When the Past Was Around is a puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch. It plays like an interactive story, using point-and-click mechanics to unravel a woman’s past. It’s full of puzzles, emotions, and wonderful music. If that sounds intriguing, well, read on, and prepare to be impressed.
There’s a lot to like about this game. For starters, the point-and-click style works very well. You can use either the touchscreen or the control stick to move, break, or open items. The simple premise involves a young woman named Eda, who relives some emotional moments of her life. As she moves from room to room, you can interact with elements to reveal clues that lead to the next room. The story progresses this way, too, with each room serving as a glimpse into Eda’s past of love, loss, and hope.
The puzzles are nicely designed and generally quite intuitive. When you pick up an item, it’s usually obvious how it can be used. This means it’s not a particularly hard game, though some puzzles did have me, well, puzzled. This level of difficulty contributes to the game’s serene feeling. When the Past Was Around isn’t a long game, which you’ll likely finish in under two hours. My advice is to take your time and enjoy the ride.
There’s no dialogue used throughout the game; no text of any kind, actually. Instead, the narrative is explored via visuals such as cutscenes, along with a strong musical component. Our protagonist has a strong connection with music – particularly the violin – after being inspired by a mysterious person. It’s a slightly obscure tale, with a surreal vibe to the narrative, but her journey through the world of music and love is nonetheless interesting.
With this musical element in mind, the game is surrounded by a pleasant, soothing soundtrack. The soft melodies spark a mixture of melancholy and intrigue as you explore each environment.
The graphical style is also well done. When the Past Was Around uses hand-drawn visuals and light, pastel colors to create a sense of innocence. The lighter, slightly faded look also hints at a story occurring in the past. In short, the sound and visual style help tie everything together to further convey the emotional side of the story.
Overall, When the Past was Around is a well-made point-and-click adventure that provides a captivating tale full of emotion. It’s surrounded by a strong musical element and great visuals that capture those emotions perfectly. The puzzles are just right in terms of difficulty, although the game could be a little longer overall. It’s definitely a title worth checking out.