With My Past Preview – A Bitter Pill, and Puzzling Experience

As I get older, I often reflect on choices I’ve made, things I’ve said, friends I’ve lost or gained, accomplishments, regrets, and so on. The point is that the past is always going to be there; whether it haunts me or not, the things I’ve done or said will always be present with no escape. Developer Imagine Wings Studio has seemingly brought these themes into their upcoming puzzle platformer, With My Past. With a puzzle design reminiscent of games such as Evan’s Remains, it’s tough not to play this game without bouts of introspection.

Even during the demo that introduces some of the gameplay mechanics, I was left on a cliffhanger, wondering where this story would go if only to help me with my struggle of leaving behind my past. However, through this pain comes healing as the game’s mechanics will consistently remind you that you can’t escape the cards you’ve been dealt, but you can learn to live with it.

With My Past Presents its Themes in a Captivated Way

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I was able to play the opening prologue and first chapter of With My Past. Here, players are introduced to a young girl who has met her past. This shadow follows her wherever she goes, and she doesn’t want any part of it. Over the course of these early moments, we learn of a few issues within her life that lead to these feelings, but the developers go a step further by pairing the puzzle design with her desire to be free of her past.

Each scene features text on the screen that reveals the girl’s inner struggles. It’s often a painful scene to witness, but when it’s paired with successfully completing a puzzle and progressing the narrative, it becomes a little easier to stomach as a bystander. One of the more interesting scenes showcased how people she’s met often try to help her out, with the people being seen as dogs that can step on buttons to open doors. However, as she’s using these dogs to progress, she’s distancing herself from them, only accepting their help until she’s found a way through. Suffice it to say, I was fully invested in the emotional themes this game was delivering.

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The puzzles do become a bit tougher later in the chapter, and judging by some of the designs, I imagine late-game puzzles will have a similar build-up of difficulty. To assist, there is a skip puzzle button, but I feel like this also causes players to miss parts of the narrative. So, it’s up to you whether or not you want to use that. I also think the puzzles are a part of the story, and I hope that they continue to innovate and emphasize what’s going on in this girl’s head.

Movement is simply running and jumping, but you can also interact with certain objects. It takes a little bit of time to understand to utilize these objects, but they do things like switch you and your past’s places, move a platform, and so on. This basic control scheme works with this adventure since it allows you to focus on the story. There’s also a neat feature that stops you from running off the edge slightly, which I appreciated. If there was a standout element of the entire game, it’d be the music, which really sells the somber and heavy themes found in the story. I will say that I did notice a couple of typos in the text, but I imagine these will be fixed because they seemed to just be placeholders.

Emotionally Charged, With a Lot of Potential

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If you get the chance to play the demo of With My Past, do it with an open mind that is hungry to experience an emotional adventure. I adore these types of experiences as I often play through fantasy adventures to escape, while games like this ground me in reality and really force me to look at the past in a way that makes me realize that I may have been running from it myself.

With My Past is launching on PC via Steam. A Demo will be available on January 10, 2024.

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