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Review: Surf's Up Yuk 
 PostThu Oct 16, 2008 11:06 pm
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This is a review of Surf's Up Yuk!.

Reposted from a review in HamsterSpeak #15: http://superwalrusland.com/ohr/issue15/yuk/yuk.html

Surf's Up Yuk is the latest collaboration between Red Maverick Zero and Worthy, and was released as an entry for the Evil Spock contest. It is designed in the image of Super Walrus Chef, and in my opinion takes the core gameplay of SWC and turns it into something even more streamlined and entertaining. I think that Walrus Chef is one of my most well made games, and it makes me happy to see its gameplay concepts refined so well.

The premise of this game is that after Walthros ends, the heroes go their separate ways, trying to find their own purposes. This story focuses on Yuk Deluxe, the mute super-monster that really ties the Walthros cast together. The game opens with a montage of Yuk Deluxe attempting (and failing) a series of menial jobs, which eventually leads to him taking a vacation to a town that holds a yearly surfing contest. As fate would have it, Yuk ends up being a damn good surfer, especially for a guy with no arms. His skill earns him the respect of towns folk, the envy of rivals, and the eye of a potential wife. The situations and dialogue are quite funny, and there are some great cameos. The intro is one of my favorite in any OHR game. Quick, to the point, and funny.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm praising this game because it uses my characters; it made me happy to see them, but it would have been great no matter who they were. This game's solidly written and very entertaining from start to finish.

Gameplay is essentially the same as Walrus Chef's; enter a competition, choose a variety of moves, see how the judges react, and use your prize money to bling out your house. The bling in this game is nowhere near as gaudy as Walrus Chef's massive golden walrus statue, but it gets the job done. My personal favorite items are the smoothies, which change Yuk's color when consumed. It's a simple but really neat feature.

There are far fewer judges in this game than in Walrus Chef. Whether that's good or bad is up to the player. I had no problem with it, and all of the judges amused me. The only problem is that since they aren't randomly chosen for each match, there's not a whole lot of replay value once you know what each one likes. Because of this, it isn't a game you can play over and over again, but the first time through is guaranteed to be a good time.

You start off with a few basic moves, and learn more by completing simple tasks around town. This fleshed the game out, and made exploration feel worthwhile. It also made every NPC in town very much worth talking to, which is rare even in professional games. Every NPC either has a useful skill to teach you or inside information on the judges.

Skills are chosen from a menu that you navigate using your control pad, which is way better than the clunky key-press interface of Walrus Chef (both games could really use mouse support, though). They are grouped according to type. Each judge has his own move-type preferences, and learning them is essential to winning the last two matches. After choosing your skills, you are treated to a nice, animated cutscene of Yuk surfing and performing the moves that you just selected.

I was very impressed by the variety of animations, and would love to see these guys take this concept and make it into something even bigger. This game has a ton of heart to it, and a solid core on top of that. It's fitting that RMZ would be the one to improve upon the Walrus Chef formula, because that game wouldn't exist without him. I made Walrus Chef as a quick, odd little entry for a contest he himself hosted years ago, and never expected it to turn out as well as it did.

Surf's Up Yuk is a good time, and was one of the most satisfying OHR games I've played in a long time. I'd recommend it to anyone, especially people who enjoyed what Walrus Chef had to offer.
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