Choice is an ever-important aspect to how we game, nowadays. Deciding what fork in the road we take in a racing game, to where we should aim our rifles in a first-person-shooter; these are important decisions that could impact how progress in the game. Although, despite how big decision making is in video games, there isn’t enough time to digest the weight of the choices we make. Even if our choices bite us in the behind, we only get a few seconds to reflect our actions before being thrown back into the fray. The Yawhg tries to re-introduce the weight of choice and decision.
By Damian Sommer and Emily Carroll, The Yawhg is a choose-your-own-adventure game that tasks the players to pick and choose what activities they would like their avatar to do that day. Being a game that up to four players can play, The Yawhg has players trying to find new ways to interact with their tiny world before their friends hog all of the cool locations.
In total, there are 16 things someone can choose to do in each rotation of the game. However, if another player chooses one of the 8 main locations, the activity that is associated with that location gets locked out. Thus, being first player has its perks as you basically get to decide how the rest of the round plays out.
Upon choosing a location and an activity on the map, your stats, of which there are six (Physique, Finesse, Mind, Charm, Magic, and Wealth), increase according to the kind of activity you take part in. After your stat increases, The Yawhg throws a wrench in and puts you through a semi-randomized special event. You can turn into a vampire or blow up the arena. You can meet your ex-lover, Alex, or get spit on by patients. Based on the 6 day system of The Yawhg, each location has a special event. This gives The Yahwg a feeling of déjà vu while making it easy to find out all of the possibilities that The Yawhg has to offer.
The Yawhg is a beautiful game, featuring colorful sprites and highly detailed paintings all throughout the adventure. Each character has a special event painting for every activity they take part in each day, which equals a total of 64 different paintings plus the 12 different paintings for each specific character ending (50 endings, in total), in addition to the 3 other paintings shown in the end. The art style of The Yawhg makes me feel like I’m in a hip farmer’s market complete with all sorts of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other produce. Not only do I feel like I’m in a farmer’s market but all of the salesmen and women always feel like dancing and singing songs of happiness and joy. Even the darkest and bluest colors give a warm tone with their cartoony yet straight edged outlines.
However, as the game goes on, the festive music starts to fade and chills start to run down my spine. The Yawhg’s audio design knows how to bring on the suspense of what is The Yawhg. In order to avoid spoilers, I won’t describe what The Yawhg is, but based on the game’s writing and audio, it isn’t good.
Now, despite all of these good points, with its creative art style and unsettling mood setting, The Yawhg’s stay isn’t long. As a party game, The Yawhg feels too short to have a blast with. The events are funny and interesting for additional replays but they give The Yawhg a comedic feel, even at the game’s end, when the game is supposed to feel distraught and hopeless, it still latches to its comedic guns and all effect for an emotional climax feels lost.
The Yawhg just doesn’t feel substantial enough to play. In terms of the game’s balance, the 6 day format works but the game feels too short at the same time. Also, while the unique art is nice to look at, the number of different events that could happen in the game have really easy to understand plotlines that don’t feel as refreshing as the art style and music.
Overall, while I had a good time playing The Yawhg, it definitely isn’t a game that I would like to play a 4th time.