In a game reminiscent of The Crimson Room, Yesterday is a game by Pendulo Studios. It is about a man, John Yesterday, who wakes up with no memory of who he is. It is a dark mystery type game in which you have to play through 3 different characters in various scenarios to unmask a psychopath who is targeting homeless in NYC and burning symbols into the hands of their charred bodies.
The playable characters are:
- John Yesterday – main character with no sense of identity. He travels around parts of the world trying to piece together who he used to be. Henry White will hire him to investigate a Satanic Cult when he loses his memories. He considers Henry to be his patron and friend.
- Henry White – a volunteer for the NGO Children of Don Quixote who, with his friend Cooper, goes to the abandoned Cadway train station to convince the homeless residing there that there is help for them. Later on he takes over his father’s business and becomes President of White Inc. and becomes a Philanthropist. He hires John Yesterday to investigate a mysterious cult that burns and brands their victims with a symbol.
- Samuel Cooper – Henry’s friend. He is your typical jock. All brawn, less brain, and has low self-esteem. He, not surprisingly, is Henry White’s sidekick and does his dirty work.
We start off with a young Henry going to Cadway station trying to help the homeless. This is basically your tutorial stage where the game has you become familiar with the controls. For the most part, it is where you just learn to click around. A crosshair is the default icon, and once you mouse over something of interest, the icon changes into a magnifying glass. Once you click on the item, a more enlarged picture shows with an icon of another magnifying glass (clicking will give you more information on the scene) and an icon that varies depending on what action will be taken (eg: to enter/exit a room you’ll have a little person running, to pick something up it would be a hand, to activate an action it would be a gear). You also have icons of items that you obtain throughout the game. You use the items by dragging them out of the bar and onto the scene and it would automatically take action. You can also combine items in your inventory to create new items that are required in certain scenarios. It’s very old school Resident Evil, if you haven’t played The Crimson Room.
So Henry goes, and finds that the long abandoned station isn’t quite as abandoned as one would think. There is a mannequin, more like several we end up encountering, and two homeless people named Boris and Choke. They capture Henry and “try” him in a room which are filled with mannequins. I love how the scene unfolds where they give the mannequins emotions as they “react” to the charges that Henry faces. The dialogue is pretty good and you are given multiple options in both questioning and answering other NPCs. There is also a mini test where you play chess against Choke. That was fun and made me wish I had someone to play Chess with.
Without giving too much of a spoiler, we fast forward to Henry all grown, meeting with a man named John Yesterday. John, who attempted suicide while on a case investigating a mysterious Satanic cult in Paris, consequently lost his memories and is trying to figure out his identity. Henry, ever the charitable person, pays for John’s medical bills and helps him try to regain his memories. After this scene, you play as John for the rest of the game. John travel through a few different countries looking for clues to piece together his past life, as well as for the investigation that he is still hired to complete.
The graphics are beautiful and vectorized, but not quite up to standard in a game you play on the PC. By what I mean by that is during cut scenes the words do not match with the facial movements. It feels very off putting at times, and reminded me of an old school game. What I did love was that the background was thought out and well done. The best has to be the story. It was compelling, the dialogue went well with the story and it just kept me wanting more. It was hilarious (love the sexual innuendos) and sad at times. You really felt for the characters. I enjoyed the fact that the game creators gave the player the option to choose our own ending, it gave us a reason to replay the game (or at least the ending) over and over. There is also no save option, only checkpoints that you can choose from in your menu bar located conveniently right next to your item stash.
The only gripe I have about this game was that it was way too short. I finished this game in just about 3 hours straight. I wished it was longer, but in the end I have to admit that the game was well thought out and the creators ended it as soon as the story was over. That in itself is admirable (as opposed to some game studios that just drag the game out to the point that it gets repetitive). I hope that Pendulo Studios create a sort of sequel and that we get to see John Yesterday again in the future.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 Buses