Yucatan drives into my neon drenched heart with first demo


Yucatan is a Mexican Day of the Dead themed, neon-soaked, low poly adventure that wants to bring Metroidvania style game design to the arcade racer genre. I mean… throw the word “blockchain” in there somewhere and I think this adequately sums up everything the internet is into right now? Unfortunately, you’ve got a bit of a wait on this, as Yucatan is set to be released on PC and PS4 in early 2019. The good news is that there’s a demo available right now.

And that demo is right here.

I just got done doing a bit of drifting and consider me excited for 2019. I mean, I already wanted to get out of this Hell-Year, but this is sure something to look forward to in addition. There’s just so much going on here that I cannot believe this title isn’t on more gamer’s radars.

The full game is set to feature two hours of single-player racing, focusing on challenge-based driving where players must beat the track and the clock. Yucatan takes traditional arcade-racer tropes and turns them around; players will unlock shields, boosts, and bombs as permanent abilities and then use these to unlock new areas in the style of a Metroidvania. The art style is bold low-poly 3D, influenced by Mexican Day of the Dead themes. You drive a retro-futurist space Cadillac along neon soaked floating highways.

The game’s summary on the official site is a little more mysterious than the rest of this information.

Yucatan is a journey of self discovery. It heals wounds and completes tax returns. It goes fast, and it goes slow, and you don’t have to tell it too because it also reads your mind. Yucatan provides the salt and the sizzle, the bang and the beef, the rinse and the roulette. Yucatan gives you everything. Yes. Finally. Thirst is no more. Hunger is no more. Want and need are the past. Yucatan is the future. Yucatan is your future. Release yourself and embrace your future.

Yucatan is being developed by Joe Bain, an independent developer based in Scotland who has worked on games for Adult Swim and OKGo. He has been working on Yucatan for over two years with help from American low-poly artist Ethan Redd and English sound designer Dicky Moore.

Also, can’t help but share this bit of background from the game’s press packet. I really need to meet these folks.

The idea for Yucatan came in a vision, one dark night in 2012. Hairy Heart founder and boss-man, Joe Bain, was tripping out, probably watching your favourtie anime or listening to that band you saw once at that festival. In the midst of a wild fever-dream, the main character, Charlie Skullface, appeared and recited a long game design document, including online multiplayer. As Joe furiously wrote down the long, complicated design document, a postman knocked on the door. The delivery of the rare issue #9 of the 2015 reboot of DC’s Omega Men, interrupted the reverie, and the game design, fresh from the skull’s lips [skulls don’t have lips], was lost in the incoming breeze. Hence there will be no online multiplayer.

Metroidvania Neon Arcade Racer. What a time to be alive.



  1. Gilead says:

    This is a strange game.

    The game begins with ‘Press Start’ text, which isn’t a great sign for a PC demo. Maybe it’s a style choice. It’s meant to be an arcadey sort of game, so okay.

    The Controls option in the menu leads me to a diagram of a gamepad with various coloured lines leading hopefully off to either descriptive text or keyboard keys. I switch back to the game, at least confident that ‘C’ means accelerate. That’s all I need. I am a maverick.

    I start the game and press ‘C’. Nothing happens.

    It turns out that ‘Z’ means accelerate and the diagram is wrong. Additionally, the car handles like I’m pushing a brick over ice.

    I drive around for a bit and crash into a few signs. Eventually I’m hit by a mine and an animated skull pops up and tells me I went boom.

    If I want a neon racer with funny ideas about gravity I’ll probably just stick with Distance for now, to be honest.

  2. poliovaccine says:

    Dude, did you actually play this before you shared it? If so, man… you’re more charitable with your enthusiasm than I am, haha, yeesh

    P.S. Something about that blurb gives me the impression the dev has never actually “tripped out” in his life haha.. I’d love to be wrong about that, but I feel like the only people who think psychedelia = lolrandom are the ones who are like three degrees of separation from anyone with actual experience… then again I may just be overestimating people’s reactions to the experience haha

    • dog2 says:

      It’s a reference to Kubla Khan. A straight reference to Kubla Khan. I mean, I don’t want to sound like a know it all, but there’s definitely some Kubla Khan there.

      Edit: The blurb is. A reference to Kubla Khan.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      We get it, you do drugs.

  3. Robin says:

    I really hope people try this demo out and stick with it after the initial few minutes of highly confusing jankiness, because once it gets going, and starts giving you little puzzle levels that you have to use the amazing-feeling drifting and midair rolling to complete, it becomes really rather excellent. Like a weird love child of Outrun 2006 and F-Zero.

    Also note that there’s a button to instantly reset you if you fall off the track, which you will need a lot.