The wonderful reality of Indie games is that they can have a ton of flexibility to be creative, even with smaller budgets. Time-travel is a concept rarely explored in the media of gaming; so a game like YesterMorrow is one that immediately stands out as interesting. Does the game land it’s ambitious travels, or does it get lost it?
YesterMorrow is an Indie 2D time-traveling platformer developed by Bitmap Galaxy and produced by Blowfish Studios. The game released on November 5th, 2020 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam & Gog.com. This review will be covering the PC Steam version of the game, played entirely on the keyboard!
YesterMorrow follows a young girl named Yui, the daughter of the Forest Island’s Timekeeper. Early on, the Shadows attack her peaceful village, and she is tasked by her father to summon the Grandmaster to help fight the invasion. Unfortunately her journey ends early as she mistakenly falls into an ancient ruin, knocking her unconscious and unable to complete her task.
Fast forward a few years later and the once beautiful island has fallen into an eternal night, in control of the dark shadows. Her Father has been taken, and Yui rightfully blames her self for the hell that the people of the Forest Island live in. Yui goes on an adventure and eventually stumbles upon the ancient ruins that she did all those years ago.
Here Yui discovers the power of time travel. This is an incredibly unique feature, as it features both the younger and older Yui as they make their way through the same passage in separate timelines. From here, she must interact with characters from different timelines to save her family and the world from the darkness.
Aside from the neat time travel aspects, YesterMorrow’s story is overall rather generic. It’s presented as the player explores the world in a fluid way; so even if the story isn’t necessarily mind blowing it is still enjoyable and encourages the player to continue their journey.
YesterMorrow is a 2D puzzle platformer that doesn’t necessarily introduce anything new to its core gameplay, but largely executes it well. Controls feature basic movement, jump, grab, climb and roll; which is essentially the standard for most platformers, but the controls are tight and is works well most of the time!
The vast majority of the gameplay revolves around exploring the levels for artefacts, completing puzzles and avoiding enemies. With really good level design and challenging puzzles that require patience and focus, there is a lot of fun to be had with the game’s mechanics. It’s challenging but not too hard, allowing for an experience that focuses on fun.
Through dedicated time-warp structures, time travel mechanic is undoubtedly YesterMorrow’s most unique aspect; as it drastically mixes up gameplay so it doesn’t get repetitive. Jumping between time will give access to different ways to progress through levels; such as a platform that only exists in one timeline.
While YesterMorrow doesn’t really introduce anything new, even with it’s time travel mechanics; the gameplay is incredibly enjoyable and works extremely well. There are a few hiccups here and there that can be frustrating, such as wall jumps being hard to time. Overall the gameplay is tight and smooth, and allows for a good time for those who enjoy 2D platformers!
Graphics & Performance
YesterMorrow’s graphics and art style may be one of the most attractive elements of the package. The game features a 2D pixelated art style while simultaneously features incredible lighting and special effects. The game separates what is good from evil with great use of colour and effects, and it ultimately looks wonderful.
The 2D sprites of YesterMorrow look great and are instantly recognizable. Yui’s blue sprite is definitely the most unique as it stands out from other allies, who are decorated in natural colours. Purple energy radiates off of Shadows, their eyes glow red and their bodies grow with power. It’s easy to understand and looks great!
The use of colour helps differentiate the time periods with specific colour coding. Present Yui wears a red facemask in a world full of reds and purples; while past Yui is about half the size and in a world full natural colours such as greens and blues. The differences look great and distinguish the two timelines perfectly.
The environments look great with its pixelated art style, and it is enhanced with great lighting. Everything from the glow of light in a dark cave, to the sunny outdoors, and environmental effects light up the world. This creates a visual experiences that is dynamic in nature, and brings this pixelated world to life!
Glitches & Bugs
Sadly the game does suffer from a cluster of issues that can damage the experience. There was a number of times where the game would either stutter or freeze during cutscenes and intense sequences. YesterMorrow also frequently had issues with the ‘up-arrow’ input, and would only detect the grab action about 3/4ths of the time.
It gets even worse unfortunately. At one point nearly an hour in, the game crashed resulting the the entire save file being corrupted and deleted, making me start over. Further more, this unfortunately occurred again at the very end of the game, completely erasing the save file. This is a horrible glitch that needs to be fixed ASAP.
Music & Audio
The music of YesterMorrow presents itself as a Chinese inspired string based orchestra. A lot of time while exploring the past you’ll be met with relaxing string and violin instruments; whereas the current timeline is met with a more sinister sounding approach. Unfortunately that’s about as deep as the music goes.
It sounds nice and sets the stage & tone for every location and timeline, even if the music doesn’t blow you out of the water. It does its job to create a certain feeling in specific areas; but it doesn’t do enough to add any real substance to the experience.
The audio, however, is honestly quite lacking in a lot of aspects. There’s a lot of enemies and dangerous obstacles that have no sound whatsoever; making it quite difficult to time a jump or a roll. Even the sound effects that exist don’t provide enough info for the player; such as a toxic droplets or energy balls only making sounds on impact.
The unfortunate reality is that both YesterMorrow’s music and audio are underwhelming and detract from the experience. This is a game that could have no audio or music and there wouldn’t be much of a difference; in fact you could listen to other music and have a better time. In the end, this department could use a lot of work.
YesterMorrow has a creative and interesting enough premise that is promising; and features some genuinely fun platforming gameplay. Unfortunately, with a buggy experience, a lack of worthwhile audios queues and music; the game had a difficult time keeping me interested.
The game is most memorable when it deals with it’s time travel gameplay, allowing you to reexplore areas that have changed in massive ways. I can’t say the game was too difficult or challenging, but it is a competent enough platformer with great controls and amazing visuals.
Unfortunately the game’s early memory crash, consistent bugs & glitches, and the lack of meaningful audio left me disappointed. YesterMorrow is a bold attempt at something new that suffers from a lack of polish; and it certainly could’ve used another few months of work. It’s a shame because the game has a lot of great throughout it.
Overall YesterMorrow is an Indie game with great ideas, cool concepts and fun gameplay with some massive flaws. I did enjoy my time with the game, and I feel a few updates could really make YesterMorrow a brilliant game. YesterMorrow is overall a good game and earns a 60% review score, an overall decent score for this Indie platformer!
Pixels Through Time
We were given a Steam code for YesterMorrow for review purposes; but this has no effect on the authenticity of the praise and criticism this game received. The entirety of YesterMorrow was played with a keyboard; and thankfully the very fabric of time and reality was not harmed during the making of this review.
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