“Saying “I love you forever” won’t hold us together, a dove and a feather won’t better our love or recover us ever.” – Mike Skinner
Developer: Mojiken Studio
Released: Demo – November 2019
When the Past was Around is an upcoming point-and-click puzzle game due to be released in Spring 2020. Mojiken Studio has made a free prologue available as a demo for the game along with a paid supporter pack DLC.
The game claims to be about love, loss and moving on and follows 20-year-old Edda and her mysterious companion through a series of disjointed and puzzle-filled rooms seemingly made from memories.
As the game begins, Edda frees her violin carrying companion from a birdcage and they proceed to the first room. Each room has a series of puzzles, none of which are especially original but all can be solved with logic and a little attention; they are satisfying to complete, if not overly challenging. The final puzzle in each room leads to a feather which is then given to the companion who then creates a new door and the pair proceed to the next area.
When the Past was Around is clearly about a connection between two people and having to let go but these themes are loosely presented and the experience seems very much open to interpretation. The way in which rooms are used to represent fragments of time is surreal and lends itself well to the open narrative, this is magnified in the final scene of the prologue and provides an intriguing introduction to the full game.
The game has a sketchy art and animation style reminiscent of Mojiken Studio’s earlier game A Raven Monologue, both made in collaboration with artist Brigitta Rena. The visuals could also be likened to a more charming take on the Rusty Lake games’ aesthetic.
Music is a key theme in the game, this is apparent from the companion’s violin, the prominence of music within the puzzles, but also in the way that the music seems to build to a crescendo throughout the prologue. What begins as a simple piano melody gradually turns into a cacophony of instruments with the violin playing a prominent part in building the atmosphere.
Overall, When the Past was Around Prologue was a short but charming little experience. It took a mere 15 minutes to complete but this was enough to make me curious and enthusiastic about the game’s full release and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys slightly abstract, point-and-click puzzle games.