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When The Past Was Around review for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
Developer: Toge Productions
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

I’ll make this clear right off the bat, before I write anything else: When The Past Was Around is a lovely adventure game about relationships and loss. It’s got very nice-looking visuals, a pleasant-sounding score, and an engaging story. If it existed in a vacuum, I’d be raving about it.

But… (You knew there was a “but” coming, right?)

It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a world where we already have Florence — and Florence came out a few years earlier than When The Past Was Around, making the latter seem like a pale imitation.

Obviously, there’s room in the world for both games. I mean, you could very easily finish both of them in well under two hours, so it’s not as if they’re both putting insane demands on your time. And, what’s more, it’s not like I want to see less heartfelt indie games put out into the world.

It’s just that, again, the games are so identical, it’s impossible not to compare them — and on every front, When The Past Was Around doesn’t quite measure up. When The Past Was Around looks nice and dreamy — but not as gorgeous as Florence does. When The Past Was Around does a nice job of telling a story without using any words — but it’s in no way as affecting as Florence’s story. The music in When The Past Was Around is very nice — but in Florence, it’s transcendent. When The Past Was Around finds a way to include some interesting puzzles in the mix — but Florence found a way to be interactive without letting its little challenges get in the way of its story. It’s like that at every turn, in every respect. When The Past Was Around is good — but it’s no Florence.

Though, again, it’s not like we’re talking about some crazily oversaturated genre. By my count, When The Past Was Around brings the total of “wordless games about young women growing up and making their way through love and less, set to lovely music” to approximately two. Obviously, you should play that other one first. But once you’re finished that, then you should still find the time to investigate When The Past Was Around, too.

Chorus Worldwide Games provided us with When The Past Was Around Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+

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