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Yesterday Review

Yesterday Review

Further problems appear with some of the puzzles in the game too, which require specific and sometimes esoteric solutions to solve. Again, many of these further break the suspension of disbelief, such as one early scene where Yesterday searches for clues hidden around his own hotel room.

What's really troublesome however is the fact that some puzzles must be solved in certain ways - such as objects which work when combined one way, but not the other or which overlook more obvious and less stressful solutions. One of the first puzzles in the game, for example, involves getting past a locked gate by picking the lock with a razor-slice from a tin can, rather than simply cutting back the brambles and climbing the fence.

If some of the puzzles are too taxing however, this is easily offset by the presence of a hint system, which offers up direct clues relating to the current puzzle. These aren't 'hints' as such however, as they'll blatantly explain what you're supposed to do as often as they'll subtly suggest.

Yesterday Review
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To avoid over-reliance on the hint system, Pendulo has introduced a cool-down period too - so that hints can only be used once every few minutes, though the hint that's offered once that time is up is always the same unless you've progressed to a new point. The time it takes to charge up the hint system can apparently be reduced by trying to solve problems yourself too.

While hardcore adventurers may well frown at the idea of a hint system interfering with the joys of puzzle-solving though, patience-depleted games such as us find it a refreshing and helpful alternative to GameFaqs.com. Arguably the only problem with it is that, once you've discovered it, it's all to tempting to use it whenever you get stuck - which happens all too often.

Besides the hint system, other tools are introduced to help ease less-practiced adventurers into the game - such as a constantly accessible tutorial screen or an autosave that lets you revisit previous parts of the tale.

Yesterday Review
Click to enlarge

Most useful of all however is a hotspot identifier, which causes a slight pulse effect to emanate from all the items that you can interact with in any rooms. Trying to find items in Yesterday is never as tough as it was in the days of Monkey Island and Co, mainly because the art style Pendulo has used is so crisp, but it is helpful. In fact, there were times when the hotspot identified proved more useful for puzzle solving than the hint system.

What's most remarkable about Yesterday is the adult tone it takes and the unusual pace with which it sets to expressing it, however. While the cartoon artwork offsets much of the drama, there's still a lot to be said for a game that's so ready to explore such morbid and confrontational themes. The pacing and the style of storytelling only accentuate this, plunging you deeper into the story and giving you greater agency over the adventure through multiple endings.

Yesterday is still clearly not a game for everyone - this isn't a title strong enough to compete with the classics nor inventive enough to suck in those who've never pointed nor clicked before. Still; those with an interest or inclination will find it to be an interesting, if somewhat typical example of what adventure games can offer.

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