I love point and click adventure with a mad passion. I'll play anything that falls under the description, in fact. It's been great to see so many iOS developers taking a stab at the genre lately, and since Yesterday [$6.99] certainly looked like a solid entry, my clicky index finger was all over it the moment I got a gander at the pretty graphics.
Sometimes, all a game is is pretty (and what a disappointment that is). Yesterday is not one of those. This graphic novel-esque noir story places you in the shoes of Henry White, a man who must unravel the mystery of a series of killings in New York and seemingly related people who find Y-shaped scars appearing in the palms of their hands. Right off the bat, it's got a very unique feel to it -- and one I would dare to say we don't see often enough in games. In other words, A for Atmosphere.
As far as interaction goes, Yesterday keeps it pretty simple. Instead of using a mouse to point and click, your finger does the work. The scenes are so nicely detailed that I found myself squinting at my phone and wishing I could play it on a larger screen. Luckily, it has Universal iPad support, and if you have the option I'd encourage you to go with that device. Managing items you find is as basic and dragging and dropping, and you have a neat little row at the bottom of the screen where your inventory is stored.
Like any good adventure game, Yesterday can be hard. You'll find yourself with that familiar feeling of staring at your inventory trying to imagine what items could be combined with what. Luckily, the game offers a cool little feature when you can tap a tiny target at the bottom of the screen and it will show you every clickable point on the screen. It erases some of the frustration, but you'll definitely have to put your skills of deduction to the test to muddle through some of the puzzles.
Story is clearly something that developer Bulkypix wanted to devote time to here, and it really shows. Characters are well-developed, and it's fun to get to know them. You'll eventually be able to play as three different characters, and you'll learn enough about all of them (as well as other characters you meet) to wonder who you can and cannot trust as you progress. One thing to note is that Yesterday does deal with murder, violence, and even sexual themes, so it's definitely not for younger players. Adults looking for something in this style will be thrilled to stumble across it, however.
Yesterday could easily be a mainstream release - it's presented that well. The App Store tends to go up and down in quality from time to time, and a lot of what I download there I consider disposable fun. This game is the kind that I want to leave on my device permanently, and that's saying a lot for a gal who constantly downloads new games. A compelling score and lovely graphics put this one in the top tier of the games I've played in 2012 so far. My only regret was that it didn't go on longer (but sequel maybe, please?)
Watch Button Watch App