Yuppie Psycho : Executive Edition to give its full title, chronicles the first working day of a guy called Brian Pasternak at a company called Sintracorp. Developed by Baroque Decay and published by Neon Doctrine, this is ostensibly a survival horror game, though it’s very dialogue and plot heavy.
His first interaction upon arriving at the company isn’t with a receptionist in the conventional sense, instead with fellow candidates. The first you meet is a charming fellow called Chapman. We say charming, he is in fact a complete bastard. He, along with a rather more amenable young lady, is there clutching a letter inviting him to come to work at Sintracorp too.
One by one the candidates are called to the automated lift, with Brian naturally being the last to go. He’s assigned an office on the fifth floor with a bloke called Hugo and the caffeine dependent Ms Sosa. It’s at this point that you’re gently introduced to the save system. Your soul is saved on the office photocopier by special supernatural paper. Clearly aping the typewriter ribbons from Resident Evil in that respect but translated to everyday office drudgery.
Soon after the true nature of your employment is revealed to you. At least it is assuming you signed the employment contract at the outset. It’s entirely possible to roll the end credits inside five minutes by opting not to sign the contract you see. At any rate, your participation in Yuppie Psycho is rather dependent on your having signed.
Once you have an introduction to the corporate network from Sintra, the digital embodiment of the corporation, you’ll find yourself in a situation far worse. A corporate icebreaker reinforcing the company values. Yeah, as we said, much worse. Your colleague Hugo is revealed to be a huge brown noser into the bargain too.
As you may be able to tell, we’re struggling a little to recount matters without resorting to spoilers since the storyline is so integral to the matter at hand. Regardless, the story riffs quite well on workplace bullshit, even down to HR being a place you really don’t want to go unless you can possibly avoid it.
You’ll face boss fights as you progress, they being fun enough but also a symptom of something that bedevils Yuppie Psycho throughout its early chapters. The saving at photocopiers is all well as good and you’ll do well do so frequently. However until you meet one key NPC, you might have the supernatural paper but realise the machine you’ve encountered needs a toner cartridge. This is all well and good, but unfortunately while paper is found with high frequency, you won’t encounter anywhere near as much toner cartridges.
This artificial scarcity led to us replaying a couple of sections rather more often than we’d have liked. Sure, one incidence gave us another crack at a trophy we’d messed up on, but having to replay long sections arbitrarily is something we can do without. Especially when we’re looking at the best part of an afternoon wasted cumulatively.
This improves somewhat when you help the aforementioned NPC out and you can buy toner from him, but you’re still reliant on having surplus supplies to sell so you’ve got money to buy extra toner. Much as we wanted to play a little more riskily, lengthy retreads of entire sections make for an overly cautious playstyle instead as we found ourselves going back to a safe floor where a photocopier was already activated.
When we weren’t being bogged down by the idiosyncracies of the save system, we had a good time here. The fact that Brian isn’t up to a straight fight in any situation is refreshing, hiding in cupboards or under tables being more his style. It appeals to our inner coward where we’ll leave others to fight while we cross the road to avoid needless conflict.
One nice touch was finding consumables as well as ingredients in various filing cabinets. Not unlike our once finding a KitKat had miraculously appeared in our desk drawer, only it was our colleagues. We did buy her another. All that’s missing is hitting the office vending machine to get chocolate bars that are teetering on the brink. Shut up, we couldn’t ignore them. Upon finding ingredients you can make coffee with water and instant powder, though we’d draw the line at making a sandwich with discarded bread and cheese you can procure from cabinets around the place or in wastebins.
We couldn’t help but shake the feeling that while we had a little freedom as to our path through Sintracorp’s corridors, our path was very much predetermined and heavily curated. We’d almost go with metroidvania in terms of how areas are gated by abilities or tools you acquire along the way. Though we also found ourselves a little frustrated on several occasions, especially when the solution or object we were seeking to find was in plain sight, but due to not carrying out the exact procedure, we couldn’t reach it.
One little set piece where you inexplicably seek to help Chapman gain a promotion is a fun little diversion at least although the section after you do so successfully was once again hamstrung by the save system. Yes, we had to retry on several occasions before prevailing.
Yuppie Psycho has multiple endings, one of which we already mentioned, additionally it has a trophy for playing through the entire game without using a copier. Yes, without saving and essentially ironmanning your way through. You could potentially do it in multiple sittings if you used the PS5 suspend option, but that could well be undone by one pesky system software update if you have them set up for automatic download.
In conclusion, Yuppie Psycho is likeable enough but the throwback manual save system means you’ll often find yourself playing through sections over and again, especially if you simply forget to save as we did. If you persevere though, you’ll be rewarded with a well observed pastiche of workplace nonsense with a horror angle. Work is indeed hell.
+ Well observed pastiches of working life
+ Amusingly scripted
+ Making your own consumables is fun
- The ingame economy
- So heavily curated it can feel restrictive
- You'll get far too used to replaying sections over and again