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When the Past Was Around

The game tells a bittersweet tale between a girl and her lover in a surreal world consisting of disjointed rooms from memories and time. With each gathered clue, solved puzzles, and unlocked door, the girl will find her way, unraveling the secrets between her and her lover, the secrets which she used to know. A picture speaks a thousand words. Experience the game’s story not through words nor dialogues but beautifully hand-drawn art created by famous Indonesian artist, Brigitta Rena. A short, sweet and whimsical journey. Explore a bittersweet tale between a girl and her lover in a surreal world consisting of disjointed rooms of memories and time. Personal and ubiquitous. a game about overcoming the past and finding the self. Solve brain-teasing puzzles. Various intriguing puzzles to solve and stories to uncover. Let the music guide you. Atmospheric violin music will accompany you from the peaceful days to the angstiest moments
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I saw this game, and I instantly bought it. Now, I don't normally play point and click adventures, and I'm not the greatest at puzzles. I am a huge sucker for lore and delicate details.
I have a long, inside joke with my boyfriend. A lot of the times we will joke about him being an owl. To add onto that, funnily enough, I look like Eda. I read the bio of the game and I knew I had to at least try it.
I'm not gonna air out my dirty laundry, but just as everyone else in the world, I've had my conflicts- especially relationship conflicts. I have felt everything Eda has felt, from warm love to the cold, slow aching in your chest that forces you to curl up in a ball. I have felt the anxiousness of making sure someone takes care of themselves, and I have felt the need to take care of someone else. Playing through this game felt as if I was watching a short film of the loveliest moments I've collected over time with my significant other, along with the difficulties that came with it.
I felt as if a part of my relationship died. There was a lot of coping and healing that needed to be done to get over the past. To see it visualized in such a way that connected to me on a deeper level-- When the Past Was Around gave that to me. To see the healing and hardships (everything I went through), but the ability to appreciate the good that came out of everything. I needed that. It showed me that there are other humans that also went through what I had to go through. I wasn't alone. I wish that others who are on the journey of finding themselves fall in love like Eda and Owl did. Like my boyfriend and I. Fall in love and learn more about yourselves. Make memories, and put yourselves out there. Get hurt and fall down a shit ton, but get back up. You're only alive for so long. Don't forget to enjoy each other in the moment- those are the memories that stay with you forever, just like Eda showed us.
I know my particular connection with this game is extremely niche and unique, but I encourage others to play it. If you enjoy having your heartstrings pulled a few times, or are looking for something quaint and small to try, I urge you to give it a chance. The puzzles were great! It made me use my brain (which I don't do most of the time, so the smoke from my head and tears in my eyes made it hard to think). The quiet, cute music made it feel like something cozy you could curl up to with a cup of hot coco and take a nice nap after. When The Past Was Around is on the shorter end, but the story's emotional impression reminds us we're human (and it sticks).
I finished the game and laid in the living room face down on the floor until my owl noticed. I highly recommend it.

Review from Steam

We often hear motivational things as children like "Follow your dreams." or "You can be anything you want to be." But eventually we learn that sometimes all we can dream about is someone who is gone, and all we want to be is near them again.
When time starts skipping like a needle across an old record, and your brain just can't handle the blank space that suddenly appeared. As you go on with life but any little thing can suddenly send your mind rushing back. It could be a ringing phone, a glimpse of someone from the corner of your eye, a book on the table, or maybe just a few notes of a song, and that someone is real again, for a second. Like waves pushing you back. Unsteady on your feet for a moment, then you move on.
This game is about someone navigating that bittersweet space between the joy of being with someone you love, and learning to live without it. A story about being in the present, but struggling with another time. A time When The Past Was Around.

Review from Steam

After playing this, I want some coffee, freshly baked biscuit, and someone to keep me company

Review from Steam

when we are angry, we tend to break things around us. But when we are pleased, we clean and fix things up. Such a beautiful game

Review from Steam

If i had a nickel for every game with a dead loved one, a broken violin, poloroid, and a duet, I'd have two nickels, which isn't a lot but it is weird that it happened twice.

Review from Steam

It's a bittersweet tale of losing someone so special that you can't let go, yet the journey from grief to healing, familiar to so many of us, is all here in a beautiful packaged experience. There's no words to tell the story -- just the atmospheric soundtrack, the whimsical art, and the small puzzles to push the tale forward.
And it works. You interact with everything and try to figure out how to "escape" each room, a rather light point and click adventure system that is there to set the mood of each scene while not being the focus of the experience per se.
It gets to the point that, as the story advances, the solutions to the puzzles become harder to find, involving frantically looking for anything that could be a clue in the past and present, breaking furniture, scribbling notes on paper, and only then allowing the protagonist to move forward with her grief. It's a nice touch.
That sense of unease, the emotional connection, the joy and sorrow, learning to use the past as a stepping stone... all in all, a short experience but one I'm glad to have enjoyed.

Review from Steam

PROS
* Art style / direction is good.
* Puzzles are of two types, common point & click and the better ones, similar to IQ tests, as in they are abstract but once it clicks it makes sense.
* The IQ tests are clever.
* There can be noise to make the puzzles harder.
* Silent. Uses symbolism for what it tries to tell.
CONS
* A few puzzles are not complex enough, they can be brute forced.
* A bit short, take it as an "experimental" art project than a lengthy game. It feels at least 3 scenes were cut from the pictures owl keeps.
Recommend to solve the puzzles on your own, the game is not long, so its only those few roadblocks before the end. If you find them hard, look back and try to come up with the logic that makes them not "random", there is such thing.
The game is about loss, so it could put you in the blues if you lost something and haven't truly got over it yet.