Versus Evil at Gamescom 2019 – Yaga, Hitchhiker

With Gamescom 2019 having ended at least for the business area, it’s once again time to highlight some of the games I checked out during the event and why you should be excited for them, beginning with Versus Evil’s line-up of games that are particularly exciting.

First up is Yaga, a beautiful 2D action RPG based on Nordic mythology. Playing as the one-handed blacksmith Ivan, Yaga tells his story of being a playball for both the witch Baba Yaga and the reigning tzar, all wanting different tasks done by him while constantly trying to outwit the other. At the same time, he’s also cursed by bad luck, leading to all kind of unfortunate events. So it’s on us to decide who to side with, if Ivan will find a wife and ultimately control his fate.

In order to do so, Yaga features many different dialogue options, each influencing a certain character stat which unlock new options and shape Ivan in a different way every playthrough. Though during the demo I didn’t see much of that aspect, only an optional path to either give the quest item to the witch or the tzar in the end, while the other options seemingly didn’t influence a whole lot of the story.

What’s way more interesting is the combat, featuring a wide array of possible weapon types and crafteable bonuses. On the one hand, it’s a classic 2D action RPG that’s heavily centered around dodging, as it removes basically any possible damage and has quite a lot of invincible frames. On the other hand, since Ivan is one-handed, he’s able to hook himself up with one secondary special weapon like a grappling hook, which adds a really neat layer to the whole game. The primary weapons can also be upgraded with different perks like bouncing from enemies, through crafting and finding materials in the levels. Speaking of levels, those are naturally randomly generated as well, even the encounters and citizens you can meet and find on your journey, allowing for some really unexpected twists. And yes, the citizens will also show up in your hubworld like in many other titles.

In summary, Yaga seems like a really fine action RPG which mainly lives of its unique setting and breathtaking hand-drawn art, which was the main reason I was excited about it. If you’re in for more beautiful 2D indie games, definitely keep an eye out for Yaga.

Yaga will release Fall 2019 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Apple Arcade

The other title I took a look at is Hitchhiker, a story driven game about hitchhiking. Playing as a protagonist who suffers from amnesia with the goal of uncovering his past as well as finding someone we lost. On the way we meet five people, hear their stories, uncover their past and personalities and hopefully learn something about ourself on the way.

Similar to Firewatch or Edith Finch, Hitchhiker doesn’t have an intricate gameplay, instead featuring 5 20-45 minutes long rides full of dialogue and little gameplay passages, like taking photos of ravens to protect a farm for unknown reasons or escape the back of a car. It certainly tackles a lot, trying to entertain the player for 2-3 hours through pure writing and some mild interactions in the car and with the environment. As a result, every ride also features different landscapes and every character promises a whole different personality and experience. Certainly a curious game to check out when it releases.

Hitchhiker will release Fall 2019/Early 2020 or PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Apple Arcade