STAFF REVIEW of YesterMorrow (Xbox One)


Wednesday, December 30, 2020.
by Adam Dileva

YesterMorrow Box art While 2D platformers are commonplace these days, sometimes there’s one that stands out amongst the crowd for a number of reasons. While YesterMorrow isn’t the best of the genre, it sure did catch my attention with its gorgeous retro visuals and interesting time travel mechanics. A 2D platformer at its core, you’ll also be solving puzzles across two different timelines, making for some serious challenge at times. You’ll also need have quick reflexes, as some jumps will need to be timed perfectly, and boss fights will take all the skill you have to defeat.

If you’re like me, you have at least some sort of regret in life that you wish you could take back or do-over in some sense, fixing something that went terribly awry or righting some sort of wrong. This is the premise for our hero, Yui, who is on a quest to save everything, and everyone, that she loved when it was all destroyed.

Yui lives with her family in a small village, when one fateful night an evil shadowy figure invades their world, plunging the world into eternal darkness. Everyone scurries for shelter to hide, including her family, but they are kidnapped and taken somewhere unknown. Yui manages to survive, vowing to take revenge and fight against the darkness to save her family, though unsure how to do so. She’s going to have to travel back to the past to save the future, making for a really interesting story and timeline meshing. Hence the title, as she’s going to have to return to Yesterday and Tomorrow, simultaneously.


I’m not sure why, but I expected YesterMorrow to be a short and quick game I could breeze through, but I was completely wrong. The world is quite expansive, taking you to a number of different areas within Yui’s world, each with their own setting, puzzles and enemies, complete with a day and night cycle that isn’t simply just for visual looks. Remember, bad things happen and enemies appear when darkness falls.

Yui will need to learn to harness the power of time travel, going into the past and future, to solve many puzzles. For example, maybe you can’t access an area or get past something because its pathway is blocked. Most times this means you’ll need to travel back in time to hit a switch or cause something to happen, which in turn changes the world in the future. This is a really interesting way to keep things engaing, as even though you’re constantly backtracking and going through areas twice, it can play out drastically different based on which timeline you’re in. My only complaint with this mechanic is that it’s relied on quite heavily, and almost any new area can be expected to be ran through twice because of it.

This also causes enemies to change based on which timeline you’re in, either before the cataclysmic event or afterwards. In the darkness filled world, enemies will harm you when touched, whereas most regular enemies in the past can be jumped on without issue. Yui’s physical form changes based on the timeline you’re in as well, either her younger self as a kid, or as a dark and badass ninja in present day. You’d think that someone in the village would listen or believe her when she tries to warn them in the past, knowing what she knows now, but alas no one does, so she’s on her own to save everyone.


Doing so won’t be easy though, and along your journey you’ll uncover and learn new abilities as needed. You begin with only being able to jump and roll, as combat isn’t a big focus early on, but the platforming aspect takes the main stage instead. As you explore and progress you’ll learn new abilities, like being able to attack dark enemies with light bombs. This will cause the shadows that have taken them over to be expelled, meaning you’ll have to toss another bomb to finally dispatch them for good. You’ll eventually unlock double jumping as well, allowing you to traverse to new areas, and each new ability is introduced at a steady pace to make sure you don’t become too overwhelmed at once, though this frustration will happen regardless as you need to usually be pixel perfect and time your jumps flawlessly to progress as you venture forth.

This is where I started to take issue with YesterMorrow the more I played. The level design is great overall, and the controls work, but you have to be absolutely perfect at times or else you’ll fall or fail. Checkpoints aren’t always close together either, and I can’t even count the times I’ve had to replay lengthy sections numerous times because I kept failing a specific jump, or worse, not grabbing onto a rope or spider web. This took some getting used to, as if you want to grab onto a vine or anything of the sort, you need to simply press ‘UP’ alone on the D-pad, not diagonally like in most games. With practice you’ll get used to it, but it felt very frustrating in the beginning.

As you explore and adventure across the different worlds and timelines, you’ll face many different enemies and a handful of unique and challenging bosses. These bosses were easily the highlight of my time with YesterMorrow, usually taking a few tries to defeat as you learn the patters and work on your jump and bomb timing.


Visually speaking, YesterMorrow utilizes some amazing and gorgeous retro aesthetics. Yes, retro pixel graphics are nothing new, but it’s done surprisingly well, has lots of little details in each character and area, like the water effects, and the animations are quite fluid and smooth, plus, there’s adorable animals you can find and pet just because (and for achievements). Each timeline has its own mood and feel, being bright and cheery in the past and dark and ominous in the future. The audio is also fitting, based on what’s happening on screen at the time, varying based on your timeline and area you’re exploring. While the soundtrack is decent and melodic, there’s also subtle detail layered in as well, like chains clanging when hanging onto them or the clacking of an enemy centipede’s feet boss as it travels around the screen.

While not the most difficult platformer out there like others, more than once I felt like quitting due to frustration of having to redo large sections over again due to inconsistent checkpoints. More than a handful of times it felt like a slog to get through the same sections all over again, or backtracking to get somewhere I needed now that I had a new power. The time travel mechanic is interesting but slightly overused, as you’ll come to expect having to explore each area in both timelines. Even with all the issues and frustration that I had, YesterMorrow was one that I’m glad to have played. It’s not perfect by any means, but you can tell it has a lot of heart and charm to it.

**YesterMorrow was reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 6.7 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10

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