Circus Reviews - Yesterday, You Saved the World
To get back in the swing of things, here's a game I won in a contest held near the end of last year by Astrid Dalmady. I was given the chance to suggest an idea, and in the end I settled on "magical girls with PTSD" because I'm a dark and strange individual.
Yesterday, You Saved the World takes place in the aftermath of an epic magical girl battle that saved the world...well, yesterday. We follow eighth grader Lucy Newman, the only one of the girls to make it through the fight without having to be hospitalized, as she struggles to readjust to a normal life without her old powers.
The game is divided into "yesterday" and "today" segments. The "yesterday" segments gradually tell the story of the fateful battle that ended Lucy's run as a magical girl, and the "today" segments show how Lucy is dealing with the fallout. You're periodically given a choice menu like the one above with four options, "Attack," "Strategize," "Talk," and "Give Up," and have to exhaust all of your options before the solution of "Do Something Desperate" will present itself to you. While the menu can get a bit repetitive, it does a good job of illustrating the hopelessness of choosing an option among a bunch of bad ones, and also gives an interesting look into the mind of a teenager trying to save the world and basically just going "What the heck do I do?" as any teenager would. Lucy is the only real character of importance; Alpha Centauri, a teammate of Lucy's that disappeared after the battle, is pivotal to the final choice, but outside of that, there isn't anyone else mentioned much. I like Lucy and find her portrayal quite refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I love a good magical girl show with all my heart, and I know that deconstructions of the genre are more common since the release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. But the occasional more realistic depiction of a teenager tasked with saving the world and freaking out about it still catches my eye.
The game is rather short (4000 words or so), but it feels like a good length; it says everything it needs to say and nothing extra. Lucy's story completes itself well, but I wouldn't mind another story set in the same world, perhaps. It might just be my long-standing love of magical girls speaking, but I had a good time with this one.
Yesterday, You Saved the World is available to play in browser on the developer's website. Final verdict: Comparisons to Madoka Magica are noticeable and perhaps inevitable, but Yesterday, You Saved the World presents a strong and believable portrait of a teenage girl who is nowhere near prepared for the world-saving duties she undertakes. Yesterday, You Saved the World is developed and published by Astrid Dalmady. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated in any way for this review. This game was created for me as a prize of a contest held by Astrid Dalmady for a custom game. While I did provide the game's concept and was given early access to the finished product, I did not have any input in any other aspects of the game's production.