GAMEPLAY: As a classic Sierra/LucasArts-style adventure game, Yesterday tries very hard to smooth over the inherent tedium of the genre. There is very limited walking animation, as the player most often warps directly to the focal point of a click. There is a built-in hint system that nudges rather than spoilers with a timer that attempts to keep the player from exploiting it (the timer is very short however, so if you're stuck, you'll get your answer soon enough). On the plus side, this keeps the game moving; there is some question, however, whether or not this diminishes the investment one might put into solving the puzzles and the sense of accomplishment that acts as the only game-y reward in this style of game. The puzzles are reasonable. The few leaps of logic are easy to work with given the hint system and the simple fact that madly clicking all over the screen will often yield progress. It is also worth noting that it is entirely impossible to fail at this game. There are no scenarios that actually present a failure state despite the narrative suggesting the imminence of danger to the player character.
STORY/PLOT: Classic adventure games are all about story and puzzles. The overwhelming sense is that Pendulo wanted to make a 20 hour game but only had the time/budget/skill for 4 hours. As a result, there are poorly developed characters with inexplicable motivation, rushed exposition, an abrupt ending, and (perhaps most jarringly) an over-reliance on hackneyed hero tropes (looking at you Buddhist Vodoo sensei). The game's narrative approach is best executed in the very beginning. Without giving too much away, if you find yourself strongly disliking the initial player character, rest assured that it is one of the few well-executed narrative devices the game offers.
STYLE: The graphical style appears to be suggestive of a comic book style with text pop-ups and concurrent frames of action. The character models are generally horrible. The presentation of the characters is also not done any favors from the Fallout 1/2 style dialogue windows where characters look directly at the camera while speaking with very little facial animation or proper lip synching. Given the limitations of the game's production, I am inclined to forgive this forray into the Uncanny Valley, but it does have the effect of rendering what limited characterization and drama that does exist flat and often laughable. It would have been much more effective to merely voice the dialogue in the regular gameplay field. As to the voice acting itself, I am pleased that it is far from the game's greatest failing. It is certainly a far stretch from exemplary, but it convey's its meaning ably enough to not be the biggest distraction in the unfolding of the game's ambitious plot.
BOTTOM LINE: I cannot recommend this game unless you are dying for a semi-3D adventure and have played literally everything else. The plot is disjointed. The characters are shallow. The puzzles are uninspired and require little to no cleverness or ingenuity. Perhaps the 70's grindhouse Satanic cult theme will entice you, but much like the afore mentioned efforts, that too does little to honor the glory of the dark master. Avoid Yesterday like yesterday's sushi.
Posted: December 1st, 2013