Release Date: 30/05/13
TheIndieJar: The Yawhg Review
The Yawhg is a storytelling game. It lets the player create the narrative of a resident of a fantasy town that The Yawhg is coming to in 6 weeks. The story is constructed through smaller happenings that the player gets to choose each turn; these have two options that increase stats and can have special random events that follow. These random events allow you to choose an action that can determine the outcome by checking against your stats. For instance, upon arriving at the Alchemy Tower to brew potions for a week, you learn lots and increase your magic and mind skills. One day while working, another alchemist asks you to look after their potion while it brews, but after they leave it starts to boil over and you have a choice between tossing it out the window and drinking it. The first time I played I drank it and spewed flame from my mouth, as I wasn’t magical enough to handle it, but after playing through that scene another few times I discovered there are more outcomes to that.
I really don’t want to spoil any of the events for anyone so that’s the only example I’m going to use. Also, the writing is far better than my quick explanation above, so it’s worth noting that these decisions can echo throughout more than just one turn. It’s a fantasy setting that you will feel comfortable in with the occasional macabre twist – things don’t always have a happy ending.
The mechanics of the game remind me of simplified character based RPGs in single player, or European style board games in multiplayer. The things you can do each turn aren’t limited; you could always power game it to try and grow a certain stat. You can’t interact directly with another character and only occasionally the stories converge at the end, sometimes through the effects of the choices made.
The end of the game is very well designed, as you can choose any of the actions for your character and their stats will reflect how well they do at it. Strangely there are not only beneficial jobs to do after The Yawhg arrives, but two that hinder the efforts of the other characters. For some characters, depending on how you feel about their actions throughout the game, these choices might seem appropriate. After everyone has made their choice the benefits or hindrances they provided are totalled up and give you one of several endings.
Losing still makes the story feel complete and because the game only lasts an average of 20 minutes nobody feels cheated out of their time. The game isn’t a competition and the tragedy of the human narratives it creates over a game are all rounded up in epilogues, determined by what the person did with their time. These tales are what you should play the game for.
This great writing is accompanied by wonderful pictures and music that help fill in the atmosphere and some context. For each event there are portraits containing each character, while the text explains so your mind can fill in the gaps. The picture of the town is beautiful and changes as the turns progress, either by your action or the closing in of The Yawhg. The music also differs as the game progresses, adding in layers and getting more sombre towards the end.
I'm afraid that some parts of this review have been a bit fluffy, but that's only because I don't want to spoil too much of the story for people. Unfortunately there aren't that many random events within the narrative, but I think that playing it with friends and approaching it in different ways will help it's replay factor, plus it only takes 20 minutes and costs $10. So, I'd say that The Yawhg is a definite buy if a game's story is your jam or you have friends over. It's good in both single and multiplayer, but playing with others is where it shines.
- Wonderfully written, drawn and scored.
- Fun and macabre fantasy setting
- really replayable
- fun with friends
- Not many random events, you will see them again but might not get the same outcome
- After replaying a couple of times the outcomes get predictable