GAME REVIEW | Scares & Snickers Within Clever "Yuppie Psycho"
Horror can be successful in just about any sort of video game genre. From rail shooters like House of the Dead to atmospheric first-person haunts like the Outlast series, video games can deliver a fright by any means necessary. A couple of years ago, I had experienced the top-down retro game Corpse Party, an anime-styled RPG Maker-created adventure that was more terrifying to experience than any Silent Hill game I’ve ever played. This year, another game with a similar visual style has come to haunt whomever wishes to play it: Baroque Decay’s Yuppie Psycho.
Like a mix of Corpse Party and The Stanley Parable, Yuppie Psycho have you controlling Brian, a low-tiered person who is offered the job of a lifetime. After receiving a letter from Syntracorp, Brian heads up the building and finds himself signing a strange contract. Quickly he realizes that he made a big mistake, as he’s visited by an android who tells him his job: to kill an ancient Witch that’s been haunting the company for decades. What’s more: Syntracorp has a few other weird things going on within its complex.
Things start out somewhat normally, as Brian settles in to his new job. However, a task to get his company ID turns into a realization that he’s about to get into some pretty freaky & violent territory. Machines have been smashed; coworkers are hanging upside-down; not to mention, there’s a whole lot of blood that’s been splattered on the walls and floors. When Brian realizes what he must do, he looks to not be cut out for the task. However, with the words of his new android ally, he must muster up the courage to take the job on with gusto.
It’s easy to get the jitters when playing Yuppie Psycho. While roaming through the levels, there’s a certain degree of uncertainty about what’s around the corner. Syntracorp is filled with creatures that will do anything to kill you if you’re in the way, some of whom may or may not have been summoned by your own coworkers. And when you have very little to use to defend yourself, that’s when the fright meter is brought up a few more notches.
Baroque Decay gets the scary tone right all the way through its campaign, especially when it comes to its visuals. Taking a cue from Corpse Party, the developers use limited graphics to deliver something truly terrifying. Like the Amnesia series, it’s all about running the hell away from the problem before you actually see it; otherwise, you’re dead. Add in a top-notch soundtrack by Garoad (VA-11 HALL-A), and the atmosphere that’s showcased throughout is one that’s truly haunting.
Unlike Corpse Party, there are moments of humor that are spread throughout Yuppie Psycho. From a jittery cubicle buddy and some strange mouth-headed beasts to even a mission where you round up coworkers like cattle, there’s a lot to laugh at when experiencing this game. Perhaps what makes the humor work is how it jabs at certain corporations who mentally treat their employees like garbage and farm animals. These moments help ease some of the tension of the more horrifying elements of this adventure, although they don’t hide the fact that something terrifying is waiting in the wings.
When it comes to the actual gameplay mechanics, the puzzles and quests that you are sent out to do are both challenging and satisfying. Some bits may have you needing to use your brain in order to clear areas or solve mysteries; other times you’ll just need to do some snooping about to find codes and solutions. With the unknown just waiting to jump out at you, it makes the urgency to complete the quests all the more-so important. (Saving with the nearest printer and some Witch Paper is greatly recommended, although do your best to not do it too much so you don’t run out.)
Boss battles are when things can get rather tough. Because you don’t have any weapons to use (save for pencils to deal with pesky mines), you’ll often find yourself running around the level until something pops up in your visual to use against the enemies. A great example of this is in the library level, where you must defeat a giant spider using some of the more interactive elements of the room. It requires a lot of timing, but it nonetheless demonstrates the out-of-the-box thinking Baroque Decay had when coming up with these parts of Yuppie Psycho.
Completing the game will take you roughly nine hours the first time around. However, there's loads of replayability to be had, as there are multiple endings to be discovered. Some of them are pretty difficult to discover, so it's best to both pay close attention to your surroundings and complete as many side quests as you can do get to them.
- Memorable story
- Great puzzle mechanics
- Terrifying in places
- Minor glitches
Yuppie Psycho knows how to make your skin crawl, but it‘ll tickle your funny bone as well. With loads of mysteries to unravel, great puzzle mechanics, and an original narrative, Baroque Decay’s top-down horror satire is more fun than any worker’s retreat could conjure up. You may be killing the witch, but Yuppie Psycho will also help kill your need for a satisfyingly dark retro adventure.
Promotional consideration provided by Pedro Cano of Single Player PR