Yesterday review

The Good: A disturbing, multi-layered story of human foibles with a supernatural twist; simple but intuitive gameplay; engaging characters; excellent graphics, character animation, and voice acting.
The Bad: Might be too easy for some; new interface mechanisms may take practice to master; love interest is a pointless role with an ill-suited American accent.
Our Verdict: Sleekly packaged and eminently playable, Yesterday conceals the darkness of the human mind within a beautiful artistic canvas; drawing you in with glimpses of dreadful secrets and leaving you shocked, yet satisfied, with its twisted narrative.

You think you know Pendulo Studios? Far from the quirky comedic styling of Runaway, imagine a backdrop of a dingy wall covered with Latin verses, photos of violent tortures, and disturbing graffiti about alchemy and Satanism juxtaposed by some chillingly cheerful whistling. Then a staccato buzzing of flies as the scene zooms out amidst jarring cuts of hideous faces to reveal a ritual circle beset with candles and drenched in blood. The sounds merge idly with the thumping of a terrified heart, until the cacophony is overwhelmed by a scream of agony, leaving you to imagine the worst. This macabre prelude into Yesterday makes it immediately obvious that you're beginning a trip into the gruesome machinations of depraved minds. Clearly this is Pendulo like we’ve never seen the Spanish studio before, though it has many of the other fine qualities we’ve come to expect. Fantastically illustrated and capably voiced, Yesterday hosts a mélange of easy but engaging and evenly-spaced inventory-based quests. While progress is very linear, the game is never perfunctory; the often-baffling but always-intriguing story spurs your curiosity by skipping across time and teasing out morsels of clues at regular intervals, yet holds back just enough at each twist to keep you guessing until the troubling, multi-outcome conclusion.

The story actually starts a year earlier, at the New York office of the French organisation Les Enfants De Don Quichotte (The Children of Don Quixote), whose priority is the welfare and rehabilitation of the homeless. Les Enfants is a real entity and the game is dedicated to them; the first chapter, set in a grim, abandoned subway station, forces you to reluctantly confront the profound risks which the homeless must undertake daily to find shelter or at least scattered moments of peace. A serial killer has been murdering the city's vagrants, and while the chief of Les Enfants is worried about the safety of her crew, she can ill-afford to suspend operations even briefly. And so we meet two of the three leads, the nerdy Henry White, a steadfast volunteer, and his loyal friend, the dim but devoted Cooper, as they continue their forays to help the homeless, but a nightmarish run-in with a raving fanatic at the station destroys their idealism and innocence forever. It doesn't, however, derail Henry's altruism; when he eventually takes over one of America's largest corporations after the death of his parents, he continues his philanthropic ways in helping the less privileged.

Henry has also been researching Satanic cults, whom he suspects are behind the murders based on the strange 'Y' carved into the palms of the victims, supposedly the insignia of a medieval religious order. He'd recruited an expert on the matter, John Yesterday, and sent him to Paris to investigate further, but John had inexplicably attempted suicide in his hotel room. When the game later introduces John as the third protagonist, he's an amnesiac with no inkling of his past. John returns to Paris to complete his investigation, which sets the dominoes tumbling as objects and events trigger flashbacks that reveal the truth about his near-death experience, and raise serious questions about his own complicated history.

From this point, we follow John as he tries to piece together lost secrets about both himself and his mentor, linking them far more intrinsically than their superficial professional association. John's investigation takes him from Paris back to New York, and eventually to a destroyed church in Scotland, the seat of the Satanic cult in the fifteenth century, and amidst the disorienting revelations and continued attempts on his life, he must also deal with a returning – and not entirely wholesome – sense of self, as well as feelings for the girl he was dating before he lost his memory.

Yesterday takes place across not only diverse locations but eras as well, jumping abruptly from one to another: one moment you may be powering down a generator in a warehouse; the next you’re trying to grow truth flowers at an isolated mountaintop retreat. Initially confounding, this disjointed narrative format grows slowly but surely on you, giving you glimpses of the protagonists' histories at various points – just enough to clue you into their evolution and motivations, yet keeping the ultimate facts out of reach, like the fragments of a dream you can't quite piece together. Despite a couple of inconsistencies of timelines, the dark and complicated tale efficiently blends centuries and continents, myths and truths, grim realities and manic delusions, and garnishes the potpourri with a hint of the supernatural.

No one is what they seem to be, but the worst dichotomies are reserved for Henry and John, both extreme paradoxes of virtue and villainy. Henry starts as a stereotypical nerd with thick glasses, braces, sleeveless sweater, and awkward social skills despite his influential background, but cleans up nicely as the subtly unhinged but suave owner of his familial conglomerate. Initially distraught John eventually reveals impressive martial arts skills as well as a soft romantic core, but his biggest contribution is the matter-of-fact way in which he goes about unraveling the mind-blowing case, which might have made a lesser man wish for amnesia.

Both are supported by reliable associates: Henry has longtime loyal buddy Sam Cooper, an orc-ish misfit in a letter jacket who's yet to get over the humiliation dished out to him by his nemesis, an obnoxious boy scout leader, while John has his spiritual guru, a blind hermit named Olhak Adirf (in a strangely backhanded compliment to the famed Mexican painter), who spews self-confessed pseudo-mystical crap in an exaggerated Indian accent and provides most of the sparse humour in this otherwise decidedly morbid game with his odd repartees. There's also Choke, an aged fanatic who presides over an army of mannequins and conducts inquisitions of people who stumble into his underground lair; and Albert, the affable but irrepressibly sleazy concierge of the Parisian hotel, who define two distinct dimensions – dangerous and ridiculous – of creepiness. John's girlfriend, feisty Victoria Beckham-lookalike French belle Pauline Petit, unfortunately has little to do barring her momentary turn as part of the insipid and half-baked romance, an ornamental addition that's possibly the weakest link of the story. At the other end of the spectrum is the powerful cameo of Boris, a stockbroker-turned-batty hobo whose cheerful chatter alternates with touching distress at having missed his son's birthday party the fateful day he was killed at the station.

Yesterday keeps its gameplay simple and well-oiled, though you may need a bit of practice with the peculiar mechanics of hotspot usage and inventory selection. You can create four separate games, but within each one your progress is saved automatically as checkpoints, all of which remain available to replay if you wish. Each chapter comprises four or five interlinked screens, with just as many hotspots in each, including non-essential elements. You play occasionally as Henry and Cooper, but mostly as John – who, as the namesake of the game, has the meatiest role. An interesting segment has Cooper using some items previously used by Henry to salvage a situation, and his brute strength allows him a whole different approach to the quests as opposed to brainiac Henry's intelligent solutions. A similar rationale is applied during the finale, which allows you to choose any of the three protagonists, and your choice decides the ultimate outcome out of three different scenarios. Apparently a fourth ending is possible, though I didn't encounter an obvious means of triggering it.

Continued on the next page...

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Game Info


Android, iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, PC


Pendulo Studios

Game Page »

Digital March 22 2012 Focus Home Interactive

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User Score

Average based on 38 ratings

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User Reviews

Posted by Stuart on Jul 27, 2012

Good enough but disappointing

Pendulo make some very good adventure games and I was looking forward to seeing them create one with a darker, more serious subject matter... Read the review »

Posted by MoonBird on May 19, 2012

Not the sharpest pencil in the case.

Pendulo Studios should be familiar to everyone, who has been around with adventure-releated business, as we are talking about a creator of... Read the review »

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Shuva Raha
Staff Writer


MoonBird MoonBird
Mar 22, 2012

No voice-acting in the scene descriptions? What kind of brain-fart is this!? Thank you and sorry, Pendulo Studios. I’m never, ever going to waste my money to a game, that doesn’t include full voice-acting.

Mar 22, 2012

Nice detailed review!! I just finished it and felt the story kinda hard to follow as I aint gifted with good vocabulary (difficult words). Hope Pendulo starts a new series like Runaway fun,easy to undersand, great locales and never ending puzzles in the future.

Advie Advie
Mar 22, 2012

haven’t started the game yet but i read this Review and i find it a bit confusing , with such a big rating shouldn’t have much cons as mentioned here ,about “requiring practice”, “frustration with rushing through activity”,“Objects have no descriptions other than their names”, “an annoying hot spot revealer requiring two or three attempts to scan an entire screen” and “unvoiced descriptions”! ..all that just gave me an impression that the reviewer (with all due respect for the effort since the game was only released yesterday) trying to convince herself but not quiet sure of the quality of the game or the rating it deserved ,......... and btw when i remember that Riven (itself) got 4.5 stars Rating’s i just feel something not quiet right..

SamuelGordon SamuelGordon
Mar 22, 2012

I just started and just finished the intro, haha that was great. Yeah no voice acting descriptions, it feels “dead” sometimes but on the other hand i’m less annoyed when i’m stuck and need to reclick.

Also, the mouth animations are lacking. Maybe it’s personal but the synch is way off and feels choppy sometimes (can’t be my rig since i play more straining games).

I’m enjoying the game, will report when done:) (already prefer it to the next big thing and i’m not two hours in^^)

dekaneas297 dekaneas297
Mar 23, 2012

Ridiculously easy. Not recommended for experienced gamers whatsoever. 3/5 max for this.

mannycalavera mannycalavera
Mar 23, 2012

@ Άρης:
Totally agree. Finished it in 4 hours last night. Loved the scenario, graphics and general atmosphere though. The lack of voice-acting in the scene descriptions is not a problem! It adds up to the mood of the game in my opinion.

Mar 23, 2012

Started playing the game this morning and I agree w/ most of the posts regarding all the shortcomings. A game made in 2012 developed by Pendulo should NOT feel like a game made before their hit Runaway.

I Don’t understand how the reviewer could give this a 4 star rating. Ive played plenty others that were imo underrated and tagged with 3 star review that played alot better than this.

Im not only disappointed with Pendulo but the reviewer as well

Peter254 Peter254
Mar 23, 2012

Just finished it. A good game, but I was surprised at the length. I probably finished it in about five hours. The lack of voice acting on descriptions stopped bothering me after the intro segment. Overall, the story ended up being better than I expected, even though it could’ve easily been longer and slightly more epic, considering the nature of the protagonist. It’s almost as if Pendulo Studios scaled back for the sake of development or something. Anyway, I’d give no less than a 3.5. Recommended for anyone who wants a relaxing experience with an intriguing story.

Gabe Gabe
Mar 23, 2012

Reviewers automatized 4 stars lately..

Advie Advie
Mar 23, 2012

i guess i have also noticed that Gabe, but is that really healthy for the adventure scene or is it the other way around!

Jackal Jackal
Mar 23, 2012

That’s utter rubbish. 4 of the last 25+ reviews (I stopped counting there) got 4 stars. If you’re going to comment here, actually make a contribution to the discussion.

Mar 23, 2012

Absolutely hated Runaway but I might give this a chance. Didn’t like much waht I saw on Youtube but after reading this review will try it out.

Advie Advie
Mar 23, 2012

i see the discussion contributes mostly to see if this game worthy as 4 star rating or not, and i guess that what gabe and i said was just a little try within the big picture. i would love to actually see more games with 4 star rating and above, but maybe you guys need verify each star so we would catch up if this one for the Graphics ,that for Game-playing ...and so on

Mar 23, 2012

They didn’t waste money on voice acting?  Excellent!  Reason for me to support the game!  Thanks for letting me know!

Jackal Jackal
Mar 23, 2012

Adventurere No.1, I’m sure you meant your comment harmlessly (even helpfully). I was really addressing Gabe, who was clearly just trolling. But there is no “big picture” when it comes to reviews. Each game is graded on its own merits by completely different people. What one game gets has absolutely nothing to do with any others before or after. We don’t break down our ratings into mathematical formulas like that. Games are more (or less) than the sum of their parts, so there’s just the one score for the total experience.

SamuelGordon SamuelGordon
Mar 23, 2012

So i already finished it, it’s WAY too short!! The puzzles are no challenge, the confrontation is lacking (it’s all cinematic, sigh). Nothing special about the story, the game would’ve been so much better if it focused on Cooper & Henry (past,present,etc). The main character is one boring cliché mess. The lady too. god.

I give it a 3.You can skip it, it’s way way too short and there’s nothing memorable about it except maybe the bad guys. Can’t believe i finished it in two days and barely played 4 hours or something. Damn.

Mar 23, 2012

Hmm, the genre is listed as Mystery, and I totally agree!  As I read the review I kept thinking, the story sounds great but where’s the adventure?

indigoo indigoo
Mar 23, 2012

Great game, had no real issues with it OTHER THAN LENGTH. Took me 3 hours to finish. For the price, I was hoping for more. Still, loved the subject matter of the story and it was a quality product.

Mar 24, 2012


Feels like this is only an introduction for a bigger project. Whole adventure has a feel of an intro. There was so much more to be told. Like Choke’s past lives, his first encounter with the Flesh cult. White’s history, Antique guy and his daughter, relationship between the Choke and Boris. And so much more…. i mean the guy has lived 500 years… I do hope they have made this just as an introduction to the new gameplay, and to check the reception of the consumers. I do hope we will get a full length adventure that will take at least 3-4 times more to finish than this. (i got it done somewhat between 3 and 4 hours of play.)
Performance and general feel to the game, as well as voice acting, the comic book feel to it, and the story makes this game at least 4 - 4.5 but the fact that they have cut the story only to the punch lines and made it way to short makes me want to rate this game as 2 - 2.5.  Those were just my 2 cents.  Smile

Miranna Miranna
Mar 24, 2012

Am I the only one who thinks the characters look…well…ugly ? Especially the may character, with his weird, pointy chin

Mar 24, 2012

As some other reviewers have stated, this game was WAY too short.  I didn’t mind the “easiness” of the puzzles, as it was still fun - but when the game was over with 4 hours of played time I felt very ripped off.  I enjoy Pendulo’s games - but I’ll wait for reviews to be released before buying again because I would prefer at LEAST 8 hours of played time….. (and that is still short, imo.)

Mar 25, 2012

@Primalhottub Yeah you are right its a short game and I too feel play time of adenture games should be atleast 35-40 hours with lots of puzzles and locations, which would make a person feel like it was an adventure alright Smile

Mar 25, 2012

The game is way too short, no voice acting is disappointing and the way you have to drag items from inventory bar is frustrating, expecially whan you want to interact two items in inventory bar. Anyway, I give this game 3,5 out of 5.

Mar 26, 2012

yep, this is a really short game. i was disappointed in that. Yesterday is not good as Pendulo’s previous titles: The Next Big Thing, Runaway (series). Like FreakGlista said, dragging items from your inventory is definitely frustrating. I didn’t even bother to play back the scene right before the end to see the other endings. It just wasn’t appealing enough to do so. I rate this game a 3/5. it would’ve been nice if they expanded on Pauline’s story and given the ability to play her.

Eternal Adventurer
Mar 27, 2012

Nice User Friendly Game.
Good things come in small Packages.
Certainly Deserves 4 star.
But I agree mixing things in inventory is not so good. But the most frustating part like in so many adventures - movement of character from one place to another- has been completely erased in this game.  Nice going Pendulos!!

MoonBird MoonBird
Mar 28, 2012

Well I got to chance to play this through and write a review (tanks to my friend, I didn’t have to waste my money on this.) Some points:

+ Voice-acting is great (although it takes place only in dialoque)
+ I really liked Pendulo’s new bottom screen inventory
+ Dialoque trees are finally sensible in this one!
+ Hint system is excellent

- Voice acting only in the dialoques
- Really horrible shortcuts in animation. Character teleports from place to place
- Hotspots don’t have names
- Hated the little pictures jumping in the screen
- Translation issues… for example: “when you pulling the suitcase…”
- Music drowns the voice-acting, and their volumes cannot be adjusted separately.
- Some issues with asynchronization between text and the voice-acting
- Small bugs in voice-acting (parts of sentence are double-played sometimes)
- Story is confusing and undertold, doen’t make enough use of the great setting
- Spiritual raving is annoying

Thank GOD I didn’t waste money on this one. My rating is 1,5 / 5

Mar 29, 2012

“Apparently a fourth ending is possible, though I didn’t encounter an obvious means of triggering it.”

Well, apparently the mechanism for triggering this so-called fun ending is as follows [The credit goes to GameBoomers]:

“Which of the three leading characters in this story will upset the balance?

When the time comes to make a decision; you can replay all 4 endings-decisions using the last autosaved game.

In the choice of John: there are 2 ways. Take the heated knife by the left foot of John or use the batteries on the Poet of Pain doll located at top of the pillar at left corner (left of the statue with sword).

Be sure to watch the cutscene after the credits.”

Apr 3, 2012

I strongly recommend waiting for the game to go on sale. I paid $30 for it and the content is maybe equivalent to a single episode in Telltale’s games.

a-maze a-maze
Apr 7, 2012

Iiiiiiiiiiii dont know, 4 stars? I think its too much.

Animation & Design is pretty good, the few voice acting is ok…. the story has a twist here and there that makes you clueless from time to time. And it has alternative endings from which you can choose. THAT, is ok.

But not enough to make me think this is masterpiece, at all. Its very short, and it doesnt have a huge philosophical background or something.

A good entertainment for about 5 hs (or less if you are very good with AG).

Oscar Oscar
Apr 7, 2012

4 stars is definitely too much. The problems aren’t technical but much more fundamental concerning storytelling and adventure gaming as a whole. If anyone wants to see a review with a slightly less *glowing* opinion,

Apr 12, 2012

I guess this game’s more like a down than up for Pendulo. Nothing’s good to cling up to: the style doesn’t work well with the story, the characters are shallow and underdeveloped, the story is a mess. Nearly all of the scenes are underwritten.

P.S. Played it after looking through the Adventure Gamers review Smile)

Apr 12, 2012

I guess this game’s more like a down than up for Pendulo. Nothing’s good to cling up to: the style doesn’t work well with the story, the characters are shallow and underdeveloped, the story is a mess. Nearly all of the scenes are underwritten. P.S. Played it after looking through the Adventure Gamers review Smile)

ChaosHydrA ChaosHydrA
Apr 15, 2012

Pendulo really lost its marbles after the 1st Runaway game i never feel compelled to them although the visual style is good, Runaway 2 was just a huge mess imo and completely ruined the series for me with annoying cringeworthy dialogue and characters.

Adventure Adventure
May 1, 2012

Like everyone says, way too short for the price, strange animation and some baffling interface choices (although I do commend the developer for trying something a bit different). It is pretty original though but mostly in its presentation; the actual gameplay is classic inventory puzzle fare that’s way too easy considering the length of the game. A New Beginning had easy puzzles too but they were way more logical and the game didn’t suffer too much as it was already quite long. The narrative is going for quirky and eclectic but we spend so little time with the characters that it’s impossible to care for them and the whole thing ends up a random mess of disparate settings with no cohesion whatsoever. I’m looking forward to more efforts from this team but as it is I cannot recommend this game. If you are curious at least wait for it to drop under $10 to pick it up.

Iznogood Iznogood
Jun 1, 2012

I kind of like this game, though 4 stars is being very generous.

I Only have 3 problems with it:
1. Its too short
2. You cant adjust voice and music volume seperately
3. I dont quite “buy” the story, it is simply not as Dark, Sinister or Twisted as it tries to be, Part of the problem here is probably because it is so short, so there is not enough time to tell the story properly.
This is really my main problem with the game.

Once i got used to it, I however really enjoyed not having to listen to silly comments every time you click on something.
I also like the whole mechanism of the game with popup windows etc.

Stuart Stuart
Jul 27, 2012

Pendulo make some very good adventure games and I was looking forward to seeing them create one with a darker, more serious subject matter as their niche has been comedic games.

Unfortunately, while a good game, Yesterday disappoints considering the high standards I hold Pendulo to. It’s short, the story is a lacking in parts, and there was a slight blandness to it that is hard to explain. On the plus side it keeps you guessing, has very good sound (voices + music), and as always good graphics.

It’s worth playing and a good game but I just feel Pendulo could have done better. This only took me 3 1/2 hours to complete which is the shortest Pendulo game so far.

Interplay Interplay
Aug 10, 2012

I thought this was a very interesting game.  I thought the story was great and was very unique (for an adventure game).  I really liked how the story kept twisting around.  Anyway, the story was the best part of the game.  The graphics are absolutely beautiful.  I think this has to be one of the best looking adventure games I’ve every played.  I’m not usually a big fan of the Pendulo art style, and when I read the preview of this game I thought it wouldn’t work at all.  But I was pleasantly surprised to see the graphics and art style are really excellent and very interesting. 

The game is hyperlinear.  Unlike most, I actually found some of the puzzles fairly challenging, though I never click on the hint button under any circumstances.  However, the game is made much easier by being a series of locations that are usually only 2 or 3 screens big.

My personal preference is to have voiced-over dialogue and text descriptions of items just like this game does it.  This seems to be more common (possibly as a budget issue) but I like it. 

My only real complaint with the game is the length.  The initial price point of the game is absurd given its length.  To think that this game probably lasts only a little longer than the typical Telltale episode and yet it’s priced more than most of the full seasons is a little ridiculous.  I picked it up as part of the Steam Pendulo pack (working out to $3 for the game) so I definitely got my money’s worth, but I would definitely pick it up on a sale or you might be disappointed. 

Overall, I can’t argue with the 4 star review.  I think the 4 stars is probably warranted based on how unique and enjoyable the game is.  It really is a beautifully drawn and animated game.  (But, please, never again make me DRAG an inventory object out of the toolbar to use it - poor design choice).

Oct 7, 2012

You must be grading this game on a curve. 4 stars? I can’t see it. Doesn’t fit the description either.

Dag Dag
Oct 8, 2012

Judging from everything I’ve read about peoples opinions regarding Yesterday (not just here, but in various forums), it seems like what people generally didn’t like about it, was the shortcomings caused by Pendulos limited budget for the game.

It wasn’t shorter because Pendulo wanted it to be, it wasn’t lacking voice-acting on descriptions because Pendulo thought i’t be a good idea. It’s clearly a result of publishers not wanting to jeopardize too much of their money, and what we are left with is a product of compromise that feels like a mini-game compared to Runaway.

Sadly this I saw over and over again, being used as a reason by people to not support their fundraiser for Day One, failing to realize that proper funding is all they need to make fantastic games… I hope we will see Day One one day, but for that to happen, publishers and gamers alike needs to wake up. 

However, I still can’t wrap my head around how Pendulo thought they could run a succesful fundraiser, asking for as much money as Schafer/Lowe/Jensen/Scott&Mark;, while taking a hands off approach to the whole project. To me it seems obvious, that if you are gonna raise as much money as those legends of the trade, your fundraising campaign would have to somehow thouroughly outshine theirs, and so, a private Spanish tea-party (which is what their campaign effectively was) would never cut it.

mill mill
Dec 31, 2012

For me it was prob the worst game by Pendulo so far. 2/5 stars in my book.

Jan 2, 2013

I love pendulo games, but I’m pretty sure after reading a variety of different reviews, peoples opinions, and finally playing the game myself ... this game could do with a second opinion/re-write of this review for the site. I believe that should present a true picture of adventure games, considering it is their speciality! I agree with the majority of people that the game has far too many flaws to deserve this score. Pendulo intended the game to have a dark and disturbing tone, but its comical voice acting is an odd fit and more suited to pendulo’s previous games. Because of this the game loses any of its seriousness. I definitely think pendulo need to work on their future games script and voice actings to successfully draw the players into the game. The main character in yesterday wasn’t very interesting at all. The game hasn’t made much of a lasting impression on me to give it a score higher than 2.5/5.

Jackal Jackal
Jan 3, 2013

If we only wrote reviews that agreed with the supposed majority opinion, they really wouldn’t be worth doing.  Average user rating at the time you wrote that is 3.5, by the way. Hardly a notable variance.

mill mill
Jan 3, 2013

Yes it’s important to keep in mind that the reviewer’s opinion is just one opinion. There is no “correct” rating.

Apr 18, 2013

Finished it last night in about 4.5 hours (PC)..
Surely DIDN’T like the interface, having to slide the items was a real bitch (especially with a faulty mousebutton, were just click and move wouldn’t be a problem).
Also the closeup on a part to just watch/get something was very annoying.
Missing voices was also something I really didn’t like, seemed to me like a product that just wasn’t finished.
Another thing that was very annoying was the hotspot locater, I had to press it multiple times (and you have to f-ing wait) to locate all spots due to the annoyingly small locators.
It was clear that this product was made for tablets/touch interface..

But I did like the ‘story’ (even though it was really short) and the overal look, the puzzles were typical and not really that weird (even though I have used the help option twice, but that’s more due to my lack op patience).

I just hope they go back to the old interface like in runaway (at least for PC version) with their next incarnation.

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