YesterMorrow is a stylish 2-D platformer with light puzzles developed by Blowfish Studios. You play as Yui, a young girl tasked with saving the future from corrupting shadows and their apocalyptic takeover of the world. Evil Shadows attack your village during the Festival of Light, sending Yui on a time-hopping journey through four islands to save two timelines.
Should It Be Left In The Past?
YesterMorrow feels like a promising experience when you first dive in. The scenery and artwork are bright, colourful and engaging. Characters are cute and well-detailed despite their small size. Small details like water ripples and Yui’s ponytail whipping as you turn or jump bring so much more life to the environment. After a couple of areas, however, it begins to feel tired. YesterMorrow is a solid adventure platformer that should keep you entertained in short bursts but offers very little innovation to the experience.
It may be a small gripe but I have a serious pet peeve towards text-heavy games that don’t let you skip dialogue. Every text panel in a conversation is slow to fill out and slower to move on. Text panels will often have only one or two sentences that linger on the screen for a couple of seconds after typing. I appreciate that everyone’s reading ability is different but some cutscenes are so much longer and slower because of this which really damages the pacing.
While the artwork and soundtrack are great, I found YesterMorrow lacking in fundamental areas. Yui’s mobility is her main tool for traversing the island. You move back and forth between the past and present to overcome monsters, puzzles and obstacles. You can wall hop, single jump and roll from the beginning and can unlock additional abilities as you progress. Despite the importance of mobility, Yui’s movement can be clunky and unresponsive at times.
A Platformer With Problems
Ropes and climbing platforms need precise timing, otherwise, she will fall right past it. This is particularly frustrating after you receive the double jump ability. Most mistakes will lead to a long fall which can make it a slog to keep trying. Some platforms are obscured or blend in with the environment making it difficult to find your path. This problem was more prominent in temples and lead to several loops before finding the right path. As you progress, you will reach altars that allow you to switch between timelines. The landscape changes drastically between timelines and offers new paths through the same level.
At first, time travelling is a fun and interesting mechanic that gives you two vastly different versions of the same area. Towns, for example, are crumbling ruins in the future but they bustle with life and colour in the past. This contrast drives the effect of the ravaged timeline and really helps draw the player into the coming danger. I was honestly quite surprised by the difference the timeline makes to each area. In most areas, it will offer an almost completely new path to take.
When switching timelines outside of towns, however, it can more of a nuisance than anything else. If you’re in the wrong timeline and your path is blocked, you will need to backtrack to an altar in order to change it. It’s pretty obvious which timeline you need to be in to interact with certain areas but for collectables and certain paths, it can be tiresome switching between timelines to find the right one. Altars are fairly frequent but running back and forth -especially as the game gets more difficult- kills the momentum.
You unlock several abilities that help you get to new areas but they are mostly focused on mobility. You unlock a bomb ability which acts as your main offensive weapon. Getting the hang of it can be jarring at first because a light tap of R1 will toss the bomb pretty far and continue rolling. You can only use one bomb at a time so a missed shot will take a couple of seconds before you can try again. Often, this is enough to kill you and send you back to a starting area.
Save points are frequent and will restore your health on top of acting as your respawn point. Health drains pretty quickly as much of the scenery can damage you, as well as the animals possessed by shadows. When an enemy is hit by your bomb, the shadow will release the animal and float towards you. They can be killed with another bomb but in most cases, the newly uncorrupted animal can also hurt you. This makes many areas suddenly very tight and difficult to move through. Often it’s easier just to accept a hit for the sake of temporary invincibility to get you out of there.
Is it worth the time?
YesterMorrow will take around 8 hours to complete, depending on your platforming prowess and interest in collectables. For a collector or completionist, there’s plenty to keep you interested. You can collect extra hearts which add to your health, scrolls that offer additional lore and ancient artefacts. You can also pet dozens of animals in the game which just feels nice to do. YesterMorrow costs around €20 euro on PS4/XB1/Switch/PC and is pretty fair if a little overpriced for the experience. For fans of platformers, YesterMorrow will give you a classic challenge but will likely not offer any innovative experiences for you. The majority of the game outside of audio and visuals just feels like it’s been done hundreds of times before.