DEVELOPER STAIRFALL GAMES • PRICE US$ 5 STAIRFALLGAMES.COM
Occasionally, a game demo makes me want to recommend it in and of itself. The Preposterous Awesomeness of Everything had a great demo, too. Why is it always adventure games? Probably because a verb interface is inherently hilarious, for newcomers and veterans alike. Yorkshire Gubbins’ free demo (which you can play online at https://ayerobot.com/) is a verb school. My character mistakenly thought she was there for a Battlegrounds tutorial and the teacher kept whispering loudly to me, to flesh out instructions. I almost enjoyed it more than the actual game.
In the first of only two small episodes (although more are promised), Steggy wants to make a pie but she’s first required to apologise to her best friend for ruining her wedding. This sounds innocuous enough, until you realise that this northern English town isn’t quite as safe, clean and normal as you may have thought. As with Darkside Detective, a little collection of vignettes weaves together a nonlinear, self-referential narrative. In the second episode, you play the incredible events of the wedding itself, after experiencing its aftermath.
These tiny adventures rely on their puzzles to provide a sense of achievement, but without the frustration that comes from having thirty inventory items and ten locations to navigate. In Yorkshire Gubbins, I got very slightly stuck once, when I hadn’t walked far enough left in a scene to notice a backpack. As with any adventure, puzzles are solved in multiple steps requiring a combination of paying attention to what characters say, imagination and real world knowledge. Characters will remind you of what you’re supposed to be doing, too.
Largely thanks to the exceptional voice acting and regional accents, I found Yorkshire Gubbins to be extremely funny. One joke was a little tone deaf, but the humour was otherwise surprising, silly and very faithful to its setting. I never found out what a “spork jogger” was, but I expect to meet one in a future episode. I’m a little scared. I’d highly recommend this to adventure fans. Its scope may be small, but music, art and story beautifully support this polished product. If nothing else, get a refresher on how to use verbs in the ridiculous, free, online demo.