Ultra-Indie Spotlight Sunday: Yuppie Psycho Is Humor Horror
What a boon it would be to get a high-paying job offer way above your skill grade. Yuppie Psycho begins when, out of the blue, young Brian Pasternack is invited to work at the prestigious Sintracorp, despite being a mostly oafish and anxious young man. The caveat? This isn’t a job about selling numbers on the phone or pretending to work in a cubicle. Brian is Sintracorp’s newest witch hunter. And unless he’s able to adapt to this toxic work environment, he will likely end up like the previous ones—dead.
Comedy in video games is often a mixed bag. It’s generally just a reflection of what the developer finds funny. There’s no real metric for measuring how funny something is, and there are countless factors contributing to how effective the humor is. Meaning, that until the community is able to experience the game for themselves, it’s impossible for a developer to tell if their game is funny or if their sense of humor is just weird.
There’s something about the humor in horror games that hits different. Maybe it’s a personal preference, but when I’m playing a scary indie game, the anxiety makes me find things a lot more funny. Spooky’s House of Jump Scares is a favorite of mine because the game gives you a terrible sense of dread as you walk through the mansion, only to have you fall victim to a cardboard cutout of a ghost. So too do games like Deadly Premonition make the bizarre scenes of unnatural dialogue seem all the more amusing after fighting off waves of the The Grudge lady.
Yuppie Psycho reaches that point where terror makes things funnier. Having a mostly mundane office setting emphasizes the disturbing imagery and harrowing chases. And the best part is, the scary and funny flow back and forth seamlessly.
Non-Wanky Game Recap:
Yuppie Psycho plays like if Resident Evil was on the GameBoy. It’s a top-down game with simple controls, where much of the game is about collecting items and managing your inventory. It’s more or less a point-and-click adventure, but there are sequences where you have to run, parts where you’re hiding from creatures, and managing your health bar.
What makes the humor in Yuppie Psycho so effective is that it’s a legitimately scary game. And what makes it so scary is that there are moments of humorous levity. Terror and humor are not mutually exclusive, and indeed, have served to make horror games great. Who can forget Leon suplexing a zombie in Resident Evil 4, or the necromorphs jumping out of a vent and flailing their arms as they run towards you in Dead Space? Okay maybe the latter wasn’t so funny in the moment. But you know what I mean.
As for the rest, Yuppie Psycho is a brilliantly made game. The gameplay is surprisingly in-depth, with new mechanics being introduced even hours into the game. The puzzles were creative, the visuals interesting, and the writing was fantastic. It’s a great game.
Yuppie Psycho has that Resident Evil style save system too, where you can copy your soul on one of the many pieces of paper found in the game, provided you have a functional copy machine, which often needs to be fixed. While this works well for the RE series, I found it a little less satisfactory in this one. Namely, because Yuppie Psycho is a lot more based on dialogue than combat (of which there is none). So a number of times I found myself going back through extensive cutscenes or running around doing a puzzle over again.
How To Fix It:
While I appreciate that they added this resource management, I think Yuppie Psycho would benefit more from a traditional save system. Having to retry shooting zombies is more fun than trying to click the progression buttons to go through dialogue again. But this is certainly not a deal-breaking feature. The content of Yuppie Psycho more than makes up for a few minutes of catching up, and if you get stuck, there are plenty of guides to speed up the process.
I’m not a huge fan of The Office, but I bet their jokes would find me better if there was a goblin jeopardizing the people’s lives. Yuppie Psycho blends the terror of the mundane and the terror of, well, terror, into one magical experience. If you’re a horror fan who loves to laugh and isn’t afraid to speak with that uncomfortable coworker, this is the game for you.