Games like Spelunky, Aaru’s Awakening and the enchanting Never Alone have descended upon consoles up and down the land, reinvigorating the format and offering plenty of thrills along the way. So what does Yorbie Episode 1: Payback’s A Bolt, the latest offering from Happy Dance Games, bring to this burgeoning table?
Pretty much nothing, it turns out…
I’m going to take the parents-approach-to-plaster-removal technique with this review, and get it over with quickly: this game is bad. It’s really bad.
Graphically, Yorbie is completely average. I’m not kidding when I say that this game wouldn’t look in any way out of place on a PS3 (or earlier).
This is only amplified by the dull story. The premise of the game is nothing that we haven’t seen – or played – a hundred times before. You play Yorbie, an average-Joe robot that circumstance dictates must save his robotic world from the evil Dr. Zox. The game involves you suffering playing through a series of levels where you meet ever-increasing numbers of bad robots that are trying to stop you defeating Dr Zox.
You guide Yorbie through his horribly repetitive world using four main commands – jump, move, shoot and interact – nothing new here and, OK, nothing necessarily bad either. What is slap-you-in-the-face amazing though, is how completely awful every single one of those things is.
It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game where there is such a dramatic disconnect between the inputs you make through the controller, and what happens on screen. Honestly, the control mechanism in this game is one of the worst I’ve ever played with. You’d feel more connected to an octopus marionette after a night’s heavy drinking.
Then there’s the jumping. Oh jump, such a simple command. I’m actually somewhat in awe with the developers, and how terrible they managed to make jumping in this game. It’s actually hard to describe it, and I really don’t want you to experience it but trust me, it makes getting about the levels incredibly difficult and frustrating.
Shooting (it feels like an insult to call it gunplay) is another horror show. Aiming your weapons is a difficult and unintuitive thing to master; when you finally do get a target in your sights and are locked on? Oh, the disappointment. Surely I can’t be alone in thinking that the entire point to games that have robots and mechs in them, are that they can be made to shoot outrageous weapons and explode in outrageous ways. No? Good.
You start off with a Plasma Pistol, a gun which as well as being underpowered and slow to fire, also frequently stops firing altogether while it cools down.
While you’re navigating levels, there are green boxes strewn about the place that can be punched by Yorbie, at which point they give up mini cogs. You collect these cogs (and by the way, you collect every single one of them – there’s nothing to automatically draw them to your character here) that can then be exchanged for new guns at ‘pods’ that are littered about the levels.
During my time with the game I played with a shotgun that had no power and no range, a mini-gun that wasn’t actually entirely bad, and some pipe bombs that I never figured out how to use. Seriously.
The story mode is over in five – yep, five – short missions. There is an insane mode, which is just as mind numbing, but the enemies are tougher, more numerous, plus deal more damage. Lastly, there is an option for four-player multiplayer, which will never be played as there aren’t four people insane enough to buy this game.
On its own the music that accompanies the game isn’t awful… it’s the fact that it never changes that gets you. Play this game for too long and you’ll wake up hearing it – and not in a good way.
Yorbie Episode 1: Payback’s A Bolt, is a tired and monotonous game to play. The story is dull and unimaginative whilst the gameplay and controls are awkward and frustrating.
Please don’t buy it.
If you do, they might make Episode 2…
MLG Rating: 2/10 Format: PlayStation 4 Release Date: 22/03/2015
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Yorbie by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of a week on PlayStation 4. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.