Version Reviewed: 1.1
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Yipe 5 is a simple old-school RPG that has quickly won my heart with its quirky sense of humor. It doesn't have complicated skill trees or require too much strategy—indeed, you'll spend most of this game grinding, and basic features like world maps are notably absent. Its incredible simplicity can be a feature or a flaw, depending on your tastes, but there's no disputing the humor packed into every aspect of this game. Many mainstream gamers will be quickly bored, but others will love it. No loading screens, tiny penalties for dieing, and a broad, open world filled with a colorful cast of monsters makes it easy to pick up and play—er, grind through.
Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? You name and create your character, choosing from the Sneaky, Superhero, and Brains classes. Superheroes are obviously stronger, while the intelligent benefit more from healing and can cast a magical shield; those who opt for the Sneaky path are harder to hit. Personally, I find Sneaky to be the easiest to play. There are also three difficulty levels. Once you're all set up, your noble quest to save the land of Yipe begins.
Yipe is a wide, sprawling world, illustrated with simplistic but charming graphics. There are no load times, ever, which makes travel a lot less tedious. The king is quick to plead for your help. The town kids are turning into zombies, and he's getting annoyed! The plot unfolds as you progress through the game's five quests (yes, there are only five), and it's always told with hilarious dialogue. In the developers' own words, Yipe has "the usual trappings of an RPG...an apocalyptic crisis threatening to destroy the known universe, yada yada yada." But it's the way the story is told that makes it special; Yipe never takes itself seriously. Heck, your first quest is to destroy the evil zombie bunnies. It doesn't get better than that.
Of course, the plot isn't where you'll spend most of your time. Yipe requires massive amounts of grinding. I'm not necessarily opposed to grinding, but Yipe's gameplay is incredibly formulaic. You get a quest, find the monsters standing in your way, and realize that you're not strong enough to blast through them. The solution? Kill a bunch of baddies until you can upgrade your equipment! Combat is very simple. You have a special move (magicians can cast a temporary shield, for example) but skill points are very low—I'm talking a maximum of one or two—and the moves aren't particularly useful and never change. As a result, you mostly hammer the attack button (or, alternately, tap on the enemy monster) until one of you dies. Running away is also an option, although the monsters can strike you as you flee. So is combat dull? Yep. As dull as the rest of Yipe's mechanics, which is to say...the simplicity is a double-edged sword. You'll love it or hate it.
When you die, at least, it's no big deal. You get sent to Yipe's "Hell," and once you pay a tithe to the gatekeeper, you're back in business! Granted, this is annoying if you've racked up a lot of gold (the toll is proportional to your cash) but it's a lot more forgiving than many roguelikes. It's small things like this that makes Yipe more friendly towards newcomers.
Control are a bit jerky, but they're functional. The right-hand side of the screen holds a virtual D-pad as well as the menu buttons. The D-pad works fine; your character moves quickly. The menu buttons call up things like your stats, your item pouch, etc. Items are a tricky thing, however. In keeping with Yipe's simplicity, your strongest equipment is auto-equipped; however, you can't resell items and stats aren't displayed in the shops scattered throughout each town. The more expensive the better, but when is it worth upgrading? Omissions like these are annoying to say the least.
The "Search" button is also located on this right-side pane. Hit it. Trust me. It'll describe your current surroundings, and the text is always witty and sarcastic. Sometimes the text changes, too, so it's worth a second tap. The funny descriptions also extend to items in the shop and the characters' dialogue in general.
Performance-wise, Yipe is also solid. It runs flawlessly on a second-generation iPod Touch—not surprising, considering the simple graphics. Buttons are always responsive...sometimes too much so. When you're in battle, don't tap the "Attack" button too much, as sometimes the action gets ahead of the display, so you'll allow yourself to be killed without realizing it. That flaw aside, everything seems to work, though I would dearly like to see the ability to play my own music. The complete auto-save is much appreciated.
I could go on and on about the minutae of Yipe, but, well...I suspect that many of you already know if this is a game for you. The game boils down to an exploratory grind-fest with frequent and uninteresting battles, but it's tempered by a terrific sense of humor. Add that to the nostalgia it generates, and you might be able to see why I'm hooked. If you're willing to endure the grind, Yipe is a niche treasure that will surely please you. If not? Try a more mainstream game.
Oh, yeah...be sure to check out the official website. It's a treat!