Yesterday Preview

As with most point-and-click adventures in Yesterday’s style, the actual puzzles found in the preview tend to be a bit esoteric. You know the random electronic toys you picked up can be used to reconstruct a broken payphone, you just don’t know how to do it yet — or why you’d need to. Eventually, a few things start to come together: a cable can be used to pull free a suitcase from a pile of rubble, inside the suitcase is a box cutter, the box cutter is used to cut the aluminum can you’re carrying around but don’t know why, and the strip of aluminum helps you jimmy open a padlock. Some of the logical leaps are a little less straight-forward than others, but to its credit, Yesterday’s on-board hint system does a good job of pushing you onward without solving the puzzle for you.

Where the game excels, however, is in its setting and characters. The abandoned metro station is an ominous place in its own right, made worse with the discoveries of a few abandoned mannequins posed in some slightly-too-human, vaguely tragic ways. The player’s entire time spent in the metro station suggests Henry and Cooper should be just about anywhere else in the world.

Of course, the danger eventually escalates. Henry gets into trouble and that broken pay phone becomes useful as a means of contacting Cooper, who is waiting in the car outside. That precipitates a switch between the two characters, with Cooper heading into the station in search of Henry. Bouncing to the other character also makes some previously inaccessible areas and puzzles open up, as Cooper has a lot more physical strength than Henry. That allows him to push rubble clear of a door, for example, and to lift heavy things.

Cooper also gets some more interesting, intricate character development than does Henry. Where Henry’s narration when interacting with objects was sort of like hearing from his conscience — an inner voice that speaks to the player in the second person — Cooper is constantly assaulted by an angry, drill-instructor-like scout master from his past who delights in calling the big guy stupid. There’s a lot of emotional baggage there, clearly, but the constant attacks and condescension also seem to be a big motivator for Cooper personally, which makes him an interesting character indeed.

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