Last time we looked at Detective Grimoire, a great example of a modern, device orientated, point and click adventure game. Next up we are looking at Yesterday, by Paris based BulkyPix, a game that I’ve replayed several times since its release.
Yesterday is a very dark game, lets say that from the start. You control the character of an amnesiac trying to discover what’s led to him losing his memory. During your journey you uncover dark satanic sects, torture, assassins and mountain living hermits. In this dark world, nothing is really what it seems.
Point and click adventure games are a hard genre to pull off on mobile devices. At first glance the whole touch-the-screen interface would seem to lend itself ideally to this type of game. In reality the small screen size often means that bigger fingers struggle to hit the trigger points that point and click games depend upon. This tends to lead developers to have one or two obvious trigger points per area, reducing the complexity of the gaming. The alternative is where you constantly struggle to hit the trigger points with your overly-large finger tips and just get frustrated. It’s perhaps a genre better suited to tablets than to phones, lets just say that.
Yesterday is definitely more suited to a tablet than to a phone. On my faithful Nexus 5 it’s perfectly playable but there are times when I’m entering the world of jabbing at the screen and muttering under my breath. BulkyPix certainly haven’t been tempted to dumb down the puzzles, or otherwise somehow reduce the device version compared to the desktop version. That alone is great to see.
The game plays out over a series of small fixed size areas, typically each area or mission being made up of two or so ‘rooms’. This is different from Detective Grimoire, say, which allows you to roam the whole game and leaves you to go back and forth between many areas. Yesterday focuses your attention and puts a series of linked puzzles in your way. Some of the puzzles are tough. Very tough. Though I’ve played through this game at least twice in full, I found myself still struggling on some areas, but you’ll always be able to make it through thanks to the subtle hints and conversations with the other characters in the game.
Lush. There, that should cover it. Oh, you want a bit more detail? Ok. Well, the graphics really do hark back to the finer days of desktop point and click games. The graphics remind me of a more detailed Beneath the Steel Sky, with that dark sense of realism. I’d love to know who draw the underground and antique shop areas, those missions in particular are really nicely drawn and some pride has really been taken there.
Whilst the backgrounds are finely drawn, the characters are all 3d polygons. This makes them stand out against the backgrounds, and not in a bad way. I’d love to see some of the classic such as Monkey Island re-done in this way.
I can’t imagine that there is anyone out there who can complain about the graphics in Yesterday. Whatever device or screen-size you have to hand, you’ll be really impressed.
So every game has it’s weak spot, and if Yesterday has one then this is it. The ambient sounds and audio detail are great, they are subtle and, well, ambient. The voice-overs though vary between cheesy and OK. Where as Detective Grimoire stood out with its clear attention to the audio, Yesterday doesn’t quite feel like the same attention to detail was given to its voice-overs. It’s not to say that the voice overs are bad, but I never felt impressed by them.
You could turn down the sound and play through the game without ever feeling like you missed something (I know I have).
Yesterday will give you great value for money. For $5 you get a classic game that you really should have played and you will be entertained for a good while. It’s really only let down by some dodgy voice-overs and even those aren’t as bad as some games.