‘First Job Survival Horror’ is a heck of a genre, but from what I’ve played of Yuppie Psycho, the weird shoe fits. Released today, it’s the latest from the brilliantly named Baroque Decay, previously of the dark fairy-tale adventure The Count Lucanor. From what I’ve played, it’s of similar format – anime-inspired survival horror, with a surreal edge and a bit of dark humour. It’s bad enough being the under-qualified newbie starting a new job, but worse when you’re the new in-house witch hunter. And there’s a robot in there too, somehow. Just watch the trailer below.
While I’m only a little ways into Yuppie Psycho, it feels like an intentionally chaotic swirl of inspirations. There’s some odd dystopian world-building, with people sorted into castes best suited to serving the massive Sintracorp. Even in its earliest moments, it alternates between gentle co-worker introductions, sinister contract signing below a wall painted in blood, and back to photocopying your face (to save your game). Naturally, coffee is the game’s most potent healing item, but needs both fresh coffee grounds and water, delivered to a coffee machine to be produced.
Compared to its predecessor, The Count Lucanor, the sprites are a little bigger and better animated, although mostly blank-looking. Most of the characterisation happens through the detailed and expressive character portraits and dialogue, which feels like it’s riffing off a mixture of office cultures from around the world. There are some anime-style cutscenes too, although they’re not voiced, contrary to what the trailer suggests. I’m hoping to sink a few hours into the game tonight, and I’m intrigued by it so far. There’s a little Silent Hill here, maybe a little Junji Ito, and maybe a little bit of Satoshi Kon influence, and I want to see how deep it runs.