In a world of sword, sorcery, sorrow, and song, there is a city. The city is beset every great while by a disaster known as the Yawhg. You live in this city, ready to buckle down and really get your life in order– or perhaps to spend every week getting blackout drunk, it’s up to you. You’re all unaware that the Yawhg will come again in six weeks. Do what you will with the these weeks but the Yawhg will reduce the city to rubble…But perhaps you can rebuild and start over.
I said it didn’t get more indie than Studio Pixel’s one member but the Yawhg’s development team was pushing it with four people. The game was designed by Damian Sommer, a man who’s been making games since he was ten years old. He made the game based on an older and less robust title called Dungeon of Fayte. Emily Carroll made the art, co-designed, and c0-wrote it. She’s most well known for her horror themed comics and her marvelous art style. They made it during the Independent Games Festival and it made it to the finals although it didn’t win.
The Yawhg was released on May 30th, 2013. It’s competition was Fez (PC), Dust: An Elysian Tale (PC), and Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine (XBox Live Arcade).
Because I’m a giant dork who doesn’t like large groups of people I occasionally host tea parties. Little get-togethers where I can see all of my friends in one day, they can all see each other, and everyone can have a little snack. We all chat and sometimes we sit around the computer and play some games. The Yawhg has become one of the most popular titles during these gatherings. There usually aren’t more than four people so it all works out perfectly.
The Yawhg plays like a choose-your-own adventure. Each character starts with a five in all of the main statistics, like physique or charm, except wealth which always starts at zero. The city has locations like the arena, hospital, and gardens that the player can visit and each location has two activities the character can perform there. After the player chooses an activity they’re beset by a random encounter and the player can choose how they react. Do they have wealth to spare for the fortune teller? Do they drink the potion that’s about to explode? Well, it depends on their stats whether they succeed– although a panty-waist might not want to drink that exploding potion, just saying, but you do you man.
After the Yawhg hits it’s up to the players to use their abilities to help rebuild the town– or descend into drunkenness or looting. If the players use their talents effectively then the town will be able to rebuild. If the leader is dumber than a rock or the builder isn’t physically fit then things could get problematic.
There are only seven tracks to the soundtrack but it’s all very well employed. The game is short so it’s also more than enough music to go around. The music is mostly acoustic guitar and keyboard so it’s pretty simple. The epilogue music gets me a little choked up every time though.
The game provides a simple but wonderful setting to roleplay in. I found it a good opportunity to introduce people to RPing to see if they liked it.
The art provided by Carroll is marvelous and I feel like the characters are so animated. Each of the characters looks so good that I like playing them all.
The scenarios are often absurd and silly but that just adds to the fun and contrasts with the darker scenes and epilogues. It’s interesting to think of a character who once found the King’s secret wine cellar then drinking to forget the horrors of The Yawhg.
There are over 50 unique endings for completing the game but sometimes there will be stretches where I swear I’ve done different things but I see the same epilogues again and again. I much prefer the more unique endings.
It’s a fun little party game that’s got a fair bit of replay value, especially considering the cost. But it is little, although Sommer has added content here and there. It’s worth a few playthroughs at least and I think it’s definitely worth the cost but the game has as much enjoyment as effort you put into it. It’s all about creating a character and thinking of what they would do and why. As soon as it gets reduced to stats and that sort of dominant strategy it loses its luster. It’s also super fun the more friends that join in.
Next Week: Game Dev Tycoon.