Sound and Vision
Pendulo Studios have 18 years of experience in making games and it is fair to say that Yesterday feels generally more polished than the developer’s earlier games, including The Next Big Thing. Gamers who are fans of the developer will recognize the studios trademark superb art, unique characters, great cinematics, compelling music and exceptional acting.
Conversations in Yesterday are enjoyable because of Pendulo Studios’ distinctive art and animation style. The cut scenes of the game will make you feel like reading a comic book with windows appearing for every character and scene. The characters may lack in detail, however unlike previews Pendulo titles they look more realistic and less random and they fit perfect to the overall style of the game. Everything in the game looks crisp, clear, and smooth, and it’s quite easy to tell what’s what and who’s who.
Sound-wise Yesterday may not win any prizes but that doesn’t mean it will disappoint. Music serves the tone of every stage with pieces ranging from calm to more energy driven tunes without overpowering the dialogue or actions presented onscreen. Voice acting is what you would expect from a game like Yesterday which is solid throughout the game.
In Yesterday you can play as Henry White, a young and rich heir dedicated to charity work to protect the homeless, his friend Cooper, or the enigmatic John Yesterday. The trio track will try to uncover the truth behind strange disappearances of seemingly unrelated homeless people in New York City who are found burnt alive with a Y-shaped scar forms in the palm of the hands.
We won’t reveal you much of the game’s story but you should know that you will experience many unexpected turns as the story unfolds. You begin the game by controlling Henry White, and at some point you get to control John Yesterday and try to help him find his memory and his beloved Pauline. Yesterday evolves around an exploration where dark rituals, a series of murders, and theories about the filter of life are the center of attention. The story never loses focus, and wraps up mostly satisfactorily while the game’s writing is delightfully witty using sarcasm and dark humor.
In terms of gameplay Yesterday is a classic point and click adventure and with every click our character teleports to the direction we want him to be something that in our opinion takes away some of the adventure elements we love in these kind of games. Moreover the only movement our character does is walking, every interaction in the game, like our character picking up an object, is shown as a mini cutscene. Your progress is automatically saved at a series of checkpoints (when playing through, you can restart at a checkpoint of your choosing).
We were pleasantly surprised by the game’s puzzle elements which are quite challenging and in order to solve them you must carefully observe your background and use your common sense. Most of the times you’ll need combine two objects or interact with the environment in order to move on. Taking notes might be helpful as you reach a stage in Yesterday where you are in a hotel in Paris and you must remember two words in order to receive an envelope from the hotel’s receptionist.
Yesterday has been designed in such a way that the puzzles can be figured out by logical but if you somehow cannot find out a solution Pendulo has decided to give you a helping hand. The game brings a hint system in the shape of helping bar that when its full you are either able to locate all the places you need to interact in order to move on, or use the hint system that will give you all the clues to overcome any obstacle on your way. As soon as you use help this bar becomes empty and refills only as you click around.
Yesterday will take you around 3-5 hours to compete depending on how experienced you are with adventure games which we find it to be honest a very short amount of time for a retail game. There are three different endings to Yesterday but they’re not consequences of your actions. As the game reaches the end Yesterday gives you the chance to see four alternative endings provided you’ll find the hidden Easter Egg in the game that they give a hint that a Yesterday 2 is on the way.
Pendulo Studios’ first foray away from the comedy games that started to become their trademark is a very decent one. Yesterday succeeds in bringing a very interesting scenario, that you will remember for a long time because of the characters, the story and the way it unfolds.
Veterans of point-and-click adventure / puzzles might find Yesterday doesn’t present much of a challenge to them. This is in our opinion mostly because of three things. First of, gamers who played previous Pendulo games will feel right at home with Yesterday and will get the game’s meaning at once, secondly the story is so good that it really sucks you in which makes the game flash in your eyes, and third Yesterday is shorter than many other point and click adventures.
Newcomers however in the genre will find that the gameplay itself – searching for hidden objects and combining them with the environment in innovative ways, along with some big doses of black humor, and unexpected turns is intriguing enough and keeps them focused on the plot. Yesterday is a game that has a story to tell, and the whole experience is a journey, that even though it’s shorter than someone would expect for a $30,00 price tag, is full of emotions something that we don’t get to experience that often.
All in one what we believe is that Pendulo’s choice to move away from the comedy elements of previous efforts in order to take a more serious approaching to storytelling, has some flaws, but still manages to retain the studio’s trademark style of beautiful visuals and unique story. We only expect things to get even better from these adventure masterminds. You can purchase Yesterday from Steam at the special price of 17,99€ until July 23th 2012. The game is also available for iOS devices for $6.49.
Gameconnect Rating: 7.4