I think most people would agree that office jobs are terrible. You sit in one place for eight hours doing a highly repetitive task, occasionally breaking the monotony by grabbing a cup of coffee or a bagel. Maybe you wear a suit or a dress, the stiff collar pinching at your neck just enough that you never forget where you are or what you’re doing. Of course, it could be worse. You could have to deal with all that and your coworkers going insane or mutating into Cronenbergian abominations. Given the choice, I’d go with the latter; at least getting eaten by a fleshy dot matrix printer is interesting. If you hate office culture and like survival horror, Yuppie Psycho will feel like a spiritual experience.
You play Brian Pasternack, a young professional fresh out of basic education. Without even submitting an application, Brian has received a job offer from the biggest company in the world, Sintracorp. Only minutes into his first day, an elevator takes Brian all the way to the blood-spattered CEO’s office. Brian signs a mysterious contract, sealing his fate as a Witch Hunter, and embarks on a bizarre adventure to defeat the evil responsible for rotting the company and eating its employees.
I can’t get much further without talking about the tone. Brian is initially reluctant to accept that anything’s wrong with Sintracorp, even when faced with an office covered in blood, the corpses of multiple employees, cackling zombies in the bathroom, a blind cheddar goblin, and a number of monsters.
Establishing Yuppie Psycho‘s Offbeat Tone
The first time Brian finds a corpse, he almost shrugs it off. Later on, Brian finds the dismembered bodies of his coworkers and says “Oh, another body.” It adds levity to the survival horror atmosphere. The humor is further reinforced by the cartoon sound effects, like the goofy trombone noise that plays every time someone yells at you. It makes me wonder if Yuppie Psycho is going for straight horror, as its grotesque creatures would suggest, or campy horror comedy.
Either way, the pixel art does a great job at establishing a dark tone and the state of the company. Even the normal parts of Sintracorp are dingy. The wallpaper is peeling, the carpets are stained, and the bathrooms are disgusting. It’s a lot of “show, don’t tell,” and it makes the actual haunting stronger because you’re already expecting the building to fall apart before the lights go out.
While the visuals are great, especially some of the more horrific character portraits, the lights are a bit of a pain point. Yuppie Psycho comes with an epilepsy warning and they’re not joking. I could only play the first half in 30-minute sessions because the lighting effects actually hurt my eyes. Some flashes are needlessly bright, others flicker just a little too fast. I’m not usually sensitive to lighting effects in games, but I needed some headache medicine for this one.
Thankfully, lighting incidents are few and far between. That’s because, at its core, Yuppie Psycho is an adventure game with survival horror elements. Most of the gameplay consists of following up on clues and completing objectives by solving inventory puzzles and brain teasers. Most of the puzzles are environment-based, usually with all the pieces and clues in the same room, or at least the same floor of the office building. These vary in difficulty, but they’re always logical.
Solving Yuppie Psycho‘s Puzzles
An early sequence had me looking for information in the company archives. I found a note labeled A-2. So, I go to the labeled shelf and find a paper with a seven-pointed star. I go to A-7. That shelf has an unlabeled spreadsheet with one box filled in red. I trace out the sheet and go to shelf B-1. It was a fun little puzzle and made me realize that other puzzles would rely on interacting with the world. Yuppie Psycho’s puzzles are all reasonable. There’s no moon logic here.
What really makes these puzzle-solving scenes special is the pacing. Brainwashed zombies, mutated staff, and Cronenberg monsters stalk the halls of Sintracorp. However, the biggest monsters aren’t so much obstacles as they are rewards for solving the puzzles. They’re a spectacle, a treat for making it so far and they require you to show off what you learned throughout the puzzle gauntlet.
Unfortunately, while the bosses look great, they can feel repetitive Because Brian can only outsmart these creatures, the strategy is always the same. Lure the creature away, then solve the puzzle. It works at first, but it feels tiresome by the third boss.
Surviving Yuppie Psycho’s Boss Encounters
You usually can’t see the creature in its entirety until you escape, making boss sequences especially tense. It shows a lot of restraint to create cool monsters and have them mostly hidden in darkness, only giving you a momentary glimpse when you shine your flashlight on them.
More interesting is that Brian has no means of fighting back. This is an adventure game after all. You can only outsmart or flee boss monsters. However, you take damage when a zombie coworker explodes in a puff of poison gas. The only way to heal is to scrounge up food items around the office. These do not regenerate. Once the water cooler’s empty, that’s it.
The health mechanics are especially interesting when paired with the save system. Yuppie Psycho begins with a warning that there are no autosaves, you have to figure out how to save yourself. The answer is Witch Paper. You can save by using a special kind of paper at any photocopier with ink. Your saves become a resource, just like healing items. This is especially interesting around the mid-game when you can use Witch Paper as currency. While I always had more saves than I needed, it was a constant source of tension that left me strategizing about how often I should save.
The save system shows its rough edges around the sections between puzzles. After finishing an objective, you’re able to talk with coworkers. Some of these interactions lead to sidequests. You have to balance hoarding your saves with the value of your time. It can feel really frustrating to die during a side quest and have to go through all the dialogue, clues, and puzzles again because there wasn’t a copy machine close by.
Yuppie Psycho Review | Final Thoughts
Although their quests left me a little frustrated, the side characters are great. They’re not as complex as the coworkers of Beholder 2, but each character is visually interesting and has a unique speech pattern that gives them depth even if the script doesn’t allow for them to have full backstories.
By the third act, I understood the stakes and had no more direction. It was up to me to resolve things I saw fit. This is when I really got into the story. My chosen path took me to a set piece where each hit from an enemy fundamentally changed gameplay to the point where I was panicking to solve the puzzle before another creature found me. It was perhaps my favorite merging of theme and gameplay since the ending of LISA: The Joyful.
Yuppie Psycho starts off pretty slow, but its momentum kept me coming back. The corporate metaphors are satisfying and funny, even if they butt heads with the tone. The puzzles are logical, fun, and well-structured. The horror is sharp, and the survival elements are well-thought-out. I’ll be sure to replay this one soon.
TechRaptor reviewed Yuppie Psycho on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developer.
Yuppie Psycho is one of the few survival horror games to keep me on the edge of my seat. Though occasionally bizarre and tonally strange, it has the all the makings of a great adventure. The puzzles are engaging, the story is gripping, and the horror kept me coming back for more.
- Great Story
- Logic-Based Puzzles
- Strong Character Writing
- Well-Developed Survival Horror
- Tension-Building Save System
- Panic-Inducing Gameplay
- Some Tonal Strangeness
- Repetitive Bosses
- Migraine-Inducing Visuals