Once the darling of the industry, classic adventure games have long since fallen out of favour. While fans of series such as Monkey Island, Sam & Max et al may still decry the decline of point-and-click gameplay, extensive puzzle solving and detailed dialogue trees, the sad fact is that gaming has moved on. Through their upcoming title Yesterday, however, Pendulo Studios appear to be making a valiant effort of making adventure games relevant once again, with refinements to the way the games are played and improvements to bring them closer in line with higher budget, popular titles.
Previously known for their light-hearted productions such as Runaway, Pendulo have moved into darker territory with Yesterday, telling a tale filled with twists around the mysterious and gristly murders that have been claiming the lives of a growing number of the homeless. There certainly won’t be any rubber chickens or wisecracking animals here. While it’s a bold step, it’s still not clear as to whether the cartoonish graphics will detract from the atmosphere. It is, at the very least, a gorgeously realised world with inventive lighting and detailed animated backgrounds.
While many adventure games start to plod after the introductions are over, Yesterday moves at a fair pace with features included to let the player decide how quickly they want to travel through scenes. Clicking on a location will send your character over as close as they can go but, for anyone in a hurry or keen to avoid lengthy animations, double-clicking transports them there immediately with a stylish fade out and in. This allows players to focus on the task at hand and not be held prisoner as they watch the same animations play out over and over again during tricky puzzles.
The inventory is standard fare but opens up to allow for more detailed examination of items at the click of a button. The addition of a hints system also means that, even when faced with tricky situations, a solution is never out of reach. Some may complain that this is making things too easy, but Yesterday is supported by a great looking story that everyone will be likely to want to get through.
With a plot spanning multiple characters, eye-catching visuals and obvious care taken to ensuring the experience is smooth and not hindered by much of the awkwardness that makes playing older adventure games laborious to all but the most die-hard fans, Yesterday promises to deliver an experience more in line with what gamers today are after. It’s hard to speak about the story without revealing any spoilers, but the preview ended with an impressively shocking twist after just two chapters. If this is anything to go on, the rest of the game is sure to be riveting. Definitely one to watch!
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