Developer: Pendulo Studios
Release Date: 3/22/2012
For Fans Of: Hobos, Occults, Amnesia
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The Good: Excellent narrative, interesting plot twists, hint system actually works, point of interest button saves you from pixel hunting
The Bad: Spotty voice acting, terrible animations, audio glitches, poor graphics, lacks any challenge, extremely short
The adventure genre has struggled for years and rarely are any of them any good. Yesterday is one of those gems because it does everything right and doesn’t do what other adventure games do. The story is the part that’s most interesting here with you playing as John Yesterday who is a man investigating an occult called The Order of the Flesh and has something to do with killing homeless people. You get mixed up into a huge mess after waking up with amnesia, so you travel around trying to figure all this stuff out. There are plenty of plot twists and the game keeps you playing because you want to know more. The problem is that the story is so short that it leaves you wanting more.
I'm sure there's a very reasonable explanation for being with a hobo on an abandoned subway with a mannequin...sure...
The gameplay itself is extremely simple because all you do is find objects and come up with ways to use them. This isn’t new for adventure games, but the constant scene changing means there’s always new stuff to find. The game completely wipes out tiresome pixel hunting because there is an object of interest button that will display things you can click on for a few seconds. Every adventure game needs this, and very few do it. There is also a hint button that actually is useful and gives you know…hints so you are never stuck. If you use a hint you have to click around some to refill the light bulb so there is some encouragement to figure things out on your own.
Another thing I’m glad this game does is that when you click on something or try to move to different areas, there is no annoying walking animations or door opening animations. The character warps to that spot and the item pops up on-screen. Thank you, Pendulo Studios for not putting annoying useless crap into an already annoying and dead genre. This makes playing the game much easier and makes progressing quick. Another complaint would be the lack of puzzles because there are very little and not very challenging. This is no Myst, but instead, you have to just figure out what item does what. This is kind of fun and keeps the pace up, but brainiacs will contest this and probably get bored with the game.
I feel Yesterday is actually geared more toward hardcore gamers who don’t have the patience for long drawn out stories and tiresome puzzles. This is both good or bad depending on the player. I do detest the lack of challenge, but the fast paced narrative is nice. Other than this the animations are terrible with horrible lip syncing and some audio glitches along with spotty voice acting. The graphics have a cell shaded cartoony look which is nice, but technically the game doesn’t look that great. One thing I found odd is that the game depicts a sick twisted torture type story with murder and killing yet there’s hardly any blood and violent scenes are almost censored. I found this odd and kind of detracted from the experience, but what can you do?
Overall, Yesterday provides a fine narrative and quickens the pace of most sludgy adventure games, but the lack of puzzles, challenge, and the extremely short story will turn hardcore adventure fans away. Yesterday is a fun weekend play, but other than that you won’t come back.