“Some moments can only be cured with a big squishy grandma hug.” – Dan Pearce
A Walk with Yiayia is a casual but heartfelt adventure game and interactive fiction by solo developer Trent Garlipp. Players take on the role of the grandchild and must take their Greek grandmother out for a walk after she’s lost her confidence due to a scary fall.
Developer: Trent Garlipp
Released: 3rd November 2022
Platforms: Windows, Linux
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Content warning: The game touches on some tough subject matter such as racism, alcoholism, and injury.
A Walk WIth Yiayia is best played with a controller and will take around 60-90 minutes to play. The player must accompany their grandmother on a walk around the neighbourhood, maintaining a casual pace so as to stay close and holding her hand when necessary. The stroll is interrupted sporadically by conversations between the pair, recounting memories and past experiences. These often play out through little cinematic-type interludes in different art styles. There are also dialogue options that will steer the conversation a certain way and reveal different information affording the game some replay value. A selection of mini-games also features, these include flying a plane, playing the piano or a grasshopper platformer and are a lot of fun, adding variety to the mechanics and storytelling techniques.
There is an overarching narrative to A Walk With Yiayia, one of ageing, family and caring for loved ones but beyond that, there are the short stories the player hears in the form of recollections and memories. Some of them tackle some tough subject matter and include remorseful memories, full of regret, giving the game a more serious tone to contrast its delightful aesthetic.
There are only a few characters in the game but their personalities and experiences are at the forefront of the narrative and the player really gets a sense of who they are and what they have been through, especially considering the short playtime. The writing is really lovely and emotive, with truly moving dialogue and the narrative design is clever, taking the player on a turbulent journey.
A Walk With Yiayia’s black and white pixel graphics are minimalist and cute and the art style works well with the style of gameplay and fits nicely with the reflective narrative. There are a few instances during memories or minigames where the art style changes, this is refreshing and keeps the experience visually intriguing.
The music was nice and varied, featuring piano predominantly and ranging from melancholy and emotive to wonderfully jaunty. The immersive sound effects such as birds chirping or rain falling sit nicely in the background, adding to the sense of immersion and the atmosphere without being intrusive.
A Walk WIth Yiayia is a beautiful game that will make players laugh and cry. The layered narrative is depicted in an adorable pixel art style that belies the emotional nature of the experience. The game is a pleasure to play and I recommend it to fans of interactive fiction however, the price tag of £10.99 is perhaps a little steep for a game that can be completed in less than two hours.
If you enjoy walking simulators and interactive fiction you might also enjoy:
Paradise Lost – Deer Journey – The Search