Game: When the Past was Around
Genre: Indie, Adventure, Music, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4, Xbox One, and PC)
Developer|Publisher: Toge Productions, Mojiken Studios | Chorus Worldwide Games
Age Rating: EU 3+|US Everyone
Price: USD $8.49 |UK £7.09 |EU €8.49
Release Date: December 15th 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to Brown Betty PR!
Bring It Right Back
If there was one thing from your past that you could bring back, what would it be?
…Was it difficult to consider? Perhaps it only took you a second to decide. Whatever your situation, When the Past was Around deals with this theme by putting players in the shoes of Eda, a young woman working through some tough emotional stuff from her past.
Developed in part by Toge Productions; you might remember this game company from a little review done back in January: Coffee Talk. This game was also developed by this development team. The emotions and relationships written in Coffee Talk swirled and steamed like a lascivious latte.
When the Past was Around zooms in, and has us focus on one person (Eda), and her relationship with her past; rather than leading players through the relationship ups and downs of several people in Coffee Talk.
I Just Let the Time Roll Past
When the Past was Around is a point-and-click adventure puzzle game. Players will be presented with a static scene to interact with: clicking on things with the A button, and solving puzzles in order to move on to the next scene in the story.
Games like these work well enough on Switch, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they are definitely games with mouse or touch screen gameplay in mind.
The gameplay is smoother and more intuitive if you use the touch screen, rather than having to slowly maneuver the cursor with the joystick. The puzzles range from usually simple (find key and put key in thing that needs key) to rarely mind-bogglingly difficult. However, oftentimes when you figure out what part of the puzzle was stumping you you’ll feel a little bit silly for not seeing how obvious it was.
The challenge isn’t going to keep you up at night, but it will provide a nice sense of accomplishment when you make it to the end of the game.
We Don’t Gotta Take It Too Fast
The art and music is where this game really shines. The game is all beautifully hand drawn, and every panel is an artistic wonder for the eyes.
The colours perfectly convey the mood of each scene, and none of it is too bright or overbearing. Everything has a light, pastel, kind of shade that really does feel like you’re looking at old memories from a grandparent’s photo album.
The original violin music that underscores each scene is heartfelt and lovely. You’ll want to take up the violin after playing this game! This delightful violin will be the only sound, as this game has no dialogue (text or vocal). The entire story is told through visuals, sound, and evoked emotions.
You definitely won’t want to rush through this game, as it is quite short. That doesn’t diminish the power of the story though, it is one of those games that will bring tears to your eyes (it did for me). Definitely take your time to drink in, and savour, every scene of the game.
When the Past was Around is a poignant journey, and if point-and-click puzzles are your jam, then I would recommend this one for your Switch library.
Cherish the time you have, for it is precious and fleeting.
Final verdict: I like it!