into unsympathetic territory. And again, I think his battle gimmick would work in a game that isn’t YIIK.
- FFF Tier: Alex
– Aside from his damage output, there’s nothing going for him. He’s an asshole that everybody forgives too easily, he’s the biggest dumbass on the planet (HOW DO YOU NOT READ A RECORD JACKET WITH YOUR FACE ON IT), every moment he talks about women and race makes me feel dead inside and doing maximum damage output takes forever, anyway. I hate you, Alex Yiik. You may be better than Vic from Spike Lee’s Livin’ Da Dream, but that is a real low fucking bar.
Anyway, I don’t like this game and given its track record, it’ll probably only get worse. I said before that Artifact Adventure was one of the few games on here that made me actively mad but honestly?? Playing YIIK has me thinking about giving it a second shot. At the very least, Artifact Adventure didn’t have fucking battle minigames.