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By the end of one of my playthroughs of The Yawhg the hospital had fallen, I had become a werewolf, a giant demon baby had crashed the arena, and there was a leech pandemic. My character, clad in red, spent her six weeks mainly in the forest and slums whilst the other three heroes spent their weeks instead by brewing potions, drinking in the tavern, and helping the ill in the hospital – until it was destroyed by a vampire, unfortunately.

The Yawhg is a local co-op choose your own adventure game, there is no online multiplayer and it allows 1 – 4 players, although two characters must be picked regardless of how many players. The player is informed in-between weeks of the impending Yawhg attack (which is essentially a massive storm and tempest, thought apart from this description it’s unclear what exactly The Yawhg is) and within the six weeks available the player (or players) build up stats from visiting areas, for example landscaping in the gardens adds 1 finesse, 1 physique and earns the player one wealth. Throughout The Yawhg there are eight areas to choose: the arena, the gardens, the hospital, the palace, the slums, the alchemy tower, the tavern, and the forest. All areas can only be chosen once per week which means that multiple characters embark on different adventures in other areas and can continue storylines that previous characters had started, such as one character growing a beanstalk in the gardens and the next week another character would nurture it and help it grow…. Or eat it, if they preferred.

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Clearly, The Yawhg is a different experience from most games and it’s a refreshing experience at that. The gameplay is simplistic; you choose your hero, choose an area to build up stats or explore and from there the hero is placed in a situation, an example would be a hero that frequently visited the tavern would have to deal with bar brawls, terrible musicians, and the difficult choice of deciding whether or not to spectate or enter the drinking contest. The game is driven by an excellent narrative, written by Damian Sommer, backed up with beautifully drawn visuals by Emily Carroll, and completed with a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack by Ryan Roth with the vocal talent of Halina Heron. It doesn’t surprise me that The Yawhg has nominated for an Independent Games Festival Award for narrative and audio, and received an honourable mention for both the visual category and overall grand prize.

If one were to play The Yawhg by themselves I would estimate the completion time to be around seven to ten minutes long. However, with one friend (as I have tested) the run lasts around twenty minutes to half an hour but if you are able to invite four friends to play then the run is significantly longer, lasting around an hour. There are dozens of variations of in-game situations and even epilogues at the end of the story but these situations will be repeated playthrough after playthrough, however I believe there is enough variability in each new playthrough to ignore the repeated situations.

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The Yawhg can be purchased on Steam after a successful greenlight campaign for, but if a DRM copy is preferred then it can be directly purchased from The Yawhg’s official website.

Overall Conclusion: A story rich local co-op game with stunning graphics and music, however, it’s very short but offers plenty replay value.

Recommended?: Yes

Price: £6.99 (Steam)/ $10 (official site)

Games similar: Any choose your own adventure games, Dungeons of Fayte

Where can you buy it?: http://www.theyawhg.com/ or http://store.steampowered.com/app/269030/ and the soundtrack can be found here: http://dualryan.bandcamp.com/album/the-yawhg-ep

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Martine Park

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