Review: Yesterday, the World Ended

Review: Yesterday, the World Ended

Yesterday, the World Ended is a short post-apocalyptic kinetic novel made for the Only One of Any Asset Jam. Follow Luke’s train ride through a seemingly empty city, as he reflects on the events of the day before in this game by Ronove. 

The Only One of Any Asset Jam is a week-long jam where developers have to use one sprite, one background, one music track, one voice actor (optional) and one sound effect. Developers have to tell a tale in 1,000 words or less! With such a compact jam, it’s hard to expect amazing sprawling tales, but you’d be surprised what developers can do with just a week! In fact, Yesterday, the World Ended was submitted a few days before the end of the jam. 

The Story

The narrative in Yesterday, the World Ended is linear. There are no choices, but in a game this length, it doesn’t have a huge impact on the final product. The story shines through more than the art, background, and music. 

We find out about a world that has somehow collapsed. Luke believes they’re the only person left. But is that what’s really going on? We’re in the mind of a man recounting what has happened the night before, and in doing so, we feel not only his emotional isolation but the physical isolation on screen, and in the world off screen. 

I was left feeling satisfied at the end, with no loose ends being ignored or questions that had to be answered.  

The Background

The developer decided to use an animated background, which was a great choice. It provides the player with the feeling of actually being on a moving train. It also keeps something animated on the screen so that the scenery never really ends up feeling stale. 

The warm pink of the background outside of the train contrasts with the brown on the inside. We get a feeling of isolation, but a reminder that despite what we’re seeing and reading about, there’s still a world outside. 

The Sprite Art

The sprite art used is a depiction of the protagonist and sole character, Luke.  He’s sitting on the empty train casually with his arms wrapped around himself. His outfit is completely untouched by the collapse of the world, his world, around him. However, there’s an unmistakable uncertainty in his eyes. 

I really like how the developer was able to create an expressive character with the limitations of the jam. 

The Sounds

The background track used in the game is nice. It loops perfectly in a way that doesn’t end up sounding repetitive. Beyond that, though, it captures the mood of the game perfectly. The sound effect, a ringing phone, is loud and obnoxious—but I think that was the intention. 

The Verdict 

Yesterday, the World Ended is a short illustrated read. There’s a lot to like about the game, including a strong story, expressive graphics, and purposeful music. Having been made in only a few days, I can say that the developer has released an impressive title! 

You can try the game yourself for free on itch.io.

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