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Yesterday hands-on

Following the success of the Runaway trilogy and The Next BIG Thing, Pendulo Studios ushers in another promising title, Yesterday. I have been given the chance to test drive a PR demo and give you the scoop on this upcoming point-and-click.

Yesterday thrusts players into the roles of three characters: Henry White, heir to a corporate fortune and volunteer of the Sons of Don Quixote relief group; his strong armed partner Cooper; and the enigmatic amnesiac, John Yesterday. Set in a grim and quirky NYC, an ongoing case of disappearing beggars has all but sown any ounce of concern amongst the city but those aware of these occurrences know all too well that it’s a sign of things to come.

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The preview had me playing as Henry White and Cooper, both going out of their way to investigate the disappearances. Unlike usual point-and-clicks, all functions were designated to one mouse button, thus there were a number of times where the game seemed confused as to whether I was trying to check something out or put things together. And nary a key mapping option, but I’m sure things will be different in the full version.

Albeit short, the demo showcased Yesterday‘s capacity for puzzles well across the difficulty spectrum. Some of the puzzles were amusing enough, while some, despite following a fair amount of logic, may require players of certain mindsets to think outside the box. To help along with this process, Yesterday is fitted with a hint button. Rather than spend some sort of currency or have tempting access to a complete built-in guide, with a click the hints are given through brain teasing sentences. The hint icon in itself is a meter, where after help is provided it drains completely, only refilled with each further attempt made towards a current puzzle, then providing a different hint the next time it’s tapped. Thus far, I acknowledge the ingenuity in its construction, however I wouldn’t be surprised if casual gamers may find it frustrating, if not contradicting in its purpose.

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Yesterday does have moments of pixel hunting given its elaborate backdrops, but the game also provides a hotspot display button. This is yet another function that I hope will see some improvement in the complete release. A simple click will show all the available hotspots, but only for a very brief moment as tiny dots – often times I had to click the display multiple times in order to familiarize with all the hotspots in a given area.

Undeniably what will have gamers drawn to Yesterday are its arresting visuals. The splendid cel-shaded models scream with life but it all falls short as the cutscenes were accompanied by texted dialogue. This puts me at that proverbial crossroad – to voice or not to voice? Would it be best to turn out the vocals or put things at the risk of some possibly shoddy voice acting? Only time will tell.

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What has me drawn is the alluring story. Not wanting to spoil the surprise, Yesterday is certainly a tale strewn in tragedy, mystery, occultism, and still has shoulder room for comedy. If that’s enough to get your attention then keep your eyes peeled for Pendulo’s newest installment, scheduled to be released sometime this year.

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @S_Chyou.

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