YesterMorrow, developed by Bitmap Galaxy and published by Blowfish Studios, is a 2D action platformer for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC. Both mechanically and narratively, YesterMorrow pays tribute to some of the most renowned video games, namely The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. However, YesterMorrow fails to deliver on every level, struggling to function smoothly and telling a tale that is both predictable and generic.
In YesterMorrow, you control Yui, the daughter of the timekeeper on Forest Island. One year, during the town’s annual religious festival, demons invade, corrupting the island and causing Yui’s father to disappear. Years later, the rest of Yui’s family goes missing too, spurring her to embark on a quest to save her family and stop the demons’ corruption.
One of the main mechanics in YesterMorrow is time travel. After the game’s beginning sequence, Yui discovers time portals in her adulthood. This allows her to speak with the Forest Guardian and return to her childhood, completing puzzles in the past to help her progress in the future to defeat the demons.
YesterMorrow’s flaw with time-traveling is that it just isn’t exciting. Since you can’t switch back and forth at will, you’re restricted to finding physical portals which are always prominently displayed. It’s structured like a puzzle—find the portal, complete a task, and switch back—but every solution is incredibly easy to find because the game is so linear.
The straightforward nature of YesterMorrow is a detriment to its platforming too. There are a few moments in the story where you’re left to your own devices and need to explore to find the next objective. This was never difficult, however. Even when I tried to get lost, I somehow ended up in the correct place.
I don’t think this would have bothered me if the story was engaging. Unfortunately, everything about the narrative was generic, focusing on a battle between light and dark, fighting demons, and searching for missing family members.
The dialogue wasn’t particularly well-written either, making a story that is frequently seen in video games even less compelling. The characters had no personality—each bit of text had bland statements about needing to defeat the darkness or find your missing family members. The well-worn story of light versus dark would have been forgivable if I felt like I could bond with the characters, but nothing about Yui and her friends stood out to me.
The most frustrating piece of YesterMorrow, however, is its technical issues. I was playing on a PlayStation 4 Pro, and YesterMorrow shouldn’t be a difficult game to run since it’s a pixelated action platformer.
Unfortunately, the game would stutter often. Every time I saved or jumped through a time portal, YesterMorrow would freeze for a couple of seconds. The controls felt finicky too, and I would frequently get frustrated with the game for not recognizing my controller inputs. This was an enormous problem with wall jumping. In fact, I would estimate that I only had about a 30% success rate with wall jumps because the game often refused to acknowledge I had tried it at all, making Yui slide down the wall back to the beginning of the area. Additionally, there were many times that I would take damage and have no idea why.
Hard platformers aren’t an issue for me (I love them in fact), but YesterMorrow never felt difficult. It only felt random. The game itself wasn’t a challenge at all, and I breezed through most of it until I would encounter a boss that would take out half my health even though it didn’t look like it had even touched me.
Overall, YesterMorrow isn’t a bad game exactly. It’s just mediocre, and in an age of fantastic indie platformers, it doesn’t make the cut. The story and gameplay are generic, and the technical issues are frustrating and feel easily avoidable. YesterMorrow is an average experience, but not one that I would recommend considering the plethora of other options available.
YesterMorrow is available on November 5, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
YesterMorrow isn’t a bad game exactly. It’s just mediocre, and in an age of fantastic indie platformers, it doesn’t make the cut. The story and gameplay are generic, and the technical issues are frustrating and feel easily avoidable. YesterMorrow is an average experience, but not one that I would recommend considering the plethora of other options available.