“[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’n’click puzzle game with a mystical, overarching storyline. 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 find access to another puzzle, solve it again and so forth, until you can go on to the next level. But it’s 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’s 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 chronographic way, or was the start the ending all along, which would mean that she forgot what her former companion looked like? Is the owl a real entity or only a metapher for her musical passion? Well, in the end it isn’t important which answers you will find to these questions. The questions themselves are intriguing enough.