Yuppie Psycho is a ruthless satirization of corporate grind culture packaged into a witty, terrifying mystery adventure game. You play as Brian Pasternack, a young man from the suburbs who’s been given a chance to make a name for himself in the big city. Brian receives a mysterious letter with a job offer from Sintracorp, the world’s largest, most successful corporation. It sounds stereotypical, but it’s the catalyst for a unique plot and setting.
From the first level in the game, the theme of hierarchy is established, and Brian is low in the pecking order at Sintracorp. He’s a class G citizen, it’s not the worst lot in life, but he’s still out of his element while talking with the higher classes. Working for Sintracorp could boost Brian’s social standing, but the job offer letter had no details as to what he would actually be doing. Brian is visibly different from everyone else, as his blue suit stands out in a sea of gray and charcoal business attire. He uses first names instead of last, a formality only the upper class are accustomed to.
You wait in the lobby for your name to be called. Also in the lobby are; a trust fund man-child named Mr. Chapman, an upbeat new-hire girl named Kate, and an elevator. The trust fund man lambasts you for being class G and tells you that the floors of the building correspond to the value you’re worth at the company. Naturally, Mr Chapman is brought all the way to… the second of ten floors. Kate, on the other hand, is kind and understanding of Brian’s discomfort, as she was once a class E. She’s brought to the fourth floor.
Everything up until this point has been Disney-esque. The young man chasing his dreams, the bully getting what’s coming to him, the kind girl reassures you of your path. It’s all normal, until you enter the elevator. If you were inquisitive in the lobby, you would have known something wasn’t right, you could have seen the warning signs. Upon looking into the trash can, bugs scurry out in every direction, and the floor looks grimey and cracked. The piano stings and synth build suspense as the elevator moves past the second floor, and the fifth, and keeps going all the way to the tenth floor. Was the letter you were given a golden ticket, or a death warrant? That’s when you’re clued in to your real job at Sintracorp. You walk to the end of the CEO’s office, and there, spelled in blood on screen emanating static is your primary job:
So, you do the only thing you can do in this situation, sign a contract you don’t understand and get to work. Well, you can do that, or you could just walk right out the door. That was how I first discovered that this game has multiple endings.
I called this game a ruthless satirization of the corporate grind, and that wasn’t just a flowery description for the sake of the review. This game takes every opportunity to mock the corporate workplace. Your boss, Col. Dumont, is a Frenchman on a horse in imperialist garb, waving a saber like a madman. An extreme take on an over the top boss. He literally takes your bonus money for not degrading yourself in the right order in front of him. At first it sucks to have your money taken for a gag, but it just makes the critique more poignant. In what I believe was a genius thematic move, money really never comes in handy all that much. You get more than enough of everything you need from looting desks and cabinets.
There are plenty of instances of great gags in this game. At one point, you have to quite literally corral the PR department back into their pen (they walk on all fours). You feed one of them meal replacement pills and he follows you back to his pen like a Minecraft sheep. That had me cackling. There are moments like this all throughout the game, and the vast majority of these jokes land terrifically.
Yuppie Psycho balances humor and comedy exceedingly well, usually using one to set up the other. You never know when you’re going to have the rug pulled out from under you. There was one particular moment where my eyes rolled at a dumb joke, and then widened, staring at the screen in horror as the rest of the scene played out.
The humor is backed up by the stellar audio work. Listening to Kate’s heels tap tap tap as she runs to and from stacks of paper while trying to hold a conversation with Brian brought a smile to my face. The audio is excellent in this game in general. Hearing the crackle of the coffee machine as it fills my cup of joe also fills my heart with joy. The audio also enhances the horror. When everything goes quiet during suspenseful scenes, it causes you to focus extra hard on the scene at hand, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The humor is mostly character driven. Sosa, your officemate, is borderline feral, lacking any and all social graces. Your other officemate, Hugo, is a bizarre, upbeat fellow who shows you around your office for the first time. Despite the condition of the building, it’s still a roughly functioning office, and there are plenty of broken, soul-sucked worker drones walking about. There are other named officemates who you’ll get to know in time, each of whom look distinct, few of whom are normal. One notable individual is Sintra, an AI created by Sintracorp to assist workers with their tasks, and is one of the few individuals who knows you’re hunting the witch. All of these characters benefit from stellar sprite-work which gives them distinct silhouettes that contrasts their similar office apparel. The sprites in this game are great in general, there was never a time when I was looking at an object wondering what it was supposed to be.
The story of Yuppie Psycho has layers to it, and if you’re willing to do a little investigating, then you’ll uncover a truly interesting plot. Don’t think this game is all horror or laughs, it can be quite touching when it wants to be. Prepare to have your heartstrings played like a guitar. It really encourages you to go back and find the seven endings. It will probably take you about 10 hours to complete the game once, and you can load previous saves to complete the other endings.
Speaking of saving, Yuppie Psycho has a unique save system. You save in game at printers, but the catch is, you need an item to do it. The item is called witch paper, and it gets consumed upon use, so you can’t save whenever you want. This can be a problem for players with shorter gaming sessions. Some of the puzzles can wear on you (shoutout to floor 3), and sometimes you just want to take a break and go play something else, so it can make the game feel tiresome occasionally. The system is excellent at building a sense of dread, and adding a meaningful choice to an action as simple as saving. At the end of the day, saving your game is still a utility, so imagine if you had to get an item to change the brightness or subtitles. All in all, you get more than enough witch paper to save when it’s important, and it rarely felt overbearing in my longer play sessions, but I can see how it could turn some people off of the game.
The gameplay leaves something to be desired. It isn’t horrible, but it’s definitely not on the same level as the other aspects of this game. I only experienced one bug in my whole play time, the screen froze for about 30 seconds. When it comes to presenting how enemies work, the game, at times, neither shows nor tells. The first time I encountered enemies, they just flung themselves at me with no warning or explanation to how they work. Sometimes you just have to get hit in the face to learn your lesson. One floor in particular, floor three, was rather tedious with patrolling, slow moving enemies, and a limited line of sight in a sprawling maze, but you bet this floor made me feel something, and that’s how this game works overall. The story and character interactions keep you hooked with their intrinsic absurdity, mystery, horror, humor, and sentiment.
There are 10 floors in the Sintracorp building, most of which are distorted in some way or another by the haunting. It feels as if the building is barely holding together, rotting away as you play the game. The state of the building adds to the cat and mouse game that is hunting the witch, and it’s eerie to watch people work in such deteriorated conditions like nothing is happening. The game includes backtracking, but the devs made it easier by opening up shortcuts as you progress. It’s clear that the devs wanted the game to be challenging, not frustrating, and for the most part, they succeeded. Nothing feels like it’s tacked on to add runtime to the game.
Despite some occasionally rough gameplay, this game is an absolute must for adventure game fans, especially those who enjoy a good mystery. The hostile denizens of Sintracorp are dangerous, but the story beats hit as hard as the enemies do. Yuppie Psycho gave me chills, and it wasn’t always the dark corridors, limited vision, horrifying setting, or unnerving enemy design. Sometimes it was just a few lines of disarming dialogue that left me stunned, staring at my screen. For the price of $16.66 and with the replay value it offers, grab it. Funnily enough, checking steam discount trackers shows that they usually discount the game for 60% off, meaning it would cost $6.66, if that isn’t dedication to the occult theme, then I don’t know what is.
Yuppie Psycho: Executive Edition
Whether or not you enjoy puzzle adventure games, Yuppie Psycho: Executive Edition is worth a try for its spooky ambiance, laugh out loud humor, and amazing plot. It might have poor gameplay in some sections, but that poor gameplay is overwhelmingly outnumbered by great moments. Add in the many fun, visually distinct characters to meet, and there are very few reasons to skip Yuppie Psycho. This game will have you charmed from the first scene all the way to one of the seven endings.
- Great Story
- Balances Humor and Horror Well
- Interesting Characters
- Unique Setting and Theme
- Enemy Encounters Feel Half Baked At Times
- Save System Could Be A Deal Breaker For Some Players