27 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 2.5 hrs on record
Posted: Sep 27, 2020 @ 10:21am
Product received for free

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An emotional journey seamlessly depicted through wonderful hand-drawn artwork and music.

When The Past Was Around is a short adventure game and is one of the best examples of wordless storytelling out there. For people who are on the fence about this game, there's the prologue (Chapter 0) that is available on a separate store page. This game is short and took me less than 2 hours to get through its 5 additional chapters aside from the prologue. But it's an absolute gem in its presentation, with the wonderful art and appropriate (lovely and jarring) sounds.

I have to say after playing through the prologue almost a year ago, the wait was worth the experience. A lot of times demos show you the best parts of a game and the rest may be a downward trend in quality, this game only builds on that zeroth chapter and fulfills the set expectations. The story builds on the memories of the protagonist Eda through metaphors of her relationship with Owl. Really, play the prologue if you are curious how it starts.

Gameplay
Several chapters, each with a few connected rooms with some puzzles within. The puzzles are fairly straight forward for the most part, only a couple gave me a bit of trouble but I eventually realized that I was staring at the answers the entire time, and just couldn't put two and two together. Made for a couple of good chuckles from me in just how hidden things may be, in plain sight. I think some of the puzzle designs are really good, and I was pleased by the quality of them.

Controls
You only need a mouse, as long as it's connected and moves the cursor around on your computer and can click.

Graphics
The artwork is wonderful. You only need to look at the screenshots on the store page to see.

Music & Sounds
Lovely music and really very fitting sounds. There are 18 tracks in the OST for a game that takes less than 2 hours to complete. So you know for a fact that the music plays a significant part of the game's overall experience.

Audience
People who want to be emotionally involved in a wordless story would love this game. You can also dive in to enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds. Enjoy the well-designed and fun puzzles, though there are not many in numbers. Does this sound like you? If so, what are you waiting for?

Pricing
Some people are going to be caught up by the $7.99 USD price tag, because it's so short. For me, it's half the price of a movie ticket, and takes about the same amount of time. And I certainly enjoyed my time with this game more than many movies.

Conclusion
When The Past Was Around is an indie gem that should be recognized for its quality. You can tell just how much love and care went into the game playing through it. I only wish it were longer. But that's okay, it just leaves me to look forward to the next title by this awesome team.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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5 Comments
YQMaoski Sep 28, 2020 @ 4:26am 
Thank you very much!
Godot Sep 28, 2020 @ 1:03am 
Nice discovery and really good review!
YQMaoski Sep 27, 2020 @ 12:45pm 
@FruitNDoggie, yeah, I do wish it were longer, for sure. Waiting for a sale is absolutely reasonable. I was happy to have received a copy on my curator page.

@Dohi64, I don't usually use that movie ticket analogy, but for some reason it just came to mind. I am used to $16 movie tickets and then some for tax of about 10% where I am. So it ends up being $17+, and usually when it's a bad movie, I am always so disappointed.
FruitNDoggie Sep 27, 2020 @ 12:02pm 
Pretty steep for its short experience.
Dohi64 Sep 27, 2020 @ 10:33am 
glad to see it's an actual game, not a visual novel, but I always find the movie ticket analogy weird, as prices vary greatly around the world, yet game prices are mostly the same, save for some regional exceptions. I might pay half a movie ticket for this (even though there's already a piano in the screenshots), that's about 2.5 eur over here.