After a peaceful village is attacked by dark forces, the world falls into a never-ending night. Years pass and an older Yui is thrusted back in time to that fateful day. YesterMorrow is a clever 2D puzzle platformer where Yui can travel back and forth in time, altering the world so that she can rid the world of the dark shadows and save her family.
As is the case for most traditional 2D platformers, Yui is limited to running, jumping and climbing. The interactivity comes mostly in puzzle solving as you are purposefully designed to be a small blip on the world radar. This especially makes the boss fights clever as you take down gigantic beasts with quick movements, swift reactions and the power of your mind.
When it comes to 2D platformers, clean controls are a must. For the most part, Yui interacts with the world with wonderful intuition, meaning that none of the experience feels like a chore; that is, until you need to climb. To climb, you jump to a rope and press up to cling onto it, but most games give you some benefit of doubt if you’re slightly off centre with the joystick and this is not the case with YesterMorrow. If you don’t tilt the joystick upward just right, Yui won’t grab onto the rope and unfortunately, there are a lot of ropes.
To add insult to injury, the Switch version of YesterMorrow is plagued with consistent frame rate dips and stutters. With its precision-based platforming, the dips are not only jarring, but they can be the difference between life and death. It’s upsetting because when I played the demo on Steam just a few weeks ago, it ran flawlessly. I imagine an update will be just around the corner but at the time of this review, it’s a bummer, to say the least.
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World / Level Design
Considering YesterMorrow is primarily focussed around travelling back and forth through time, the game’s world and its level design are based around this concept. You’ll often come to a dead end in one time period and you’ll need to find the shrine in order to travel to the other time period. Whilst YesterMorrow doesn’t take this concept and uses it to its full advantage, it’s clever nonetheless and provides the game with its hook.
Story / Personality
YesterMorrow has a lovely eastern influence that creates beautiful landscapes and settings. Each character has their own personality traits and are memorable with witty one-liners and characteristics.
The plot itself is intriguing and gets increasingly so as you continue to venture throughout the game. While it can fall flat during more dramatic moments, YesterMorrow‘s tactic to dripfeed the player with information like additional pieces to a puzzle urges them on to see how it all plays out.
Graphics / Art Direction
The game has a charming aesthetic with bright colours in the past and sombre, melancholy darkness in the future’s never-ending night. There is a mismatch of ancient rural eastern culture and primitive technological advancements which paints a similar picture to that from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, inspired by the Japanese Jomon period before 300 BCE.
Speaking of The Legend of Zelda, YesterMorrow also borrows the light and dark world concept that was established in the SNES classic A Link to the Past with the past and post-apocalyptic future. In addition, there’s more to the dim future aesthetic than a mere dark colour palette as houses and rooms take on a desecrated approach that provides more personality where you’ll say to yourself, “I wonder what happened here.”.
With its flat 2D aesthetic, there are objects that take on its own unique physics. It’s difficult to explain, but the climbable ropes and the like seem to have a 3D quality to them that pleasantly stands out. The depth and shadowing, however, can sometimes make a player uncertain as to whether something may be a tangible platform or not. There were multiple times where I thought something was a platform, only to find myself falling further downward.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack follows that Eastern influence that doesn’t take detract too much from what is happening on screen. You’ll have a few moments where you’ll just want to sit back and take in the scenery with its subtle audio touches. It’s the simple things but it creates an atmosphere that is soothing and pleasant.
Final Score: 66%
YesterMorrow is a wonderful adventure that unfortunately falls short where it matters. At the time of this review, it leaves a bitter aftertaste with the frame rate inconsistencies and until they are patched, it glaringly diminishes its serenity. This platformer has a lot of potential and can certainly provide a wonderful time for any player but until the kinks are ironed out on Switch, best tread carefully before clicking the ‘Proceed to Purchase’ button.
Thank you for checking out our YesterMorrow Switch review, thank you to Blowfish Studios for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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