Over the past couple of years point and click adventure games have experienced something of a revival. With the unexpected runaway success of the Telltale games and the critically acclaimed Broken Age it seems that the point and click resurgence gathers momentum year after year.
Yesterday Origins by Pendulo Studios, those of the Runaway series, looks set to continue this tradition. With an engaging story line, brain taxing puzzles and memorable characters, Yesterday Origins is a fine example of a thinking players game and a welcome break from the mind numbing tedium of scripted and on the rails first person shooters.
The plot of Yesterday Origins follows the adventures of John Yesterday, a former Duke’s son who was condemned to death by the Inquisition for his ability to speak a number of foreign languages. John is rescued by priests looking to decipher an ancient document which, when read, grants the reader immense powers. Our protagonist subsequently finds him transformed into an immortal who is destined to be reborn whenever he dies. The only minor setback is that the price of immortality is amnesia. So, every time John is reborn we have to piece together his life through a series of clues and puzzles. The game is set in both the present day and the medieval period which offers a refreshing change of scenery and really helps put the game into some sort of historical perspective.
As with all point and click titles, the main draw in Yesterday Origins is the puzzles. And it’s here that the game truly shines. As you work your way through the scenes, you pick up a variety of items that you will have combine or use in order to solve some of the head scratching puzzles. A word of warning: the challenge level in Yesterday Origins can be a little steep for casual gamers. In fact some of the puzzles are harder than a grizzly bear armed with a flick knife. You really will have to flex all of your cerebral muscle to unravel the clues and move forward. And sometimes the task its solution can be pretty hard to decipher. For example, in one scene the female character decides to kill herself in the shower so she can be reborn without lines around her eyes. Odd? Yes. Fun? Definitely. Once you do crack these puzzles , the feeling of achievement is almost tangible.
Graphically Yesterday Origins employs the same art style favoured by the Telltale series. The environments are highly detailed with the game making great use of shading and dynamic lighting effects. On our play through we experienced no frame rate issues or clipping. The only minor niggle we had with Yesterday Origins was in the imprecise control system which sometimes made it difficult to point your character in the right direction. This only happened on a few occasions and was not enough to detract from the overall gameplay. We would also like to have seen some sort of leaderboard which we could use to compare our performance against other gamers. This is something the developers might want to consider in a possible sequel.
Yesterday Origins is by far one of the most engaging point and click games we’ve played in a long time and one that you definitely should add to your Christmas list. If you’re fan of the genre, Yesterday Origins will take pride of place in your collection. If you’re new to point and click adventures, this is probably the best introduction to the genre. Go buy.
8 out of 10