Party games are a huge business. Plenty of companies have found a lot of success with them in the past. That’s why Nintendo has made no less than six-thousand Mario Party games. It’s why, even now, games like Party Panic are coming out on PC. It’s why Sega made the incredibly underrated Sonic Shuffle. There’s just something about an assload of multiplayer minigames that appeals to gamers. Maybe it’s the variety. Maybe it’s the minigame format. Given enough minigames, everyone is bound to win at least once. I can’t tell for sure. So, I intended to find out.
I started by ordering a gross of every color balloon I could find. I used my editor’s credit card in order to cover my tracks (I memorized it a long time ago). I don’t know if you realize how much a gross is. I didn’t, but I do now. It’s somewhere between “why do you do this?!” and incoherent sobbing. Also, it appears that filling an office with thousands of balloons is neither a minigame nor exactly legal. So, for the time being, I figured I’d stick to the professionals for my party game needs.
YamaYama is a new party game by Lumenox. It is a party game for the sake of being a party game. As of now, there is no overarching plot or story that tries to make sense of all the little minigames. It’s important to point out that, at the time of writing, YamaYama is in Early Access. So perhaps it will gain some kind of story in the future, but I don’t see how it possibly can. More on that later.
The way it works is that up to four players gather around, pick one of the wacky characters, and compete in a series of minigames until the game is over. Then, one player is considered a winner while the other three are condemned as total losers. There is no trophy for second place, my friends. With that, YamaYama’s formula is the same as other party games. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
YamaYama is a wacky game. Luminox has fully embraced the concept of “wacky” for this game. The first thing you really notice are the available characters. They are just absolutely nuts. I couldn’t even make sense out of all of them. There’s some kind of old-man chicken, a bubblegum dog, some kind of fancy whale, and a treestump travel monster. Those are my honest, best guesses. The only thing you can do is embrace it and move forward.
For reasons unknown to even me, I decided I liked the treestump travel monster the best. I picked my character, got comfortable, and chose to join in on any game I could find. I wasn’t picky. Anything would do. Unfortunately, there was no anything. I don’t know if I was just unlucky or if I was literally the only person who owned the game, but I could never find a single other player. I tried joining games. I tried hosting them. I even made sure to blank out any filters. I didn’t care. Still, no one ever showed up.
That was the bad news. The good news was that YamaYama fully supports single player using AI opponents. Seeing no other choice, I filled the other three slots with robots and hopped into the variety of minigames it had to offer. But actually, I should probably say minigame, because there’s really only one. Each different minigame feels more like a variant of one game instead of a different game altogether. And that’s all thanks to the fatsuit.
YamaYama’s unique claim to fame is the fatsuit mechanic. When other players get near you, just tap a button and you grow in size, bumping them away in the process. So while all the games may have a technically different goal, each one is accomplished the same way. Just use the fatsuit to know the others around. That’s it. End of story. Go ahead and check out my Let’s Play of it below.
There’s a game where you save your penguin while stopping the others from saving theirs. You just use your fatsuit. There’s one that’s basically tag. You just use your fatsuit. There’s one where the floor gets electrified. You just use your fat suit. Do you see a trend here? Regardless of the slight difference in each game, they’re all played the same way. Just pop your fat suit at the right times to send your opponents flying. Master that, and you’ll be sitting pretty.
The minigames are it too. You know how I mentioned that there’s no kind of game board or story at all? Everything is just the wacky and crazy visuals and gameplay. Every screen is an acid trip for your computer monitor. It’s all just this cartoony, chaotic mess. I said that I doubt there could be story before. That was because everything is just so crazy and out there that any attempt to make sense of it would almost ruin the aesthetic. It’s just a drug-fueled rampage of minigames. That’s all it could ever be. Here, just look at the victory screen. Tell me how you could make sense of that.
With all that said, it’s time to answer the all important question. Is YamaYama fun? If I had to sum my answer to just one word, it would be “sure.” Each minigame is pure chaos. You have four people just fatsuiting the hell out of everyone else. On top of that, the fatsuit mechanic is most often paired with an icy floor, so you’re always sliding all over the place. Together, this makes each game feel urgent and desperate. And even if you could see through all the chaos, there’s no real strategy involved in anything here. Just fatsuit your friends. It’s as simple as that.
The biggest negative I can find here is that the simple, repetitive nature of YamaYama can’t keep your interest for long. It could very well have its place on a lazy Saturday night, but it can’t really be more than that. After you play through a few rounds, you’d most likely be looking for something else to play. In any case, you probably will have had fun with YamaYama while the game lasts. All you have to figure out now is if that’s worth $6.99 to you.
Final Verdict: 2/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed) ; Publisher: Lumenox ; Developer: Lumenox; Players: 1 – 4; Released: March 30, 2016 ; ESRB: E ; MSRP: $6.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of YamaYama given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.