The Yawhg is coming, and you’ve got six weeks of carousing in which to ready for it. There’s a tension in Damian Sommer and Emily Carroll’s artisan blend of life sim and adventure title: you know calamity is coming, but your characters do not. So will you min-max stats in order to best prepare for the coming horrors? Or relax, attend the palace ball and drink away your days?
As in life, the latter option generates the best stories. Each turn in The Yawhg lets you attend one of eight locations where you can perform one of two tasks (fighting crime in the slum, for instance, or pickpocketing its downtrodden inhabitants). You’re awarded stats that reflect the nature of your choice, but each day ends with a randomised event, usually involving a second decision, that can tug your character in unexpected directions. All that physique you’ve built up crime fighting won’t be much use if you contract a muscle-wasting case of vampirism, after all.
The Yawhg is a surprisingly social game. Try to shepherd too many characters at once and you lose your sense of attachment, yet play with company and your stories will cross in unexpected ways – the leeches one player accidentally releases from the hospital ward, for instance, turn up in the palace garden’s fountain later on. Sommer’s stories, meanwhile, blend dark fantasy scenarios with encounters built around the nuances of social mores, while Carroll’s art depicts both with initially cheerful, colourful but subtly off-kilter art.
It only takes a couple of playthroughs for events to start recurring, and that severely diminishes The Yawhg’s spell, but it can’t take away the charm with which Carrol and Sommer’s game weaves together fairy tales.
The Yawhg is out now on PC.