Dreyer
Nov 22, 2016
Publisher: Pendulo Studios
Developer: Pendulo Studios
Review platform: This game was reviewed on Xbox One with a review code provided by the publisher.
Release date: Nov 22, 2016
Puzzle games have always scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to story. Recently games like Firewatch and others have pushed the genre further and Yesterday Origins combines amazing gameplay with an intriguing storyline that makes you want to play straight through. Games like these have always had some overbearing difficulty to them and this game isn’t anything different with extremely vague clues and puzzles that can be outright impossible.

The story follows a young man, John Yesterday, whom through some strange events during the Spanish Reconquista, obtained the power to ‘reanimate’ whenever he died. The story is quite interesting as John, a former Duke’s adopted son, was sentenced to death by the Inquisition after he was branded the son of Satan. Aptly the local Christians saved John from the clutches of death as they could use his proficiency in languages to decipher old texts that could grant the reader immense power.

The story plays out in both olden times and the current year, where John Yesterday needs to piece together his past since the power he wields has some drawbacks—namely amnesia—and your job as the player is to piece together these memories using clues and items strewn across several scenes.

The game can be quite vague in its requirements. For instance, the church scene is littered with clues and items but it takes quite a lot of thought to piece together what needs to happen to move the story forward. For that, some might find the game quite daunting and it’s recommended that you follow some form of YouTube tutorial if you find yourself stuck. In the case of the church—or abbey—things like adding salt to a frozen puddle might be the last thing you think of when trying to solve a robbery, but Yesterday Origins pushes you to ‘think outside the box’.

Graphically the game follows the Telltale style art direction and it gives the story quite a lot of life, unlike some other puzzle games that try elaborate three-dimensional worlds that only add to the frustration. The game offers you a full view of the game area and it’s up to you to find the parts in that scene. Some puzzles stretch over multiple scenes and require multiple characters to complete so it demands your wits be with you as you play through.

Controls can be quite annoying, with the characters acting erratic in their movements when you’re trying to aim for a specific target. After a while, you will get used to it but it might be a good idea to find a more elegant solution to this issue.
To be honest I’m not a huge fan of puzzle games since I’m the type of gamer that would like to ‘switch off’ after a hard day’s work. But Yesterday Origins gave me a very intriguing story that goes deeper than the average puddle. The story also features some funny quips and jabs and will keep you engaged. The puzzles do add frustration to the mix as you attempt several different combinations to achieve a task but once you do get the combination to the lock, you feel like you actually achieved something.

Summary

Yesterday Origins follows the path set out by games like Firewatch and other critically-acclaimed puzzle games to push the genre forward. Yesterday Origins gives the player not only a challenging experience that rewards you for perseverance but also gives you a story that will leave you wanting to dig deeper into it. The game does have some flaws in the gameplay elements, but it’s easy to overlook these when the overall package is so well put together. Yesterday Origins surely deserves the attention of all gamers and I highly recommend this title.
Our score: 9/10

Great - A solid game that may have minor flaws, but strongly complements its genre.
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