When the Past Was Around
Top Critic Average
Despite its few flaws, When The Past Was Around tells a beautiful love story through simplistic mechanics and themes. The only thing that gets in the way is puzzle pacing at the end, which breaks the formula in an uncomplimentary way.
When The Past Was Around tells a story without uttering a single word of dialogue, using simple but beautiful music and a masterful, unique art style to communicate it. If I’m falling back on popular buzzwords too much when describing it, know that it deserves better. Better yet, make yourself a cup of tea, wrap yourself in a familiar blanket, and find out for yourself.
What start as very simple hidden object brain-teasers eventually progress to multi-scene puzzles, where items you collect serve more than one function. The puzzles never get hard per se, but they are immensely satisfying all the same, especially the more involved ones.
Concise, carefully crafted and beautifully malleable in its meaning, When The Past Was Around is a rather gorgeous little art game that remembers it needs to be interesting in its puzzles as well as its narrative. Taking the principles of escape room-style gameplay and fitting them around its theme lends them a gravitas that belies their simplicity and elevates this game into more than just the indie flavour of the month. Sure, you're not likely to play it twice, but you'd be hard-pressed to forget about it. And, honestly, after this year? We needed it.
When the Past was Around is a point and click puzzle game that succeeds in getting the player emotionally invested in its bittersweet tale of love and loss. Eda's tale of grief for a lost partner is wonderfully told in a way that affects you, but does the game succeed in keeping players interested throughout with its puzzle gameplay?
When the Past was Around is a meaningful point and click journey. Its puzzles are more than improvable, but the soundtrack and the atmosphere are captivating.
Review in Italian | Read full review
When The Past Was Around is a beautiful game by Mojiken about love, loss, and life. Through art and music we discover the love story of Eda and Owl, putting pieces together scene by scene by solving puzzles. It's a short, sweet game clearly made with a lot care, and a soundtrack that will be stuck in your head for days.
When The Past Was Around is a unique point-and-click game that invites players to go on an emotional journey in a dreamlike, almost fragmented state. Mojiken Studio's love letter to simple couplehood takes a minimalist approach to living life to the fullest and learning how to move on, so it just might be the perfect game to play during this stressful pandemic.
Short and beautiful, When the Past was Around tells a pretty story of love and grief in an accessible and light manner.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
If you enjoy quiet and reflective games like Florence, as well as indulging in a bit of puzzle-solving, you’ll undoubtedly find something to like in When the Past Was Around. Its narrative never fully delivers, however, and its bizarre choice to be vague and obtuse when it comes to the main character’s love and loss makes it hard to ever fully understand her plight. Still, beautiful artwork and music coupled with enjoyable puzzles make it a worthwhile way to spend an hour or two of your time.