LifeisXbox’s Sumatra: Fate of Yandi review | With more than 30 years of gaming in my baggage, I feel like ideas, concepts, and mechanics are being reused and recycled in games more and more. That’s why I overestimate originality in games. I admire it when a studio tries something new in their projects. Something new like a different mechanic, a different art style, or like in the game we will talk about today, an original story. And today, when I say original, I mean taking place in a whole different place and exploring something I’ve never seen portraited by any game before. And this, my friends, is Sumatra: Fate of Yandi.
This is a short-review, our usual the good, mixed and the bad was difficult because of the nature of this game. We played Sumatra: Fate of Yandi for 5 hours on Xbox One X. This game is also available on PS4, PS5, Steam, and Switch.
What we liked!
Developed by the UK/NZ indie studio Cloak and Dagger Games and published by Ratalaika Games S.L., Sumatra: Fate of Yandi is a point-and-click adventure where you play as Yandi, a Sumatran worker from a logging company that is a victim of a landslide while working in the forest. Yandi falls on a river and is barely able to survive by holding on to a floating log. He passes out and, later, wakes up deep in the jungle, far away from home. Now he must survive the perils of nature and find the way back to his beloved wife.
Those who are familiar with other games from Cloak and Dagger Games (they have already given us Football Game back in 2019, which was reviewed by my friend Alexis, who gave it a 60% score) will see that same pixel-art style but carefully improved. It now shows fantastic scenarios, a colorful jungle full of life, and characters with good animation. Just remember they are all pixelated, so each character’s sprites are kept to a minimum of detail – what doesn’t happen with the scenarios, which are beautifully crafted.
In the sound department, the game is timid. As most of the time you will find yourself exploring scenarios and looking for clues on how to solve its puzzles, I can’t understand why the developers opted to keep the music to a minimum: you will only hear the Sumatra: Fate of Yandi soundtrack in particular moments of the story. I believe they tried to create a more engaging atmosphere, emphasizing the sound effects of the jungle. But as these sound effects are restricted to a few actions and scenes, this was a strangely silent adventure.
The gameplay in Sumatra: Fate of Yandi is quite satisfactory. Like in most of the point-and-clicks, you walk between scenes while collecting and combining items to solve the many puzzles the game throws at you – and this mechanic works very well. I just didn’t understand why they put your inventory at the top of the screen, making it only accessible when you move your cursor to that area when we have more than 10 available buttons in our hands. It gets incredibly frustrating to access your inventory and use your items, especially when you don’t know what to do and try all things at your disposal to see which one will be the key to solving a puzzle. Some of its challenges (those that require some sort of password) will require you to examine documents, notes, magazines, and more – but even after doing it, I had problems identifying the correct password and needed to resort to online walkthroughs of its Steam version (which dates back to 2019) to continue in my journey.
My adventure in Sumatra: Fate of Yandi lasted for about 5 hours, including a second playthrough to get a missing achievement. But it probably took me that long because I’m terrible at puzzle games. Suppose you are good a puzzle gamer and don’t spend time walking in circles as I did. In that case, you will be able to finish this adventure in about 2 hours – even less if you are using a walkthrough. But once you complete it, the game doesn’t offer any reason to come back and play it again.
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With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.