The Yawhg Review – Cram Session

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The nigh unstoppable force known as the Yawhg will be arriving into town in six weeks—and it’s all up to the actions of a small group of citizens to step up and prepare to save the day.  So what do they do to get ready?  Meditate, hunt for sport, or just dance at the palace all week long.  Hoo boy.

The Yawhg is a very short (and I mean short) text based adventure game in which one or more players assume the control of two to four avatars to get ready for arrival of the titular Yawhg.  What exactly is a “Yawhg?”  Only time will tell, but by the end of the week it could mean the end of life as we know it.

Players help to fight back against the force by preparing in a number of ways.  There are a variety of locations around town including a tavern, garden, and even an alchemists’ lab, wherein one of two activities can be selected to help raise a small selection of stats.  What happens when engaging in these activities is randomly generated each time The Yawhg is played, with outcomes surprisingly not having only an effect on the player, but on the other randomized events in the town.

There are lots of places to go to prepare for the arrival of the Yawhg.

There are lots of places to go to prepare for the arrival of the Yawhg.

By the end of the six week period—each turn of activities takes up a span of one week—a final choice must be made to see if players ended up the right character for the right task and what that spells for the ultimate fate of their hometown.

It’s a pretty simple premise whose roots definitely lie in old school computer games and tabletop board games.  Many younger players may compare The Yawhg to the cult genre of the visual novel, but it is in fact, closer to the “ancient” ancestor that is the choose-your-own adventure novel.  That’s right, those books where at every pivotal point, readers must choose a page to jump to see the story branch off in a number of ways.

There's an always a couple of options of what to do at any one given location to help develop your character.

There are always a couple of options of what to do at any one given location to help develop your character.

The Yawhg does its best to attempt to translate this classic style of storytelling to a video game as much as possible, and honestly, for how small it is I’d say it succeeds quite nicely.  The game keeps things engaging with text that is both eloquent and quietly witty, along with gorgeous hand-drawn visuals and a light musical backing.  There will be many naysayers who will claim that this barely qualifies as a game, but there will also be just as many who also appreciate the timeless nature of its text-based gameplay.

While this game can be played alone, at least two characters must be played in any given playthrough.  When playing alone, it can still be quite enjoyable, but it can feel a little overwhelming to play and develop two characters at once.  The Yawhg works best when played with others, making for a hurried sense of working in tandem to achieve the best possible ending—which makes it all the funnier when things sometimes go surprisingly and amusingly awry.

Choices in the game range from passively inconsequential to surprisingly impacting.  Get ready for some surprises.

Choices in the game range from passively inconsequential to surprisingly impacting. Get ready for some surprises.

With all the content in The Yawhg too, there is much good reason to revisit it for many replays.  Within about three or four playthroughs, it’s possible to see most of the different outcomes, or at least get a good gist of what the core events are.  While many playthroughs can basically culminate in a random series of events, some actually play out into their own intricate story.  In one playthrough, one of my characters was struck by a werewolf and gained immense and uncontrollable power leading to a heroic conclusion.  In another, a character kept experiencing magic induced blackouts with no recollection of the night before… usually awaking naked in a stranger’s home.

That’s just a taste of some of the surprises that The Yawhg has in store for its players, an experience that especially when shared with others, can provide a surprisingly unique gaming experience that many probably haven’t experienced since playing games like Zork or reading books like You Are a Shark.  It certainly isn’t for everyone with its short length and lack of fully interactive content, but for ten bucks, those willing to try something different and charming in a game will be pleasantly surprised.

The choice is yours.

Final Breakdown

[+Reminiscent of classic adventure games and choose-you-own-adventure books] [+Great writing, great art, great music] [+Good replayability factor] [+Plays best with a small group of friends] [-Can be a little hard to manage multiple characters alone] [-Short length and text-only gameplay may be a turnoff for some] [-Not always clear how your choices make an impact on the world]

Great Review Score

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About Author

(Writer)

John-Charles writes, draws, thinks, and plays video games.  Currently working on a degree in communications and cinema studies, he is interested in the culture of media and how people choose to interact with it, specifically video games.  As far as games go, he is self-proclaimed retro gamer with interests in rhythm games and classic Sega works.  He current also draws comics which can be found at sanpozeit.com.

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