Yuppie Psycho takes the horrors of the modern workplace and dials them up to 11 thanks to twisted monsters, clever puzzles, and dark humor.
The first day of any job is nerve-wracking enough without having to deal with landmines, acid-spitting zombies, and co-workers who are willing to trample all over you to get to the top. In Yuppie Psycho, you’ll have to face all of that, plus a deadly threat from a mysterious witch.
In real life, you would’ve already handed in your resignation, but Yuppie Psycho manages to turn this situation into one of the most unnerving, twisted and funny horror games I’ve played in a while.
First Day Jitters
After receiving a mysterious letter, promising him a job at one of the country’s leading companies, Brian Pasternak moves to the big city to start his new life. He arrives at the office, expecting to be a small cog in a large, well-oiled machine, but instead discovers he was hired for a very specific and vital mission – killing the witch. Which old witch? Well, the game doesn’t go into too many details at first, so I won’t either. But this weird task you get on your first day quickly spirals into you crawling under desks, avoiding all sorts of monsters and solving twisted puzzles all over the building.
Yuppie Psycho piles on one mystery after another, all of which are thoroughly enjoyable to solve. The game takes you on a twisted ride with a lot of unexpected, often disturbing moments, most of them revolving around the absurdity of a corporate job.
While the game isn’t really a satire of the modern workplace, a lot of its themes, horror, and humor are derived from it. The office environment clearly inspires enemies like zombie workers and killer printers, and you’ll encounter twisted takes on familiar workplace tropes as you explore. At one point, you need to track down the entire marketing department who only respond to catchy slogans, while in another instance you join an orientation meeting delivered by a general riding an actual horse.
Yuppie Psycho makes it all work together, but I do wish it had done more with its subject matter. There are plenty of clever ideas across the game, but they tend to repeat themselves a little too often – especially the enemies. A few more cool monster designs would have gone a long way towards helping the game fully take advantage of the sinister yet dysfunctional corporate vibe.
Hostile Work Environment
Speaking of vibe, Yuppie Psycho nails that of a classic horror title. The game is dark, foreboding and tense, and you continuously feel uneasy as you walk the eerie halls of Sintracorp. Nothing is quite right – sometimes it’s pretty obvious why, but other times things just feel off, in a good way. The monsters are the major contributors here; even if there’s not a lot of variety to them, they are all unique in their design and toe the line between ridiculous and terrifying.
The same can be said about pretty much anything else in the game, from the characters you meet to the situations you find yourself in. You never know whether you should laugh at the grotesque nature of it all, or hide under your desk with terror, and that’s one of the best things about Yuppie Psycho. It masterfully combines horror and humor, but never to a point where the whole endeavor becomes too ridiculous.
The pixel art helps foster the more lighthearted parts of the game’s atmosphere by making everything a tad less scary. The blood and gore aren’t as “in-your-face” when they are no more than a bunch of blurry pixels oozing across the floor. That doesn’t mean the graphics aren’t effective, though. The pixel art is well-made, so you can clearly tell what everything’s supposed to be and let your imagination fill in the gaps. And a there’s still plenty of weird, disturbing imagery that works tremendously well within the game’s style.
If the graphics tune the horror down just a little, the sound turns it all the way back up and then some. The haunting sound effects establish that Yuppie Psycho is indeed a horror game, from the bone-chilling musical stings to the squishy sounds you hear in the darkness around you.
Surviving Nine To Five
Yuppie Pyscho doesn’t just sound like a horror game – it plays just like a classic survival horror title. The game will feel instantly familiar if you’re a fan of the genre: You run or hide instead of fight, you need to conserve healing items and “ammo,” and you solve puzzles to reach new areas and progress. You even have to manually save your game using ink and paper.
The game leans more towards puzzles and dialogue rather than action. You don’t have any weapons, so you can’t really fight any of the monstrosities you encounter. Instead, you either hide or use the environment to get around them. But what Brian lacks in brawn, he makes up for in brains; each time you make it past an enemy or solve a puzzle, you genuinely feel like you’ve outsmarted the malevolent forces the game keeps throwing at you.
Exploring the many floors of Sintracorp and talking with your co-workers is a big part of the game. There’s plenty of talking (sadly most of it isn’t voiced), and that’s how you learn about the company’s past, get to know the people you work with, and gather clues in your quest to find the witch. Exploration is also how you stay alive: Items are relatively scarce, but you will always have enough to survive if you thoroughly check every corner, closet, and cubicle. You can craft healing items in the cafeteria, buy pencils at the reception, and exchange slices of cheese for more paper to save your game. The game is never unfair but isn’t very forgiving if you decide to waste your resources – a perfect balance.
Satisfaction in a Job Well Done
Horror fans will find a lot to enjoy in Yuppie Psycho, from the classic survival horror gameplay to the pixelated blood, gore, and monsters. It’s scary, it’s funny, and it always manages to surprise you. You never know what to expect from it up until the very end. It does start to recycle some of its challenges towards the end, but just when you think you’ve seen all the game has to offer, it throws you into a completely new situation.
With hidden secrets, optional challenges and multiple endings, there’s more to do in this game than you’d expect. I spent over 10 hours wandering the corridors of Sintracorp, and not just for the overtime pay. I truly enjoyed my time with the game, and I bet you will too; just take it easy and try and make friends. Remember – it’s your first day.