By Josh Speer / September 3rd, 2019
Though I normally don’t know what to expect at PAX West, there were a few appointments I knew would be good, and one such appointment was with Ysbryd Games. It’s no secret by now I’m a huge fan of eclectic and indie games, and Ysbryd makes a habit of only publishing that brand. I met with them to demo two totally different titles, one horror, the other a beloved sequel. Let’s start with the sequel first.
I quickly became a fanboy of Sukeban Games after reviewing VA-11 HALL-A on my Vita. So when I heard the sequel, N1RV Ann-A, would be playable at PAX West, I almost flipped out. As such, I quickly scheduled a demo for it with Ysbryd. I’m happy to report, despite taking place with a different set of characters and different cultural focus from the original game, including a brand new bar and bartender, it very much still feels like it’s set in the same universe. You don’t play Jill anymore, now you play Samantha, or Sam as she prefers to be called. Despite her pink pixie haircut, she has a distinct southern drawl that actually grew on me. N1RV Ann-A also takes place in a more affluent part of town, so the clients are a bit different.
The demo had a cool new shaking mechanic where you moved the mouse back and forth to prepare the drinks. You also are occasionally given a chance to pick Sam’s emotional response to a question from illustrated diagrams, which was very different. I got the chance to talk with one of the devs from Sukeban, Henry, and he also explained the game is more episodic than the original. You’re able to focus on one client at a time if you so wish, which could be another welcome change. Much as I loved the original, it was hard to play again and again to unlock the different endings and achievements. Hopefully a more episodic approach can help with that. Another cool new aspect is you can literally mix anything you want. You’re not tied to recipes as much, and can get really creative with your bartending. More than anything though, it was wonderful being back in this world. The writing is still snappy and smart, the music is stunning and the art is better than ever. It’s gonna be a hard wait for playing N1RV Ann-A in 2020, but I’m pretty positive it will be worth it. If you loved the original, stay tuned for this sequel.
World of Horror is still creepy as ever. Which is fine, since that creepy aesthetic is what drew me to demoing the game last year at PAX. Though I had some trouble with the mechanics previously, this time I had a unique opportunity to both try that original episode again, as well as a new one. For clarity, the initial episode had some more help courtesy of a small tutorial, which made a world of difference. I was able to get much farther wandering about for ingredients to stop a scissor wielding spirit, though she did manage to get the best of me in combat.
Thankfully, the new episode offered actual success for me. The scenario went something like this. An uncle I hadn’t heard of had died, and I was supposed to attend his wake. Said wake took place in a sketchy location where a suicide had occurred, and the people attending with me started disappearing. Suddenly things got weird when I was attacked by what appeared to be a headless mannequin, though later its “head” made an appearance, and it didn’t seem to solely be made of plastic. Like in the first episode, this one reached a point where reality seemed to be breaking, and that’s when things got really strange.
A loving married couple literally fused together in horrible fashion, and rushed to attack me. I beat them as well as a few other monstrosities, and was successfully able to make it through the night. The style of World of Horror is still really magnetic, and I’m sure it can be a popular title once it comes out. Just a few more tutorials to help clarify things, such as those found this time, will do it a world of good. Ysbryd has done a good job in selecting this one to publish.
All in all, I had a lot of fun at the Ysbryd Games booth at PAX West. Though my preferred title was of course N1RV Ann-A, I also enjoyed getting farther in World of Horror. If you like quirky and eclectic titles with a distinct visual style, look no further than Ysbryd. And keep on reading oprainfall for more of my coverage as it hits!
N1RV-ANN-AoprainfallPAX West 2019World of HorrorYsbryd Games