York­shire Gub­bins

DE­VEL­OPER STAIRFALL GAMES • PRICE US$ 5 STAIRFALLGAMES.COM

PCPOWERPLAY - - Indies -

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.

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