Review: Yesterday

Yesterday I had a presentation, and then I ate ice cream and cleaned my apartment. After that I…what? oh.

So Yesterday, an adventure game that likes to dabble in multiple timelines and lots of crazy mystical cult folklore. You start off playing as two kids who are basically the equivalent of the boy scouts as they are going around trying to help out the homeless. At some point, they meet up with John Yesterday, a fellow who cannot remember what happened but for some reason has an odd Y scar on his hand.

The story is very convoluted up until you reach the midpoint of the game, where the plot sways between real suspense and predictability. That said, Yesterday does have a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat, and manages to pull off a great atmosphere.

Because the music, dear god the music, it’s not the best soundtrack I’ve ever heard, but it really brings feeling to the game’s locations as well as its characters. In fact, it’s easy to tell that the budget was mostly spent on the fantastic art (not as much as the 3d models), voice acting and fairly decent music. In fact, it was the backgrounds that really, really, really, really got me interested in this game.

Yes, I know this is not as interesting, but if I showed anything else, it would be spoiler city.
So in order to be spoiler free, I've decided to censor out the parts of the screenshots that give away the story.

Overall, the story was not as interesting, and truth be told, all the screenshots on the store page of the game give away A LOT of events before they happen. Which is quite unfortunate, because I’d get into a really neat segment and then I’ll remember a screenshot and the following pops into my mind: “Oh, the character survives in the end because they were in that screenshot of that place I haven’t been to yet. Man, I could really go for some chocolate right now. I wonder if the world is made of butter….pannnnnnnts.”

In all seriousness, I cannot stress this enough: the screenshots on the storepage really do hurt the game more than help it, considering the game is only about three hours long and you can beat it in a single sitting and basically move on.

It is quite unfortunate as there isn’t any other point to actually exploring anything any further, considering you basically have to interact with everything on your first playthrough to actually progress through the story.

And that’s where I have to mention the puzzles. The difficulty curve of Yesterday starts out by just throwing you out into a tunnel and basically saying: “wait, you wanted to know how to play? Fuck you, solve this puzzle. Are you confused? Here’s a hint: ‘Solve it, you idiot.'” And then the subsequent hints are no help either.

I admit that there are some puzzles that are fairly trivial, but the majority of Yesterday’s puzzles have incredibly incomprehensible solutions. The game expects you to know stuff that unless you were on the team making the game (or you are into odd culty stuff), you wouldn’t know. For example, at one point I had to figure out the alchemy symbols for Mercury, Fire, Sulfur and Salt. There are no other clues in the game to help you solve what symbols they are, you are just expected to know them already. Do you know the symbols for these elements offhand? Shut up.

Yay for solving!

I have to mention, getting shot with a gun means nothing in this universe. People get shot in the head and literally stand back up again. It’s incredibly stupid, especially for a game that at least tries to be realistic in the first segment.

Overall, Yesterday is a game where, quite frankly, you have a small experience and then you’re pretty much done. It’s like an ice cream cake, you have it, and in three hours it goes bad because you forgot to freeze it.

Yesterday is a great little experience that’s pretty interesting, but is it worth $30? Hell no.

Verdict: PASS