Think back to when you were a kid or even now if you have kids or relatives who might be of a younger age. Do you remember playing with your favorite toy and your imagination coming to life with the action and adventures that we had our toys in? Things such as becoming that iconic superhero trying to stop evil or doing a cross-over with different brands simply because it wasn’t happening at the time? I still remember and those memories have never left me. But does developer ARVORE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES show us what it’s like to bring that memory many of us had with our toys into the imagination come to life? Let’s find out with YUKI for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
YUKI is an upbeat mix of the bullet-hell and roguelike game genres set in an incredible anime universe. Stepping into the wild imagination of a child, you hold your favorite action character, Yuki, as you use your hands to fly dodge loads of bullets and obstacles that cross your path. And doing this all why listening to the sound of mesmerizing music as you try and maneuver through each level blasting Yokaliens.
So before getting into this universe and doing what you can to be the hero, there are just a few things that you will want to know. For one, have some space. You will be moving your hands trying to maneuver through and avoiding bullets and obstacles, so you want to make sure you have a good arm’s length in every direction as you do not want to hit anything that could be breakable like a monitor or if you hit it hard enough, your hands. Second, don’t go in trying to think you got this. Because once you do, you might get a tad frustrated (but in a good way). And third, YUKI is a game that has permadeath. What does that mean? Once you die, no matter how far you have gotten in the levels, once you die, you start over. Also, the obstacles and enemies are randomized, so every time you play is interesting and unique. With that said, let’s continue.
When you first start YUKI, you are in the bedroom of the child and you can tell from the get-go, how important Yuki is to her and how special the bond between child, toy, and imagination really is. There really is no story per se, other than you control Yuki as you try destroying the Yokaliens including bosses as you try to reach as far as you can without dying. But you don’t really have to do this alone as you do have your very loyal and caring sidekick with you, POD. POD will communicate with Yuki from time to time and you will be controlling POD in your left hand while Yuki is in your right. So as you shoot enemies, things like Creative Drive Orbs, Health Bits, and shield orbs to help replenish when things get tough (and they will). Using Yuki, you will fire and you don’t have to keep pulling the trigger as you can just hold it down to fire which is nice.
Along with Yuki in your right hand, you also have a shield by pressing A. With POD, you can press X to release the freeze that will, of course, freeze the enemies of some of the enemies on the screen. Keep in mind, either using the shield or freeze, doesn’t automatically fill back up, but will take some time to recharge. So you just have to know when to use them. I will say there were times that I was really into the action that I forgot I had them and either after you keep dying or make it far enough to die will you start to remember you use them. Speaking of dying, as I mentioned, once you die it’s over, and you have to start back at level one. But anything you have unlocked is not lost which is another nice feature. In between deaths, you do have the option to go back to the bedroom, go to the workshop, or skip the workshop and retry. At the workshop is where you can use the points you gain to help level up Yuki.
Keep in mind that when you first start YUKI, your firepower is more on the generic side which there were some times that I wish I had something a little more powerful. And this is when you complete certain stages, you get to unlock a more powerful Bladewings for Yuki to be used in the fight against the evil Yokaliens and the bosses. After dying and reaching the stages where new Bladewings could be used, I did feel more powerful as those blades can do some damage and when you can add different modifiers like drones to the elements of everything, it really starts adding to the fun of it all.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Graphically speaking, YUKI is beautiful. Each level that has this anime-style that really comes through in VR and is so pleasant to look at. There were times when I was just enjoying the levels and not paying attention so much to the action. This of course was a mistake as I had to start over from level 1, but part of me still says it was worth it. Seeing the different ways the bullets come at you as you try to move and dodge (which don’t worry about if you personally hit something as it doesn’t have any effect but using Yuki to avoid the obstacles is what you really need to pay attention to) really is pleasant on the eyes. Listening to the music is pretty relaxing. Not saying that when you get into more action parts or bosses, that the music doesn’t match the gameplay, I am just saying that it’s very well balanced and a joy to listen to while playing. I will say, that when Yuki yells “Episode Clear” it is a tad on the loud side, but you can adjust the volume in the settings.
If there is anything I would love to see added is some leaderboards. Just being able to see who did the most damage or how quickly a boss was defeated would add some extra fun competitiveness to the mix. Second, having an online co-op mode would be kind of fun, and then adding the ability to customize the different action characters in the YUKI universe would be an awesome bonus. Is it needed? No. Would it be fun? Yes. And lastly, I hope more levels get added with this anime art style as it really is beautiful to see in VR.
YUKI doesn’t need much narrative and gives us the power of imagination through a child’s eyes. It allows us to bring our own memories we had growing up into a bigger environment all thanks to the power of VR. It shows at times that even though we may find it hard to believe in ourselves regardless of what other people may see in us, that sometimes we can bring out that inner child at times when we may need it the most. And it’s those times, that innocence of a child that makes realize what is worth fighting for.
YUKI is out now for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and Oculus Rift/Rift S on the Oculus Store and Steam and coming to PlayStation VR. A review code was provided.
To learn more about the game, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and follow them on Instagram. To learn more about ARVORE Immersive Experiences, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube Channel
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have going to go play more YUKI.