From the gorgeous hand-drawn graphics to the cute “toy instrument” soundtrack to storytelling that leaves it open to interpretation, there is nothing about Yuri that doesn’t say “indie”. Created by brothers Ange and Aurélien Potier, this platformer takes you on a journey guiding a little cosmonaut through lush and varied landscapes.
Now I’m going to get my hang-up out of the way before coming to the many wonderful points. I’ve had this game in my library for awhile but it took me waaaay too long to finish it. The main issue was that I just didn’t know how to. And when I finally realized how to finish it, I didn’t want to do it. Let me save you the headache and just tell you that you’re going to want to collect every single firefly. If you just have that mindset as you go through the levels, chances are, you’ll utterly love this game.
Because there really is much about this that is just simply endearing. Yuri takes the classic platformer and throws in some visual poetry and creative mechanics. I loved that it always kept me on my toes. From mastering the movement of ferns to flying a paper airplane, Yuri kept me interested in seeing what was around the corner. There’s a lot of delight in discovering the many different ways that a normal-sized environment would affect a miniature person. And apart from the aforementioned firefly-grind, Yuri never ceased to keep me (who incidentally has terrible platformer skills) engaged.
There’s some ambiguity as to how much health you have or knowing when something will kill you. Landing on a bug is fine, but careen into it and Yuri makes an “ohw” sound which can only be interpreted as displeasure. Throw him too many times into said bug and he will explode – however, nothing tells you how many times is too many. Fortunately, what keeps this from becoming soul-sucking is that the save points are super-forgiving and you can pretty much start where you died.
If you delve a little deeper into the makings of Yuri, knowing that the house that you have to explore at one point was based on a real house gives the game just that much more heart. Inspired by an old family home in Brittany, France, the Potier brothers decided to include this nostalgic memory into Yuri. The house was surrounded by lush, untamed nature which they reflected in the game in a playful, organic style.
The character of Yuri was also based on a comic created in earlier years by Ange Potier. If we all did this with our own little doodles, how many more gorgeous and interesting games we would have out there!
Yuri is available on iOS , Apple TV, Mac and Nintendo Switch.