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Yesterday Origins Review

Some of my fondest gaming memories are associated with playing point-and-click games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Thankfully remasters of some of these cult-classics have sparked rejuvenated interest in this severely overlooked genre, allowing some rather obscure titles to establish a new fanbase. As the follow-up to 2012’s Yesterday, Yesterday Origins old-school gameplay and amusing narrative definitely rekindled my nostalgia flame, but it’s difficult to overlook many of the game’s noticeable flaws.

Yesterday Origins screenshot

Without giving too much away, Origins tells the story of two immortals: John Yesterday and his girlfriend Pauline. But while they are both have been around for years, they are not invulnerable to death. Upon dying, both are resurrected to the same age as when they originally died, with the exception that John loses all his memories while Pauline is able to retain them. Together, they have to solve the mystery of John’s immortality and locate an artifact that will allow them to concoct a potion so that John can be resurrected with his memories intact.

The story is quite lengthy, with the narrative fluidly transitioning between current and past events, allowing for a chance to dive deeper into John and Pauline’s past. Opening with a past event in which John needs to escape captivity, em>Origins’ gameplay is centered around the tried and true formula of exploring an area, interacting with various objects or chunks of information in order to solve a puzzle. Wandering through nicely detailed environments inhabited by some rather eccentric characters, you can string multiple objects and information together freely with the game’s simplistic trigger-based inventory system, but finding the right combination can take a while. A little too long in most cases.

While I enjoy a good challenge, Origins’ puzzles are so obtuse and vague, that I often found myself aimlessly wandering around, haphazardly combining items in hopes that something will trigger an event. It easily took me about an hour just to complete the first chapter simply because what the game wanted me to achieve in order to move forward was just too obscure. This is only further hindered by the fact that some interactive objects and other “Points of Interest” are hidden from plain sight within each environment.

Yesterday Origins screenshot

Sections where you are required to alternate between John and Pauline to solve puzzles are a nice change of pace but the awkwardness of how these encounters are executed felt like a missed opportunity. What should have been an interesting mechanic ended up being a frustrating exercise of trial and error. Returning to their default location if prematurely selected, these few and far moments brought the game’s story to a crawl.

Since Yesterday Origins is a point-and-click game, the control scheme had to be adapted for the console controllers. Unfortunately the move makes the controls feel a bit fussy. Moving the character around with the left analog stick, then repositioning the on-screen cursor over items using the right analog stick, the finickiness of the controls made selecting items a real struggle. Often leading to moving the character around until a specific “point of interest” is within range to be activated.

Presentation wise, Origins’ fairly vibrant art-style and modest voice acting for a cast of 25 characters are admirable, especially for a small studio, but random technical issues left me baffled. Occasionally the game would freeze and reboot me to the start menu or the bottom of the screen would get covered by pixelated noise, making it impossible to read any on-screen text.

Although stumbling in a few areas, Yesterday Origins is a decent point-and-click adventure game that could’ve benefited from a bit more polish. The game’s colorful aesthetic, likable soundtrack, and quirky characters, are overshadowed by the ambiguity of some the puzzles, excessive backtracking and annoying technical glitches.. Making it difficult for Yesterday Origins to be throughly enjoyed.

A Xbox One copy of this game was provided to Gamer by Nature for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.

6.5 Out of 10
Pros
  • Classic point-and-click adventure gameplay
  • Interesting adult-themed story with a splash of dark humor
  • Colorful and detailed environments
Cons
  • Frustrating and vague puzzles
  • Inaccurate controls
  • Technical issues dampen gameplay
Summary
PUBLISHER: Microïds   •   DEVELOPER: Pendulo Studios   •   GENRE: Point-and-Click Adventure   •   RELEASE DATE: 11/16/16   •   PRICE: $39.99   •   ESRB: M for Mature   •   ALSO AVAILABLE ON: PS4, PC
Criterion 16.5
Yesterday Origins Review
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