[Beyond PlayStation] Yaga Review
- On November 12, 2019
Yaga from Breadcrumbs Interactive and Versus Evil is an action RPG with an interesting tale and a great-looking art style. Learn more in our Yaga review!
Yaga from Breadcrumbs Interactive, an indie team established in the heart of Transylvania – yes, THAT Transylvania -, and publisher Versus Evil is a game that draws inspiration from ancient Slavic folklore. The game begins with the mysterious witch Yaga, who has tested the Tzar to see which type of ruler he is. It turns out she deems him unfit to rule, as he’s a very ruthless and unkind leader. Yaga ends up cursing the Tzar, preventing him from directly killing the unlucky one, the one with no charm, who would be watching when the Tzar’s reign crumbled down.
You’ll be playing as Ivan, a man who is missing one hand. He’s a blacksmith with a particularly long bad luck streak, which the Tzar is banking on by sending Ivan on a pretty much impossible quest during which he hopes he ends up dead, thusly breaking the curse. Luckily, you’ll have access to a forging system, what with Ivan being a blacksmith, and all that. You’ll need to make the most of the tools you can create, of the perks and blessings you unlock along the way, as well as of any magical items you can add to your collection, to be able to survive against the deadly enemies on your path.
The game will get you started with a short tutorial section in which you’ll get to learn the basics of the game – and during which Ivan still had both of his arms! You’ll control him with the left analog stick, moving him around each area as you dodge with the B button to stay away from danger as much as possible, taking your time to find the right window of opportunity to attack each enemy. If you’re not careful, you could be dead in a blink! You can attack with the Y button and use your tools with the A button. Your hammer can also be thrown with the X button – Thor style -, and the same button will recall it to your side. Magic items are mapped to the R button, for quick access at all times.
As you play, you’ll need to pay attention to your willpower and your stamina. Willpower will determine your will to continue fighting, while stamina dictates your physical endurance, and will directly affect how many times you can use a tool before you have to wait until it replenishes As you take on fight after fight, your willpower will be affected, growing with every battle won. Your experience will also grow with every victory. You also need to collect kopeks, the in-game money used to purchase crafting materials and talismans, so that you can always stay one step ahead of your opponents. Use them to craft new weapons and tools at the anvils you find. You can also collect body parts to trade them with supernatural beings for magic.
An interesting gameplay mechanic is that your actions in the game and the choices you make will affect which path Ivan ends up taking. This will affect which types of upgrades you can unlock for Ivan, while also impacting how the story will play for that particular path. The four paths can be Righteous, Foolish, Selfish, or Aggressive, which can give you a clue into what types of actions will end up taking your character down that particular path. You’ll have different dialogue options during conversations, and each one will be highlighted by a particular portrait of Ivan set to a background of a specific color, another clue as to how you can manage things. This was something the team ended up implementing into Yaga by taking into consideration how folktales, stories passed down from generation to generation change slightly as the tale is shared more and more.
Something I also wanted to highlight is the game’s soundtrack. The soundtrack for Yaga is from Romanian band Subcarpați. The twist is that this is a hip-hop band, which is certainly an interesting choice for an action RPG with influences from 14th-century Slavic countries. Subcarpați’s work is also mixed with the work of Argatu, another Romanian music act, giving us hip-hop songs that present folkloric elements and instruments to give Yaga a soundtrack a unique spin.
With all of the content on offer in Yaga, the game will offer an achievements system so that you can have a nice set of objectives to complete as you play. There’s obviously one for reaching the end of the game, as well as others that are unlocked as you progress through the game, with the first one being called one-handed blacksmith, obtained when Ivan ends up losing his arm. There are other achievements for remaining neutral during the game, as well as others for really diving into each of the potential paths for Ivan. There are 31 achievements with hidden descriptions, so you will only have their names to try and find out what needs to be done to unlock them, which will certainly keep you busy for a while.
Yaga is a fun action RPG with interesting gameplay mechanics, and different paths to take as you make different choices along the way. Because of this, if you want to 100% the game and see everything it has to offer, you’ll need to do several runs. There are different endings you can obtain, and that, along with the procedurally generated maps and how you won’t be fighting all enemies during a single run, will keep you coming back for more for dozens of hours. Oh, and if you end up helping Ivan find a wife, that will make his grandma very happy. Yaga is available on Nintendo Switch for $24.99, and it’s one you should play today!
This Yaga review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Versus Evil.