Many days as a child I spent locked away in a windowless room. Punished for something or another I did as a child with a vivid imagination and undiagnosed ADHD, I found solace in comic books, old books about chivalry and choose your own adventure books. I was able to transport myself to another place through my decisions and the imagination of another. As an adult, those moments are incredibly hard to find. I’m excited to have found one of those moments with The Yawhg.
The Yawhg is a sort of “Choose your own Adventure” tale for Windows. Labeling it as such I’m afraid is to undersell The Yawhg and its innate ability to move in a quiet and disarming way though. It is a co-op adventure fairytale with adornments stripped away. Although magic exists, it often performs in humorous ways and is used sparingly. Although I read somewhere in the materials for The Yawhg that the game is good for sitting in a room full of people and experiencing it together, I found it best enjoyed alone with the sound very loud and played through headphones. The sound as a matter of fact, is something I’ll be expanding upon shortly.
A tale of 4 different characters in a town like many in the days of yore, you are tasked with day to day life, moving from assignment to assignment and choosing what you would do in certain situations. In between quests you are warned about an impending disaster, but you and your other characters carry on as though it isn’t happening. It’s similar to how we deal with tragedy that ominously stalks our real lives. We go to the pub or tavern, we pursue gold and other things. The game really took off for me, when it was over, or ending.
A Grim Fairy Tale
The atmosphere is really cemented with the playful and understated artwork that graces The Yawhg. It is used perfectly, and the way in which you navigate the world feels perfectly suited for an ebook. The true hero of the tale in my opinion is the sound design by Ryan Roth. The songs are reminiscent of Iron and Wine for the most part, though electronic strings do ebb and surge in parts, and are a pleasant counterpoint to the scratchy and reverb draped acoustic guitars. The wonderful vocals of Halina Heron remind me of a younger, more spritely Beth Gibbons. Subtle, with an ability to sway and nearly explode with little notice. I am listening to her sound cloud as I write this review, and go back and forth between her page and the page of Mr. Roth. I can’t seem to stop playing Oceans. It loops and I am quietly in a state of contented joy.
Though the experience of The Yawhg can be had in a very short amount of time, 20 minutes even, its effects last. I found it a requirement to write Damian as soon as I finished it to tell him how moved I was with it. As mentioned earlier, the game, or experience, truly takes off when it is ending and the life you led up to when The Yawhg arrives, and what you do after is what struck me most profoundly. Your character’s life is summed up in a few sentences in eulogy form.
What I’m Loathing
Nothing. Nothing at all. I do wish there was more of it, but I adore this game.
It is striking in its subtlety, and I wanted more of it. The Yawhg is more of an experience than a game or adventure. It can be enjoyed with others, and should be shared if possible. The Yawhg is a testament to what can be done when a few people with beautiful minds and talents converge. Buy the Yawhg.
I will retire to my room with a view now as an adult, and float off to a far away place again thanks to The Yawhg.
I was provided a review copy via Steam by Damian Sommer.
Please find the information below and read more about the game and the people that made it.
Game Designer, Programmer, WriterEmily Carroll
Artist, WriterRyan Roth
Sound DesignerHalina Heron
May 30th, 2013
USD $5.00 until release