“When The Past Was Around – Prologue” by Mojiken Studio, Brigitta Rena Estidianti, Dio Al Sabah Akbar Z., Pandu Rukmi Utomo, Masdito Bachtiar & Alice Elwin.
“[A] bittersweet tale between a girl and a beast in a surreal world consisting of disjointed rooms from memories and time. With each clues gathered, puzzles solved, and doors unlocked, the girl will find her way, unraveling the secrets between her and the beast, the secrets which she used to know.”
The demo of “When The Past Was Around” already shows off a wonderfully designed point and click puzzle game with a mystical, overarching plot. It all starts in a nearly empty room, just some removal crates and rudimentary furniture like a desk are still in there. The young girl holds the hand of a violin carrying shadow figure. As the player explores the room by opening some drawers and looking beneath the rug, they will find new possibilities to interact with the objects. Eventually, the girl and the mysterious phantom will create a magic door to progress to the next room.
The gameplay of “When The Past Was Around” is always like that: Solve a puzzle, then you will gather access to another one, solve it again and so forth, until you can go on to the next level. But it is beautiful in its own way, as the puzzles are never boring or too easy and the rooms really change. You can see a sort of development – not only in the furnishing, but also in the characters -, which is very inviting for the fans of interpretations. For example, what is the relationship between the girl and the owl beast? Did the girl move in or out of this place? Does the story get told in a chronological way, or was the start the ending all along, meaning that she forgot what her former companion looked like? Is the owl a real entity or only a metapher for her musical passion? In the end it is not important which answers you will find, as the questions themselves are intriguing enough. [PLAY]